Hopkins fine with Canelo’s recent mismatch, calls it “Preseason” for the star
By Sean Jones: Bernard Hopkins has no problems with Canelo Alvarez’s recent mismatch against a woefully poor Avni Yildirim in the main event on DAZN’s show on February 27th.
The rationale given for Canelo facing Yildirim was that he was his WBC mandatory to his WBA super-middleweight title. As the WBC Franchise champion, Canelo wasn’t required to defend the 168-lb title against Yildirim.
Canelo would have ignored Yildirim, and he wouldn’t have been stripped of his WBC title.
Hopkins says he’s on board with Canelo (55-1-2, 37 KOs) taking this fight because he sees it as his “preseason” right now to keep him to help sharpen him up for when the season eventually starts.
With it being preseason, Canelo can take easy fights, even though he’s a world champion.
It’s unclear how Yildirim served the purpose of sharpening Canelo up, though, as he was in effect a punching bag with arms. Yildrim stood and took shots from Canelo until the fight was halted by his trainer Joel Diaz after the third round.
Yildirim had been knocked down in the third, and he wasn’t throwing any punches. It was similar to Canelo’s previous fight against Sergey Kovalev, who didn’t throw many punches.
Hopkins and Canelo know each other well when the Mexican star was one of the fighters in the Golden Boy Promotions stable for several years.
Along the way, Canelo had many controversial fights in which fans saw him losing against Gennadiy Golovkin, Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, and Miguel Cotto. Canelo was lucky with the way the judges scored those fights.
Since leaving Golden Boy, Canelo has taken no chances by going after soft opposition exclusively and showing no interest in facing risky fighters like Jermall Charlo, David Benavidez, Golovkin, Demetrius Andrade, Artur Beterbiev, and Dimitry Bivol.
Canelo’s fight against Yildirim was needed
“These fights are warranted, and they’re meaningful,” said Hopkins when speaking to Fight Hub TV. “Not for his legacy but for his restart, his recharge, his mind, his physical, his spiritual.
“What moves Canelo is to be active as much as he can. He’s fortunate to get in two fights on the backend of COVID. Most fighters, if not all, had to sit for nine to ten months,” said Hopkins.
If it’s preseason for Canelo, boxing fans would like to hear that warning given to them ahead so that they won’t bother watching.
As long as they know Canelo is facing fodder opposition in his preseason, as Hopkins puts it, they can decide whether to watch it or do something else.
Canelo wasn’t exactly hurting for activity, given that he’d fought last December against Callum Smith.
He and his trainer Eddy Reynoso told the boxing world that Callum was the #1 fighter in the 168-lb division, despite him coming off a controversial 12 round majority decision over John Ryder.
Alvarez is in “preseason,” says Hopkins
“I’ve read some people have said he’s fighting nobodies but this is preseason for him,” said Hopkins about Canelo’s fights with Yildirim and Callum Smith.
“See, when you do preseason, it isn’t looked upon as the season. So look at Canelo as being in preseason.
“He has about one more preseason fight and then he will go right into the regular fighting season and you will see the matches.”
It sounds like Hopkins views Canelo’s next opponent, WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders as another “preseason” fight for him.
That reinforces the criticism that Canelo has received by boxing fans in choosing to unify the 168-lb division, which had been filled with paper champions with little talent.
The fighters that are considered to be talented are currently not holding belts. We’re talking David Benavidez, Edgar Berlanga, and Bektemir ‘Bully’ Melikuziev.
As a world champion, Canelo or any champ isn’t supposed to be in the preseason. You don’t slack off as a champion.
You’re expected to face the best all year round and not pad your record because you want to take it easy facing weak opposition.
- Billy Joe Saunders sounding unconfident, bellyaching about judges
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- Eddie Hearn says Canelo vs. Saunders has sold 60K tickets
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