Canelo Alvarez Makes Quick Work of Avni Yildirim to Defend WBA & WBC Super Middleweight Titles

Canelo Alvarez didn’t take long to defend his titles…

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer, the sport’s biggest star and best pound-for-pound fighter, made quick work of his limited foe, Avni Yildirim, to defend his WBA and WBC titles at 168 pounds via third-round TKO at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.

Canelo Alvarez

Needing to clear the hurdle of his mandatory challenger in order to begin an ambitious 2021 plan to unify all four super middleweight world titles, Alvarez looked every bit of the audaciously large betting favorite he was coming in.

Alvarez put on quite the performance amid fireworks and a live concert on his walk to the ring alone. After Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs) hid behind his high guard for the first two rounds, he finally succumbed to a stiff right cross from Alvarez that dropped him in Round 3.

After trainer Joel Diaz warned his fighter between rounds that he needed to show something or the fight would be stopped, Yildirim stared with a blank expression on his face that caused his corner to stop the fight.

“It doesn’t matter if they are taller and have more reach or whether they have a good new trainer or no trainer, it doesn’t matter,” Alvarez said after the win. “I come here to do my job and win and I come to make history and I have the best trainer in the world [Eddy Reynoso] in my corner.”

Alvarez made a quick return to the ring just two months after dominating unbeaten champion Callum Smith to unify a pair of super middleweight titles. But he opened as an alarming 50-1 favorite over Yildirim, a native of Turkey who didn’t seem to deserve the mandatory shot considering he was fresh off a two-year layoff and a loss in his last fight.

“It’s great to be active. It’s wonderful to be here in Miami. I wanted to have a great fight here and I’m happy it’s a knockout. That’s what I wanted to do,” Alvarez said. “I will fight anyone. I fight the best and I always fight the best. I fight the best at 168 and here I am, making history. I had to fight Yildirim to get the opportunity to fight the best at 168 and I had to do it. I defended my titles and am ready for what’s next.”

What’s next was confirmed for May 8 by promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, who has one fight remaining on a two-bout deal Alvarez signed to open the year. Hearn said Alvarez will challenge unbeaten WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders at a location to be announced.

In addition, Alvarez is hoping to fight twice more in 2021 after the Saunders bout and has shared his interest in closing the year by defeating Caleb Plant, the unbeaten IBF champion, to become boxing’s first undisputed super middleweight champion.

“[Saunders] is a very difficult fighter and he has the championship, the WBO. We want to unify,” Alvarez said before being asked about Saunders’ ability to trash talk his opponents. “People talk but I’m a mature fighter. I know how to control myself. All I have to do is get into the ring, win and make history. Words are just that.

“I [want to unify] because it hasn’t been done. At 168, no one has done that in the world. I want to make history.”

“I want to make my own history. I don’t want to be equal to anyone. I respect everyone in history but I want to make my own history so that when they one day talk about the sport of boxing, they talk about Canelo.”

J Balvin Releases New Single “Ma’ G”

J Balvin is ringing in a new era of music…

The 35-year-old Colombian singer took to the boxing ring, alongside friend and boxer Canelo Alvarez, to perform his new single “Ma’ G, for the first time prior to Saturday night’s Canelo/Avni Yildrim fight at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

J Balvin's Air Balvins

The official music video for “Ma’ G,” the first from his upcoming album, was filmed in Balvin’s hometown of Medellín, and the song marks a return to Balvin’s rap roots.

“Ma’ G” is Balvin’s first song since “Un Día,” last year’s Grammy-nominated collaboration with Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny and Tainy. The track was released alongside a merch collection with 747 and La Plaga Invade that includes a varsity jacket, hoodie and masks.

McWilliams Arroyo Defeats Abraham Rodriguez to Become WBC’s New Interim Flyweight Champion

McWilliams Arroyo is the WBC’s new interim flyweight champion…

The 35-year-old Puerto Rican boxer dominated Mexico’s Abraham Rodriguez in less than five rounds to claim the title during Saturday’s Canelo AlvarezAvni Yildirim co-main event at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

McWilliams Arroyo

It became clear early on that Arroyo also had the realistic edge against Rodriguez, a late replacement who arrived in Miami on Friday.

By the fourth round, it showed.

Arroyo (21-4, 16 KOs) pummeled Rodriguez (27-3, 13 KOs) throughout the round, eventually forcing him to one knee and knocking him down. The onslaught continued in the fifth round, although Rodriguez held up well considering the lack of time to properly train. It led to Rodriguez’ corner waiving the white towel midway through the fifth round to stop the one-sided fight.

Arroyo was dominant throughout a fight that was supposed to be against Julio Cesar Martinez.

Martinez had to withdraw from the bout on Thursday with a small right hand fracture suffered during a sparring session. He had hoped to continue to train, but the injury got worse earlier this week.

Jose Ramirez In Talks to Face Josh Taylor in 140-pound Unification Fight

Jose Ramirez could possibly be fighting the biggest battle of his career in May…

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has reserved the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 8 for a long-awaited 140-pound unification fight between the 28-year-old Mexican American boxer, the WBC and WBO champion, and IBF and WBA champion Josh Taylor (17-0).

Jose Ramirez

Canelo Alvarez will fight WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders — also in Las Vegas — on either May 1 or May 8, sources confirmed to ESPN on Thursday, but the Taylor-Ramirez date will not change, according to Top Rank.

Arum said he’s “looking forward” to having fans in attendance “in accordance with strict standards imposed by the state of Nevada.”

Arum said Taylor is already working on a obtaining a visa and that the purses between the two ex-Olympians will be equal.

“From our side of the table, we are happy moving forward with Taylor-Ramirez,” said Jamie Conlan, vice president of MTK Global, which advises Taylor and also has a relationship with Ramirez’s manager, Rick Mirigian.

Mirigian, however, said deal isn’t yet locked up with his client.

“I’m optimistic, but negotiations continue,” Mirigian said. Another interested party is undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez, who has said he wants to fight the winner to become the only undisputed four-belt champion at both 135 and 140 pounds.

On Thursday, Arum hosted a lunch at his Beverly Hills home with Golden Boy‘s Oscar De La Hoya and Eric Gomez. Among the subjects discussed was a possible mega fight between Lopez and Garcia.

Garcia’s team was not at the lunch

The idea, according to Arum, was for Lopez to defend against his IBF mandatory challenger, and Garcia to fight Javier Fortuna, then meet in a mega fight.

“It would have to be this year,” Arum said. “Because after that, Teofimo is going up to fight the winner of Taylor-Ramirez.”

Vergil Ortiz Jr. to Fight Maurice Hooker in March

Vergil Ortiz Jr. is ready to rumble…

The 22-year-old Mexican American boxer, an undefeated rising welterweight star, will step up his boxing game as he’s set to face fellow contender Maurice Hooker in a bout that’s still being finalized, according to ESPN.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.

The fight is expected to take place on March 20, according to ESPN sources. The firm date is the final step to be completed before an announcement of the bout, which is expected to take place in Dallas and air on DAZN.

Ortiz (16-0, 16 KOs) was ESPN’s and Ring Magazine‘s 2019 Prospect of the Year. His knockout power and impressive skill put him among a handful of young fighters competing for prime billing in the years to come. With Canelo Alvarez‘s departure, Ortiz has become one of Golden Boy Promotions‘ most promising fighters.

Ortiz is coming off a seventh-round TKO victory over veteran Sam Vargas in July — the first pro bout in Ortiz’s career that has lasted beyond six rounds.

But he’ll be facing his stiffest competition yet in Hooker, who after having issues making weight is moving up from junior welterweight to take this bout.

Hooker (27-1-3) has a significant experience and length advantage over Ortiz, helping make the bout an intriguing test. Hooker, 31, hasn’t fought since a December 2019 first-round TKO over Uriel Perez. Before that, he suffered his lone loss to junior welterweight unified champion Jose Ramirez by sixth-round TKO.

Canelo Alvarez Reportedly Planning to Fight Mandatory Challenger Avni Yildirim in February

Canelo Alvarez isn’t waiting long to get back in the ring…

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer, the sport’s biggest star, will return to the ring on February 27 versus mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, according to sources.

Canelo Alvarez

The fight will be broadcast on DAZN and other PPV cable platforms everywhere except Mexico.

It will be a stay-busy title defense for Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs), who is coming off a dominant unanimous decision victory over previously undefeated champion Callum Smith on December 19 to win the WBA, WBC and the Ring magazine super middleweight titles.

 

The Athletic was the first to report the Alvarez fight date.

“Canelo is in the gym, and he has been working and training, waiting for the date,” Alvarez’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso, said. “And to take advantage of the preparation we had for most of last year without fighting.”

After a deal with Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, Alvarez is on track to fight again on May 8, the weekend following Cinco de Mayo, against WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders. That bout is not official yet, but it is expected, with IBF champion Caleb Plant as a secondary option.

Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) has plans to unify the super middleweight division, with Saunders and Plant as the two other belt holders in the division.

Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) hasn’t fought since a February 2019 split technical decision loss to Anthony Dirrell. He has been Alvarez’s WBC mandatory challenger since before the Alvarez-Smith bout.

“Obviously it’s a very big fight for me. It makes me very proud to be on a stage like this, representing the Turkish people,” Yildirim told ESPN on Wednesday. “I know my opponent well. Of course, Canelo is one of the best in the world. But I know my value, and now the entire world will see who Avni Yildirim is.”

Alvarez and Reynoso wanted to fulfill their commitment to the WBC by fighting Yildirim before continuing their pursuit through the super middleweight champions.

“Yildirim is a strong fighter. He is a fighter who has earned his place in boxing to get to where he is as the No. 1 challenger in the world,” Reynoso said. “He had a fight against Anthony Dirrell, which seemed to me they took away from him, and gave it to Dirrell due to a cut. It was a world title fight, and [even with a loss], he became an official challenger. He is a guy who has worked honestly to be there, and he is dangerous, strong, has a good punch and very reliable.”

This will be Alvarez’s first bout in Miami, a place he has long enjoyed. Fans can be in attendance up to the COVID-19 pandemic capacity allowed at Hard Rock Stadium, where the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes play their home football games.

Canelo Alvarez Becomes Mexico’s First Unified Champion in Super Middleweight History

Canelo Alvarez is making history…

The 30-year-old Mexican professional boxer, the sport’s biggest superstar, put on a dominant display on Saturday night to end the 2020 major fight slate, cruising to a unanimous decision win over previously undefeated champion Callum Smith and winning the WBA, WBC and The Ring magazine super middleweight titles.

Canelo Alvarez

The scorecards read 119-109, 119-109 and 117-111, all for Alvarez.

In the process, Alvarez became the first unified champion from Mexico in super middleweight history.

In front of 15,000 fans (20% capacity) at the San Antonio Alamodome, Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) stalked Smith (27-1, 19 KOs), punishing him with an array of consistent jabs, uppercuts and hooks for 12 rounds.

“I’m the best in the world,” Alvarez said on the DAZN broadcast via an interpreter. “In the first round, I tried to see what he brings, the skills or whatever, but like you can see, I showed what I am.”

By the later rounds, the intrigue of the fight shifted from who would win to whether Smith would survive Alvarez’s devastating blows and go the distance.

The 6-foot-3 Smith had a 7-inch height advantage and an 8-inch reach advantage over the 5-foot-8 Alvarez. But it didn’t matter, as Alvarez was the big bully, eliminating the distance that Smith prefers and consistently pounding punches off the British boxer’s head and body.

“He was the better fighter tonight,” Smith said. “He’s smart. He’s clever. He sets you little traps and keeps you thinking. Before you know it, he’s closing the ground. He’s a good fighter, but I’m just a little disappointed with myself. His jab was really good. It surprised me a little bit. His defense was really good.”

Alvarez has now defeated two Smith brothers — knocking out older brother Liam Smith as a junior middleweight in 2016 and defeating Callum Smith on Saturday.

Alvarez — universally considered one of the top two pound-for-pound boxers in the world, boxing’s best-selling fighter, and already a four-division champion — now has won The Ring magazine title in three different weight classes.

He landed 43% of his punches and 57% of his power punches on Saturday, per CompuBox, in a complete performance in which his defense also shined. Smith landed only 18% of his punches and 24% of his power punches.

It was Alvarez’s first fight since parting ways with Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN after contractual disputes, and he returned to the ring for the first time in 13 months as his own promoter with little in-ring rust.

“I’M BACK!” he wrote as part of a Twitter post early Sunday morning.

https://twitter.com/Canelo/status/1340544290003533829?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1340544290003533829%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.espn.com%2F

Julio Cesar Martinez to Defend His WBC Flyweight World Title Against Francisco Rodriguez Jr.

Julio Cesar Martinez is going on the defensive yet again…

The 25-year-old Mexican professional boxer and WBC flyweight world titleholder will defend his belt against Francisco Rodriguez Jr. on the Canelo AlvarezCallum Smith undercard on December 19 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Julio Cesar Martinez

Martinez (17-1, 13 KOs) won the title in a ninth-round TKO victory over Cristofer Rosales in December 2019. He defended the belt twice this year, a unanimous decision victory against Jay Harris in February and a second-round TKO of Moises Calleros in October.

Martinez, who lost his pro debut in 2015, has gone 17-0 with one no-contest since then. He’s trained by Eddy Reynoso, who also trains Alvarez.

Rodriguez Jr. (33-4-1, 24 KOs) is a former strawweight world titlist. After losing back-to-back decisions against Donnie Nietes and Moises Fuentes in 2015, Rodriguez, 27, has won 14 straight bouts, 12 by stoppage.

Also on the undercard, super middleweight blue-chip prospect Diego Pacheco (10-0, 8 KOs) will face Rodolfo Gomez Jr. (14-4-1, 10 KOs) in an eight-round battle.

Ryan Garcia’s WBC Title Bout Against Luke Campbell Moved to January 2021

Ryan Garcia will have to wait a month to get back in the ring…

A date has been finalized for the rescheduled vacant WBC title bout between the 22-year-old Mexican American boxer and Luke Campbell. The two will fight on Saturday, January 2, DAZN has announced.

Ryan Garcia

Garcia and Campbell were scheduled to fight on December 5 in Los Angeles, but the fight was postponed after Campbell tested positive for COVID-19 on November 10.

“My mindset going into this fight hasn’t changed, and my training hasn’t stopped,” Garcia said. “I’m excited we have a new date and can finally bring this to the fans. I’m here, and I’m ready to ring in the new year with a victory … let’s go!”

Campbell, who has resumed training back in England, doesn’t seem too concerned about the short delay. “New date, new year, same result,” said Campbell. “I’m fully back in training and have never felt better. What a way to start 2021. This is going to be with a clinical Luke Campbell win.”

Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) hasn’t fought since a first-round KO victory over Francisco Fonseca in February. Garcia trains with Eddy Reynoso, who also trains middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, junior lightweight contender Oscar Valdez and former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr.

Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs), 33, lost a unanimous decision challenging then lightweight unified champion Vasiliy Lomachenko in August 2019.

Devin Haney is theWBC lightweight titlist and Teofimo Lopez Jr. is the WBC “franchise” champion.

Canelo Alvarez to Fight Callum Smith Next Month in Texas

Canelo Alvarez is heading back to the ring…

Following months of conflict between the 30-year-old Mexican boxer, his promoters and his broadcast partners, Alvarez is finally ready to rumble.

Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez will meet Callum Smith in Texas this December to unify WBA super middleweight titles, according to ESPN. This will be Alvarez’s first appearance since his 11th-round TKO victory over Sergey Kovalev in November 2019.

The target dates for the fight are December 18, 19 or 20.

Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) faces “Mundo” Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) after he announced himself as a free agent last week. His first business partner will be Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. It’s very possible that DAZN, the broadcaster partner Alvarez was working with before severing ties with longtime promoter Golden Boy Promotions, could carry the fight in the U.S.

The fight — targeted for AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, or the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas — will come a year after a meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, where Smith’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, spent a few minutes with Eddy Reynoso, Alvarez’s trainer, to tell him about his interest in an Alvarez-Smith fight.

Smith, 20, is seven inches taller than Alvarez and has about eight inches reach advantage. Smith, like Alvarez, hasn’t fought since last November when he scored a contested unanimous decision victory over John Ryder.

Smith is the WBA “super” super middleweight world titlist, and Alvarez has the WBA “regular” belt, but the fight could also be for the WBC super middleweight title that was left vacant when David Benavidez missed weight for his fight against Roamer Alexis Angulo in August and was stripped of the belt.

Alvarez starts a new era as his own promoter with a title fight against a legit opponent. Smith is considered one of the elite fighters in the division, and is ranked No. 1 by ESPN.