Mexican boxing great Saul Alvarez is fresh off the win against Callum Smith. Battling it out earlier this month (Dec. 19) in San Antonio, TX, Canelo defeated former champion and claimed WBA and The Ring super middleweight titles, and also earned a vacant WBC strap. He is expected to be back in the ring as early as in February 2021, preceding another fight planned for May.
Late last week it was reported that Canelo (54-1-2, 36 KOs) would face a WBC 168-pound mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) of Turkey in a twelve-round matchup on February 27. Alvarez’s trainer and manager Eddy Reynoso said “Yildirim is the next opponent for Canelo due to the WBC mandatory protocol”.
Mike Coppinger of The Athletic tweeted that Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn and Reynoso are in talks for a two-fight deal for Alvarez, with both bouts streamed live on DAZN.
The first contest would be indeed against Yildirim on February 27, taking place in Canelo’s hometown Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Going through, Canelo is targeted for the second bout in May with England’s Billy Joe Saunders facing off Mexican super star at to be determined location in the unification matchup with WBC, WBA, WBO and The Ring titles on the line.
Yildirim last fought in February 2019. He lost the WBC super middleweight championship against Anthony Dirrell via technical decision in the tenth round, after the latter was cut from an accidental head clash.
Unbeaten Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) was in action early this month (Dec. 4). Taking a unanimous decision over Martin Murray he made the second successful defense of his WBO super middleweight belt.
The Canelo vs Saunders bout was initially targeted for this past May, but the contracts were not signed. The event was expected to mark the DAZN’s global expansion. Due to pandemic the plans got scrapped.
Ultimately, Canelo faced and defeated Smith after more than a year of not throwing punches inside the squared circle, since he stopped former WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in November 2019.
It is not exactly clear whether the trilogy fight with Gennady Golovkin is still of interest for Team Canelo or not. Post-his win against Kamil Szeremeta on December 18, “GGG” said that he wanted to face “the best”, which, as understood, included Canelo.