Boxing’s biggest star, Canelo Alvarez, returns for a super middleweight title clash against Avni Yildirim. Unified super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez makes his 2021 debut on Saturday when he defends his WBA (Super) and WBC championships against Avni Yildirim at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, live on DAZN in over 200 countries.
Alvarez competed six days before Christmas, beating Callum Smith via unanimous decision to win the WBA and WBC belts. The 30-year-old wants to be active in 2021 after only fighting one time in 2020. Yildirim is the WBC mandatory challenger, and Alvarez wants to get out of the way so he can have a clear path to become the undisputed champion at 168 pounds.
Yildirim returns to action for the first time since losing to Anthony Dirrell via technical decision in a vacant WBC super middleweight fight. Dirrell suffered a cut due to an accidental headbutt in the tenth round, and the bout was stopped. It went to the judges, and Dirrell came out the winner on two of the three judges’ scorecards.
While Alvarez is coming off short rest, Yildirim has had plenty of time to work on his craft since his most recent bout.
Yildirim was last in the ring in February 2019, when he lost a technical decision to Anthony Dirrell. It was just the second defeat of his career but a solid showing, as at least one judge had him up on the cards when the fight was cut short in the 10th round because of a cut on Dirrell.
Yildirim’s only other defeat was in 2017, when he was knocked out by Chris Eubank Jr. All of his wins have come against middling opposition.
So despite the long layoff and the lack of a signature win, Yildirim has a career-making opportunity against Alvarez. The Turk has a chance to represent his country in a sport wherein it has had little success. To make the impossible happen, he will need to elevate his game.