Canelo Alvarez, one of boxing's biggest superstars today, returns to the squared ring after defeating Callum Smith on Dec. 19, 2020. Alvarez faced a mandatory challenger in Avni Yildirm for Alvarez's WBC and WBA Super Middleweight Title belts on Feb. 27, 2021 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FL.
From the start, Alvarez looked like he didn't miss a step as he connected on nearly every punch he threw. According to CompuBox numbers, Alvarez connected on 86.7% of his total power punches in just the first round while Yildirim barely connected with any of his throws. Alvarez's game plan looked the same as he concentrated on his body shots first while working up to shots to the head. Yildirim couldn't seem to find his game at any point during this match as he was visibly trying to push through the pain of Alvarez's power punches.
During the third round, Alvarez knocked down Yildirim with a two punch combination that finally broke through Yildirim's high guard he had been using until that point in the match. At the end of the third round, Joel Diaz, Yildirim's trainer, wanted to see more out of his fighter instead of playing defense. "I'm going to give you one more f---ing round," Diaz told Yildirim in between rounds. Instead of seeing another round, a member of Yildirim's corner told officials to stop the match and that wish was granted. Alvarez won the fight by TKO and improves his record to 55-1-2. The last fight the Mexican boxing superstar won by TKO was two years ago against Rocky Fielding on Dec. 15, 2018.
Matchroom Boxing promoter, Eddie Hearn, said that Alvarez will finally fight against the WBO Super Middleweight champion, Billy Joe Saunders, on May 8 in a location to be determined at a later time. The match between Alvarez and Saunders will be a big one as both fighters look to unify the super middleweight belts at a 168 pounds. Alvarez holds the WBA and WBC belts and Saunders holds the WBO belt at the super middleweight division. If Alvarez is successful against Saunders in their scheduled matchup, Alvarez then has a chance to be an undisputed champion in the super middleweight division. Caleb Plant currently holds the IBF Super Middleweight title belt.