As expected, this was an easy job for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
The WBA (Super), WBC and The Ring super middleweight champion successfully defended his title by slapping Avni Yildirim and forcing his opponent to sit in the chair after three rounds at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on Saturday night stand.
Now, on May 8th, there will be an agreement battle against WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders.
This marked a 70-day turnaround for Canelo after his strike against Callum Smith in December when he won the super middleweight title. To hold on to his WBC title, he had to face number 1 in Yildirim. With the dream of being the undisputed champion, he violently fulfilled his obligation.
“I needed the knockout and that’s exactly what I did,” Canelo said.
Saying it was an easy night for the 30-year-old might sell her briefly. Canelo came out firing and Yildirim could do nothing but eat leather when he felt the wrath of the Mexican.
When Canelo realized that Yildirim had no answers, he went to work and had a goal to begin the second round. Canelo dug bullets into the body, landing overcuts, and wrapping hooks around gloves. In the third round, Canelo scored his first knockdown with his right hand in the middle. It was clear that Yildirim had no chance when Canelo beat his opponent. Coach Joel Diaz didn’t like what he saw of his fighter and decided to leave Yildirim on the stool for the fourth round.
The expected easy win paves the way for Canelo to further unify the division.
“I will fight everyone,” he said. “I always fight the best. It doesn’t matter. Here I am making history. I had to fight Yildirim to keep my championship.”
And now he has to face the unbeaten Saunders on the weekend of Cinco De Mayo.
Here’s how it all went. (All times east.)
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Canelo Alvarez is eliminated from Anvi Yildirim after three rounds
Round 3 (10:54 p.m.): The third round starts where the second left off, as Canelo repeatedly lands on the body and drops Yildirim with a straight right hand. Yildirim is up but getting pulverized. Canelo is looking for the perfect shot to end this. Yildirim manages to survive, but it is obvious that this will soon be over. 10-8, Canelo (30-26, Canelo)
Round 2 (10:50 p.m.): Canelo rocks Yildirim with an uppercut and lands a hook. Canelo only shoots and lands what he wants. This is target practice. Canelo with liver shot, uppercut and hook. It is abusive. Yildirim is nothing more than a heavy bag with legs. 10-9, Canelo (20-18, Canelo)
Round 1 (10.45 p.m.): Canelo opens with a left hook that moves Yildirim. He wastes little time on the offensive. Canelo digs for the body. Yildirim has no replies yet. A fighter known to be aggressive, Canelo tamed the Turkish warrior. 10-9, Canelo
10:34 pm: Canelo goes to the ring with an appearance by pop star J Balvin. Dancers and pyro set the stage for the pound-for-pound king of boxing.
10:30 p.m .: Avni Yildirim made his way to the ring. He says Canelo has never fought a Turkish warrior before. I’m not sure if this is important, but it sounds good.
10:24 p.m .: We got used to waiting a long time when Canelo is fighting. After more than 30 minutes we are finally at the national anthems. The main event is (finally) just around the corner!
9:50 pm: It’s time for the main event! Canelo Alvarez will defend his WBC, WBA (Super) and The Ring super middleweight titles against WBC No. 1 contender Avni Yildirim. Few expect Yildirim to be a major threat, but anything can happen. Right?
9:43 pm: McWilliams Arroyo has won the provisional WBC title with a break in the fifth round. Rodriguez just couldn’t take the pressure and was pounded from column to column. With no conceivable way to win, Rodriguez’s corner stopped the fight to save their fighter from further harm. We will get the fight between Arroyo and Julio Cesar Martinez as soon as Martinez is healed.
9.40 p.m.: As expected, this fight was one-way traffic. It took Arroyo Rodriguez a minute to find out, but by the fourth round he increased the pressure to get his first knockdown. Rodriguez has to do something special not to get stopped in the fifth.
9:16 pm: The co-main event is next as McWilliams Arroyo will battle late successor Abraham Rodriguez for the WBC provisional flyweight title. Julio Cesar Martinez broke his hand earlier this week and Rodriguez flew to Miami on Friday to take his place. Arroyo is expected to win but Rodriguez should be commended for stepping up at the last minute.
9:10 pm: The hype train for Zhang Zhilei was derailed when, despite losing the first three rounds, he drew a majority against Jerry Forrest. But the big man was exhausted and allowed Forrest to take over the second half of the fight. A docked point in the 9th round was the differentiator, with one judge seeing it for Forrest 95-93 and the other two judges even having it at 93-93. Zhang certainly needs to go back to the drawing board and find out what went wrong.
9:07 pm: The fight has certainly turned as Zhang did next to nothing in the second half of the fight and lost a point in round 9 while Forrest continued to rework it. Forrest hummed Zhang with a combination late on the 10th and injured the tall man. Zhang trips over the ring while Forrest chases after him. Zhang manages to survive, but could we have a surprise on our hands?
8:51 pm: Zhang dropped Forrest once in the first three rounds, but Forrest refuses to walk away. He is consistently overwhelmed and continues to push forward. By the time we finish the sixth lap, Zhang appears to be completely gassed. Maybe Forrest can make a comeback?
8:22 pm: The heavyweights are about to throw the gigantic 6-6 Chinese monster Zhang Zhilei against Jerry Forrest next. Can Zhilei claim his 23rd victory?
8:09 pm: Well, he didn’t make the last 16 but Diego Pacheco improved to 11-0 and went eight rounds for the first time in his career with a unanimous decision win. Pacheco controlled much of the action and seemed to be learning a lot as he began his ascent to the title shot by facing an opponent who had never been stopped before. It wasn’t easy, but definitely for Pacheco.
7:51 pm: We’re in the middle of a fight and both of them are still upright. Pacheco is ahead by a nose, but Gomez Jr. has absolutely come to fight. It is Pacheco’s activity behind the push that has got the job done so far. Can Gomez find a way to turn this fight around?
19:30 o’clock: Next up is another young talent as Diego Pacheco appears to go undefeated against Rodolfo Gomez Jr. Pacheco’s height advantage is nullified here as both tower at 6’4 “and share a similar range. Both have promised short nights. But who will be on screen?
7:24 pm: We’re alive and it wasn’t long before the hot prospect Marc Castro made his presence felt. Castro faced former UFC flyweight title challenger John Moraga and made sure there would be no promotion of Clay Collard by the former MMA fighter as he dropped his opponent three times in two rounds to make the stop to reach. Castro dropped Moraga with the first push he threw, and from there it went downhill. A combination dropped Moraga again in the second round and finished him off with a short uppercut. Castro improves to 2-0 and it is obvious that he will fight for a world title in the next 24 months.
How to see Canelo versus Yildirim
- Live broadcast: DAZN
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The fight between Canelo and Yildirim will be broadcast live on DAZN in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, including the US and Canada.
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Canelo vs Yildirim battle card
- Canelo Alvarez def. Avni Yildirim on TKO in the 3rd round (2:59).
- McWilliams Arroyo def. Abraham Rodriguez on the 5th round TKO (1:41).
- Zhang Zhilei and Jerry Forrest are fighting for the majority (93-93, 93-93. 95-93).
- Diego Pacheco def. Rodolfo Gomez Jr. by unanimous decision (79-73, 79-73, 79-73).
- Marc Castro def. John Moraga on the 2nd round TKO (2:29).