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Canelo Alvarez next fight: Avni Yildirim expected to face Canelo on Feb. 27 in Mexico

The Mexican superstar is looking at making a quick turnaround after his win over Callum Smith.

WBO light heavyweight title bout in Las Vegas: Canelo Alvarez vs Sergey Kovalev Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Fresh off of his Dec. 19 win over Callum Smith, Canelo Alvarez doesn’t appear to be looking to waste much time, as he’s reportedly planning a Feb. 27 return in Guadalajara, Mexico, against WBC mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim.

Canelo (54-1-2, 36 KO) dominated Smith and took little punishment last weekend. That came after he sat out 13 months due to both the COVID-19 pandemic and contractual issues with Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN, though his fight with Smith wound up streaming on DAZN anyway. He’s out of his contracts with both GBP and the broadcaster, so in theory he can face Yildirim on any platform, including potentially doing a self-promoted pay-per-view event.

This also runs counter to the belief that he might next face IBF titleholder Caleb Plant, who returns Jan. 30 against Caleb Truax on FOX, or wait until Cinco De Mayo weekend for a potential third fight with Gennadiy Golovkin.

The 29-year-old Yildirim (21-2, 12 KO) isn’t frankly a “big fight” or much of a challenge on paper for Canelo, but the Turkish fighter is the mandatory for the WBC belt, and Canelo is not looking to vacate. And if he were to get through Yildirim without trouble — which would be the expectation — he could easily fight again in May or June against Plant or Golovkin or anyone else.

This isn’t official, mind you, but it is also the sort of fight that would work for Canelo doing a homecoming in Mexico, where he hasn’t fought since his 2011 win over Kermit Cintron in Mexico City. And he hasn’t fought at home home in Guadalajara since beating Luciano Cuello in 2010. Yildirim is the type of opponent who will gladly go to Canelo’s back yard, if he has to, to get the shot against the biggest name in the sport.

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