What’s been expected appears to be nearly done. Mike Coppinger reports that Canelo Alvarez will make a mandatory super middleweight title defense against Avni Yildirim on Feb. 27 at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, with the fight promoted by Matchroom Boxing and streaming live on DAZN.
Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KO) won the WBA super middleweight title from Callum Smith on Dec. 19, and also picked up the vacant WBC belt with the victory. Yildirim (21-2, 12 KO) has been waiting in the wings as WBC mandatory challenger since his controversial Feb. 2019 loss to Anthony Dirrell, a technical decision in what was a vacant WBC title fight.
Canelo, 30, is still a promotional free agent, but working with Matchroom relieves a lot of logistical stuff from the Alvarez side, and he’s still a broadcast free agent, but DAZN are continuing to work with him.
Prior reports have said that Alvarez would agree to a two-fight deal to work with Matchroom and DAZN, and that if Alvarez is successful as expected against the 29-year-old Yildirim next month, he’ll then face WBO titleholder Billy Joe Saunders in May, as Canelo looks to unify all 168-pound belts in 2021.
This fight with Yildirim isn’t going to be met with huge anticipation, as it’s one that “is what it is.” Canelo has to fight him or vacate the WBC title as the order has been placed. It does keep Alvarez busy, fighting just two months after his one-sided win over Smith, and could be the first step to a big year for the Mexican superstar.