Last week’s Big Question was on Andre Ward, and whether or not the still in shape, only 37 years old (as of today! happy birthday to Andre Ward!) former champ and pound-for-pound ruler might come back to the ring for a real fight at some point.
Overwhelmingly, people think Ward is going to stay retired, with 87 percent voting no, including myself. I think it would take a mountain of money to get Ward back, even if he really is feeling great these days, even if he still has all the confidence in the world. Foolish to judge a book by its cover and all, but Andre is still working in boxing, both as a commentator for ESPN and as a manager to some good young fighters, and my feeling is he wasn’t a big spender or anything. Financially, he’s probably more than fine. Not that he can’t be tempted, but Ward just doesn’t seem like a fame junkie or anything to me, either. Not that dude. Has a healthy ego, yeah, but I think he’s proud and just fine with where he left his career.
This week, we turn our attention to Canelo Alvarez, who returns Saturday against Avni Yildirim. Actually, I guess in a way we’re turning our attention more to Yildirim.
Nobody thinks Avni Yildirim can beat Canelo Alvarez on Saturday. Let’s call it what it is. Yildirim is here because he is the WBC’s mandatory challenger and Canelo is choosing to fight him right now, between bigger tests of Callum Smith last December, and Billy Joe Saunders coming in May. If Canelo wanted, he could absolutely have just asked to be elevated to “Franchise Champion,” which would perfectly match the other two (2) times in history that “designation” has been “awarded,” entirely to help big name fighters avoid having to do mandatory title fights they didn’t want to do. Or the WBC could have fumbled about and found a way to ignore the claim Yildirim has held for two years already.
How to Watch Canelo vs Yildirim
Here’s the question: how long does Yildirim last on Saturday? And, since some of you are probably weird enough, can he actually pull this upset?
Yildirim (21-2, 12 KO) was stopped in three and just totally blitzed by Chris Eubank Jr back in 2017, but did perform better in a more controversial technical decision loss to Anthony Dirrell in 2019. That was also his last fight, and it was two years ago. New trainer Joel Diaz says Yildirim is a changed fighter, but then again, what else is he going to say?
Diaz is a good trainer. Yildirim is not a bad fighter. But he’s also a guy who didn’t have the easiest time beating the likes of Ryan Ford and Lolenga Mock, and those are two of his last three wins. (The other was a guy who came in with a record of 3-31-3.)
Does he make the halfway point? Does he go the distance? Is it over early, like when Canelo feasted on Rocky Fielding’s rib cage? CAN AVNI YILDIRIM SHOCK THE WORLD? Your call!
How long will Avni Yildirim go against Canelo Alvarez?
This poll is closed
Canelo stoppage in 1-4
Canelo stoppage in 5-8
Canelo stoppage in 9-12
Yildirim goes the distance
Yildirim wins the fight