I always try to leave room for the possibility, slim as it may be, that the underdog springs an upset special for us. But for the Canelo Alvarez v Avni Yildirim fight, which unfolds tomorrow night (Feb. 27), in Miami, Florida, and on DAZN, I confess I'm not feeling the need to leave more than a tiny sliver of door open.
Nothing against Yildirim, it's more so a case of feeling like Alvarez is virtually bullet-proof. That's not to say he could book a fight against Tyson Fury and I'd feel the same way, but in and around 168 pounds, Canelo is THE BOSS.
And Yildirim is not. Not to be a punk, the man can hang with world class fighters. But you pore over his BoxRec, scan up, scan down, and you find it hard to find a Best Win. He lost his last fight, against Anthony Dirrell, on Feb. 23, 2019. Yeah, he hasn't gloved up since then, so the Turk can expect to have issues with timing, and his foe Alvarez is in a groove. Yildirim will have to hope he can scrape off the rust at Hard Rock Stadium right quick, or Canelo will just show him in about six minutes that he has virtually no chance to get the W. The oddsmakers can certainly agree on this consensus with 2, to Yildirim at +1200.
Maybe you consider the win over Lolenga Mock, on Sept. 15, 2018, as a Best Win type of triumph? If so, alert Mock, because that might make the 49 year old man born in what was then called Zaire feel a surge of pride. Yes, Mock was 47 when Yildirim, who holds a 21-2 mark, scraped by him. Yildirim, who is trained by Joel Diaz, beat Mock by majority decision, with one judge seeing a five point win margin, the other a single point difference, and the third deeming the contest a draw.
That Yildirim was put in with a man possessing a 3-31-3 record, Jose A Rodriguez, for his July 14, 2018 bout cannot make you feel bolder if you are considering the prospects for a Yildirim upset triumph. Ryan Ford had lost two straight coming in to his May 12, 2018 contest against Yildirim, and the Turkish boxer didn't run away with it, though he won a UD12 victory while the WBC International super middleweight strap was up for grabs.
To be quite frank, Yildirim has been getting fed soft touches and was skillfully maneuvered to get to this place.
Before Ford, he got matched against another journeyman type, in Derek Edwards, in his fighting home base of Germany. On March 3, 2018, Yildirim downed Edwards, but again, he didn't pull away, show a man who had lost four straight coming in that there are levels to this thing.
When offered a step-up fight, against Chris Eubank Jr, Yildirim took an L. They battled on Oct. 7, 2017, in Stuttgart, Germany, with the Englishman stopping out “Mr. Robot” in round three of the IBO world super middleweight title contest. You can expect that Canelo has seen this one, and noted that Eubank scored a knockdown in the first with a right uppercut.
He holds a stiff guard, his forearms as posts, and Canelo will easily snake around that defense, and crack body shots to Yildirim's sides, which won't be even a bit deflected. Canelo also knows that when he throws, Yildirim freezes, he tenses up and looks to block shots, while forgetting to move his feet. You will see Yildirim square up, and, hopefully, Canelo will look to give fans some bang for the buck, and show early on his aggressive side. Canelo's right hand will snake around the inefficient coverage offered by Yildirim, who isn't one to try and lessen a foe's accuracy by moving his head a great deal, as he senses incoming fire.
And sorry, if you want to point to the fact that Yildirim had his moments against Dirrell in the fight for the vacant WBC super middle strap, that has more to do with the fact that the 36 year old Dirrell has lots of miles on him. His left eye got sliced open vs. Yildirim and forced a stop in round ten, and his right eye was cut just as bad if not worse in his next clash, against David Benavides.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if I were proven wrong, and Yildirim graced us all with the upset win of the year in Miami…but I won't be. Sorry to be kind of definitive here, but Avni Yildirim is a massive underdog against Alvarez for a good reason. His skill set is two notches beneath Alvarez, and you can bet the summer house on it: Canelo beats Yildirim Saturday in Miami.