Saul Alvarez v Avni Yildirim
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Back in action
Multi-weight world champion Saul Alvarez is set for a quickfire return to the ring following his December points victory over Liverpool’s Callum Smith in San Antonio.
The Mexican fighting sensation has signed a deal to face exciting Turk Avni Yildrim this weekend with the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami to host. The WBC and WBA world titles will be on the line as Canelo remains at super middleweight in a bid to stretch his professional record to 55-1-2.
Canelo remains active
It’s impressive to see 30-year-old Alvarez buck the current trend set by most world boxing champions by keeping busy and aiming to fight as often as possible, especially in these uncertain times. It shows again how desperate the man from Jalisco is to take on all comers and cement his legacy as the best fighter of his generation.
A comfortable points win over England’s Mundo Smith late last year continued Saul’s unbeaten run which now stretches back to the summer of 2013. The only man to have beaten Alvarez so far was Floyd Mayweather with TBE bagging a strong points victory.
There is no shame in losing to such a talented fighter, of course, and Saul seemed to improve for the experience. The frightening thing is many fight fans believe there’s plenty more to come from the champion.
Yildrim promises to go on the attack
All the talk in the build-up to this fight has focussed on Alvarez but that will help lift some of the pressure off his opponent Yildrim who can concentrate on training and preparing for the biggest challenge of his career.
The 29-year-old has won 21 of his previous bouts with a dozen recorded inside the distance. The Istanbul native has suffered two defeats, however, beaten by Chris Eubank Jr inside three rounds in 2017 and Anthony Dirrell last time out.
Not many opponents of Alvarez arrive on the back of a defeat but Yildrim’s team have confidence in their man’s ability and believe he’s ready to cause a major upset. Manager Ahmet Oner explained in a recent interview with press that Yildrim will adopt an aggressive style when facing Alvarez, one like Gennady Golovkin who scored a draw against Saul in 2017.
Take the clues from the stats
There are no surprises in the early betting with Betfair Exchange users pricing a 55th professional win for Alvarez as 1.041/25 favourite against the 2322/1 on Yildirim and 5049/1 the draw. That’s tight, but Canelo’s form and continued progress makes it almost impossible to argue against.
Bettors are, therefore, challenged with predicting how Canelo wins this fight. Each of the favourite’s last three bouts have lasted at least 11 rounds with two wins coming on points. Backing Alvarez for victory in the second half of the fight looks the way to play this one.