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SPORTS SHORTS 68: CANELO ALVAREZ EASILY DEFEATS AVNI YILDIRIM, PLANS TO FACE BILLY JOE SAUNDERS FOR UNIFICATION


PhilBoxing.com




Saul "Canelo" Alvarez remained the WBC and WBA super middleweight champion as he dominated challenger Avni Yildirim by way of a third-round TKO win in Miami.

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“It’s Canelo against Saunders May 8, venue announced shortly,” said Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn after the fight. “It’s going to be one of the biggest fights of the year.”

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After an uneventful first round, Alvarez came alive, or at least stayed awake while Yildirim allowed him to throw a number of uncontested shots. Alvarez scored his first knockdown midway through the third round and stayed in control from there.

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It was obviously Canelo (55-1-2, 37 KOs) commanding the fight right from the start, easily winning the first two rounds against the cautious Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs).

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Yildirim's trainer was heard instructing his fighter that he would allow him to go on fighting like that for one more round, but Yildirim was unable to stand up from his stool for the fourth round, and the unequal match officially ended.

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Yildirim earned the fight against Alvarez as a WBC mandatory challenger, the sanctioning body previously agreed to approve a fight between Alvarez and Callum Smith last December with the condition that he will defend it against the Turkish contender.

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Yildirim had not fought in two years entering the fight Saturday, lost his last fight and tested positive for two performance-enhancing drugs in Oct. 2019. Alvarez was a -5000 favorite at BetMGM, that is if you bet $5000 for Canelo, you will only win $100.

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Avni Yildirim, age 29 years of Sivas, Turkey, was stopped by Chris Eubank Jr. of Hove, East Sussex, England by third round KO, for the IBO super-middleweight title in 2017

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He was beaten by Anthony Dirrell of Flint, Michigan via split technical decision for the WBC super-middleweight title after Dirrell was cut from accidental head clash in 2019.

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Alvarez's win over Yildirim is the first step of a massive year that Alvarez has planned, after fighting just once in all of 2020. Up next is a reported fight against WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders in a unification bout on Cinco de Mayo weekend.

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While the 30-0 Saunders figures to present a greater challenge, Alvarez still figures to be heavily favored as he tries to bring together ever major super middleweight title.


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Even though Alvarez will have theoretically fought three times in six months if he follows that plan, Alvarez’s manager and trainer said in December that Alvarez also plans to fight on the weekend of Mexican Independence Day in September.

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The most probable opponent for that fight is IBF super middleweight champion Caleb Plant. If the proposed plan pushes through successfully, this year would make Alvarez the undisputed super middleweight champion of the world.

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Eddie Hearn is puzzled by Bob Arum’s annoyance on Hearn’s promotions firm bidding for the right to conduct the Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos junior lightweight title fight. Hearn was stunned by Arum’s statements because Matchroom Boxing did not win the IBF’s purse bid for the championship match.

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The Top Rank boss attacked Hearn after Matchroom Boxing out-bid Arum’s company in its effort to show one of Top Rank’s most distinguished boxers on DAZN, the streaming facility which is Matchroom's partner.

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DAZN backed Matchroom to bid $3,506,000. Top Rank's bid is $2,315,000 for a title fight that Arum portrayed “not a marquee fight” in a latest interview with Boxing Scene.

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Triller, a video production and social networking app, won the bid by a large margin putting up $6,018,000, an amount which is more than the combined bid of Matchroom and Top Rank.

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Ryan Kavanaugh, Triller’s owner, told Boxing Scene that the company’s plan is to have Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) of Brooklyn, New York and Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) of Australia, the mandatory challenger for Lopez’s IBF title, headline a pay-per-view show sometime in May.

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Triller’s winning bid grabs Top Rank’s rising star momentarily from ESPN. Teofimo Lopez’s last bout was a resounding unanimous-decision upset of Vasiliy Lomachenko and its ratings surged on ESPN.

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The Lopez-Lomachenko fight attracted a peak audience of 2,898,000 and an average audience of 2,729,000, which is ESPN’s highest number of viewers for boxing in more than three years.

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Kevin Durant will still act as team captain for the NBA All-Star despite not playing due to a hamstring injury. Brooklyn Nets' Durant and fellow captain LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers will each draft a roster of players from the pool of selected All-Stars.

* * *

An 11-time All-Star, Durant missed the Nets' past seven games and NBA commissioner Adam Silver named Domantas Sabonis as Durant's replacement. Jayson Tatum was promoted as an All-Star starter in lieu of Durant. Durant is averaging 29 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists for Brooklyn this season.

* * *

Olympic organizers announced that athletes and officials will not be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in order to take part. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is still encouraging the participants in the games to get the vaccine.

* * *

The organizers said, "This is to contribute to the safe environment of the Games, but also out of respect for the Japanese people, who should be confident that everything is being done to protect not only the participants, but also the Japanese people themselves."


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.


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