Another Canelo Alvarez fight and another dominant performance from one of the sport’s pound-for-pound best. Alvarez defeated Avni Yildirim by technical knockout on Saturday to keep the WBC and WBA super middleweight titles.
We already know what’s next for Alvarez: a title unification bout against Billy Joe Saunders on May 8. But what can we learn from the three-round performance from Alvarez at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium? Ben Baby and Michael Rothstein react to the victory, the disappointment of Yildirim’s performance and what could be the long-term plan for Alvarez.
Rothstein: Avni Yildirim spent more time waiting in the ring for Alvarez to get there during walkouts than he did actually fighting Alvarez. This fight was not a real contest at all — and that’s part of the issue for Alvarez right now. He is the star of the sport yet doesn’t have many options in terms of legit opponents to fight.
The alphabet organizations can continue to throw challengers at him, but it doesn’t seem like there are going to be many opponents who will be game competition. Yildirim should not have been in that ring. Is Saunders a guy who can really give Alvarez a run for his belts? Or is May 8 going to feature another coronation? Because let’s be real, the prefight mini concert with J Balvin was more interesting than any action we saw in the ring Saturday night.
Baby: I really don’t think Saunders will offer much competition. Saunders can do a few things well, but his undefeated record doesn’t have any truly terrific wins. Yes, he has beat Willie Monroe Jr., David Lemieux and Chris Eubank Jr. at middleweight, but none of those fighters is anywhere close to being elite.
Also, Saunders doesn’t have a ton of power. He couldn’t knock out Martin Murray in a fight Saunders dominated in December. And of his 30 victories, Saunders has only 14 knockouts. That doesn’t bode well when facing Alvarez, who took all of Gennadiy Golovkin’s punches as well as any of his opponents have in their epic two-fight series.
There’s only one guy who might be able to push Alvarez: WBC middleweight titleholder Jermall Charlo. And that would have the potential to be a super fight.
Rothstein: Charlo would be intriguing, and it’s a good idea; although because it would be cross-promotional, who knows if or when that fight would get made. However, that might be one of the advantages of Alvarez being out on his own in terms of promotion.
But how did Saturday night’s fight even happen? Yildirim was a mandatory challenger, and it wasn’t much of a challenge at all. How often do we see this nowadays — mandatory challengers essentially being in keep-busy fights to delay the inevitable? For Alvarez, it delayed unification against…
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