Canelo Alvarez Ordered to Fight Avni Yildirim for WBC Super Middleweight Title

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2020

Canelo Alvarez celebrates after defeating Sergey Kovalev by knockout in a light heavyweight WBO title bout, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, in Las Vegas (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

The WBC's board of governors voted 36-1 in favor of ordering Canelo Alvarez to fight Avni Yildirim the super middleweight title.

David Benavidez was forced to vacate the belt ahead of his matchup last Saturday with Roamer Alexis Angulo when he was 2.8 pounds over the 168-pound weight limit during the weigh-in.

Yildirim would've been the mandatory challenger for Benavidez if he had successfully defended the title. Now, Alvarez is getting the nod thanks in part to his status as the WBC's "franchise champion" at middleweight.

The organization handed him the honor in June 2019, which is reserved for a WBC world champion "who is also an elite boxer and who has achieved and maintains the highest of statures in the sport."

Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't be a very attractive fight for Alvarez.

Yildirim hasn't stepped in the ring since his defeat to Anthony Dirrell by technical decision in February 2019. The Turkey native is only three fights removed from a win over Jose Antonio Rodriguez Silvencia, who entered with a record of 3-31-3.

Alvarez needs to shake off some rust himself, though, having not fought since knocking out Sergey Kovalev last November. His proposed encounter with Billy Joe Saunders was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Saunders told The Athletic's Mike Coppinger he didn't want to commit to a September date.

Opposing Yildirim could be a bit of a tuneup for Canelo ahead of a bigger payday, with Gennady Golovkin the most obvious candidate.