Canelo Alvarez Beats Avni Yildirim via 3rd-Round TKO to Retain Titles

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 28, 2021

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 file photo, Canelo Alvarez celebrates after defeating Sergey Kovalev by knockout in a light heavyweight WBO title bout, in Las Vegas. Alvarez will return to the ring in a world super-middleweight title fight against Britain's Callum Smith on Dec. 19, the boxers announced early Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
John Locher/Associated Press

Canelo Alvarez defended his WBA (Super), WBC and The Ring super middleweight titles with a victory over Avni Yildirim on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Alvarez dominated the fight and took complete control in the third round, delivering some brutal body punches before knocking Yildirim down with a right hand following a setup jab.

Yildirim survived the third round, but his corner threw in the towel before the fourth got underway.

It was a relatively easy fight for Alvarez, and boxing writer Dan Rafael offered his take.

Mike Coppinger of The Athletic called it a "one-sided beating" through two rounds before Round 3 even got underway.

Yildirim was the mandatory WBC challenger for Alvarez, who will now look forward to unifying all the super middleweight belts.

Alvarez has a fight lined up with WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders on May 8 and a bout with IBF champion Caleb Plant will go down sometime in fall 2021, per ESPN's Cameron Wolfe.

The 30-year-old entered Saturday with a 54-1-2 record, with his only loss coming against retired and undefeated former world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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His draws occurred against Jorge Juarez and Gennady Golovkin, and he avenged the latter with a majority-decision win over the man known as Triple G in a rematch.

Thirty-six of his wins had come by way of knockout, and he entered Saturday on a 13-fight undefeated streak.

Alvarez has won boxing titles in four weight classes: light middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight. His latest super middleweight honors came after defeating Callum Smith last December via unanimous decision.

Alvarez had previously won the WBO light heavyweight title after beating Sergey Kovalev via 11th-round knockout in November 2019 but relinquished the title to move back down to super middleweight. His next fight was against Smith.

BoxRec ranks him as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

The 29-year-old Yildirim was 21-2 lifetime with 12 wins by way of knockout entering Saturday.

His last fight ended with some controversy, as he fell to Anthony Dirrell via technical split decision in February 2019.

Dirrell suffered a cut over his eye due to an accidental seventh-round headbutt that got so bad the fight was stopped following 10 rounds. It then went to the judges, and the scorecards varied considerably. One had it 98-92 for Yildirim, while the other two posted 96-94 results. With that, Dirrell won the vacant WBC super middleweight title.

Yildirim has fought at the super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions during his career. The Turkish fighter won his first 16 bouts before falling to Chris Eubank Jr. by third-round knockout. He then won five straight fights before the loss to Dirrell two years ago.