The top pound-for-pound fighter in the world returns to the ring on Saturday night in Miami when Saul “Canelo” Alvarez defends his WBC and WBA super middleweight world titles against mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim. The fight is the first of Alvarez’s 2021 schedule and stands in the way of more compelling matchups later in the calendar year.
Alvarez is riding a 13-fight unbeaten streak since his lone career defeat, a 2013 decision loss to Floyd Mayweather. In his career, he has won championships at junior middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight, and light heavyweight. Looking ahead, Alvarez already plans to fight WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders in May before fighting twice more in the year, with hopes of facing IBF champion Caleb Plant to unify all four 168-pound world titles.
Where’s it taking place?
Originally Alavarez’s homeland of Guadalajara was considered as the venue for the fight, but once again Mexico lost out in staging a Canel fight. Due to the corona pandemic (Mexico’s death rate is among the highest in the world), the fight against Yildirim is taking place in the USA. The clash will take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
What is DAZN?
DAZN is a streaming service that has earned the reputation of being the ‘Netflix of Sports’ since it was launched in August 2016 with more than 8,000 live events per year. Since December 2020, you can now subscribe to DAZN from anywhere in the world.
Membership is free for the first month, after the trial month DAZN costs just £1.99 per month!
Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) fought on Dec. 19, domianting Callum Smith to win via unanimous decision and claim the WBA and WBC belts to become a four-division world champion. The 30-year-old wants to be more active in 2021 after only fighting one time in 2020. Yildirim is the WBC mandatory challenger, and Alvarez wants to get him out of the way, so he can have a clear path to become the undisputed champion at 168 pounds.
“Avni Yildirim is a good boxer, and I know we will put on an exciting fight,” Canelo said in a press release. “I’m very glad that we are able to bring this event to Miami, a short distance from where my hero, Muhammad Ali, trained. February 27 will be a great night for the sport.”
Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) returns to action for the first time since losing to Anthony Dirrell via technical decision in a vacant WBC super middleweight fight back in February 2019. Dirrell suffered a cut due to an accidental headbutt in the 10th round, and the bout was stopped. It went to the judges, who declared Dirrell the winner on two of the three scorecards.
He’s challenged for a world title once before, succumbing to the power of Angel Acosta in just four minutes back in 2018.
While obviously a less appealing opponent than Martinez, he’s about the best you could expect on two days’ notice, and it gets Arroyo (20-4, 15 KO) back in the ring for the first time in 14 months. I’ll take it.