The first defense of the WBC, WBA, and Ring Magazine super middleweight titles for Canelo Alvarez ended up being an easy night of work.
Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs) battered Anvi Yildirim over the course of three rounds which included a knockdown in the third round before Yildirim’s trainer Joel Diaz told the referee that he would not send out his fighter for the start of the 4th. It was Canelo’s fastest outing since 2018 when he defeated Rocky Fielding inside three rounds at Madison Square Garden. The 37th knockout win of Canelo’s career ends up being the second stoppage loss of Yildirim’s career as he lost to Chris Eubank Jr. inside three rounds in 2017. Yilidim’s record is now 21-3.
Canelo came in as a significant favorite against the WBC mandatory challenger, and that was evident in the first round. Canelo opened with stiff jabs and mixed in left hooks to the body while Yildirim stood there with his high guard. Yildirim threw a couple jabs after the halfway point of the round which did not land on Canelo. Yildirim made an attempt to move forward before throwing punches on the inside but failed as Canelo landed a shot to the body before moving out of range. The speed of Canelo got to Yildirim early and often as Canelo was able to throw combinations and move away before Yildirim attempted a punch.
The next round was where Canelo expanded his offensive attack as he mixed in the uppercut to get through the guard of Yildirim. A two punch combination landed, and then Canelo feinted the right hand to open up an area for the left uppercut to land early in the second round. Left hooks to the body and to the head of Yildirim followed, then a left uppercut scored again. That punch continued to land for the majority of that round which alongside the hooks to the body were breaking down Yildirim. Most of the punches that were attempted by Yildirim were blocked or he missed completely while it did not seem like Canelo could miss his target.
Canelo continued to land to the body in the third round, and then a right hook followed by a left-right combination put Yildirim to the canvas at the 2 minute mark of the round. Yildirim got up quickly while referee Telis Assimenios counted to eight, but when the action resumed Canelo was on the attack. Multiple power shots by Canelo landed before Yildirim answered with a left hook. Over the next minute and a half Canelo threw left hooks to the body, a left uppercut, and right hands inside before the end of the round. At the intermission between rounds, Joel Diaz told Yildirim that if he doesn’t show anything in the fourth round that he would stop the fight. It didn’t even get to that point.
It was all business for Canelo after the fight, as he showed his confidence in himself and what he does in the ring. “It doesn’t matter if the opponent is taller, if they have more reach, or if they have a good trainer,” Canelo said through an interpreter. “I come here to do my job, I come to win, and I come to make history.”
That history that Canelo refers to is part of his legacy as a fighter. The four division champion aims to be the undisputed champion at super middleweight, something that no fighter has ever done. He feels that he is good at the weight class and that he could do great things at 168.
“I feel strong, I feel fast, I feel comfortable,” he said. “This fight (against Yildirim) was one of my best performances.”
Many have compared him to the best fighters out of Mexico, and that he could end his career as being the best Mexican fighter of all time. As of right now, Canelo is focused on becoming the best at 168 and making history the way he wants to.
“I don’t want to be equal to anyone or be like them. I want to make my own history…when they talk about boxing, they talk about Canelo.”
Cover photo by Ed Mulholland of Matchroom Boxing