By: Hans Themistode
If you were to ask around, it’s as though Canelo Alvarez is facing someone who is stepping into the ring for the first time in their life. Oddsmakers, fans and media personnel have essentially given mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim no chance of winning when the two face off at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Florida this Saturday night.
While Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) appreciates all of the support, he is paying little to no attention to it. With major upsets spread across boxing history, the Mexican star shows no interest in adding his name next to the likes of Mike Tyson and Anthony Joshua when they slipped up as huge favorites against James “Buster” Douglas and Andy Ruiz Jr. in 1990 and 2019 respectively.
To avoid the sort of upset that would make him place his head down in shame, Alvarez is viewing Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) as the exact opposite of how most analyze him.
“Avni Yildirim is a great fighter,” said Alvarez during a recent interview with IFL TV. “He’s very strong and comes forward so we have to be very alert. I’m not overconfident, I prepared very well. I don’t underestimate any opponent so I’m here and very prepared.”
Yildirim’s long-shot odds are due to various reasons. For starters, the Turkish native simply hasn’t been in the ring often. It’s been two years since he was seen walking through the ropes and roughly two and a half since he’s picked up a win.
At no point has Yildirim ever shown the ability to compete at an elite level, case in point would be his 2017 third round stoppage loss against Chris Eubank Jr. in 2017.
Alvarez, by and large, is viewed as the best fighter in the world. In his last ring appearance, which came just a few months ago at the end of 2020 against Callum Smith, was about as one-sided a championship match as you’ll see. Despite Smith being highly rated and holding onto both the WBA and Ring magazine super middleweight titles, Alvarez had little trouble handling him.
With the numerous world titles draped around the shoulders of Alvarez, along with global recognition as the best fighter in the world, it comes as no surprise that just about everyone expects him to take care of business this Saturday night.
Yet, even with most of the public overlooking Yildirim, Alvarez continues to preach that he is taking him seriously. With that being said, when asked if he can knockout his man come fight night, the pound-for-pound star flashed a bright smile before giving his answer.
“Yes, absolutely I can do it.”