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Turkey Shoot: Canelo Clobbers Yildirim

By Robert Ecksel on February 28, 2021


“I fight the best. I always fight the best and here I am.” (Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing)

Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida, WBC/WBA super middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs), the face of boxing from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, successfully defended his titles by punching Avni Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs), the defensive-minded underdog from Istanbul, Turkey, into an inevitable “no mas” after three one-sided rounds.


Fighting out of the blue corner in white trunks with pink trim, Canelo is every inch a fighting machine and got right to work at the opening bell. Targeting his opponent’s midsection, the superstar from south of the border kept his punches above the belt, their repeated thud a sonic accompaniment to the Turk’s shrinking chances of winning…


Yildirim, fighting out of the red corner in red trunks trimmed in white, must have had a game plan in mind going in. But whatever the game plan might have been, it was abandoned at the hard shot Canelo landed. Stationary, adopting a defensive posture, Yildirim threw an occasional jab and even fewer power punches. He landed a single punch in round one.


When Canelo’s uppercuts, thrown with both hands at an immobile target, began landing, the match devolved into a turkey shoot. Yildirim failed to mount an offense. He was defenseless, a vertitable sitting duck. But for the reported two and half mil he earned to fight Canelo, at least he could have faked it.


Canelo earned a reported $35 million. When asked after the fight how he felt, having barely worked up a sweat during the three one-sided rounds, Canelo said, “I feel strong. I feel fast. I feel comfortable. It was one of my best moments.”


There have been a lot “best moments” of late as Canelo continues to fight subpar opposition to fulfill what remains of his contractual DAZN obligations. Canelo has heard the criticism, it’s impossible to ignore, but he’s a cool customer and responded accordingly. “I fight the best,” he said, “I always fight the best and here I am.”


Canelo’s next fight will be against Billy Joe Saunders on May 8. Saunders, like Yildirim, is also not the best out at 168. But he’s a clever boxer-puncher who holds the WBO super middleweight belt. Hopefully he won’t stink up the joint like Saturday’s mandatory.

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