The scenario of Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez making his ring return in Mexico is now looking very unlikely, according to ESPN Deportes.
Last month, Canelo captured the WBC, WBA super middleweight titles with a dominant twelve round unanimous decision over unbeaten Callum Smith at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Canelo had planned to make a mandatory defense of his newly acquired titles against Avni Yildirim on a target date of February 27th .
The Mexican star was hoping to make that mandatory defense in his hometown of Guadalajara.
But due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, a large live audience would not be possible by the February date.
Canelo's manager and trainer, Eddy Reynoso, had previously made it clear that a ring return in Mexico was dependent on a live audience being present.
Canelo has not fought in Mexico since 2011, the year in which he did it twice as the junior middleweight champion of the World Boxing Council - first defeating British boxer Ryan Rhodes in his first defense at the VFG Arena in Jalisco in June and then with his third defense over former champion Kermit Cintrón in the month of November at the Monumental Plaza de Toros.
The more likely scenario is Canelo staging the Yildirim defense in Texas or another location where the COVID cases are not surging and a live audience will be permitted.
In the next few days, Canelo should be making some sort of announcement regarding his future - as he aims to fight in February, May and September.
Yildirim has been the WBC's mandatory challenger since last year. In fact, he allowed Canelo to challenge Smith for the vacant WBC title - but they had to compensate Yildirm and agree with the WBC that the winner will face him within 90-days time.