MIAMI – If Canelo Alvarez could’ve chosen a location without worrying if it were financially feasible, he would’ve fought Avni Yildirim in Alvarez’s hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico.
That was the Mexican icon’s plan after he defeated England’s Callum Smith to win the WBA and WBC super middleweight titles December 19 at Alamodome in San Antonio. Alvarez’s team and promoter Eddie Hearn ultimately determined that COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Mexican government wouldn’t have allowed nearly enough fans to attend a fight there to make the event an economic success.
Houston was Plan B, until Alvarez and Hearn agreed to test out the Miami market. A sellout crowd of 15,000, the most Florida officials would allow, is expected to attend the Alvarez-Yildirim card Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium in nearby Miami Gardens (DAZN; 7 p.m. EST).
The 30-year-old Alvarez is looking forward to performing at a new venue, but he emphasized during an interview with BoxingScene.com that he wants to fight in Mexico again.
“Surely in the future, we will be there,” Alvarez said of fighting in Mexico. “For me to return to Mexico and put on a big show for my people is super important.”
The four-division champion hasn’t fought in his home country in nearly 10 years. His last fight in Mexico occurred in November 2011, when he stopped Kermit Cintron in the fifth round of their junior middleweight match in Mexico City.
Twelve of his 17 fights since he beat Cintron have taken place in Las Vegas. Each of those 17 bouts has been held in the United States, where more ticket revenue is generated than in Mexico.
If the heavily favored Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) defeats Turkey’s Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) in their 12-round, 168-pound championship bout, the WBA/WBC super middleweight champion is expected to make another quick turnaround for a fight against WBO champ Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs). That title unification fight will take place either at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, the home of the NFL’s Raiders, or the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Hearn hopes to help Alvarez fight in Mexico again, but his new promoter acknowledged that it isn’t likely to happen soon.
“We couldn’t get fans in there to the number that would make it work [financially],” Hearn said of bringing the Alvarez-Yildirim fight to Guadalajara. “But Canelo wants to fight in Mexico. I want him to do it. … He makes it obvious that’s a dream of his. But he also understands that it’s not that easy to generate the gate there and everything else. But I think this kind of fight would’ve been perfect to do there. The bigger fights – Saunders, [Caleb] Plant – generally have to take place where you can generate the money.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.