Canelo Alvarez recently was granted a promotional license, and although Eddie Hearn is doing the heavy lifting as the promoter Saturday night, the Mexican-born star still has to pump up his underqualified adversary in Avni Yildirim to make sure the public doesn’t believe he’s fighting a pushover.

The Turkish fighter is a 50-to-1 underdog who lucked into a potential career-making fight by patiently sitting on his status as a mandatory challenger for the WBC super middleweight title, a vacant crown Alvarez picked up in his most recent fight against Callum Smith.

After competing only one time from November 2019 to December 2020, Alvarez is now looking to make up for lost time, and purses. The always matched tough Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) will seemingly be stepping into a sure gimme against the unheralded Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs). 

“He’s a strong fighter. He’s fierce. He’s always there, pressuring. At any moment, he’s dangerous,” Alvarez told

Alvarez is familiar with Yildirim. He brought him in as his sparring partner to prepare for the 2018 rematch with Gennady Golovkin.

Alvarez said Yildirim’s strongest skill is his “physical strength,” and he’s curious to see what has changed since the fighter’s union with trainer Joel Diaz.

“Joel Diaz is a great trainer. He surely is going to give Yildirim everything he has to beat me. That’s everyone’s goal,” said Alvarez. “But I too have my weapons and my way of fighting. When I get in the ring, I want to get rid of them.”

Alvarez will be fighting for the second time in 70 days. He also plans on fighting in May and September around his typical dates of Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day if he successfully gets past Yildirim without any ailments.

If all goes well, he has his sights set on a December fight as well in his quest to become the first undisputed Mexican super middleweight champion in boxing history.

“The truth is that I like being active. If it were up to me, I’d fight as many times as I could during the year,” said Alvarez.

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at] or on