Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs), the name that sprouted from Canelo Alvarez's mouth as a future opponent - a scenario that made many observers put their hands over their heads.
However, Jose Perez was not one of them.
The Cuban businessman has been monitoring the Turkish boxer's options and glimpsed the possibility of a fight against Canelo, who even mentioned the possibility of doing that fight in early 2021 in Mexico.
Perez, who has long been one of the managers of Yildirim since the days of Arena Boxing with partner Ahmet Oner, hopes the showdown with the Mexican superstar will move forward.
This past Saturday night, Canelo dominated unbeaten Callum Smith at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas/
The victory gave Canelo the WBC, WBA super middleweight titles.
As part of a pre-fight agreement with the WBC, the winner of that fight would be required to make a mandatory defense against Yildirim.
"We knew that if he won, he had to fight Avni. Either he'd fight him or he'd hand over the title. They know each other, they know who Avni is, because they spent several months in a training camp. Canelo is a very honest person who keeps his word, and he always said that he would fight Avni after this fight if he won,'' Perez told George Ebro.
"The one who was required by the World Boxing Council [to fight for the WBC title] was Avni, but Eddie Hearn's people spoke to us to allow Canelo to confront Smith [for the vacant WBC belt]. We didn't see any problem with that. Sometimes in boxing you have to step aside and wait for your turn, but this fight [for the WBC title] will happen 150 percent.
"This is Canelo's strategy. Canelo is very smart. He knew he was going to beat Smith and that he's going to take the fight against Avni because he knows he's going to take things another level, better than he did against Smith. Avni's going to give him a better fight, because he's a fighter. Avni's not going to box you for twelve rounds, he's going to rip your head off. That raises the level of the fight.
"This is going to be a very interesting fight. They've been sparring each other for a long time. Canelo loved sparring with him, because he gave him a war, no truce or barracks, and they were doing that for about four months. And Canelo told him that one day he was going to give him a chance to fight him. The favorite in the fight is Canelo, but in boxing both men come with two legs and two arms. Boxing is unpredictable.
Perez was not pleased with Smith's performance with Canelo. He expects Yildirim to make a much better fight.
"I didn't like it, but I think [David] Benavidez would look the same, Caleb Plant might do better. The only one who can beat him is Avni. I don't see anyone else. Canelo needs someone to put pressure on him. You're not going to beat him by just boxing. Canelo is the typical Mexican warrior. I'm not saying we're going to win or lose, but we're going to put in a dignified performance. I don't want them to say that the fight was bought or that the opponent looked bad," Perez said.
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