By: Hans Themistode
There’s been an incredulous look on the face of manager Ahmet Oner for roughly two months now. The moment his fighter in Avni Yildirim was tabbed as the next opponent for Canelo Alvarez, oddsmakers have essentially given him no shot at winning their contest which will take place this Saturday night at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.
With Alvarez listed as a -5000 favorite, in order to win $100 on the pound for pound star, a bettor would have to risk $5,000. If that same bettor decided to switch sides and place his $100 on Yildirim, he would be rewarded with roughly $2,500.
In the opinion of Oner, how in the world could this be possible when just a few years ago, Alvarez was viewed as the underdog in back to back contests against a fighter he believes Yildirim compares favorably to in Gennadiy Golovkin.
“He’s similar in size to Golovkin, there’s not much difference,” said Oner during an interview with IFL TV. “He’s brave like Golovkin. Both can go forward, both have the jab and both are not afraid.”
Alvarez, of course, fought Golovkin on two separate occasions. In their most recent meeting, the Mexican product was handed a close majority decision win. One year prior to that however, most of the boxing world was under the impression that Alvarez was both outworked and outboxed in their first contest. Yet, their showdown was ruled a split decision draw.
Like most of the public, Oner believes that Golovkin should have been given the decision.
“I saw him against Golovkin, the first fight in my opinion he lost.”
At first glance, few if any would agree that Yildirim is a facsimile of Golovkin. Regardless of those thoughts, team Alvarez and his promotional outfit at the time in Golden Boy Promotions, hand-picked Yildirim to be a sparring partner to Alvarez in preparation for his first contest against Golovkin. And while he was unable to assist Alvarez for their second matchup, Oner reveals that Golden Boy Promotions were on their hands and knees imploring them to come back.
“They used Avni as a sparring partner for the Golovkin fight. That tells you that not only I think Yildirim has the style of Golovkin but also his matchmakers, coaches and promoters at the time. For the last Golovkin fight, Golden Boy at that time begged me to send Avni saying we need him but I told them we couldn’t because we had a title eliminator against Lolenga Mock. Here is a guy who has a similar style to Golovkin.”
Regardless of what Oner has been preaching, bookies simply aren’t buying it as they still consider Yildirim a long shot. At this point, Oner won’t fulminate with anyone. Instead, he’ll gladly sit back and allow the public to place a large amount of pressure on Alvarez and ultimately watch him crumble underneath the weight of it.
“An underdog has less pressure in my opinion. The favored guy has more pressure because he has to prove that this guy is the underdog. Why would you favor a Turkish fighter? When have we ever had a Turkish world champion? Never.”