By: Hans Themistode
After spending most of 2020 without much direction, it appears Canelo Alvarez is already mapping out his 2021 campaign.
According to sources close to the situation, trainer/manager of Alvarez in Eddy Reynoso, along with promoter Eddie Hearn, are working behind the scenes on a two-fight deal. The likely opponents would be WBC mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim in late February in Guadalajara Mexico, the hometown of Alvarez. Should he win, he would then face WBO super middleweight belt holder Billy Joe Saunders.
If a deal is agreed upon, that would leave Alvarez with the opportunity to fight three times in 2021 after only stepping into the ring once in 2020.
For Alvarez, most of his year was embroiled in a messy legal battle with former promoter Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions as well as streaming company DAZN. After taking both parties to court, Alvarez was released from his Golden Boy contract. His then record-setting 365 million 11 fight deal with DAZN was also null and void.
Still, even with acrimony building, Alvarez returned to the streaming outlet in his next contest, a one-sided beating against former WBA/Ring magazine super middleweight champion Callum Smith. With team Alvarez bullish on their relationship with Hearn and ecstatic with how production took place behind the scenes with DAZN, team Alvarez is exploring ways to continue their relationship.
If the 29-year-old Yildirim is chosen to face Alvarez, it will have been two years since he was last seen inside of the ring. In February of 2019, Yildirim came up just short in his first bid to win a world title against Anthony Dirrell. After suffering a cut above his left eye in the seventh due to a clash of heads, Dirrell was deemed unable to continue in the tenth as blood spewed profusely. Unfortunately for Yildirim, he was given the short end of the stick as he was handed the second defeat of his career via split decision.
Despite the loss and two failed drug tests immediately after, Yildirim’s standing in the WBC was unchanged as he currently holds the second spot in the sanctioning body.
Yildirim will undoubtedly be the prohibited underdog against the pound-for-pound star. Should Alvarez do what many are expecting, WBO belt holder Billy Joe Saunders will also walk into a contest against Alvarez with the oddsmakers against him.
Before reports of Saunders entering the Canelo Alvarez sweepstakes, the British native appeared to be eyeing a showdown with middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade. That of course, will take a backseat should team Alvarez agree to terms with Hearn.
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