From the opening bell, Canelo Alvarez appeared destined for a knockout victory against mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim. Alvarez didn’t have to wait long for that.
Yildirim’s corner threw in the towel at the end of the third round, as Alvarez picked up a TKO victory and retained his WBC and WBA super middleweight belts Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
With the win, Alvarez’s unification bout with WBO titleholder Billy Joe Saunders is officially on. Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn said afterward that the fight is set for May 8. The site has yet to be determined.
Alvarez (55-1-2) was the lone fighter in the ring pressing the action in the first three rounds. Early in the fight, Alvarez threw looping hooks around Yildirim’s high guard and pelted the Turkish fighter’s body.
And even in a fight against someone of Yildirim’s caliber, Alvarez displayed the ring acumen that cemented his status one of boxing’s top pound-for-pound fighters. Instead of a hook, Alvarez floored Yildirim with a straight right hand with more than two minutes to go in the third round.
Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs) survived the round, and even while he sat in his corner before the fourth round, he appeared to be game for at least three more minutes. However, one of the members of his training team came up to the apron and asked for the fight to be stopped.
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