MIAMI – Canelo Alvarez and Avni Yildirim came in at exactly the same weight Friday afternoon at the JW Marriott.
Other than that, they are viewed entirely differently entering their 12-round, 168-pound title fight Saturday night at nearby Hard Rock Stadium. Alvarez, arguably the best boxer, pound-for-pound, in the sport, is consistently listed as a 50-1 favorite to beat Yildirim in a mandated defense of his WBC super middleweight title.
The Mexican superstar agreed to fight Yildirim as part of an agreement with the WBC before the Mexico City-based sanctioning organization approved his bout with Callum Smith as a title fight.
Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs), of Guadalajara, Mexico, stepped on the Florida State Boxing Commission’s scale at 167.6 pounds. Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs), of Istanbul, Turkey, officially weighed 167.6 pounds as well.
Alvarez, 30, and Yildrim, 29, will fight for the WBC 168-pound crown Alvarez won by beating the previously undefeated Smith by unanimous decision in their 12-rounder December 19 at Alamodome in San Antonio. Alvarez also won the WBA super middleweight title from England’s Smith (27-1, 19 KOs).
Yildirim will fight for the first time since losing a technical decision to Anthony Dirrell in February 2019 at The Armory in Minneapolis. That fight for the then-vacant WBC super middleweight crown ended after the 10th round due to a cut over Dirrell’s left eye caused by an accidental head-butt.
Yildirim led on one scorecard (98-92), but he trailed by the same score, 96-94, on the other two cards when their 12-rounder ended two rounds early. He has long been the WBC’s mandatory challenger for its super middleweight title.
Earlier Friday, McWilliams Arroyo made weight for his 112-pound title fight Saturday night. Puerto Rico’s Arroyo (20-4, 15 KOs) will meet Mexico’s Abraham Rodriguez (27-2, 13 KOs), an 11th-hour replacement for WBC flyweight champ Julio Cesar Martinez.
Mexico Martinez (17-1, 13 KOs, 1 NC) withdrew from his fight against Arroyo on Thursday due to an injury to his right hand. Martinez withdrew from his mandated fight with Arroyo for the second time in seven months.
They first were scheduled to fight August 15 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Martinez pulled out of that bout late in July due to what Martinez described as a gastrointestinal issue.
Arroyo-Rodriguez has been sanctioned by the WBC as an interim flyweight title fight. Rodriguez will weigh in later Friday due to travel issues.
DAZN’s live coverage of the Alvarez-Yildirim card is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. EST.
The official weights for the remainder of the Alvarez-Yildirim undercard are listed below.
Zhilei Zhang (22-0, 17 KOs), Zhoukou, China, 256.2 pounds vs. Jerry Forrest (26-4, 20 KOs), Newport News, Virginia, 236 pounds, 10 rounds, heavyweights.
Diego Pacheco (10-0, 8 KOs), Los Angeles, 168 pounds vs. Rodolfo Gomez Jr. (14-4-1, 10 KOs), Laredo, Texas, 167 pounds, 8 rounds, super middleweights.
Keyshawn Davis (pro debut), Norfolk, Virginia, 136.6 pounds vs. Lester Brown (4-2-3, 1 KO), Nassau, Bahamas, 134.6 pounds, 4 rounds, junior welterweights.
Alexis Espino (6-0, 4 KOs), Las Vegas, 167.8 pounds vs. Ashton Sykes (5-3, 1 KO), Columbia, Maryland, 164.2 pounds, 6 rounds, super middleweights.
Aaron Aponte (1-0, 1 KO), Hialeah, Florida, 139.8 pounds vs. Harry Gigliotti (6-1, 3 KOs), Haverhill, Massachusetts, 139.2 pounds, 4 rounds, junior welterweights.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.