Mauricio Sulaiman: “Canelo Alvarez Requested To Fight Avni Yildirim”

Canelo Not WBC Requested Yildrim

Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (left) poses with Avni Yildirim
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (left) poses with Avni Yildirim

Canelo Requested Yildrim, Not The WBC

2020 has certainly not been a good year for WBA super world middleweight and regular WBA super middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KO’s). Firstly, he has yet to fight this year. Furthermore, his inability to find a suitable opponent for his famed Mexican Independence fight date has remained a complete disaster.

Many adversaries were suggested, but ultimately WBC #1 ranked super middleweight Avni “Mr. Robot” Yildirim (21-2, 12 KO’s) got the call. When the news broke, there was naturally a large amount of disappointment in the boxing world. While Yildirim is not completely unknown, he is next to being just that. The biggest fight on his resume was a loss to Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell (33-2-1, 24 KO’s). That bout took place on February 23, 2019.


Initially, it was believed that Yildirim was chosen by the WBC, who voted 36-1 to thrust the opponent onto Canelo. That was frustrating but understandable. Now however, it has been revealed that it was actually Team Alvarez, through head trainer Eddy Reynoso, who approached the WBC about securing Yildirim for his next assignment. And it was none other than WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman who supplied the confirmation of these events to the Athletic.

“(Alvarez) contacted the WBC and requested to fight Yildirim for the title and that is absolutely one of the privileges he has in having the ‘Franchise’ designation. The ‘Franchise’ tag puts the champion above every other fighter and it gives him the prerogative over any other fighter in the world to fight who he wants. I believe it will happen this year. We are beginning the process and will see where it goes.”


Most were not thrilled with any of the opponents that were being suggested for the Mexican superstar. Would-be foes such as Willie “El Mongoose” Monroe Jr (24-3, 6 KO’s), WBA super world super middleweight champion Callum “Mundo” Smith (27-0, 19 KO’s) and WBO world super middleweight champion “Superb” Billy Joe Saunders (29-0, 14 KO’s), along with a few more, were all looked at. Yet, for a multitude of reasons, none of those bouts came to fruition.

Now that it’s been verified that Yildirim was the one requested by Alvarez, countless boxing fans are wondering why not choose one of the champions? When Alvarez and Yildirim do mix it up, they will do so with the vacant WBC super middleweight title on the line. The belt became available after David “Red Flag” Benavidez (23-0, 20 KO’s) could not make weight in his bout against Roamer Angulo (26-2, 22 KO’s). Since Benavidez won, but could not claim the title, it became vacant. Provided that Alvarez defeats Yildirim, would Benavidez be the next in line to face Canelo?


Benavidez previously lost the title in 2017 after providing a failed drug sample following his bout with Ronald Gavril (19-3, 15 KO’s). Once he served his suspension and fought a single fight against J’Leon Love (24-3-1, 13 KO’s), Red Flag was quickly granted a shot at the then-champion Anthony Dirrell. So, following this logic, would Benavidez get the extremely coveted shot at Canelo?

If so, then the Yildirim prizefight is just a necessary evil to get to a much more attractive fight later. Admittedly though, there are a lot of ‘if’s’ in that scenario! Guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out!

“There was no way the WBC could put aside Avni Yildirim again. He absolutely deserves to be in this position. Yildirim was in a very competitive fight for the title against Dirrell, who won by the cut. We ruled it an inconclusive result. Yildirim put in a complaint. So the WBC ordered an indirect rematch for the winner of Benavidez-Dirrell.

“If people don’t follow that timeline, it is hard to understand. However, we have absolutely followed the course and reviewed it at (last week’s WBC) convention, voting on it two days ago … if a fan goes only by a fighter’s popularity, it is difficult to see the full picture we considered.”

By: Bakari Simpson

Featured Article: Shawn Porter: “I Know A Lot About Sebastian Formella”

About Bakari S.2979 Articles
Bakari is a Senior Writer for Visit to view more of his literary work.