Canelo Alvarez is one of the top draws in boxing, both at the box office and the pay-per-view market. His Saturday night bout will be significant, in the respect that it will take place in front of fans. And he is moving forward in his relationship with DAZN, with whom he signed a major contract that was the subject of a lawsuit.
And BetOnline just so happens to be one of the sponsors of this bout, which will take place somewhere around 11 PM ET. The card begins at 8 PM ET, and you can bet on most of the fights in the sportsbook, and that means something as well, because they are offering a special where you can double your money if a fighter you bet on scores a knockout where the opponent falls on the logo on the ring canvas (details at the tail end of this piece).
Canelo is 54-1-2, with his only loss coming at the hands of Floyd Mayweather. That was before he started his move upward, as he went from welterweight to junior middleweight, middleweight and even light heavyweight. He currently holds the WBC and WBA championships at 168.
And rather than engage with Gennady Golovkin a third time, which was something DAZN wanted him to do, he is primarily interested in grabbing all the belts at 168 pounds. This would mandate that he defeat Billy Joe Saunders (WBO) and Caleb Plant (IBF) after this, and neither of those guys is a soft touch.
Avni Yildirim of Istanbul, coming into this fight with a record of 21-2, is no cupcake himself, but it's possible the fact that he is "game" will work against him here. And we're going to explain that.
Here are the boxing odds we are working with, as they are posted at BetOnline:
Canelo Alvarez -5000
Avni Yildirim +1600
Over 4.5 Rounds -120
Under 4.5 Rounds -110
As I am looking at Yildirim, I am seeing someone who doesn't exactly present a puzzle for Canelo. He is coming straight ahead at his opponent, and is not all that interested in moving around and jabbing. In other words, he's not a "cutie."
And he stands a lot in front of people and lets them punch. This is what he did against Chris Eubank Jr., who eventually got through and knocked him out relatively early. What he wants to do is get inside and get into exchanges in the hope that he will win that exchange. Well, against Canelo he's not going to win that many exchanges. Rather, he is going to get nailed by a guy who doesn't have to look too far to find him. Alvarez will not have to worry too much about closing the distance because this guy doesn't want to have any distance.
In fact, Canelo will likely be the guy moving, in subtle ways, to give himself some punching room, and he'll be smart about it. The point is that whichever way he decides to go about things, he is the one who is more likely to land clean punches. And clean punches can knock this guy out.
So, inasmuch as we aren't going to lay 50-1 on him, the question before us is whether Yildirim will make it to a point that is midway through the fifth round (that's 4.5).
And the opinion here is that Alvarez can get that job done. I would doubt that he'd want to play around with his man, who could be dangerous if he leads with his head. What you have to keep in mind is that when Yildirim fought a very capable guy in Anthony Dirrell, he was allowed to stay in the fight and eventually Dirrell got a cut around his eye and the doctor had to stop it. The commission went to the judges' scorecards, which awarded the fight to Dirrell. But if they hadn't detected an accidental butt, that could have been a TKO in Yildirim's favor. So why take a chance?
The style of Yildirim is such that it doesn't lend itself much to "survival," even as we acknowledge that he is the guy who is more "natural" at the weight. He's strong, but he won't last long.
Our pick: UNDER 4.5 ROUNDS -110
Remember that there is another big promotion for this fight card, which will be shown on DAZN. The "Knockout Special" involves the BetOnline logo, which will be seen on the ring canvas. If and when a fighter gets knocked out on that logo, you'll get paid double on your bet, up to $100. You'll have to have a $5 minimum wager, and of course the winning fighter, but it is available for every fight that is shown on the card.
Oh, and don't ever forget that Odds Booster offers you explosive payouts on pre-selected parlays, every day of the week!