The Friday Faceup

Super-middleweight king ‘Canelo’ Alvarez

Canelo returns

The biggest name in boxing returns this weekend when Mexico’s Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez defends his recently gained WBA and WBC world super-middleweight (12st/168lbs) straps in Florida, USA.

After being out of the ring for only two months since defeating Britain’s Callum Smith, the 30 year old Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KO’s) will make a swift first defence of his titles against Turkey’s Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12 KO’s).

Such a rapid return to the ring is unheard of in recent times, certainly in the pandemic era, and Alvarez should be applauded for this. However, in so doing he has ‘cherry picked’ an opponent who on recent form and activity doesn’t deserve the opportunity.

Yildirim from Istanbul lost his last outing a mere two years ago to Anthony Dirrell and has not fought since. Yet, was installed and retained the WBC’s mandatory contender status due to the fight being lost on technical split decision from an accidental head clash and bad cut ending it prematurely. Yildirim now faces a champion who is at the top of his game, has won three times over that period and, is on his relentless path to greatness.

All of the signs point to a convincing Alvarez win, probably by knockout, but this is the boxing business and recent months have shown the impact of no fans and unusual conditions. The odds though are heavily stacked in the Mexican’s favour.

It would be the upset of the year, and probably millennium so far, if Yildirim were to win. This is a man who was KO’d in three rounds by Chris Eubank Jr in 2017 and four years down the line meets the best in the business. Yildirim is rugged and comes to fight and for as long as it lasts will make the fight interesting, benefiting from having sparred with the Mexican in the past, but will soon face his ‘El Dorado’. Look for a spectacular Alvarez victory within five rounds.

The event is promoted by Matchroom and main bouts will be televised on the DAZN streaming platform in the early hours of Sunday morning (UK time).

British super-featherweight title up for grabs

The British 9st 4lb (130lbs) title will be contested on Saturday in London on a Queensberry Promotions show. Northern Ireland’s Anthony Cacace will make his first defence against Leicester’s Lyon Woodstock.

Cacace with an excellent 18-1 record will meet a man five years younger who has a 12-2 record. It should be an excellent contest and in many ways is a crossroads fight. The victor will push onto European and fringe world ranking, and loser have to pick up the pieces. This will be much easier for Woodstock given his age and look for the hard punching Cacace to prevail. For the Irishman it’s now or never and that should be the difference.

The card will be televised live on BT Sport on Saturday.

New date for Herring-Frampton

The much anticipated Jamel Herring v Carl Frampton fight has been re-scheduled for April 3 in Dubai. The ex-US Marine Herring (22-2, 10 KO’s) will defend his WBO world super-featherweight title for the third time against Northern Ireland’s Frampton (28-2, 16 KO’s).

The Ulsterman will be attempting to win a ‘world’ title in a third weight class having previously held super-bantamweight and featherweight titles. If successful, this would secure his legacy as the most decorated Irish boxer in modern history, having also been The Ring magazine 2016 fighter of the year. Watch for further updates on this and have a great fight weekend.

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