Two-weight world champion turned boxing analyst Timothy Bradley is not predicting a fight for the ages on Saturday when unified super-middleweight king Canelo Alvarez defends his crowns against WBC mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim in Miami. Like most observers, Bradley believes there is a huge chasm in ability between the duo and that Yildirim doesn’t possess the slick boxing style to disrupt Canelo’s steady but brutal rhythm.
Turkish contender Yildirim isn’t expected to cause pound-for-pound No.1 Canelo too many problems given his straightforward brand of pressure fighting and past history that includes a crushing three-round KO loss to Chris Eubank Jr. in October 2017.
Yet Bradley feels the activity is good for WBA ‘Super’ and WBC champion Canelo ahead of a projected May 8 unification with WBO title holder Billy Joe Saunders who is far more likely, style and ability wise, to present issues.
“Yildirim isn’t a guy who has really good feet, and I think the type of fighter that’s eventually going to give Canelo problems down the line is going to have really good legs and some power. They’ll have to have a high in-ring IQ – just as high, if not higher, than Canelo – in order to contain him,” Bradley told ESPN.com
“That seems to be getting more difficult by the fight. Canelo has evolved. Wherever he’s had weaknesses, he’s worked on it and made it a point to focus on making them stronger. Canelo is an all-around fighter. When you step into a boxing ring professionally, you have to be able to evolve over time. Over seven years of his career, you have to be able to change it up, and evolve or add to your skill set in the ring. Yildirim doesn’t really seem to have done much of that. He is who he is, and he fights the way that he fights.
“He’s a come-forward fighter who tries to be responsible defensively by keeping his hands high and protecting himself. He’s very selective with his punches. Yildirim will have a few moments in the fight by applying pressure, but Canelo is just light years ahead of him in terms of class and skills.
“Yildirim is a huge underdog for a reason, even as the mandatory challenger to Canelo’s WBC belt. But for a few different reasons, it’s a fight that had to be done. It allows Canelo to stay busy, and it allows him to take the Billy Joe Saunders fight later this year. I’m good with Canelo fighting more often, and every fight can’t be a superfight. Canelo’s going to go in there and handle his business, and I don’t think this fight goes beyond seven rounds.”