Another weekend in boxing is over and dusted off, with Canelo Alvarez returning for a predictably simple victory over Avni Yildirim in the headline fight.
So what happens now with Canelo, Joseph Parker and the rest?
Canelo Alvarez placeholder image
We usually have to guess, even if the guesses are sound, even if we “know” what will come next for someone.
Not this time. We to know What’s next for Canelo (55-1-2, 37 KO), as it was officially announced that the WBC and WBA super middleweight champion will team up against WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders, on May 8 at DAZN? There is even a trailer!
As we’ve already discussed in an attempt to quickly get over Canelo-Yildirim and move on to something more interesting, this is a much better fight than Yildirim was ever going to be. Saunders is as prepared as he is for this type of fight, he’s a veteran, he’s been at the world title level for years, it’s time to do this. And the hope is that with only six months between his win over Martin Murray and this upcoming fight, he won’t be terribly out of shape and will have to spend as much or more time on his weight as he does with his boxing in camp.
Saunders isn’t a joke, he’s not a lazy fighter, he’s a top five at 168 and he’s as good an opponent as he is to the pound-for-pound Mexican superstar right now. Yes, Canelo will be the favorite and he clearly is, but that will be the case against anyone at 168 for a while.
Listen, I don’t think Joseph Parker lit anyone’s world with his Auckland win over Junior Fa. It was a competitive fight, certainly much closer than what the judge who had it 119-109 saw, but he was the favorite and basically just dealt with the matter. Fa had her moments. Parker was better.
Parker (28-2, 21 KO) is a good fighter. At 29, he’s still pretty young to be a heavyweight, but it can really be argued that we’ve seen the same Joseph Parker since 2016, when he stepped up his competition and had his big year. And that year we saw him fight Carlos Takam, whose tactical choices may have cost him that fight more than anything, and get a majority decision over Andy Ruiz Jr to win the vacant WBO belt, a fight that probably would have come out as Ruiz. the fight has been in the United States. (Parker winning was not a Stole, but it was very close, and being home in New Zealand probably helped enough).
It has roughly the same strengths it had then. He has roughly the same flaws that we saw against Takam or Ruiz, or his win over Hughie Fury in 2017, or in losses to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte in 2018.
Parker is kind of a top 10 heavyweight, maybe top 10 heavyweight, and a solid contender. He is a pretty good fighter in all respects with no “plus-plus” type attributes in his game.
So what’s next? I guess Derek Chisora. That fight was destined to happen in 2019, it didn’t, and it has been on everyone’s mind for a while now, with both sides openly interested even before the Fa fight. Two days before the fight, Parker himself said that’s what he wants next, then a shot at the winner of the possible interim title fight Oleksandr Usyk vs. Joe Joyce WBO.
- What’s next for Avni Yildirim? I do not know. Maybe a rematch with Anthony Dirrell, who fought to a draw with Kyrone Davis on Saturday? That is the highest you can hope for. Yildirim is 29 years old and the fighter that he is, and if what we saw on Saturday were his “transformations” and “improvements”, he may want to go back to the old ways. He’s a second or third tier super middleweight who had no real in-ring business with Canelo Alvarez. Listen, it wasn’t that this was as unusual as a terrible sanctioning body classification or mandatory order, because it wasn’t, actually. Guys at Yildirim’s level (21-3, 12 KO) get high rankings all the time. There are tons of them right now – look at the ratings of any sanctioning body and scratch your head if you want to be sure of that. But they are rarely forced to fight a genuine superstar that everyone pays attention to, and that’s what happened here. Many more people noticed this than normal. I’m not saying that changes anything. Nothing really changes in boxing. Sometimes the change is nozzle, that’s all.
- Although Parker’s fight was Junior Fa’s first chance at a true professional breakup, he is 31 years old and is a major setback for any hope he had of being a top contender. Fa (19-1, 10 KO) will have to go back to the drawing board a bit, but he’s actually a finished product for the most part. A domestic fight with Hemi Ahio (17-0, 12 KO) could be interesting and sell some tickets in Auckland. Other than that, there’s a lot of ground to cover between the guys she’s beaten, like Devin Vargas and the elderly Dominick Guinn, and the guy she just lost to in Parker.
- McWilliams Arroyo will have the obvious target of Julio Cesar Martinez, who withdrew from their fight Thursday. Arroyo (21-4, 16 KO) managed to advance and fight the enemy on very short notice, Abraham Rodriguez, and scored a stoppage victory for the interim WBC flyweight title. Martinez still has the real one, and that’s the next one Arroyo wants. I would expect it to happen.
- There is a clear reason why 37-year-old Zhilei Zhang (22-0-1, 17 KO) has never been taken very seriously as a professional by boxing fans despite being huge, having some skills and having won. a silver medal in 2008. Olympic Games. Jerry Forrest exposed Zhang’s relatively low ceiling, coming off the mat three times and forcing a draw when Zhang gassed after the third round. Forrest (26-4-1, 20 KO) is a solid heavyweight goalie, he can be a problem for prospects and even vets who need proof. He is tough and has some skills; He’s someone that I think if he’d gotten the prospect to turn pro, he might have been in a world title fight by now. Zhang could face Forrest, but will he want to and will Matchroom want something to do with it? There are yet money in Zhang hosting Anthony Joshua or someone in China.