David Benavidez’s inability to make weight last Friday cost him the WBC super middleweight title despite dominating Roamer Alexis Angulo the following night. The fallout has also opened the door for the WBC to jump in and manipulate the situation. The board of governors for the World Boxing Council were nearly unanimous in their vote Tuesday, ordering Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) to face mandatory contender Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) in a vacant 168-pound title bout.
“The WBC Board of Governors has voted 36-1 to order Alvarez, the multi-division world champion who holds the WBC ‘franchise’ designation to fight against the WBC’s mandatory contender of the division, Avni Yildirim.” WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said. “More details will be available in days to come.”
While the announcement doesn’t guarantee the fight will take place, it could provide the 30-year-old Alvarez with a last-minute foe after negotiations with DAZN and Golden Boy Promotions for a Sept. 12 return failed to produce an opponent. But it’s far from popular considering Alvarez, the WBA middleweight champion, has fought just one time in the 168-pound division (save for a 164-pound catchweight bout against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.).
Alvarez stopped Rocky Fielding in 2018 to claim a secondary WBA super middleweight title and subsequently won. He also vacated the WBO light heavyweight belt after knocking out Sergey Kovalev last November. The WBC chose to pass over Benavidez for the vacant title — likely out of fears he could no longer make weight — and instead went on to name him the No. 1 contender at 175 pounds for Artur Beterbiev’s WBC title.
Benavidez currently has no plans to move up to the 175-pound division despite missing the super middleweight limit last weekend by nearly three pounds (and refusing to try a second time despite a two-hour window). He was previously stripped of his WBC title in 2018 after testing positive for cocaine and won the title back last September by stopping Anthony Dirrell.
Alvarez sent a written request to the WBC for the vacant title shot and was able to jump the queue due to his status as WBC “franchise” champion at middleweight.
Yildirim, a hard-punching native of Turkey, dropped a controversial decision loss to Dirrell in their 2019 vacant title bout after suffering a cut. The WBC named him the mandatory challenger in the aftermath and honored the title by ordering him to face Alvarez.
Despite the size difference, Alvarez would own significant advantages in speed, technique and maybe even power against the more raw Yildirim, and would likely be considered a heavy favorite.