Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez will fight Billy Joe Saunders next after KO win over Avni Yildirim

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez battered Avni Yildirim and forced him to retire after the third round; Mexico's WBA and WBC super-middleweight champion will next fight WBO titleholder Billy Joe Saunders on May 8

February 27, 2021; Miami, Florida; Saul Alvarez and Avni Yildirim during their WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine super middleweight championship bout at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FL.  Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.
Image: Canelo beat Yildirim in three rounds

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez set up a world title unification fight against Billy Joe Saunders after a quickfire stoppage win against Avni Yildirim on Saturday night.

Canelo will meet Britain's undefeated Saunders on May 8 with the WBA, WBC and WBO super-middleweight championships on the line.

A straightforward third-round stoppage of his mandatory challenger Yildirim, in front of 12,000 fans at the home of the Miami Dolphins, set up the opportunity for Canelo to further cement his status as the world's No 1 pound-for-pound boxer.

February 27, 2021; Miami, Florida; Saul Alvarez and Avni Yildirim during their WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine super middleweight championship bout at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FL.  Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.
Image: Canelo battered Yildirim for the entirety of the fight
February 27, 2021; Miami, Florida; Saul Alvarez and Avni Yildirim during their WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine super middleweight championship bout at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FL.  Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.
Image: Canelo floored Yildirim in the third round

Saunders has a major chance to end Canelo's stunning form by doing what Callum Smith, previously the unbeaten WBA champion, failed to do in December.

Saunders' WBO belt is the next target for Canelo, who plans to become undisputed super-middleweight champion (Caleb Plant's IBF belt is the final objective and could yet happen before the end of the year).

The 55th victory of the Mexican's career to tee up the fight with Saunders could scarcely have been easier.

Yildirim was knocked to the canvas in the third round then retired on his stool.

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February 27, 2021; Miami, Florida; Saul Alvarez and Avni Yildirim during their WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine super middleweight championship bout at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FL.  Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.
Image: Yildirim barely landed a punch on Canelo
February 27, 2021; Miami, Florida; Saul Alvarez and Avni Yildirim during their WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine super middleweight championship bout at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FL.  Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.
Image: Canelo aims to become undisputed super-middleweight champion

He barely landed a punch against the brilliant Canelo whose only defeat in an elite career came against Floyd Mayweather in 2014.

Canelo battered Yildirim with body shots until a stiff right hand sent him to the floor and, when the challenger went back to his corner after three rounds, he never emerged again.

Four-weight world champion Canelo will turn his attention to another quick turnaround against Saunders in May, a fight that was initially set for 2020.

Canelo has already beaten six Brits - Matthew Hatton, Ryan Rhodes, Amir Khan, Liam Smith, Rocky Fielding and Callum Smith - but Saunders represents a unique test as an undefeated southpaw.

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