• Saul "Canelo" Alvarez has dropped his middleweight title and is focusing on his super middleweight journey
  • Ryota Murata is now the recognized WBA middleweight king
  • Alvarez is set to return next month to face Avni Yildirim

Canelo “Saul” Alvarez will be focusing on his super middleweight run from now on. The 30-year-old vacated the WBA “Super” middleweight title and will stay in the 168-pound class. This ends his reign in the 160-pound class, with Japanese pug Ryota Murata now the recognized WBA middleweight champion.

“He is 168 now, it is his prime weight,” Eddy Reynoso, Alvarez’s head trainer and manager, told BoxingScene. “It is where he feels strongest and we are not giving away anything in weight anymore at middleweight.”

Alvarez is coming off a successful and dominating win over Callum Smith, winning the WBA (Super), The Ring and WBC Super middleweight titles on Dec. 19. It was a lopsided match that the Mexican Brawler masterfully fought.

Smith revealed Alvarez’s masterful plan against him, targeting his left arm, which ended up severely swollen after the fight. He felt that it was intentional but said it was no excuse for his poor showing.

Alvarez is gearing up to fight again next month, facing mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim for the WBC belt. This clash is expected to happen on Feb. 27 and will take place in Guadalajara, Mexico, the Los Angeles Times reported. According to Reynoso, Estadio Jalisco and Los Charros’ Baseball Stadium are being considered to host the fight.

Alvarez is relinquishing the WBA belt after his last fight with Gennady Golovkin in September 2018. The Mexican has since focused on the super middleweight division, facing Rocky Fielding, Sergey Kovalev and Smith.

His super middleweight run started with Fielding before making a brief stop against Daniel Jacobs for the IBF middleweight title. He won the WBO light heavyweight title from Kovalev and then the titles of Smith.

“This is his weight,” confirmed Reynoso. “Anyone who wants to fight Canelo will have to meet us (at super middleweight). He’s not giving away anymore of his prime.”

Yildirim will have his hands full, facing tall odds against the Mexican. However, his side vowed that they will come out with a better showing than Smith, although that remains to be seen.

After that, attention is expected to shift to Golovkin once more. A trilogy fight has been suggested, but nothing has gained ground with the pandemic complicating matters.

Canelo Alvarez
Canelo Alvarez prepares for his WBO light heavyweight title fight against Sergey Kovalev at MGM Grand Garden on November 2, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Alvarez won the title by an 11th-round knockout. Steve Marcus/Getty Images