After being initially delayed, two of the top fighters in the light-heavyweight division will officially face off against one another.
Top Rank officially announced that Eleider Alvarez and Joe Smith Jr. will fight on August 22. It will be inside the promotion’s return to the “Bubble”; inside the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“I can’t wait to sit back and watch this fight, which features two of the light heavyweight division’s biggest punchers,” said Top Rank’s Bob Arum. “It’s a 50-50 fight and a great way to kick off our return to MGM Grand.”
Smith is 2-2 in his last four fights. “The Irish Bomber” last fought in January, beating Jesse Hart via split decision. A former WBC International Light-Heavyweight Champion, Smith has only fought for a world title once. Back in March, the 30-year-old lost to Dmitry Bivol for the WBA Light-Heavyweight Title.
“This fight means everything to me,” Smith stated. “It’s my path to a world title fight, and I know this is my second chance to turn my dream into reality. Alvarez is a former world champion, and in my mind, I am treating this as a world title fight. To get there, I have to, and will, win this fight.”
Alvarez also last fought in January, beating Michael Seals via KO in the seventh round. He won the WBC Continental Americas Light-Heavyweight Title in the process. A former WBO Light-Heavyweight Champion, Alvarez lost the title to Sergey Kovalev back in February 2019 after initially beating him for it.
“This fight is critical for both of our careers,” Alvarez stated. “I respect Joe Smith, who has proven to be an elite fighter. However, I have all the tools to beat him, and that’s what I intend to do. My goal is to become a two-time light heavyweight world champion.”
The winner of Smith (25-3) v. Alvarez (25-1) will face the winner of Umar Salamov v. Maxim Vlasov to determine a new WBO Light-Heavyweight Champion. The two had a planned bout for July 16 but was nixed when Alvarez had to back out due to an injured shoulder while training. Initial reports had the rescheduled bout taking place between August 20 and August 22.
As of now, no undercard bouts have been confirmed for the event. Stay tuned, as information should be released soon.