Status Update On Joe Smith Jr. Vs. Eleider Alvarez
One of boxing’s biggest planned fights since its return to action will longer be going on as planned.
Mike Coppinger of The Athletic is reporting that Eleider Alvarez v. Joe Smith Jr., planned for July 16, is not taking place on that date. Alvarez had to back out of the fight due to an injury that is non-COVID-19-related. ESPN was told by Alvarez’s promoter that he injured his shoulder while training. According to Boxing Scene, the bout could be rescheduled to August or September, depending on the severity of Alvarez’s injury.
“The former WBO light heavyweight champion, Eleider Alvarez, was injured in training last week,” promoter Yvon Michel said. “Last Tuesday he met with the team’s doctor, Dr. Francis Fontaine … and the diagnosis shows an injury to the right shoulder which requires anti-inflammatory treatments, physiotherapy and a stop in sparring for 4 weeks.
Alvarez (25-1) last fought in January, beating Michael Seals via KO in the seventh. 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.
Smith (25-3) is 2-2 in his last four fights. “The Irish Bomber” also 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.
Top Rank will be looking for a new main event for that night, as it is expected that Smith will not get a replacement opponent. This is the latest big fight for Top Rank to be called off. Mikaela Mayer’s bout against Helen Joseph on June 9, Top Rank’s return, was called off after Mayer tested positive for COVID-19.
Jose Pedraza v. Mikkel LesPierre, meant for June 18, was postponed the day of the fight after LesPierre’s manager tested positive for the coronavirus. The bout was moved to July after Jamel Herring v. Jonathan Oquendo was called off after a positive test by the former.
The winner of the Alvarez v. Smith Jr. bout has been rumored to face the winner of Umar Salamov v. Maxim Vlasov to determine a new WBO Light-Heavyweight Champion. Canelo Alvarez vacated the title after beating Kovalev for it back in November.