Eleider Alvarez vs. Joe Smith Jr., one of many Top Rank main events lost to assorted misfortune this summer, is officially good to go for August 22nd on ESPN+. The two were first slated to go at it on July 16th before “Storm” injured his shoulder.
KO power vs. KO power— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) July 30, 2020
JUST ANNOUNCED: @stormalvarez and @beastsmithjr will face off in a WBO Light Heavyweight world title eliminator in TR’s return to the MGM Grand Conference Center. #AlvarezSmith | AUG. 22 | ESPN+ pic.twitter.com/o9UCRR4chK
Top Rank first shared the new date on the July 21st Oscar Valdez-Jayson Velez broadcast, but now it’s got a whole press release and fancy quotes and such.
Said Alvarez, “This fight is critical for both of our careers. 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.”
Said Smith, “This fight means everything to me. 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.”
The fight will serve as one of two semifinal eliminators for Canelo Alvarez’s former WBO light heavyweight title. The other, Maxim Vlasov vs. Umar Salamov, probably won’t be hitting the ring until the current travel restrictions loosen up.
There will be a co-feature, but neither participant has been revealed.
As we’ve stated before, this is one of the better fights Bob Arum and co. have managed to cobble together during quarantine. Both men are legitimately skilled, entertaining light heavyweights with some impressive finishes to their names. Let’s hope they can keep the matchup (and their bodies) intact for long enough to make it happen.