By Keith Idec
Promoter Yvon Michel confirmed to BoxingScene.com on Wednesday that light heavyweight contender Eleider Alvarez has entered a step-aside agreement with Adonis Stevenson.
By accepting an undisclosed sum of money from Michel, whose company promotes Alvarez and Stevenson, Alvarez allowed Michel to negotiate with promoter Lou DiBella for Stevenson’s optional defense of the WBC 175-pound championship against Sean Monaghan. Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs), who would be an overwhelming favorite against Monaghan, is expected to defend his title against Monaghan on April 29 at the newly renovated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
The 35-year-old Monaghan (28-0, 17 KOs), ranked No. 10 by the WBC among its contenders at 175 pounds, is from nearby Long Beach, New York, and is a proven ticket-seller. The same group that operates the Barclays Center runs Nassau Coliseum and its executives have hoped all along to put a popular New York fighter in the main event of the first boxing card at the refurbished building.
The Colombian-born Alvarez (22-0, 11 KOs) has been the mandatory challenger for Stevenson’s title since November 2015.
Alvarez, 32, most recently defeated former IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute (32-4-1, 25 KOs) by fifth-round knockout February 24 in Quebec City, Canada. He is expected to fight the winner of Stevenson-Monaghan next.
Michel had hoped to match Stevenson against another fighter from Long Island, Joe Smith Jr., on April 29 at Nassau Coliseum. The 27-year-old Smith (23-1, 19 KOs), ranked No. 3 by the WBC, is viewed as more of a threat to the 39-year-old Stevenson than Monaghan because Smith has knocked out Andrzej Fonfara (29-4, 17 KOs) and Bernard Hopkins (55-8-2, 32 KOs, 2 NC) in back-to-back bouts.
Negotiations between Michel and Joe DeGuardia, Smith’s promoter, broke down last month, though. Michel has since turned his attention to other options for Stevenson.
Monaghan parted ways earlier this year with promoter Top Rank Inc. He signed recently with DiBella, who showcased Monaghan on his cards earlier in Monaghan’s career.
Smith beat Monaghan by decision in the 178-pound, novice-division final at the 2008 New York Golden Gloves tournament. There has been talk that they eventually could fight each other at Nassau Coliseum.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.