The same could not be said for some fighters on their undercard, but Eleider Alvarez and Joe Smith Jr. met their contractual obligations at their weigh-in Friday in Las Vegas.
Montreal’s Alvarez officially weighed 174.6 pounds for his 12-round, 175-pound WBO elimination match against Smith on Saturday night. Smith, of Mastic, New York, stepped on the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s scale at 174.9 pounds.
The winner between Alvarez (25-1, 13 KOs) and Smith (25-3, 20 KOs) will secure a shot at the WBO light heavyweight title in his next fight. Whoever wins will face the victor of another eliminator that’ll match two Russian contenders – top-rated Umar Salamov (25-1, 19 KOs) and second-ranked Maksim Vlasov (45-3, 26 KOs) – for the unclaimed WBO 175-pound title.
Salamov is ranked number one by the WBO, Vlasov is rated second, Alvarez is third and Smith is fourth.
Alvarez, 36, and Smith, 30, will square off in the main event of an eight-bout card ESPN+ will stream live from MGM Grand Conference Center, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT. Smith and Alvarez were supposed to fight July 16, but it postponed because Alvarez suffered a shoulder injury while sparring.
Earlier Friday, Rob Brant and Vitaliy Kopylenko made weight for the Smith-Alvarez co-feature, a 10-round super middleweight match.
Dallas’ Brant came in 161.1 pounds. Ukraine’s Kopylenko officially weighed 159.5 pounds.
The 29-year-old Brant (25-2, 17 KOs), a former WBA world middleweight champion, will fight for the first time since Japan’s Ryota Murata stopped him in the second round of their rematch in July 2019 in Osaka, Japan. Dallas’ Brant upset Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) by 12-round unanimous decision to win a version of the WBA’s 160-pound championship in October 2018 in Las Vegas.
Kopylenko (28-2, 16 KOs) will end an even longer layoff. He hasn’t boxed since losing a 10-round split decision to Montreal’s Steven Butler (28-2-1, 24 KOs) in May 2019 in Las Vegas.
The official weights for the first six bouts on Saturday’s card are listed below.
Julian Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs), Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, 141.5 pounds vs. Anthony Laureano (13-0, 4 KOs, 1 NC), East Hartford, Connecticut, 145.9 pounds, 10 rounds, welterweights. (Laureano came in nearly four pounds over the contracted weight limit of 142. Laureno refused to try to lose more weight, but the bout still is expected to take place.)
Wendy Toussaint (11-0, 5 KOs), Huntington, New York, 154.4 pounds vs. Isiah Jones (9-2, 3 KOs), Detroit, 157.2 pounds, 8 rounds, middleweights.
Clay Collard (8-2-3, 3 KOs), Burley, Idaho, 159.8 pounds vs. Maurice Williams (7-1, 3 KOs), Oklahoma City, 158.2 pounds, 8 rounds, middleweights.
Robert Rodriguez (8-0-1, 4 KOs), Riverside, California, 120.4 pounds vs. Abel Soriano (10-0, 7 KOs), Bellevue, Nebraska, 119.8 pounds, 6 rounds, junior featherweights.
Israel Mercado (7-0, 7 KOs), Pomona, California, 136.6 pounds vs. Adrian Valdovinos (5-0-1, 4 KOs), Hanford, California, 137.2 pounds, 6 rounds, junior welterweights.
Duke Ragan (pro debut), Cincinnati, 125.5 pounds vs. Luis Alvarado (1-1), Pasco, Washington, 126.8 pounds, 4 rounds, featherweights.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.