In the last few weeks, Top Rank staged two light heavyweight bouts with the idea of having the winners collide for the vacant WBO light heavyweight title.

Joe Smith powered past Jessie Hart for a dominant ten round decision, and a week later Eleider Alvarez scored a sensational knockout of Michael Seals.

But the World Boxing Organization shook up that plan - when they ordered a four man tournament to establish a new world champion.

Alvarez was ordered to face Gilberto Ramirez, who is the top rated challenger to the vacant belt. And Russian boxers Umar Salamov and Maxim Vlasov were ordered to collide in the second fight. The winners of the respective bouts would collide for the vacant title.

But promoter Yvon Michel of GYM, who co-promote Alvarez with Top Rank, explained that Ramirez is currently pricing himself out and likely won't take part in the tournament.

Ramirez, inactive since April 2019, is reportedly having issues with Top Rank. There is talk that Ramirez is attempting to buy out his contract to become a free agent.

If Ramirez is pulled from the fight, there is a chance that the WBO will allow Joe Smith to take his place in the tournament.

"The Ramirez clan is not keen on facing Eleider. They are asking for millions. We, at GYM and Top Rank, are still accepted the challenge presented by the WBO. And Ramirez has until 8:30 this morning to accept the [WBO's] order from his side and agree to negotiate," explained Michel to The Montreal Journal.

Luke Furman covers boxing for