Joe Smith’s promoter hopes to learn soon the exact date of the light heavyweight contender’s rescheduled fight against Eleider Alvarez.
Smith and Alvarez were supposed to headline an ESPN show July 16 from MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. Their fight was postponed late in June because Alvarez suffered an injury to his right shoulder while training.
“We’re hoping it’s rescheduled for the end of August,” Joe DeGuardia, Smith’s promoter, told BoxingScene.com. “I loved the fight for July 16th. Joe was raring to go, ready and mentally really, really focused. He’s gonna have to get there again. But Joe is a warrior. Whenever we get it rescheduled and get that precise date, he’ll have to get himself back and ready. And I’m sure he will.”
Bob Arum, Alvarez’s co-promoter, told BoxingScene.com on Wednesday that Alvarez has been cleared to box by the third week of August. The Nevada State Athletic Commission has approved the dates of August 20 and August 27 for Arum’s Top Rank Inc. to hold cards at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
Smith (25-3, 20 KOs), of Mastic, New York, and Colombia’s Alvarez (25-1, 13 KOs) are supposed to fight as part of the WBO’s light heavyweight elimination tournament. The Smith-Alvarez winner is expected to face whoever emerges victorious from the Umar Salamov-Maksim Vlasov fight for the vacant WBO 175-pound championship.
Russia’s Salamov (25-1, 19 KOs) is ranked number one in the WBO’s light heavyweight ratings. Russia’s Vlasov (45-3, 26 KOs) is rated second by the WBO, one spot ahead of Alvarez and two spots atop Smith.
Canelo Alvarez gave up the WBO light heavyweight title after he knocked out Sergey Kovalev in the 11th round to win it November 2 in Las Vegas.
“I think that the [Eleider] Alvarez path is probably the toughest path to that title,” DeGuardia said. “I would love the world title fight to be next. But for Joe, not only is getting that light heavyweight championship a dream of his, getting that title makes him the light heavyweight champion in the United States.
“You’d have this good-looking, Irish New Yorker who’s got that union backing and got the punch that makes him exciting. And albeit a quiet personality, he’s got a personality that people love, that hard-working common man theme to him. I think he could rise to tremendous levels in the light heavyweight division, particularly with his fan base.”
The 30-year-old Smith defeated Philadelphia’s Jesse Hart (26-3, 21 KOs) by split decision in his last fight, a 10-rounder January 11 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. A week later, Alvarez knocked out Michael Seals (24-3, 18 KOs) in the seventh round of their January 18 bout at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.