Eleider Alvarez-Joe Smith Jr. bout set for third week of August

A light heavyweight bout between Eleider Alvarez and Joe Smith Jr. has been rescheduled for the third week of August, Yvon Michel, who promotes Alvarez, told ESPN on Friday. The fight had originally been slated for July 16 inside the "bubble" at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, but was postponed when Alvarez suffered an injury to his right shoulder.

"I sent a medical report on Alvarez's situation early last week confirming that the inflammation is gone after treatment, the pain is minimum," Michel said. "He's going to start sparring next week, everything is under control. He's fit and ready to fight by mid-August.

"So the message I got from Top Rank is that the fight will be rescheduled for some time between Aug. 20 and Aug. 22, depending on the schedule."

According to Top Rank vice president of boxing operation Carl Moretti, the plan is to stage one fight a week inside the "bubble" in the month of August, but the exact dates of have not been chosen.

"It's not ideal, it's not what we wanted," said Joe DeGuardia, who promotes Smith. "We think it's unfortunate it got pushed back in the first place, however, we're realists. I just want this fight to take place, and we're going to do what we have to do to get Joe ready and have this fight."

Alvarez (25-1, 13 KOs) is rated at No. 6 by ESPN and held the WBO light heavyweight title after knocking out Sergey Kovalev in 2018. Back on Jan. 18 he scored a seventh-round knockout of Micheal Seals. Alvarez also has victories over Isaac Chilemba, Lucien Bute and Jean Pascal.

Smith (25-3, 20 KOs) is rated ninth in the division by ESPN. Back in 2016 he gained prominence as he scored stoppage wins over Andrezej Fonfara and Bernard Hopkins. In his most recent fight on Jan 11, Smith defeated Jesse Hart in an upset by split decision.

The winner of this bout will then face the winner of the contest between Umar Salamov and Maksim Vlasov, as part of an elimination process to fill the WBO light heavyweight title, which is currently vacant.