The intriguing WBO light-heavyweight title eliminator between former champion Eleider Alvarez and puncher Joe Smith Jr. will take place at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on August 22.

Colombian Alvarez upset Sergey Kovalev in seven rounds to win the WBO and IBF titles in August 2018 before losing the rematch on the cards in February 2019.

“This fight is critical for both of our careers,” said Alvarez (25-1, 13 KOs). “I respect Joe Smith, who has proven to be an elite fighter. However, I have all the tools to beat him, and that’s what I intend to do. My goal is to become a two-time light heavyweight world champion.” 

New Yorker Smith (25-3, 20 KOs) is best known for ending the career of the great Bernard Hopkins (WKO8) in December 2016 before falling short in a WBA title shot against Dimitry Bivol (L12) in March 2019.

“This fight means everything to me,” said Smith. “It’s my path to a world title fight and I know this is my second chance to turn my dream into reality. Alvarez is a former world champion and, in my mind, I am treating this as a world title fight. To get there, I have to, and will, win this fight.”