Saturday from The Bubble at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, former Light-Heavyweight Champion 🇨🇴Eleider “Storm” Alvarez (25-1-0, 13KO) and 🇺🇸Joe Smith Jr. (25-3-0, 20KO) will clash in a 12 round eliminator bout to open up the four man tournament that will determine the WBO Champion.
Saturday’s victor will be in line to do battle for the vacant title in an upcoming battle between WBO #1 Umar Salamov and #2 Maxim Vlasov.
Alvarez (rated #5 by the WBC and #3 WBO) is continuing his attempt to climb back into title contention after losing the WBO title to Sergey Kovalev in their 2019 rematch. The 36 year old from Colombia is coming off of an explosive 7th round knockout win in January over the power punching Michael Seals.
As for Smith, the 30 year old Long Island native (#7 WBC and IBF, #4 WBO) is 2-2 in his last four fights, taking a split decision over Jesse Hart in his most recent bout this past January. His blue collar story has appealed to many fans over the past few years, but winning this fight is critical to staying relevant in the division.
Alvarez is the more technically skilled fighter, which has proven to give Smith issues, and is the betting favorite coming in at -210 with the bookmakers.
Smith comes in at +170 but with the game changing power he carries can never be counted out in any fight
As stated before Alvarez is the more technically skilled fighter and could outbox Smith over the majority of rounds. His biggest issue will be to avoid any mental lapses or urges to exchange with the heavy handed Long Islander who should be trying to force the issue and turn a boxing match into a fire fight.
Prediction: Eleider Alvarez over Joe Smith by 12 round UD
Eleider Alvarez – 174.6 lbs
Joe Smith – 174.9 lbs