Bob Arum’s promotional company has solidified new dates for the Eleider Alvarez-Joe Smith and Jose Ramirez-Viktor Postol fights.
Alvarez-Smith, a WBO light heavyweight elimination match, will headline an ESPN show August 22. Ramirez will make a mandated defense of his WBC super lightweight title when he opposes Postol in a main event ESPN will televise August 29.
The cards headlined by Alvarez-Smith and Ramirez-Postol both will take place at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. Arum’s Top Rank Inc. has been staging ESPN shows from that venue, without fans in attendance, since June 9.
ESPN broadcaster Mark Kriegel announced the rescheduled dates for the Alvarez-Smith and Ramirez-Postol fights during the network’s five-fight telecast Tuesday night from MGM Grand Conference Center.
Both bouts will be main events on Saturday nights. Top Rank’s shows have aired on ESPN on Tuesday nights and Thursday nights since June 9.
Colombia’s Alvarez (25-1, 13 KOs) and Long Island’s Smith (25-3, 20 KOs) were supposed to square off July 16 at MGM Grand Conference Center. Their fight was postponed late in June when Alvarez suffered a shoulder injury while training in Montreal, his adopted hometown.
The Alvarez-Smith winner will face the victor between Umar Salamov and Maksim Vlasov for the vacant WBO 175-pound championship Canelo Alvarez gave up after knocking out Sergey Kovalev in the 11th round November 2 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
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.
A week after Alvarez and Smith meet, Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs) figures to finally defend his WBC 140-pound title versus Ukraine’s Postol (31-2, 12 KOs), a former WBC super lightweight champ and Ramirez’s mandatory challenger.
They were supposed to fight February 1 at Mission Hills Resort Haikou in Haikou, China, but it was postponed January 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ramirez-Postol was rescheduled for May 9 at Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California, but it was postponed again because of the coronavirus crisis.