Eleider Alvarez, Joe Smith Jr. kickoff quotes

Eleider “Storm” Alvarez (25-1, 13 KOs) and Joe “The Beast” Smith Jr. (25-3, 20 KOs) are set for their WBO light heavyweight world title eliminator in Top Rank’s return to the MGM Grand Conference Center on ESPN+ August 22. They were originally slated to fight July 16, but Alvarez suffered a shoulder injury.

Eleider Alvarez: “This fight is critical for both of our careers. 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.”

Joe Smith Jr: “This fight means everything to me. 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.”

Promoter Bob Arum: “I can’t wait to sit back and watch this fight, which features two of the light heavyweight division’s biggest punchers. It’s a 50-50 fight and a great way to kick off our return to MGM Grand.”

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  • Cracking fight. Tough one to pick with a tiny edge, in my view, to Alvarez who appears to have a good chin – which he’ll need.

  • Smith’s KO of Hopkins years back should have its place in the hall of fame. Loved that KO! Hopkins himself could not believe it either. He thought he was pushed out of the ring when, in fact, it was a small series of hard punches. The replays tell no lies. Yes, Hopkins may have been “old” and over the hill, but he signed a contract to fight and thought he could beat Smith or they would have never fought. Hopkin’s arrogance and confidence was his worst enemy in this case.

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