In something of a surprise move, the planned fight between Eleider Alvarez and Oleksandr Gvozdyk isn’t happening.
With promoter Yvon Michel stating his fighter’s desire to fight for the full WBC light heavyweight title and nothing less, Eleider Alvarez has withdrawn from a scheduled purse bid to face Oleksandr Gvozdyk for the interim WBC belt.
“He is the No. 1 WBC contender because he has earned it in the ring and we can see no logical reasons to fight a fourth final title eliminator. His goal is to fight the champion.”
It’s hard not to understand where Alvarez and his team are coming from, admittedly. He won an eliminator over Isaac Chilemba in 2015, then two more in 2017 against Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal. All the while, Adonis Stevenson, the WBC beltholder, has fought optional challengers, with Alvarez taking step aside money. Right now, Stevenson is setting up a defense against former super middleweight titleholder Badou Jack.
The 33-year-old Alvarez (23-0, 11 KO) would have been taking a bigger risk against Gvozdyk (14-0, 12 KO) than he did against faded veterans Bute and Pascal last year, and he and his team — including Michel and Al Haymon — reportedly all agreed to withdraw from this matchup. It simply isn’t worth the risk.
That said, the WBC will now have to decide whether or not to strip Alvarez of his mandatory status. President Mauricio Sulaiman says the board will review the situation, but with Alvarez the one balking, it’s not hard to imagine — fair or not — them stripping him of the status he earned three times in the ring.
As for Gvozdyk’s side, Top Rank VP Carl Moretti is trying to have a sense of humor about it:
“Obviously, we’re disappointed that once again a fight disappeared for Gvozdyk after being ordered. We know Gvozdyk is a solid fighter, we just didn’t realize we have the second coming of Bob Foster.”
It’s too bad this fight won’t happen, but there are a lot of layers to this decision, too. Do you agree with Alvarez’s decision to withdraw, or do you think he should have taken this fight, given he again agreed to step aside to make room for Jack?