MONTREAL – Eleider Alvarez will return to the ring, but there’s no more question for him to fight with his weight.
The former light heavyweight world champion (175 pounds), who will be 38 in a few days, has decided that his future will be played in the light heavyweights, that is to say boxers of 200 pounds and under.
It was also a condition for his promoter, Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM), who no longer wanted to see him spend all his energy losing weight during training camp.
“One of the reasons Eric Lucas retired the first time was that he was tired of having to make weight. People have no idea how much it takes to have to cut weight, possibly more than the fights themselves,” said Yvon Michel, president of GYM.
“In Eleider’s last fights, he had no more energy, because he had left everything on his weight cut. He was throwing fewer punches per round than the average light heavyweight because he had no juice left. In his second fight against (Sergey) Kovalev, he was inactive not because he was frozen, but because he couldn’t give more. »
Alvarez (25-2, 13 KOs) will make his debut in this new division on May 5, against an opponent to be disclosed shortly. His eight-round fight will be the final of a GYM gala presented at the Casino de Montréal.
Michel and Alvarez’s trainer, Stéphan Larouche, are convinced that the Colombian-born boxer’s speed of execution will allow him to quickly climb the ladder of the division, where Sergey Kovalev and Badou Jack also evolve, among others, two ex-pugilists at 175 pounds, like the Montrealer. But there is another aspect that Alvarez will have to deal with: his life outside the ring.
His ex-coach, Marc Ramsay, had harsh words about him after his knockout loss. in the ninth round of his matchup against Joe Smith Jr. in August 2020. According to Ramsay, Alvarez didn’t have what it takes to continue. Ramsay also left the ship shortly after.
Alvarez then tried his luck in Florida, under coach Pedro Diaz, but that didn’t work out either. Last October, he launched an ultimate SOS in Larouche, who agreed to take it back, provided that it is 100% committed.
“It’s a constant fight for Eleider. He will have to be in the gym every day like he has for the past few weeks, Larouche noted. He started showing flashes of Eleider Alvarez; we’re going to need even more of it by May 5th. It’s extremely encouraging and if he continues in this line by then, we will see an Eleider who will be happy, because he will not have spent two months of camp trying to go from 200 to 175 pounds. It’s very encouraging and very stimulating for the next few weeks. »
“You have to put yourself in his place a bit: he experienced a bit of a sporting depression going from hero and world champion to losing his belt, before getting knocked out. by Joe Smith. He has been in professional boxing for several years after going to the Olympic Games (2008) as an amateur: it’s a long career. He was tired and he needed that break. In the past few years, he hasn’t had the opportunity to spend a few weeks at the same weight, working on boxing skills. He was struggling to make weight. It is extremely hard physically and psychologically. That is now a settled matter. »
“I am very motivated, I wanted to get back to the ring quickly. But I’m not doing it to prove anything to anyone: I’m doing it for myself, assured Alvarez, who does not think he is too old to embark on this new adventure. (…) I still have two years left on my contract with GYM, the only promotion company with which I have worked, and I wanted to take full advantage of it. They are loyal to me, I want to be loyal to them. »
“I decided to work on myself,” added Alvarez. After things didn’t work out with Pedro Diaz, Stéphan Larouche gave me the chance to work with him. I’m grateful. Now I’m full in the gym. I like to work. (…) I am very well in my head now. »
On this May 5 card, welterweights Mathieu Germain (20-2-1, 9 KOs) and Mazlum Akdeniz (16-0, 8 KOs) will be in action for 10 bouts. rounds. GYM aims to move both boxers up into the top-15 of the world rankings by the end of 2022.
Their opponents as well as the rest of the map will be revealed in the coming days.