Light heavyweight contender Eleider "Storm" Alvarez and former super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute will square off in an all-Quebec battle on Feb. 24 at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City, promoter Yvon Michel said.
However, Alvarez (20-0, 10 KOs) first has to win a tune-up fight Saturday night, when he takes on Polish southpaw Norbert "Noras" Dabrowski (19-5-1, 7 KOs) in a scheduled 10-rounder at the Montreal Casino.
Michel told ESPN that Alvarez-Bute will be a scheduled 12-round fight contracted at the light heavyweight limit of 175 pounds. Bute, who held a super middleweight world title from 2007 to 2012 and made nine successful defenses, has only fought as a true light heavyweight once, a lopsided decision loss to Montreal rival and former world champion Jean Pascal in 2014, in one of the biggest fights in Canadian history.
The Alvarez-Bute pairing comes out of the blue because Alvarez is the mandatory challenger for light heavyweight world champion (and Montreal rival) Adonis Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs), and the fight is overdue. Stevenson has not made a mandatory defense since his sixth-round knockout of Tony Bellew in November 2013.
The mandatory fight will wait a bit longer, Michel said, in favor of Alvarez-Bute.
"The fight will be very popular here [in Quebec]," Michel said. "It's an easy sell and an excellent and intriguing fight."
Michel pointed out that Alvarez would remain Stevenson's mandatory challenger as long as he wins.
"Alvarez needs to stay active and make money while waiting for the mandatory fight," Michel said.
Michel said if Alvarez comes through Saturday and against Bute, the mandatory fight with Stevenson -- long viewed as reluctant to face a top opponent -- would likely take place in April. That would give Alvarez only about eight or nine weeks between fights, but Michel said he was confident the tight schedule would work out.
"Alvarez is a well-trained, hungry fighter," Michel said.
Alvarez became Stevenson's mandatory challenger by virtue of his disputed majority decision win against Isaac Chilemba 13 months ago at the Videotron Centre. Alvarez has fought once since, pounding out a lopsided 10-round decision against Robert Berridge on July 29.
The 39-year-old Stevenson fought just once this year, scoring a fourth-round knockout of Thomas Williams in the main event of the July 29 card.
Bute (32-3-1, 25 KOs), 36, Quebec's most popular boxer, will be fighting for the first time since he was awarded a controversial draw against super middleweight world titleholder Badou Jack -- whom virtually everybody saw as the clear winner -- on April 30, at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C. After the fight, Bute's urine sample tested positive for the banned substance ostarine (also called enobosarm), which is supposed to increase stamina and recovery ability.
Bute reached a settlement of his case with the Washington D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission on Nov. 25. He was give a suspension of time served and fined $50,000.