Confession: I always enjoy talking to Kathy Duva of Main Events. She is sharp, and respectful of media, doesn't view us as the enemy, lecture us on proper techniques, try to bully us into seeing things her way. She is also something of an underdog, the widow of the late ace-dealmaker Dan Duva who has scratched and clawed and most importantly used her brain and perseverance to carve out a niche for herself while working on a comparatively shoestring budget as opposed to some of the bigger dogs.
We chatted on Tuesday, as she looked ahead to the Saturday clash in Montreal, which features her smiling assassin, Sergey Kovalev. He will be tested by a formidable foe, ex 175 champ Jean Pascal, a Montreal resident who will be hearing the bulk of the cheers in the ring in a bout which will screen on HBO.
Duva told me she is happy that people who were built on NBC cable when she ran shows there, such as Steve Cunningham, Czar Glazkov and Isaac Chilemba will get looks on HBO. She told me that she is proud of the results she got, reminding me that about 3.2 million tuned in to watch Cunningham fight Adamek on NBC, on a Saturday afternoon, which compares nicely to the numbers enjoyed by the Haymon/PBC crew from last Saturday night, in primetime.
But mostly, she's psyched to see the amiable Russian Kovalev, growing into a pound for pound star in front of our approving eyes, do his thing.
“I want Sergey to crush Pascal,” she said, with a chuckle, after admitting she was neutral on the other fights, because she holds those undercard fighters in high regard. Cunningham has had it hard dealing with his daughters' heart condition, while Glazkov was touched by violence in his native Ukraine, so their stories touch our hearts. But Kovalev, she's fully biased on his behalf.
Kovalev, Duva told me, wants to fight the best, and he will get up for an A, B or C grade fighter, because he's a pros pro. So, even if Pascal isn't as buzz-conjuring as B-Hop, no worries, Kovalev is ready to rock.
Kovalev is extra jazzed by going to the other guys' backyard, she noted.
And if and when Kovalev gets it done Saturday? Is a fight with WBC champ Adonis Stevenson next? Well, Krusher must defend his IBF title against Nadjib Mohammedi if Mo beats Lee Campbell in Montral Saturday. So that's on the to do list.
Overall, Duva isn't too worried about attracting foes for massive fights. “He's creeping into becoming one of the two or three most dominant fighters,” she said. “People follow the money. The money will follow Sergey.”
And might 168 pound ace Andre Ward be in the mix, in the near future? “I spoke to Dave Itskowitch of Roc Nation (which promotes Ward) the other night, and said let's do it.” He seemed amenable, she said, but wants to wait a bit. Ward has been out of the ring since November 2013, and presumably wants to shed some rust. Yes, Duva was encouraged that there is an opening in the minds of Roc to make Kovalev-Ward. Now, at what weight the contest would be contested at? We would get to that bridge when we come to it. Trainer John David Jackson told me Kovalev is having no probs making weight, was 175 yesterday, and could stay at light heavy for a couple more years.
All in all, #MayweatherPacquiao and #PBConNBC have stolen so much air from rooms, but nobody should forget about Kovalev and Golovkin, HBO's two building blocks, along with Canelo Alvarez, who figures to enter into a mega-fight in the very near future. The boxing world hasn't shrunk to include just #MayPac and PBC, friends. Other players, A grade guys, are still doing their thing. One of them is showcased on Saturday night.
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