Duva Russia-Bound To Firm Up Next Kovalev Fight

Promoter Kathy Duva has been a participant in the rodeo for long enough to know that it is the exception when Plan A goes from conception to birth seamlessly. So she wasn’t spooked when she learned her desired plan, for Sergey Kovalev to fight the last week of November in Russia versus Artur Beterbiev, wouldn’t reach fruition. Team Beterbiev didn’t want the challenge so Duva is re directing her efforts. TSS wondered where…

“The next fight will be in Russia for sure! I am already on my way to Moscow where I will meet with Sergey, Egis Klimas and lots of other people,” she told me. “We will make these decisions this week, hold a press conference to announce Sergey’s return to Russia and then fill in the details as we go along.”

Russia…wow. That ain’t Jersey…got to be a different deal negotiating different brands of bumps in a different culture. Has she promoted there before?

“I have been involved with one fight in Russia before–when Evander Hoyfield fought Ibragimov. But the champ’s people were the lead promoter. This will be our first time solo there, but we have great support. I am going to meet with all the people involved when I get there. We are looking at a few venues and a few different potential opponents.”

Travel and setup logistics sometimes keep HBO away from exotic locations. Will they show this Kovalev vs TBD bout? “HBO is TBA at this point. We’ll know much more after this week. ?Our target date is Nov. 28th. Again, we’ll know for sure after we gather all of the information about the various venues and HBO’s fall schedule. Still much work to be done!”



-oubobcat :

With Beterbiev out (a fight unfortunately that was never realistic given the politics of the sport), there are not a lot of options for Kovalev. My guess is the most likely candidate is Vasily Lepikhin. He fought on HBO on the undercard of Kovalev-Pascal, is with Main Events and also hails from Russia. Its makeable and was being set up by all parties earlier this spring. There are not a lot of other options out there. One other name that may get tossed around is Vyacheslav Shabransky. He is with Golden Boy but they have a working relationship with Main Events. He is young and moving up the ladder having already appeared on HBO Latino as well. But it may be too soon for his people to take on such a fight especially given the fact he is still a work in progress and was almost ko'd in his last fight by a club fighter (did show a lot of heart coming off the canvas in bad shape to win). Yunieski Gonzalez, who just gave Pascal a tough fight, will also probably get consideration. He not as marketable in Russia as the other two names but if HBO kicks in enough money I am sure Duva would be fine with him as the opponent as well. I say though it will probably be Lepikhin.

-StormCentre :

I think - despite what some may publicly say - Kovalev and Kathy may actually be served well by Beterbiev pulling out at the moment. Sergey, whilst a very strong and competent offensive fighter, does have some liabilities. These liabilities include in-fighting and also a variety of defensive considerations. And, from looking at (only) a few of Beterbiev's recent fights, it seems he would be a handful for Kovalev even if Sergey didn't exhibit those liabilities. Beterbiev appears much more fundamentally sound than Sergey, and (even aside from the fact Beterbiev can fight in any half/full stance) he is also not without power himself. :)

-brownsugar :

Yvon Michael who is Beterbiev's promoter of record said his fighter just entered Ramadan in June after his last fight, and won't be able to have time to prepare. Also.. Beterbiev just became Bernard Hopkins mandatory. Beterbiev has only had 9 or 10 ten fights so Beterbiev's trainer wants his guy to get one more fight in before fighting the more seasoned Kovalev. Plus gaining a title will only sweeten the pot. Whether Bhop will even defend his title is anyone's guess, but wasn't it Hopkins who last said in a previous article that : Boxing would be a much better sport if everybody just fought their mandatories " ...we will see if Hopkins will take his own advise or simply depart to the business side of of boxing. Beterbiev's braintrust say they want him to fight the mandatory and get Kovalev immediately afterward. Whether its Bhop or a substitute, or the next man in line, ( Chellemba ) is again anyone's guess But make no mistake, Kovalev and Beterbiev is happening, at least provided that Beterbiev can remain undefeated. Chellemba (spelling may be wrong) is a live dog and a spoiler and a top contender neither promoter is talking about. But if he and Beterbiev fight in an eliminator, things could get interesting. ( ask Eddie Chambers).

-brownsugar :

Wow... According to ESPN,... BHOP is going out his way.... nice and mellow, no more earth shattering, brain jarring fights with next-gen killers. Hopkins has reportedly not responded to the alphabet sanctioning body in the alotted time so the eliminator goes to Beterbiev and the next highest ranked (and available) contender which is none other than the elusive defensive wizard Isaac Chelimba. If Beterbiev, the fighter who bears a startling resemblance to the star of the movie "American Beauty", Wes Gently, is successful he becomes the #1 contender to Kovalev's title which will cause the fight To go to a purse bid which is more preferable financially for Al Haymon than merely accepting a contractual offer. Beterbiev has his hands full, Chelimba can be tricky and elusive, ....it won't be a walk over. If he wins, the Kovalev bout looms large.

-StormCentre :

If I were Hopkins, right now I would stay right away from Beterbiev. :)

-amayseng :

No shame in Hopkins at 50 staying away from either Kov or Bet... Can he make 168 healthy? If so he should take on Abraham in what I think is a very winnable fight for him and a title. Then so long retire with yet another title.

-deepwater2 :

1. Beterbiev called out Krusher when he first signed his pro contract. 2. Beter has been calling out Krusher after all of his fights. 3. Beter and his manager say no problem with taking less money because Beter knows his position as the challenger. 4. Beter and his people say that Beter has no ties to showtime, like Stevenson, so there is no problem with making the fight. 5. Duva makes a great offer, $500k and some PPV %. The fight looks like a great possibility! The adviser/manager/ticket broker/payday loan provider,concert promoter steps in...... No fight happening ,just talk of shenanigans and behind the scene schemes and rating manipulations. Thanks !

-StormCentre :

Beterbiev would have to be Kovalev's biggest challenge right now. Beterbiev really looks to be the most complete opponent out there for Kovalev right now, and some of the moves he is pulling off on his (own) opponents echo a pretty loud siren alert. He's a cut above most of Kovalev's typical opponents. So, given all that it's pretty impressive that Sergey/Kathy opted to fight him straight away. Personally, I think there was some strategy in fighting Beterbiev sooner than later on both Krusher and Duva's part; but I can't prove that. In some ways it's good that the fight will be delayed, as now that gives time for the fight to build to bigger proportions, and also for Beterbiev to get into championship condition. If Kovalev can't hurt Beterbiev and make him respect him, then he's in for a tough night with Beterbiev. As Beterbiev - at least on face value - looks to have all the tools to be one of the next truly great light heavyweight fighters. :) :)

-Bernie Campbell :

Yo...Kathy Duva in a thong!!! Get out the salt...pepper..Ketchup!!!! Yum Yum