Their rivalry has been simmering away for months now – and although for the time being at least , both men are pursuing different avenues – the war of words between Russian knockout artist Sergey Kovalev and lineal 175 lb champion Adonis Stevenson shows no sign of abating – with Kovalev coming up with a blunt alternative to his rival’s “Superman” moniker.
“Adonis ‘Piece Of Shit’ Stevenson” was his offering to ES News.
Yet in a chat with fighthubtv ahead of his July 25th clash with Nadjib Mohammedi, Kovalev has made it clear that there is really only one fight out there he wants – and that is the one against his Canadian-based rival.
Sadly for both fighters, it’s essentially differing broadcasting deals that have been the sticking point to making the fight happen – with Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva pulling out of a purse bid once already – as should they have lost said bid as expected, they would have then been unable to make the fight on Stevenson’s broadcaster, Showtime.
There is a separate debate to be had about broadcasting contracts, yet it seems Kovalev is acutely aware of his own contractual chains – however the Russian believes that as he owns 3/4 of the straps at 175 lb – it should be he (and Duva) that is calling the shots.
In his words, it’s HBO or no regardless of what Al Haymon, Canadian promoter/manager Yvon Michel and Showtime – who are all affiliated with Stevenson, think.
“This year maybe – maybe I hope – that Stevenson will say yes and he will come to HBO and make the fight. A unified fight for all four titles.”
“We can close this deal. Why not? Welcome to HBO – it’s the best channel in the world, in America you know? We can make this fight. Our purse will be split even – 50/50. What’s the problem? I have 3 title, he has only one.”
“What’s the problem? It means that he is scared. I have tweeted him, ‘let’s go’ but he offered to fight on his turf. No problem, I am ready to fight in Canada – if it is on HBO on your turf. No problem.”
For the fans, the money-men in suits will be – and still are – the ones who will determine the outcome of this fight happening or not. All we can do is apply the pressure.
Fight fans are being – and have been throughout the history of boxing – denied some of the biggest fights that can be put together for a host of “behind-the-scenes” reasons. People will say that the networks worked together as recently as May for Mayweather/Pacquiao – but one has to consider the sheer revenues involved for them to be able to do that and make it what they consider ‘worthwhile’.
And as a Brit, I’m probably not best placed to be talking about US broadcasting, yet such problems exist here too, with Matchroom and Frank Warren operating exclusively on the Sky and Boxnation platforms respectively.
Warren touches on the broadcasting/promoters/sanctioning bodies issue and the relationship between them in his latest interview with iFLtv. Well worth a look.
Yet as I said before, that’s really a separate debate.
As far as Kovalev/Stevenson goes?
The wait for the fans goes on….