Could Sergey Kovalev fight Chavez Jr., Ward or Froch?
Sergey Kovalev could pursue big fights against ex-middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., RING super middleweight champion Andre Ward or IBF 168-pound titleholder Carl Froch or RING light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, his handlers surmised during a conference call last week.
In addition, WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin has been all but dismissed as an immediate consideration by Kovalev’s manager Egis Klimas and Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events.
Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 knockouts) is coming off an HBO-televised unanimous decision that added Bernard Hopkins’ IBF and WBA belts to his WBO belt on Nov. 8.
“Sergey’s going to fight again in March and that’s what we’re working on. It’s a little too early to say against whom,” said Duva. “I’m collecting information and talking to people from HBO and we’re going to sit down with Las Vegas and see what we’re going to do. Then we’re going to sit down with Sergey and we’ll know.”
Stevenson left HBO for network rival Showtime in March, presumably to pursue Hopkins. That left Kovalev, who is aligned with HBO, lamenting “a lost opportunity to knock out” Stevenson. Ironically, in August, Hopkins detoured from Showtime for the shot at Kovalev.
Although Stevenson’s promoter, Yvon Michel, has expressed interested in a fight with Kovalev “in 2015,” Duva said he has yet to contact him toward making that fight a reality.
“All that I see is stories that say, ‘Yeah, we’re going to fight Kovalev in 2015.’ If they want to fight Sergey, they know how to reach me. Nobody has called me. Nobody has talked about it. You see a lot of stuff in the press,” said Duva.
“I think that the latest story I saw said, ‘Yeah, we’re interested in that fight in 2015.’ It’s still 2014 and nobody has been making any overtures about fighting Sergey in 2015. I understand that Stevenson has got a mandatory to take care of and that’s what he’s working on, so we’re not going to worry about that now.”
THE CASE AGAINST STEVENSON
In his last fight in May, Stevenson won a spirited unanimous decision over Andrzej Fonfara, scoring knockdowns in the first and fifth rounds and rising from the canvas himself in the ninth. Stevenson, 37, is 14-1, with 13 knockouts in his past 15 fights, and had stopped 10 consecutive opponents entering his fight with Fonfara.
The next appearance for Stevenson, who signed with adviser Al Haymon in February, is slated for Dec. 19 against Russian Dmitry Sukhotsky.
A winner of four straight bouts, Sukhotsky last suffered defeat by unanimous decision in July 2012 to Cornelius White, whom Kovalev dropped three times in the final round of a third-round stoppage victory in June 2013.
Given that Sukhotsky’s credentials include a second-round stoppage of Kovalev’s mandatory challenger, Nadjib Mohammedi, from October 2011, Duva strongly believes that to be a fight Stevenson could lose. Beyond Sukhotsky, Stevenson has a mandatory defense against Jean Pascal.
“We’re not interested in Stevenson; we’re interested in the WBC title and when the time comes and we can fight for it, then we don’t know who is going to be holding that WBC title,” said Klimas. “So that’s what we’re going to be aiming for. But right now, it’s too early to predict. Who is going to be holding the title, we can not predict that.”
Mohammedi recently signed with Main Events.
“Mohammed is obviously in the picture,” said Duva. “But whether that’s next or whether that’s going to be somewhere after, we don’t know.”
THE CASE FOR CHAVEZ, WARD AND FROCH
Kovalev, 31, took a run of 13-0-1, with 13 knockouts into his clash with Hopkins and was mentioned for potential bouts against Chavez, Ward or Froch.
A former WBC middleweight titleholder, Chavez has fought as high as 173-pounds; Ward is THE RING’s No. 2-rated fighter pound-for-pound as well as the WBA 168-pound beltholder and Froch is rated No. 8 pound-for-pound and No. 1-rated at 168.
“Looking at the big picture. Looking at something in a year for a big fight, of course we’re looking for the big fights. Much closer would be the big fight like the possibilities of a pay-per-view fight [but] Chavez Jr. [is] having a problem staying at 168,” said Klimas.
“Maybe he will move up to 175. Andre Ward doesn’t look like he has a problem at 168 making the weight but he may be considering moving up to 175.”
Duva added Froch to the discussion.
“Another one that I can throw in there is Carl Froch, who might decide to move up. Maybe not now but, again, he’s looking for big fights as well,” said Duva. “There is a big pay-per-view market over there in England, so that’s another possibility in the distance unless he retires. But you never know.”
THE CASE AGAINST GOLOVKIN
Although Kovalev appears destined to one day fight as a cruiserweight, if not heavyweight, Golovkin’s cornerman, Abel Sanchez likes Kovalev-Golovkin.
“Of course we would” want that fight said Sanchez, who once trained Kovalev, “especially if it’s a pay-per-view fight down the road.”
But Klimas is adamant that Kovalev-Golovkin has little chance of ever happening.
“With Golovkin, you’re talking about one guy who is at 160 and one guy who is at 175. So let’s talk about the rumors and let’s talk about the crazy stuff. Why would we talk about Golovkin?… That’s crazy. I cannot see it,” said Klimas.
“This is two different weight classes. I can’t see that fight happening at any point. I really do not because of the weight difference. That’s my opinion. There are fights that are much more making sense than to be talking about Gennady Golovkin.”
Golovkin was just in action for last month’s second-round stoppage of Marco Antonio Rubio, representing the 12th defense of his WBA middleweight title as well as his 18th consecutive knockout.
Slated to face Martin Murray in his next fight on Feb. 21 in Monte Carlo, Golovkin, 32, had been a consideration for Hopkins at somewhere between 168 and 170-pounds had Hopkins got beyond Kovalev.
“I look at it a little bit differently. I’ve learned that anything can happen and that it happens all of the time. If it did happen, it would happen years from now, when Golovkin has moved up and has felt comfortable at the weight. So far, Golovkin is not really worth talking about,” said Duva.
“Sergey has made it clear that he wants to own the division. He wants all of the titles and he wants to keep the titles that he has and defend his mandatories. Of course we want the big fights but it takes two people to make the big fights and if others are not inclined to have the big fights, then Sergey’s going to have mandatory obligations, then he’ll have to take care of them. It’s all good.”
Kovalev wants to become the undisputed champion at 175 pounds.
“I have to totally clean up the division,” said Kovalev. “I have my goal to win the WBC title.”