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Deal reached for Sergey Kovalev-Jean Pascal on March 14

02
Dec

Sergey Kovalev vs Bernard Hopkins 8 fukuda

 

A deal has been reached for WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev to face former RING/WBC champion Jean Pascal on March 14 in either Montreal or Quebec City, Canada, Main Events CEO Kathy Duva informed RingTV.com on Tuesday.

Duva confirmed preliminary talks with the promoter of Pascal (29-2-1, 17 knockouts), Jean Bedard of Interbox, last week toward a potential clash between with Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KOs) to be televised on HBO in the United States and pay per view in Canada.

Duva said the deal is contingent on two things, one being approval by the IBF given that Kovalev’s mandatory challenger is Nadjib Mohammedi, who is also promoted by Main Events. The other is that Pascal must win his upcoming bout with Roberto Feliciano Bolonti on Saturday at Bell Centre in Montreal.

“We have agreed to this fight with Jean Pascal, pending his success this weekend and pending the approval of the IBF, which we are applying for today,” said Duva, whose attorney, Pat English intends to contact the IBF on the matter.

“It will be on March 14 either in Montreal or Quebec City; we’re not sure yet. If the Bell Centre is not available, then we’ll go to the Pepsi Coliseum [in Montreal.] So it’s all good and we’ve got the fight that we want.”

Kovalev is coming off an HBO-televised unanimous decision that added Bernard Hopkins’ IBF and WBA belts to his WBO belt on Nov. 8.

Pascal won his last fight in January by unanimous decision over former IBF super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute, representing Pascal’s third straight victory since losing his RING and WBC titles via unanimous decision to Hopkins in May 2011. During that time, Pascal has also scored a unanimous decision over Aleksy Kuziemski and a fifth-round knockout of George Blades.

“Sergey has made it very clear since the moment we signed him that he only wants to fight the best fighters. I promised after his demolition of Bernard Hopkins that the next one would be for the money. I’m thrilled to work with Interbox to bring boxing fans the ‘Krusher’ versus Jean Pascal, which delivers on both fronts,” said Duva.

“The truth is that these fights are easy to make when both fighters want to be in the big fights and the promoters and managers are willing to be reasonable and work together. It’s nice to be able to sit down with someone and to work out a deal that both sides want to get done. Both sides wanted to make the deal and there was very little back and forth.”

Pascal, 32, is willing to pass up his position as the mandatory challenger to the WBC belt owned by RING champion and countryman Adonis Stevenson (24-1, 20 KOs), who is slated for a Dec. 19 date with Russian Dmitry Sukhotsky in Quebec City.

“Sergey wants to fight the biggest fights and, apparently, that’s what Pascal wants to do too. I don’t know what his reasoning was,” said Duva, “but both his manager, Greg Leon, and his promoter, Jean Bedard, came to me and said, ‘This is the fight that we want.’ Pascal has his own promotional company, Jean Pascal Promotions, but he also works with Interbox, so Jean Bedard is the one who came and made the deal.”

To that end, Duva will apply for an exception with the IBF, which, if granted, would allow Kovalev to face Pascal, according to IBF Championships Chairman Lindsey Tucker.

“Our position is that Kovalev has to do the IBF’s mandatory; that’s what the agreement was when we approved him and Hopkins because Hopkins’ mandatory was overdue,” said Tucker. “But they do have the option of asking for an exception and if the board grants it, then Kovalev would be able to fight Pascal.”

Duva said that the IBF’s board has to vote, a process that “usually takes about 10 days.”

Having won his first fight under trainer Abel Sanchez, a first-round stoppage of Demetrius Walker on Nov. 8, Mohammedi “appears absolutely fine to wait and to have a little more time to work with Sanchez,” said Duva.

“Mohammedi actually said to us that he prefers to have more time and he’s already asked for it. He has sent a letter and said that he wants more time to work with Abel,” said Duva. “We’ll put Mohammedi on the same card and he’ll get more exposure and he’ll have more time to become more comfortable. So hopefully, everybody’s happy.”

If the IBF does not approve, “Then we will honor the IBF commitment,” said Duva in an earlier interview with RingTV.com. “But hopefully, this is one of those cases where if it’s what everybody wants, then why not?”

If Mohammedi steps aside, however, the IBF could still opt to determine another mandatory challenger for Kovalev, according to Tucker.

“In my opinion, that could mean that [Mohammedi] just doesn’t want the fight,” said Tucker. “We could move on to the next guy but they’re entitled to ask for an exception. We have heard that they will send the request but we have not received it yet.”

In anticipation of Stevenson-Pascal, the Bell Centre in Montreal had been placed on hold on for a potential April 4 showdown, according to Stevenson’s promoter, Yvon Michel.

“The negotiation with Main Events went quickly and smoothly, so I know we’ll be able to organize a high-caliber fight and a great night of boxing,” said Bedard. “After a pretty mediocre 2014 so far, we’re preparing to offer Quebec boxing fans one of the best fights we could make in the entire division.”

Stevenson, 37, already had lost an opportunity to unify the division with Hopkins to Kovalev, 31. That scenario is another in a strange turn of events, which origin was in March, when Stevenson bolted for Showtime from network rival HBO presumably to pursue a shot at Hopkins.

Ironically, in August, Hopkins detoured from Showtime for a unification fight with Kovalev.

“I will have to go to Canada this weekend and we’re going to be there for Pascal’s fight,” said Duva. “We’re going to meet with the Interbox people and we plan to move ahead, quickly, contingent on the IBF.”

 

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