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Negotiations ongoing for Sergey Kovalev-Jean Pascal

Fighters Network



Negotiations are moving forward for a planned March 14 bout between IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev and former RING/WBC champion Jean Pascal despite the latter’s no-contest this past Saturday against Roberto Feliciano Bolonti at Bell Centre in Montreal.

Click here for a video of Pascal-Bolonti

The bout between Pascal (29-2-1, 17 knockouts) and Bolonti (35-3, 24 KOs) was declared a no-contest in the second round after Bolonti failed to rise from an apparent right hand to the jaw. Bolonti was given oxygen, stabilized and removed from the ring on a stretcher.

Referee Michael Griffin informed that he ruled the fight a no-contest due to the fact that he was in the process of breaking up the fighters. Griffin said he had his hands on both boxers at the time Pascal threw his fight-ending punch (more on this later in this column).

Main Events CEO, Kathy Duva handles Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KOs), and was ringside for Pascal-Bolonti.

“It was hard to tell what happened. I haven’t had the benefit of instant replay and, from where I was sitting, I couldn’t see the screen. This is boxing. Weird things happen,” said Duva, who also met with officials from Pascal’s camp concerning a match that could happen either in Montreal or Quebec City, Canada.

“We’re finalizing details this week and I’m sure that we’ll have details by the end of the week but sometimes, you just have to wait. They’re still trying to find out what building is available. There are still a lot of things that have to happen before we can say everything for sure as far as where it’s going to be and that sort of stuff. We absolutely expect to reach a deal by the end of the week.”

Duva said Kovalev-Pascal is dependent on approval by the IBF given that Kovalev’s mandatory challenger is Nadjib Mohammedi, who is also promoted by Main Events. Duva also said plans are to apply for an exception from the IBF on Monday.

“We had a lot of discussions that had more to do with logistics and nuts and bolts and things like that. The biggest thing that we have to wait on is the IBF. Without that, it’s hard to really go out there and announce something unless we have that in place. We don’t want to overstep,” said Duva.

“So we’re just going to allow that process to go forward and then, we’ll know more when we have that [decision]. The other thing that we’re waiting on is that I still have to have a talk with HBO to make sure that everything is okay on their side. The IBF thing, I can’t really trigger that in motion until I’ve heard from HBO. I’m waiting on that, so that’s the only other thing. I’ve got to do my due diligence.”

Pascal still is the mandatory challenger to face current RING/WBC champion Adonis Stevenson (24-1, 20 KOs), who is scheduled for a Dec. 19 date with Russian Dmitry Sukhotsky in Quebec City. The Bell Centre in Montreal has been placed on hold on for a potential April 4 showdown with Pascal, according to Stevenson’s promoter, Yvon Michel.

Kovalev, 31, is coming off an HBO-televised unanimous decision that added Bernard Hopkins’ IBF and WBA belts to his WBO belt on Nov. 8.

Pascal, 32, won his previous 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.



The following is a statement given to by Griffin regarding his reasoning behind his no-contest determination of Pascal-Bolonti:

“The ruling ended up being a no-contest. They were both exchanging punches on the break and after the breaks after they were ordered to break. I actually had a hand on both fighters at the time the last punch was thrown. Bolonti threw two shots and then Pascal retaliated with a shot. Bolonti went down from it. It didn’t look like it was much of a shot but when he went down, he stayed down.

“He was unable to continue and because the punch came clearly while I was breaking them, I couldn’t award a knockout to Pascal and, you know, I didn’t even start a count. I wanted to access Bolonti and he stayed down for a long time. It was five minutes before we even made an announcement because it took them that long to get him out of the ring. Obviously, it was kind of an unsatisfying finish for everybody but the situation didn’t allow me to award a winner.

“The easy thing for me to do in that situation would have been to just count the guy out…However, he was hit while my hands were on both of the fighters. It’s one thing to not hear me saying break once you have to punch going but it’s another thing to throw the punch when I have my hands on both fighters. So there would have been a guy getting knocked out when I had my hands on both fighters and that’s a different situation.

“With all of those things taken into consideration, I think that the most equitable way to end it and that the best possible result of that fight was a no-contest.”



Former IBF cruiserweight titleholder Steve Cunningham (28-6, 13 KOs) could face Vyacheslav Glazkov (19-0, 12 KOs) in a heavyweight bout either in March or April, said Duva.

“We’ve agreed on it, and I’m sure the fight’s going to happen but it’s really going to come down to HBO giving us the OK, which they’re telling us that they will buy the fight. So then it comes down to where that fight lands,” said Duva.

“We’re still sorting all of that out but HBO has at least agreed to buy the fight. Hopefully, that gets both of them more attention and their stories more attention and everything. That’s another thing that I have to discuss with HBO this week.”

A 38-year-old veteran, Cunningham rose from a fifth-round knockdown to defeat Natu Visinia in his last fight in October. Prior to that, Cunningham unanimously decisioned previously unbeaten Amir Mansour in April, rising yet again from two fifth-round knockdowns before dropping his opponent in the final round.

Glazkov, 30, was last in the ring for last month’s seventh round stoppage of Darnell Wilson that had followed consecutive unanimous and majority decisions over Tomasz Adamek and Derric Rossy in March and August, respectively.

Duva said that Glazkov-Cunningham is being considered for the Kovalev-Pascal undercard if not in support of a potential April 25 defense by RING heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko against Bryant Jennings.

“They could always say that, for example, if that fight happens between Klitschko and Jennings, it might make more sense to stick it on that card,” said Duva. “That has been suggested by the Klitschko camp. We’re happy wherever it lands, just as long as it is on HBO. That would be great.”