Tuesday, October 03, 2023  |


Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward have a deal. Now, all they have to do is win

Fighters Network
Sergey Kovalev (R) en route to an eighth-round stoppage of Jean Pascal last March. Photo by Herby Whyne.

Sergey Kovalev (R) en route to an eighth-round stoppage of Jean Pascal last March. Photo by Herby Whyne.














Promoters don’t usually like to look ahead when they have an existing fight to worry about. But the looming pay-per-view event between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward in November is so big that it’s hard not to talk about.

The agreements for Kovalev and Ward have been signed. The deal-points have been worked out down to the size of the ring. All that remains is finalizing a date in late November and the venue, with New York (Madison Square Garden), Las Vegas (MGM Grand) and Atlantic City (Boardwalk Hall) the leading candidates so far, Kathy Duva, who handles Kovalev, told RingTV.

“And of course they have to win their fights,” Duva said with a laugh.

Yes, for the light heavyweight championship to happen, both Kovalev and Ward have to win their respective bouts.

Ward is fighting March 26 in Oakland, California. And Duva says that if Kovalev is successful Saturday against Jean Pascal in Montreal, he will likely have a homecoming fight in Moscow in June.

(Duva said that negotiations to face WBC light heavyweight titlist Adonis Stevenson for June have broken down over loyalty the boxers have to their respective networks, HBO and Showtime.)

So Duva will take her seat at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday and with baited breath to watch Kovalev tangle with Pascal again.

Of course, she’s been in this scenario before. Duva was ringside as Kovalev had to beat Blake Caparello in the summer of 2014 to secure a big-ticket bout with Bernard Hopkins later that year. Kovalev was knocked down in the first round (Caparello stepped on his foot as he landed a punch) but got up and decked Caparello three times before the match was stopped in the second.

“The guy stepped on his foot and pushed him,” Duva said. “Things happen and you always worry about that. You could have the best fighter in the world and crazy things can happen, so that’s part of the risk and what makes it exciting.”

Duva didn’t want to speculate on Ward’s ability to make it to November’s fight. Ward had to pull out of a bout last November with a knee injury and has fought just three times since 2011 primarily because of promotional issues.

“When you make a deal that’s a year in advance because this was all signed last year you understand that lots of things can happen,” she said. “They both have lots of things they have to do to get there but the framework is in place. The material points have all been agreed upon. All of the stuff we would argue about down to the size of the ring has all been hashed out and agreed to. It’s down to going to the site that’s most economically feasible. There’s nothing there that’s going to kill the deal. It’s just a matter of them doing what they have to do and remaining healthy.”



Mitch Abramson can be reached at [email protected]





You can subscribe to the print and digital editions of THE RING Magazine by clicking here. On the cover this month: A look ahead to a possible showdown between star middleweights Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. You can also order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues on our subscribe page.