Duva asked to leave Ward interview
ARLINGTON, Texas – The undercard is still being finalized for Sergey Kovalev’s light heavyweight championship against Andre Ward on HBO PPV. But perhaps officials from the respective promotional companies can lend a hand and fill the void.
The embers of a difficult negotiation to make the fight flared on Saturday during a casual media session when Roc Nation Sports exec Michael Yormark had Main Events promoter Kathy Duva escorted out of a ballroom in which Ward was conducting a group interview to promote their Nov. 19 fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
According to several eyewitnesses, when Roc Nation’s Ward (30-0, 15 knockouts) starting his session, Yormark spotted Duva in the back of the room and asked an official from his company to walk Duva out. A Main Events rep said Duva didn’t think it was a big deal and “got a chuckle” out of the whole episode. Yormark tried to downplay the ejection. Moments earlier, Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) had finished conducting his own interview in the very same room when Duva decided to linger into Ward’s session.
“We love Kathy,” Yormark said to laughs when he was asked about the strange episode. “Listen, we’re competitive, too, just like the fighters. Great fights are not easy to make. There were lots of rumors that we had our issues. We didn’t have any issues. It was no different than putting together the fight, last Nov. 19 with Golden Boy (when Canelo Alvarez fought Miguel Cotto).”
A delay to put tickets for Ward-Kovalev on sale ensued when Roc Nation declined to immediately sign off on where the fight was to be held. Duva had a verbal deal to put it at T-Mobile Arena and believed that Roc Nation, in its reluctance, was trying to bring the fight to an alternative site. As a sign of her frustration, Duva blasted Roc Nation at a press conference last month, saying that working with Jay Z’s firm had been a “living hell.” Ward, who declined to show up to the press conference soon after he fought Alexander Brand on Aug. 6, spoke of the “tension” between the two promotional firms on Saturday.
“Who else do (Main Events) have other than Kovalev?” Ward asked. “He’s not only fighting for his life. (Duva’s) fighting for her life. She really needs him to win. And, obviously, Roc Nation is trying to take that next step in the boxing game. There should be some tension. Everybody’s not kumbaya. There’s a lot at stake here.”
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