clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Stevenson-Kovalev debacle

Kathy Duva says she wants to get a deal done to make Stevenson-Kovalev, but the timing isn't right.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Kathy Duva has just responded to Yvon Michel's letter (which was copied to WBN), where Michel had expressed his thoughts on Duva's pulling out of a mandated WBC purse bid for a Stevenson-Kovalev unification bout. It seemed ironic as it has been Duva and Kovalev who have been campaigning for a Stevenson fight, and intimating that Adonis was avoiding the Russian puncher. Despite the fallout, Michel still says that he's willing to discuss a 50-50 deal. He also states that it's Kathy Duva who caused all of this confusion by publicly stating that the recent Pascal fight was the last HBO contracted fight for Kovalev - which in turn prompted the WBC to mandate a rapid purse bid for a unification between Adonis and Sergey. In the letter, Michel writes:

You must have done your deal with HBO just recently because you were quoted, right after the Pascal fight on March 14, 2015, that it was Kovalevs last fight of your current contract with the network. This is one of the reasons we requested the WBC to hold a rapid purse bid since we believed you could freely participate on what has the potential to be the richest light heavyweight fight in boxing history. You certainly knew that agreeing to a new contract with HBO without having their full support to win the bid was jeopardizing the fight from happening.

Duva, in a response letter, explains that they withdrew from the WBC's purse bid because Kovalev is still under contract with HBO (but didn't specifically address whether or not they just re-upped with the network), and that they'd be violating this contract if Sergey were to fight on any other network.

In a letter to Yvon Michel, we proposed to make a voluntary deal for Sergey to fight Adonis Stevenson on HBO or HBO PPV on a 50/50 basis. In this proposal we have included provisions to determine how the various aspects of the promotion would be decided and conducted. These provisions have worked successfully in the past when Main Events participated in co-promotions of bigger events than this one with Top Rank, Golden Boy and Don King, among many others. Based upon Mr. Michel's recent statements to the media, we were very happy to learn that no contractual prohibitions exist that would prevent Adonis from fighting Sergey on HBO. So let's make the fight.

So this is nothing more than a tug-of-war, of sorts. Duva wants the fight to be on HBO because of their contractual obligation, and Michel wants to be able to shop the fight to get the most money. Both letters, from Michel and Duva, contained some shots thrown at the other side, but Duva continues to explain that when they petitioned the WBC to be made a mandatory challenger for Stevenson last December, they expected it to result in a Fall 2015 PPV event. She says things have changed since December - citing three other possible PPVs for the 4th quarter of 2015 and points the finger at Stevenson's "lower-than-expected" attendance and TV ratings in his last outing.

Duva then goes on to say that the "unexpected"' purse bid ordered this month, for a fight that wouldn't take place until late in the year also poses a number of other problems - namely speculative economics. The typical timeline for a purse bid fight is about 90 days. This here would be almost twice that amount of time. So Duva cites fluctuating exchange rates in both Russia and Canada against the U.S. Dollar as making revenue projections even more dangerously speculative this far out from a fight.

To put all of this in layman's terms, Duva is essentially asserting that revenue projections cannot be accurately made in a purse bid that is held now for a fight to happen 6-months from now (particularly considering the global economics in play for sales in Russia and Canada). Take that in conjunction with the fact that both fighters would have interim bouts this summer, and really anything could happen between now and then.

With so much time between the contemplated bout and the bid, we also cannot accept the risk that the winner of the purse bid, who could be any licensed promoter, might default due to unforeseen circumstances, leaving Sergey with nothing. It would be unwise to take such a gamble at this stage in Sergey's career.

Kathy concludes the whole thing with thanking both Yvon Michel and the WBC for trying to make the bout happen, but the timing just didn't work out for a 4th quarter bout. Both sides say they still want and will try to make the fight happen, but as I see it, this fight will likely not take place until 2016. [Insert groans].

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bad Left Hook Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your global boxing news from Bad Left Hook