Tomorrow’s light heavyweight title rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev is truly an elite level fight worthy of your PPV dollars — one between two top pound-for-pound fighters — but that doesn’t mean it’s garnering the attention that it probably should.
Lance Pugmire of the LA Times reports that Ward-Kovalev 2 has been struggling to sell out the 10,300 Mandalay Bay, mentioning that there are also additional concerns that the fight might not even reach the 160,000 PPV buys of their first meeting last November, which wasn’t a commercial success.
To that end Main Events promoter Kathy Duva has expressed her disappointment in helping put together a great fight for fans, who with the help of the treacherous media, have expressed more general interest in the novelty fight that is Mayweather-McGregor.
“The question I’ve gotten most often is ‘Do you think this fight should be bigger?’” Kovalev promoter Kathy Duva said. “I looked on Google today and it’s all Mayweather and the circus. … It’s a kick in the teeth. … This is the fight everybody asks for: The best fighting the best.”
Oddly enough, even though Duva urged the boxing media to keep the attention where it rightfully belongs, on a legitimate championship-level fight, her own fighter abruptly walked off stage during yesterday’s final press conference - not making himself available for interviews or the standard face-off, which sort of hinders promotional material.
When it was Kovalev’s turn to talk at the podium, he kept it extremely brief, right before delivering an ominous threat to Ward, point directly at him and telling him to “get prepared” (presumably for the ass kicking he’s been promising for months).
Kovalev’s manager attributed that walk-off to Kovalev’s frustration over the fact that he feels Ward hasn’t been holding up his end of the promotional responsibilities, mainly because he has a high guaranteed minimum purse no matter how many PPVs the fight sells.
“At our first fight, Sergey did so much [promotion], being the champion. At this one, he doesn’t feel Ward is doing enough,” manager Egis Klimas said. “Ward has a sugar daddy who pays him $7 million.”
That aside, the Mayweather-McGregor announcement has been something of a bombshell to a number of rival promoters, with expectations that the fight, slated for Aug. 26, will adversely impact Cotto-Kamegai which scheduled on the same day, as well as September’s big showdown between Canelo Alvarez and Genndy Golovkin -- but not before it does it’s damage to tomorrow’s fight by undermining the home stretch of their promotional efforts.
“Of course it’s bad for boxing,” Duva said of Mayweather-McGregor. “It’s going to suck up all the air in the room. You’re all going to write about it. People will get all excited. And the casual fans we always want to bring into the tent are going to be disappointed again, and it’s going to be years before they want to see another boxing event.”
The fact is, Mayweather-McGregor is big news whether we like it or not. That’s already been made evident by the amount of media coverage the fight’s received across the board. And yes, tomorrow’s fight between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev is undoubtedly a much better fight that you should tune-in for if you’re a real fan of boxing. But Duva, her team, and everyone else involved in this promotion could’ve probably done themselves a few more favors to raise the profile of tomorrow’s fight.