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Kathy Duva: Sergey Kovalev plans to fight on, talks current status of Main Events roster

The veteran promoter is still punching, and expects her current top star to do the same.

Canelo Alvarez v Sergey Kovalev - Final News Conference Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

New Jersey-based promoter Kathy Duva checked in and gave us her thoughts on her fighter, Sergey Kovalev, after the dust has fully settled following the Russian’s outing against Canelo Alvarez.

Canelo sprung a flurry on Kovalev, age 36, in Las Vegas on Nov. 2, and scored a stoppage victory in round 11.

Duva gave us some follow up info on the loser, who dropped to 34-4-1.

First off, some physical housekeeping. Duva said she and manager Egis Klimas made Kovalev go to the hospital to get checked out, and he checked out OK. So, physically he’s fine. Mentally, sure, he’s bummed. He wanted to win, hello.

“Of course he’s quite disappointed, because wow, he came so close,” she said. “But he fought a great fighter, he made one mistake, Canelo made him pay, that’s how it works.”

And what didn’t work: many of us expected to see more attempts with the right hand from Sergey. Was Duva struck by that as well? She and I had discussed prior how Kovalev would use that punch, but he didn’t unholster the right so often.

“Well, yeah, listen, all praise to Canelo, he took it away from him. That’s what the chess match is about, it’s about taking away your opponent’s strongest asset,” Duva said. “In the end, we thought Sergey’s right hand would be the determining factor, Canelo thought his body punching would be the determining factor. Turns out neither one of them was. Sergey took the body shots and Canelo shut down his right hand. So, that’s why they fight the fights, not what anybody would have ever expected.”

And, to the future; I saw one or two opinionators saying Kovalev should retire. Is that an option?

“In the end, the decision is his, but in the ring he told me he was going to fight again. So I don’t expect he’s going to change his mind. It was Canelo’s speed that made the difference in the end. Sergey’s not going to encounter that speed with bigger guys.”

Yep, she thought about speed in the lead-up, and she knew it would be hard to simulate that in the gym. Bigger guys who could hang with Sergey wouldn’t be likely to possess the hand speed that the Mexican does. Canelo was, then, ”a problem Sergey didn’t have experience with.” And Kovalev, with a “bigger, slower” foe, he will be able to use that right hand again.

“I think people have got to take a deep breath and (remember) this sport has everything to do with styles. Be mindful of the fact that this guy has four losses, and three were to the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. This doesn’t mean you can’t do it anymore, that’s insane. That’s just people reacting emotionally and not really thinking about what happened. Going into the 11th round, many people had him winning the fight. How do you go from that to, ‘Well, it’s time to retire.’ It doesn’t make any sense!”

Main Events has some other people they are high on. Heavyweight Cassius Chaney (17-0), it seems, has made a leap.

These videos suggest someone we should keep tighter tabs on:

Then, Evan Holyfield has whetted appetites. Also, another 17-0 guy, Bakhram Murtazaliev, is edging up the ratings boards, and should soon be snagging a title shot opportunity. Plus, 13-0 middleweight Meiirim Nursultanov, like Murtazaliev an Egis Klimas client, is also edging up the ratings ladder.

And Duva noted something that we often forget: in 2012, Main Events hadn’t hooked on with the man they’ve hitched the big wagon to, Kovalev, as yet. So whether it be a prospect graduating to contender status, or a fighter who hasn’t presented his or herself onto their radar screens, talent does get replenished, if you know where to look, and you have an existing infrastructure, which includes positive relationships with people who help make magic and good business. Message: don’t assume Kovalev is done, and same goes for Main Events.

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