The boxing world is not thrilled with the July match up between light-heavyweight kingpin Sergey Kovalev and Isaac Chilemba, and that’s putting it mildly. But you can’t blame Kovalev’s team or Main Events for this lackluster bout. The blame should be put on the top 10 ranked light-heavyweights in the world, not named Kovalev. This anti-climactic fight is all their fault.
Several days ago on Wednesday, April 27th, I took part in Isaac Chilemba’s media call. To be honest, I didn’t have too many questions for Chilemba. I know why he took this fight. It’s a chance for a middle tier boxer to cash in and have a crack at the best light-heavyweight in the world.
Chilemba has a minuscule chance of beating Kovalev, but it’s still a chance. Bottom line, Chilemba’s got nothing to lose…except his health, and that is just part of boxing.
Boxrec.com’s top 5 light-heavyweights after Kovalev are: Adonis Stevenson, Andre Ward, Andrzej Fonfara, Eleider Alvarez, and Juergen Braehmer.
During Isaac Chilemba’s media call, I had the chance to ask Main Events CEO, Kathy Duva, if she approached the management of several of these to contenders with the Kovalev fight first. According to her, she did and they gave her the runaround.
“I talked about doing the fight in June in the United States,” said Duva. “I got the usual ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ll do it.’ We got down to agreeing to every term, then was told no.”
Duva was general at first about the fighters that turned down the fight with Kovalev, but she did single a few out. The first was Eleider Alvarez.
“I was approached by people in Interbox about bringing Sergey to Canada to fight Eleider Alvarez,” elaborated Duva. “We thought a deal was going to fall in place, but surprise, surprise, we got turned down.”
Duva also tried to make a deal that would bring Adonis Stevenson to Russia to face Kovalev.
“I got in touch with Yvon Michele and said, ‘Hey listen, if Adonis Stevenson wants to fight in Russia give me a number. What would it take?’ He said, ‘Sure, I’ll get back to you,’ and he didn’t so I called him again and said give me a number and he didn’t. We know where they stand,” said Duva.
I thought it was interesting that Andrzej Fonfara has a fight slated for June with no opponent. He is obviously looking for someone to fight, so why not Kovalev?
Duva had a quick response for me, “We called his [Fonfara’s] people too, and they told us they had a fight in June.”
It would appear that Kathy Duva and Main Events targeted some of the biggest names in the light-heavyweight division, but none of them wanted a piece of Sergey Kovalev.
So fight fans, that’s why you have Sergey Kovalev defending his title against Isaac Chilemba in July. The rest of the light-heavyweight division is convinced that they have no chance at beating Sergey Kovalev.
In fairness, they are probably right.