by David P. Greisman
Bernard Hopkins has derailed young fighters before, such as with his win over Kelly Pavlik nearly six years. Hopkins, now 49, will be facing fellow light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev this fall, and Kovalev’s promoter said that fighters and promoters shouldn’t have concerns about taking defeats in challenging fights.
“You know something: Ray Leonard fought Roberto Duran early in his career. Most of you probably don’t even remember he lost that fight,” said Kathy Duva of Main Events immediately after Kovalev topped Blake Caparello in two rounds this past Saturday. “You can’t fear losing and back down from a challenge. Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran, Tyson, Lewis, Holyfield. That whole crew of fighters, if they had said, ‘Oh geez, well it’s not going to be good for my brand if I lose,’ what the hell happens to this sport?
“The whole idea is you get in the ring and you fight the best and you test your skill, and when that happens when two great fighters get in the ring, there is no loser because both will have a career and both will move on. I bet none of you realize that when you think of it off the top of your head: What’s the biggest win Mike Tyson ever had in his career? It’s probably, what, Michael Spinks or Larry Holmes. He lost big fights. But he’s Mike Tyson, because he took them. So I have no reservations.”
Earlier in the conversation, she’d said that Kovalev has wanted a fight with Hopkins and that it is a bout Main Events had actively pursued.
“Sergey has said from the start: He just wants to fight the very best. He just wants to test his skills against the very best. He just wants to be in big fights. I think that’s the mark of great fighters. That’s all they want to do is be in big fights.”
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