By Victor Salazar
New York - Sergey Kovalev (33-2-1, 30 KO’s) was once considered the best light heavyweight in the world. His last two fights have changed that opinion.
While chasing a fight with WBC champion Adonis Stevenson that never came to life, Kovalev fought Andre Ward twice.
The first fight with Ward was a controversial twelve round decision loss and the rematch from this past June, was a stoppage win for Ward that some say ended controversially as well.
Kovalev is now on the comeback track to become the man in the division. With Ward retiring, Kovalev’s promoter feels he can become the man in the division once more, especially because of the talent in the weight class.
“It’s a beautiful division and there are a lot of fights to make,” Duva told BoxingScene.com “We have our work cut out for us since we are working with Sullivan Barrera and Dmitry Bivol and I think all three of our light heavyweights will be in the picture for title shots. Everyone’s going to start fighting and Sergey’s is back to being the man so it’s fun.”
Kovalev makes his return November 25th in The Theatre at Madison Square Garden against Slava Shabransky (19-1, 16 KO’s), live on HBO. The division seems wide open and with many fighters being with separate promoters, there might be an issue with making the best fights.
With a one loss elimination tournament like the World Boxing Super Series in the forefront, the format could be used as a possible solution to make the best fights at 175.
However, Duva feels Kovalev collected 3 titles without the tournament and feels he can do it again without the tournament.
“Sergey managed to collect three titles without a tournament and from his perspective that’s what we’re going to try and do,“ explained the promoter. "The young guys in the division are real fighters and we’ll get deals done”
Kovalev unified the WBO, WBA, and IBF versions of the light heavyweight championship. The one that alluded him was the WBC which still belongs to Stevenson (29-1, 24 KO’s). Duva feels the ship has sailed on that fight and wonders what Stevenson is doing with his career.
“As far as Stevenson, if I had a nickel for every time he said he wants the fight, we literally went through everything and then he says [manager] Al [Haymon] said he didn’t want to do it. I think this week he’s 40, so happy birthday Adonis. So he’s 40 and I just don’t know what his future is and I don’t think he does either. That story is sadly played out and gone. It would have been terrific and apparently he didn’t want to make history."
Stevenson has been ordered to make a mandatory defense against undefeated Eleider Alvarez, which is slated to happen in the coming months.