By Bill "Two Scoops" Emes
Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, who promotes WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (23-0-1, 21KOs), held nothing back when discussing the recent turn of events with WBC champion Adonis Stevenson (23-1, 20KOs).
Earlier this year, Duva believed that she reached an agreement with Yvon Michel, promoter of Stevenson, to have their boxers unify in the fall. Both fighters were going to take interim-fights to continue building it up.
Kovalev returns on Saturday night against Cedric Agnew in Atlantic City. Stevenson is back on May 24 against Andrzej Fonfara in Montreal.
But a few weeks ago Duva, and HBO, began to worry when Stevenson signed a deal with powerful adviser Al Haymon. Early last year, HBO broke their business ties with Haymon and Golden Boy Promotions. Haymon, and the Golden Boy stable, fight primarily on network rival Showtime.
In the last few days, it became clear that Showtime had come to the table with a much bigger monetary bid to acquire the rights to Stevenson-Fonfara.
After days of negotiations, HBO ultimately passed and now Stevenson-Fonfara appears to be heading to Showtime.
Because he is heading to Showtime, Stevenson is now in position to go after the fight he truly wants - a unification with IBF champion Bernard Hopkins, who himself is booked next month for a unification bout with WBA king Beibut Shumenov.
"About two months ago, we made a deal. We had a deal with Yvon Michel. We had a deal with HBO. We all got on the phone together in Atlantic City for a fight that we had on January 24th. I walked around that day very happy because we had a deal. I had really not been concerned that Adonis was going to fight or not, because I was told by his promoter that he was willing to do so," Duva told BoxingScene.com.
"We've seen his interviews. We've seen how he acts when Sergey Kovalev's name comes up. We see his mouth move but all we hear is quack, quack, quack coming out. Did he make the ultimate move to make sure the fight doesn't happen? He probably did. Who in the world is better in making sure the public doesn't see the fight they really want to see than his new manger, so yeah I got a little concerned [when he signed with Haymon]."
"I think that every time I saw Adonis Stevenson asked whether he wanted to fight Sergey Kovalev, he began to stutter. I think he had no desire to fight him. I think it's quite clear he had no desire to fight him. He went and made the one move that he could make [in preventing a Kovalev fight] by running to a rival network and with a manager who is known as an obstructionist. Yes he got his wish, he doesn't have to fight Sergey Kovalev right now. But I don't know if he can avoid him forever. Sergey Kovalev is going to have a brilliant career. He is must-see TV."
Duva is rallying the fans, and the boxing press, to apply as much pressure as possible on Stevenson, on a daily basis, until he caves in and agrees to fight Kovalev.
"I want to say this to the fans who are disappointed. And I want to send this message loud and clear. If you want to give him a pass and let him fight a guy who is 49-years-old instead of the guy you want to see. If you sit back and say 'well it's okay, he's fighting a legend.' If you don't want to send him messages on Twitter every day asking him why won't he fight Sergey Kovalev. If you reporters don't want to ask him, every time that you're in the room with him, why won't he fight Sergey Kovalev - then you don't deserve to seem him fight Sergey Kovalev," Duva said.
"When the deal was made for Mike Tyson to fight Evander Holyfield. And I'm talking about the deal before [Tyson] went away [to jail]. And that deal got made because people kept coming up to Mike Tyson in the streets and asking him why he was ducking Holyfield. And one day Mike Tyson got tired of being called a duck. If people want to ask Adonis Stevenson why he is ducking Sergey Kovalev, they should."