By Keith Idec
It’s unfortunate, but there’s nothing she can do about it.
That’s the approach promoter Kathy Duva is taking to the likely reality that her company’s card March 3 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden will have competition in New York City that night. Another show featuring a main event between WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Cuban contender Luis Ortiz is expected to take place March 3 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Duva’s card, headlined by WBO light heavyweight champ Sergey Kovalev, was officially announced December 22.
Kovalev’s March 3 return to The Theater was revealed immediately after his second-round knockout of Vyacheslav Shabranskyy on November 25. His opponent, fellow Russian Igor Mikhalkin, was secured a few weeks later.
The Wilder-Ortiz show is expected to be announced later this month. The uncommon competing cards will force fans in the New York metropolitan area to choose which card to attend March 3.
“I can’t get upset about things I have no control over,” Duva, Main Events’ CEO, told BoxingScene.com. “I announced on the night of our fight [November 25] that we were going on that date. They had plenty of warning. They chose to go on the same date and I can’t control that. Of course it’s not optimal and it’s definitely something you don’t want to have happen. It’s happening, so what am I gonna do?”
The competing cards also will fragment television viewers.
HBO will televise the doubleheader including Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) and Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs) and another light heavyweight championship match that’ll pit WBA champ Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) against Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs). Showtime will televise the Wilder-Ortiz bout and the super middleweight rematch between former IBF champion Andre Dirrell (26-2, 16 KOs) and Jose Uzcategui (26-2, 22 KOs).
“We made our intentions clear for a long time,” Duva said. “I’ve heard [promoter] Lou [DiBella] saying, ‘Well, we’ve held this date for a long time.’ They hold a lot of dates. That doesn’t mean they use them all. Actually, The Garden holds dates for HBO and they had this date held for a very long time. So what are you gonna do? They’re gonna do what they’re gonna do.
“Look, I like our show. I like our fights. They’re very competitive. Sergey made a big hit with the Russian community in New York [in his last fight]. He finally got the chance to do it. I think they’re gonna be back and I think they’re gonna bring their friends. The other fights on the card are tremendous. And you know [Main Events matchmaker] Jolene [Mizzone], she will always make a terrific undercard. So it’ll be a great show all around and hopefully there will be enough people that’ll recognize that and wanna come.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.