By Keith Idec
Kathy Duva obviously would prefer it if there weren’t a boxing card competing against the show her company is promoting the same night in New York.
Roughly 40 years in the brutal boxing business have taught her, however, to focus only on what she can control. Thus far, Main Events’ chief executive officer is pleased with how tickets have sold for her company’s card headlined by an HBO “World Championship Boxing” doubleheader March 3 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
That 11-bout card in Manhattan will feature light heavyweight champions Sergey Kovalev and Dmitry Bivol in separate title defenses.
Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs), the WBO champ, is set to battle fellow Russian Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs), the IBO title-holder, in the main event. Kyrgyzstan’s Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs), the WBA champ, will battle Cuba’s Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) in the opener of HBO’s telecast.
At Brooklyn’s Barclays Center that night, Showtime will televise a tripleheader that’ll be headlined by WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs), who’ll defend his title against former WBA interim champ Luis Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs, 2 NC).
Duva emphasized during a conference call recently that her company’s card was announced before the Barclays Center card was made public. She revealed during a post-fight press conference following Kovalev’s second-round stoppage of Vyacheslav Shabranskyy at The Theater on November 25 that Kovalev would return to that venue March 3.
“Nobody spoke to me,” Duva said regarding the possibility of staging competing cards on the same night in New York. “As you know, we announced this date on the night of Sergey’s last fight back in November. There are many dates that are held throughout the year for boxing events. They do not happen for various reasons. I can only worry about things I can control. Unfortunately, [it’s] one of those things. We’re very happy with the response thus far from the fans with the ticket sales. At this point, we’ve already exceeded what we did last time.
“In fact, that was the case early on, actually, a couple weeks into the sales for the fight. We’re expecting a big, robust crowd. I would advise anyone, especially, really not just the Sergey fans but the boxing fans – this is a great show, top to bottom. It’s not just about coming to see one fight. It’s about coming for the whole night. We will not disappoint you.”
An announced crowd of 3,307 attended the Kovalev-Shabranskyy card November 25 at The Theater, which can accommodate roughly 5,100 fans for boxing. Barclays Center, comparable to Madison Square Garden’s main arena, can hold nearly four times as many fans for boxing events as The Theater.
Tickets to Main Events’ card March 3 at The Theater are priced from $50 to $300 and can be purchased by calling 973-200-7050 or visiting ticketmaster.com.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.