HBO Might Not Air Kovalev-Alvarez Rematch; Negotiations Ongoing

By Keith Idec

HBO has televised Sergey Kovalev’s past 14 fights either live on the network or on pay-per-view.

Kovalev’s streak of consecutive appearances on that premium cable network could end there. Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, Kovalev’s promoter, told on Friday that the network has declined its contractual option to air a light heavyweight championship rematch between Kovalev and Eleider Alvarez, who knocked out Kovalev in the seventh round August 4 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Duva and Peter Nelson, HBO Sports’ executive vice president, are negotiating to air a second WBO light heavyweight title bout between Kovalev and Alvarez for a lower license fee.

kovalev-alvarez (1)_1

“There’s a quirk in the contract and basically it gives them the right to that fight for a much higher number than they would wanna pay,” Duva said. “So what they’re doing is just a maneuver in negotiations. They still have the right to match [another offer]. They’re just keep their options open. That’s basically what they’re doing. They have the matching rights.”

Russia’s Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) exercised his contractual option recently for an immediate rematch versus Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs), which must take place by February. Duva can shop the Kovalev-Alvarez rematch to competing networks, but HBO has the right to match whichever offers she receives.

“We’re in the middle of negotiations right now,” Duva said. “However this turns out, we’ll see. I don’t wanna get into a whole bunch of stuff about our negotiations, what’s going on and any of that stuff. But once we have a deal, everybody will know.”

The 35-year-old Kovalev was beating the Colombian-born, Quebec-based Alvarez on all three scorecards – 59-55, 59-55 and 58-56 – when Alvarez floored Kovalev thanks to a right hand that landed to the side of his head in the seventh round of their scheduled 12-rounder for Kovalev’s WBO 175-pound title. Kovalev got up from that knockdown, but Alvarez dropped him twice more before referee David Fields stopped the action at 2:45 of the seventh round.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing. 

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Superbee on 09-07-2018

I wonder why Duva has anything to say in it anymore ... Alvarez won, Alvarez sets the rules for the rematch... Screw HBO... Kovalev has to bow, take a knee, oblige to the new king or just duck as he…

Comment by Brettcappe on 09-06-2018

With a decent undercard bout this fight will garner better than average ratings. If HBO bails then another network or platform will step up. Kovalev is no longer in his prime but with a competitive co-main, this fight will produce!

Comment by a5pe4 on 09-04-2018

Forget HBO if they aren't gonna air the fight or boxing as a whole. On the next network. Plenty of other places for this fight to go.

Comment by miked85 on 09-04-2018

IRONY Since Duva time and time again would Claim loyalty to hbo and not entertain fights on showtime including kovalev vs Adonis cause hbo she felt was superior and she wanted to stay loyal to them, instead of making the…

Comment by strykr619 on 09-01-2018

HBO wants that GoT international syndication revenue, sports doesn't pay out like that, hell they just dumped all their soft-core **** they had running since they started in the early 80's because it didn't make them any money.

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