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 BoxingScene.com 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.
“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 BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.