By Victor Salazar
New York -“The Krusher” Sergey Kovalev (33-2-1, 30 KO’s) makes his return on November 25th at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
This will be Kovalev’s return to regular HBO and more importantly his return to the ring since suffering his two losses at the hands of Andre Ward (32-0, 16 KO’s). But Kovalev’s team and promoter feels that there is a lot left in the former unified light heavyweight champion. Even so much that it was difficult finding a return appointment for the Russian fighter.
“[Matchmaker] Jolene [Mizzone] had gone through a search for virtually any light heavyweight in boxing and it got to a point where people weren’t even asking how much money there was involved, they were just turning down the fight,” Main Events CEO Kathy Duva told BoxingScene.com. “Some were asking for much more than what was reasonable. We called my good friend Robert Diaz of Golden Boy and we had a deal in less than an hour."
Kovalev returns against the rugged Slava Shabransky (19-1, 16 KO’s) in New York. Kovalev’s last two fights have been in Las Vegas. Kovalev returning to the East Coast and fighting in New York could become something of the norm, according to Duva.
“The Garden came to me after the fight with Ward and they told us they wanted to get into the Sergey Kovalev business,” explained the promoter.
With the last 2 outcomes of Kovalev’s previous fights and with the dubious 118-110 scorecard turned in two weeks ago in favor of Canelo Alvarez in the bout with Gennady Golovkin, Duva feels a trip to Las Vegas might not fare well for Eastern European fighter.
“With an invitation like that (From Madison Square Garden) and after our experiences in Vegas, I don’t think anyone from Eastern Europe should want to go there. Sergey wanted to come here and they wanted us here and it seemed like the right time to do so. I think the division is about to heat up.”
With that being said, Duva understands that some fights need to take place in Vegas and that eventually she will have to return to Las Vegas because of the nature of the business in the sport of boxing.
“I can’t stand here to say I won’t go to Vegas, it’s the fight business and at times we’re going to have to go to Vegas. In 1986. Marvin Hagler said after his fight with Sugar Ray Leonard, ‘What do you expect it’s Vegas.’ Nothing’s changed,” Duva said.