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Beterbiev’s promoter rejects offer for Kovalev fight

Sergey KovalevBy Allan Fox: Yvon Michel, the promoter for unbeaten 175lb contender Artur Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KOs), has reportedly rejected an offer from Kathy Duva, the promoter for IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, for a fight that she was hoping could take place on November 28th in Moscow, Russia.

Beterbiev instead will fight in an IBF light heavyweight eliminator bout next against an opponent still to be determined to try and become Kovalev’s IBF mandatory challenger. The International Boxing Federation recently ordered Beterbiev and 50-year-old Bernard Hopkins to start negotiations for the IBF eliminator.

They have until August 6th to say whether they’ll agree to the eliminator or not. There’s no word from Hopkins whether he’ll take the fight, but it makes no sense for him to fight in eliminator. He was beaten in his last fight by Kovalev in November of 2014.

The last thing that Hopkins needs is to have to fight what would likely be a grueling fight against Beterbiev just to get another crack at Kovalev. Hopkins probably isn’t going to do that. He’s looking for a big fight now, and he may move down to 168 to try an find one.

“Per Kathy Duva, Beterbiev/@yvonmichel rejected ‘very fair’ offer for Sept. Kovalev fight. Prefer to fight IBF elim rather than for 3 titles,” Dan Rafael said on his Twitter. “Not at all surprised Beterbiev turned down Kovalev fight. But why go for IBF elimination 1st when u can go straight for IBF belt & 2 others?”

Perhaps the reason why Beterbiev is going the eliminator route is because he’ll possibly get a better deal if he becomes Kovalev’s IBF mandatory challenger rather than just a voluntary challenger. When Beterbiev does become Kovalev’s IBF mandatory, it’s possible that it’ll go to a purse bid, and one of the wealthy Russian promoters might look to win the bid. Beterbiev could wind up with a good payday against Kovalev if that happens.

As for Beterbiev’s likely opponent in his IBF eliminator bout, he’s probably going to be facing #4 IBF Erik Skoglund. That would be an easy fight for Beterbiev. He’ll likely destroy Skoglund.

Beterbiev needs more experience before he takes the Kovalev fight. Even if it’s just one more fight, he needs to get all the experience he can get for him to have a better chance at beating him. Beterbiev has two wins over Kovalev in the amateur ranks, but Kovalev has been a pro longer. Beterbiev hasn’t had to fight any long 12 round fights since he turned pro because he’s been knocking everybody out.

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