Hearn to help Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev negotiations

By Boxing News - 07/11/2019 - Comments

Image: Hearn to help Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev negotiations

By Kenneth Friedman: Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn will be assisting Golden Boy Promotions and Main Events to put together the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev fight for September 14 on DAZN, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.

Multi-fight deal being discussed for Kovalev

In order to get the money that Kovalev  wants for the Canelo fight, they’re discussing a multi-fight deal for the Russian fighter on DAZN. This would involve the 36-year-old Kovalev getting a comeback fight on DAZN after he faces Canelo in September.  There could be an additional fight as well for Kovalev. In total, Kovalev could wind up fighting three times for him to get the money that he wants for the Canelo fight.

Sergey Kovalev wants $12 million to face Canelo Alvarez

Kovalev wants $12 million for the Canelo fight, which is twice the $6 million that was offered to him by Golden Boy in their recent offer. What helps Kovalev’s promoters at Main Event argue that he deserves that amount is the $12 million that Canelo’s last opponent former IBF middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs received last May for his fight with the Golden Boy star. However, it’s a little more complicated than that, due to Jacobs being signed with DAZN and Matchroom Boxing USA. Jacobs wasn’t a fighter from a rival network.

Kovalev’s situation is different. He’s with Main Events, and his fights are shown on ESPN. It’s not surprising that his offer by Golden Boy Promotions was far less than what Jacobs received.

Kovalev’s manager Egis Klimas believes that Canelo will receive better value from a fight against Sergey than he did in his recent unification against Jacobs. He points out that Kovalev is a world champion at light heavyweight, and Canelo would be moving up to a new division.

Canelo vs. Kovalev better match than Canelo-GGG says Klimas

Klimas maintains that the Canelo vs. Kovalev fight would be better fight than Canelo-Golovkin due to it being a new weight class for the Mexican star. Canelo would be moving up one weight class from 168, where he holds the WBA ‘regular’, super middleweight title, to 175 to face Kovalev for his WBO light heavyweight title. Canelo also holds the IBF/WBA middleweight titles, and he’s the WBC Franchise 160 pound title. There’s a big difference between where Golovkin was at in his career at the time he fought Canelo for the first time in 2017 compared to where Kovalev is now. GGG was undefeated, and seemingly invincible. In contrast, Kovalev has lost 3 out of his last 6 fights, and he’s starting to show a lot of age at 36. Kovalev fell apart twice against Andre Ward, and was stopped by Eleider Alvarez in the 7th round last year. Kovalev’s wins in the last two years have come against Eleider, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and Igor Mikhalkin. Those are NOT among the elite fighters in the 175 pound weight class.

“Everybody knows Jacobs got $12 million,” Klimas told SI.com. “If you compare the value of that bout to one with the legendary Kovalev, a three-time world champion, plus Canelo coming to a new weight class, that would make him huge. Imagine if Canelo beats him? What value can Canelo can get out of that? And if Kovalev beats Canelo? This is a mega fight. I think this is a better fight than Canelo–[Gennadiy Golovkin]. Everyone says Canelo beat Golovkin. Who else is he going to fight?”

It would be up to DAZN whether they would see it as good value to have Kovalev appear two to three times on their streaming service in order to make the Canelo fight. While it would seem like a reasonable thing to have Kovalev fight two to three times on DAZN, it might not be a good thing if he’s not going to face elite level opposition. For example, if Canelo stops Kovalev in their proposed fight on September 14, DAZN would still need to show one or two more of Kovalev’s fights. It’s easy to imagine that Kovalev’s management would look to put him in with a confidence builder/tune-up level opponent after he loses to Canelo.

Would Kovalev be fighting someone like Igor Mikhalkin or Vyacheslav Shabraynskyy? Unfortunately, that won’t interest the U.S boxing fans. They’ve already seen Kovalev in a lot of mismatches against those type of fighters, and they won’t subscribe to DAZN for those kinds of fights. Canelo vs. Kovalev is a good one off type of fight, but it might not be worth it for DAZN if it would require that they show additional fights for Sergey. It would be worth it if Kovalev were to fight the likes of Bivol, Gvozdyk, Beterbiev, Browne or Callum Smith, but would be willing to face those guys after a loss to Canelo?

This writer can’t see that happening. If he’s not going to fight the best, then it’s not a great deal. Ideally, Canelo should fight some of those fighters next, and not Kovalev. Bivol, Beterbiev, Browne and Gvozdyk are all unbeaten guys, who are younger than Kovalev and looking spectacular. Kovalev is better known than those fighters, because he’s been around longer, but he’s been exposed several times in the last two years in losses to Ward and Eleider Alvarez.

Hearn could match Kovalev against Dmitry Bivol and Callum Smith

If Kovalev insists on having two additional fights on DAZN to make up the money for his match with Canelo, then Hearn has access to Dmitry Bivol and Callum Smith that he can put in with Sergey. DAZN might be interested at showing Kovalev fight those guys. Even if Kovalev is knocked out by Canelo and then Bivol or Smith, it would still be interesting for boxing fans to see all three of his fights. His career would likely be over at that point, but at least he would get the money that he wants for the Canelo fight. If Kovalev is able to reject fights against Bivol and Callum Smith, and pick whoever he wants for his two additional fights on DAZN, then it’s not a good deal for them.

Bivol said earlier on Wednesday that his team attempted to put together a fight with Kovalev, and got no response. That’s not a good sign obviously. If Kovalev is going to drag his feet when it comes to fighting Bivol, then you can imagine that he would do the same thing if Hearn attempted to match him against Callum Smith. The only way it works for Matchroom, Canelo and DAZN to have a three-fight deal with Kovalev is if he fights high quality opposition like Callum and Bivol after he faces Canelo.

Bivol states Kovalev never responded when his representatives attempted to setup fight

“My team has had discussions with representatives with all the other belt holders at light heavyweight—Sergey Kovalev, Artur Beterbiev and Oleksandr Gvozdyk—and there has been no response for these title unification fights that the fans want to see.”

This is definitely not a good sign that Kovalev didn’t respond back when Bivol’s reps attempted to contact him for a unification fight. If Kovalev doesn’t wish to fight Bivol, then who would it be? Sullivan Barrera, Mikhalkin, Jean Pascal or Blake Caparello? If DAZN is going to put together a two to three fight deal with Kovalev in order to get him to agree to a fight with Canelo, they need to make sure that his fights them will be against guys that they want him to face like Bivol, Artur Beterbiev, Marcus Browne or Oleksandr Gvozdyk. It’s hard to imagine Kovalev’s management agreeing to having him fight those guys if he gets beaten by Canelo.