By Sean Crose
Sergey Kovalev now has one more reason to want to win his battle against Blake Caparello on Saturday. And a big reason it is. According to Dan Rafael of ESPN, Kathy Duva of Main Events Promotions and the IBF have declared that Kovalev will fight none other than the timeless Bernard Hopkins in November provided he emerges victorious this weekend.
“Hopkins, Kovalev and their promoters,” Rafael wrote at ESPN.com, “signed contracts Friday afternoon for the fight a mere 30 hours after the camps opened discussions.” What makes the news so startling – and ironic – is the fact that WBC light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson reputedly avoided WBO champ Kovalev and tried to battle WBA and IBF champ Hopkins instead.
Now that Hopkins is set to meet Kovalev (so long, of course, as Kovalev wins on Saturday), Stevenson finds himself out in the cold. He’s also found himself indirectly bound up in litigation as Kathy Duva, Kovalev’s promoter, has sued Stevenson’s adviser – Al Haymon – as well as his network – Showtime – for Stevenson’s not meeting Kovalev in the ring.
What makes this whole Kovalev-Hopkins contract even more strange, though, is the fact that the fight is going to be broadcast on HBO. Hopkins, after all, has fought on Showtime recently. He also openly admires Al Haymon – the same Al Haymon that’s being sued by Kovalev’s promoter, Kathy Duva.
Confused? No one could blame you for being so. Boxing’s insane “cold war” has led to numerous odd scenarios over time such as this one, scenarios which are so confusing they’re actually headache inducing. Fortunately there is one very clear scenario to over-ride all others at the moment – the fact that Kovalev and Hopkins will meet in a title unifier this fall provided Kovalev wins over Caparello.
Needless to say a Kovalev-Hopkins fight could have far reaching implications throughout the boxing world. Expect to see, hear, and read a lot of things being discussed extensively if Kovalev proves himself the better man this weekend. Will HBO air Al Haymon fighters from here on out? Will fighters be making the jump from HBO to Showtime more frequently now? Will Adonis Stevenson cringe in shame at the irony of his current situation? These are all (or, rather, are mostly) questions fans and analysts alike will expect to have answered.
People need to keep in mind, though, that Kovalev still has to get past his Aussie opponent for the Hopkins’ fight to happen. While it’s true that Caparello isn’t exactly fast or hard hitting, he’s still an undefeated prospect who has slick moves and a fluid, confident style.
It’s also advisable for people to keep in mind that 2014 has thus far been the year of the upset, or the near upset. Chris Algieri. Mauricio Herrera. John Molina. Each of these men either beat or came close to beating someone who was widely assumed to be his better. Will Caparello join that group? Will he knock Algieri off his throne as 2014s King Of The Underdogs? His chances don’t seem promising, but one never knows. After all, a huge career alteration is always one punch away for a professional boxer.
One of two things is going to happen Saturday night. Either Sergey Kovalev is going to find himself set for the opportunity of a lifetime or people are going to start discussing Blake Caparello a whole lot, only to continue to do so into the foreseeable future. Most fight fans are undoubtedly pulling for a Kovalev victory, but it’s good to keep in mind that tides turn quickly in the sport of boxing.
Just ask Adonis Stevenson.