by Sean Crose
Main Events and Interbox promotions have just announced that multi-division light heavyweight champ Sergey Kovalev will be fighting the dangerous former titlist Jean Pascal on March 14th in Quebec, Canada. An official and joint press release from both promotional companies reads:
“The fight is to take place in Montréal or Québec City on Saturday, March 14, 2015, but it is contingent on Pascal prevailing over Bolonti on December 6 and on the IBF granting Kovalev a special exception to postpone his mandatory title defense against Nadjib Mohammedi.”
What that means is Pascal must win his bout against proficient Argentine Roberto Bolonti on Saturday at the Bell Centre if he wants to meet Kovalev in March. It also means that the IBF must give its light heavyweight champ Kovalev permission to postpone a fight with mandated challenger Nadjib Mahammedi.
Provided both scenarios play out as both camps hope, Kovalev-Pascal is on.
“Sergey has made it very clear since the moment we signed him that he only wants to fight the best fighters,” Kovalev’s promoter, Kathy Duva claimed. Indeed Duva, whose really proven herself to be quite the chess player in 2014, couldn’t resist the opportunity to give lineal light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson and his adviser Al Haymon an indirect shot.
“The truth is that these fights are easy to make when both fighters want to be in the big fights and the promoters and managers are willing to be reasonable and work together,” she stated.
Give Kovalev this: he really does seem to want to fight quality opposition.
It’s doubtful anyone will be seeing the Russian’s own version of the Garcia-Salka bout any time soon. In this, Kovalev is like Terrence Crawford, or even Canelo Alvarez – talented fighters who aren’t afraid to put it all on the line repeatedly.
It almost goes without saying at this point that none of those men are under contract to Haymon or Showtime.
As for Pascal, it’s suffice to say the pressure is on for a solid performance this Saturday. Bolonti may not be a household name, but the guy’s no slouch. He may not have the fastest hands either, but Bolonti is effective in the ring. The fighter doesn’t have a perfect record, but he’s only lost three times, and those losses tended to be against top opposition like Tony Bellew.
In other words, Pascal has to contain what must be his great excitement at the moment and focus on the task at hand. Truth be told, Pascal is in the same position Kovalev was last summer, when a bout with Bernard Hopkins was contingent upon Kovalev’s besting Blake Caparello beforehand.
Kovalev was able to get past his foe.
Will Pascal equally up to the task?
A lot of people certainly hope so. Duva will be watching the Pascal-Bolonti fight live and in person on Saturday, just like Hopkins sat at ringside while Kovalev battled Caparello.
“The negotiation with Main Events went quickly and smoothly,” claimed Interbox honcho Jean Bedard. Duva will be Bedard’s guest at Saturday’s fight, one which Bedard undoubtedly hopes will go as smoothly for Pascal as the negotiations did.
Where all this leaves lineal champ Adonis Stevenson is anyone’s guess. Pascal stated via Twitter yesterday that Stevenson’s “wish came true.” Whether Pascal posted the tweet to rub his good fortune in Stevenson’s face or because he truly believes Stevenson doesn’t want to face serious competition is unclear.
One thing is for certain, though – lineal light heavyweight champion or not – Stevenson is currently watching the boxing world pass him by. At this point one can only wonder whether or not Stevenson feels signing with Haymon ended up being all it was cracked up to be.