By Dan Ambrose: IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev has inked a 3-fight contract with HBO Boxing, and the first fight of his contract will be against Jean Pascal on 1/30 next year. That’s if the contract can be worked out between the two fighters’ promoters. As part of the contract, Kovalev will wind up facing Andre Ward in his third fight of the contract in late next year.
That will depend on Ward and his promoters at Roc Nation Sports going along with the program. Ward signed a three fight contract with HBO as well today, and hopefully they can get him to agree to face Kovalev in November or December 2016.
HBO wanted to see Kovalev face WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson for the first fight of the contract, but Stevenson didn’t agree to the fight. Stevenson’s promoter Yvon Michel is interested in having him fight against someone else for his next fight, and then face the winner of the Kovalev vs. Pascal fight in the middle of 2016.
“We have been approached for a potential fight [for Stevenson] against Pascal in January with a deadline last weekend,” Michel said to ESPN.com. “My understanding is the fight would have been on a PBC platform. Unfortunately, we were not in position to give an answer before the deadline. The plan is to keep Stevenson active against the best opponent available as he hopes to face the winner of Kovalev-Pascal next.”
If HBO can get Kovalev to face Pascal, Stevenson and Ward in his three fights with them in 2016, they would be getting great value for their money. That would be even better than the deal that Showtime/CBS got with Floyd Mayweather Jr in their six-fight contract with them. Of the six fights that Mayweather had with Showtime, only two of them were good ones against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao.