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August 07, 2018

By G. Leon

Congrats on a great event in a sold out arena. Obviously not the results you were looking for, but can you give us some thoughts on the card? You know it was a great night for boxing and a terrible night for Sergey Kovalev and certainly us as his promoters. Nevertheless, there was a huge crowd and the level of excitement was off the charts. Everybody loved it and they can't wait to come back for the next one, so that's a positive for us. But of course Sergey losing the way he did after being in command of the fight, and looking better than he had in a very long time, of course there's people asking me if I'm shocked, but I've been in this game for too long to be shocked about anything. You always know that could happen and there's a piece of me that's always prepared for it no matter who's fighting. You know a guy, no matter brilliant his career has been is going to hit a point where that's going to change. We were hoping it was going to be a little later for Sergey, but I think there's room for him to change some things and tweak some things that will put him in a position to maybe win a rematch, but we'll see.

GL: How long do you think he should stay out of the ring for?

Kathy Duva: "I don't know. These are conversations I need to have with Sergey and Egis, it's not really up to me to decide and I'm certainly not going to speak publicly about it."

GL: Everybody knows Kovalev has a rematch clause, is it immediate rematch or is it a situation where Alvarez is allowed an interim bout before the rematch is due?

KD: "He's allowed an interim bout as long as we agreed on it. That could definitely happen, but it depends on the circumstances. We'll figure it out, but I can't predict what it's going to be. When a guy is losing a fight and then comes back to knock the other guy out is one of things that makes our sport so exciting. You could be losing but come back to win it in a split second, so I have to give Alvarez all of the credit in the world."

GL: Some people are going to say Kovalev is finished now. How do you respond to that?

KD: "A lot of people were saying that in 2012 when Pacquiao face planted with Marquez. Great fighters are able to find a way to fix it sometimes. I don't know if that's the case here, but we're going to give Sergey the benefit of the doubt and give him every suggestion we can on how to change things and then we're going to give it another shot. The one thing I know for sure is that Sergey doesn't want his career to end like this. He told me so before I left the arena on Sunday morning. He went to the hospital after the fight to get checked out and fortunately everything came back fight. He's going to take some time to rest and then we'll all sit down and figure the battle plan out like we always do."

GL: What did you think of Bivol's performance?

KD: "I think it was just as difficult as Bivol expected. Chilemba lost a one point split decision to Alvarez, he lost a close fight to Bellew in the UK, he went to Russia and went the distance with Sergey. The only time he ever lost badly is when his entire bicep was torn off his arm, it was a severe injury. Chilemba is a tough customer and he makes it extremely difficult for anyone to look like superman against him, but he was a great learning experience for somebody like Bivol. Bivol has a lot he still has to learn, but these are the fights he will learn from. I think Bivol was a better fighter leaving the ring on Saturday night because I'm sure there's things he learned fighting Chilemba."

GL: You've seen a lot of things in your time in boxing, but have you ever seen a guy not known for being a puncher suddenly look like Bob Foster?

KD: "Yes I have! (laughs) I've seen it so many times I can't even tell you when it was. It happens sometimes. Look, he threw a perfectly timed punch which anybody could do if they're a good experienced fighter and Sergey was tired. The punch was well timed, he hit him Sergey went down and he didn't look too badly hurt. That happens all of the time, as far as how he responded, he was exhausted, he's not used to being down, he clearly....

GL: (cutting in) Doesn't know how to hold.

KD: "Sergey did what Sergey does, he got up and kept throwing punches. It's never happened to him before and it's a helluva time for him to be learning this. What's a little concerning to me is that the same thing happened in the Ward fight. He was winning the first Ward fight, dominating the fight and then he got tired. There's something wrong with the way he's preparing and when you get older you have to make changes and know how to pace yourself better. I'm always going to be looking for the bright side and how to fix things, which is my nature, but I would propose that he should get to know trainers and learn things from somebody who knows how to train an old fighter, because he is an old fighter now and that's ok. He's got so much experience and intelligence, but what he doesn't have is the ability to throw punches the whole fight the way he does for the first six rounds. I mean in the first six rounds against Alvarez he threw more punches than some guys throw in six fights. Think of the pace he was keeping, I was watching the fight thinking they really must have fixed things because look at the pace he's fighting at. Then boom! I mean when he hits the wall he hits the wall! Something has to change. I don't know if he was exhausted or it was his lack of experience dealing with a situation like that. Guys like Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward knew how to deal with that adversity because they'd been knocked down so many times in their careers that it became nothing to them after a while. I don't know if he's got another five-ten years ahead of him, but does he have a few fights in front of him if he wants them, of course he does. He's got to go back to the drawing board and fix what's wrong."

GL: Will Main Events be working with Bivol moving forward?

KD: "They're telling me yes, they want to keep working with us and we have a great working relationship with Bivol and his camp and we're looking forward to continuing to work with them."

GL: Will Bivol's next date take place before the end of the year or early 2019?

KD: "Thart's up to Peter Nelson not me."

GL: I was hearing rumors that it could be on December 8th.

KD: "I have the 8th on hold, so hopefully in my perfect world Bivol will be able to step in there which will give Sergey a little bit more time, but we'll see."

GL: After such a fantastic event in Atlantic City when can we expect you guys back there?

KD: "We're going to be back in Atlantic City at the end of September. We're working on two Facebook Watch shows with Golden Boy and they'll both be towards the end of the month. Now that we're no longer focused on the huge event we just had we're going to be working on putting both of those shows together. Hopefully with somebody really exciting and fun to watch."

GL: Galarza was exciting on the undercard, I assume he's somebody you're going to be looking to develop, perhaps as a poor man's Arturo Gatti, in Atlantic City since he's a popular kid and his fights are always exciting.

KD: "What was Gatti before he was Gatti? He was a guy that was given a farewell fight on HBO against Oscar De La Hoya and frankly Gatti wouldn't have beaten a Jarrett Hurd and he would have had a lot of trouble with Ishe Smith, which are the only losses Frank has, so let's not underestimate him. He's a great personality and he's perfect for that crowd. They like people with attitude, that's who they follow, people who are real and don't pretend to be something that they're not. Frank is genuine and matched correctly he's goin to be in a lot of fun fights."

GL: All of your guys with Egis Klimas took care of business with their undercard bouts.

KD: "Yes! And they are really talented guys. I think Bakhram and Nursultanov are going to get there a little faster, but they're all fun fighters and they always tell me the same thing after each fight-get me tougher fights. Jolene (Mizzone) is going to have her work cut out for her. I think you're going to start seeing the four of them in step up fights in the very near future."

GL: Vaughn Alexander took a step up bout and didn't get the result you guys were looking for. What are your thoughts on that?

KD: "Obviously we were very disappointed because we love Vaughn and his family so much. They're really great people, his wife and his baby, I was holding his baby and I didn't want to give her back. But it was a bad night for the Alexander family apparently. This is the game we're in and we had a card that was a tremendous artistic success with one great fight after the other. The crowd was into it and everybody in that arena wants to come back, which is what we live for, but then you have two losses with Sergey and Vaughn and Vaughn is going to have to decide which way he wants to go and what changes need to be made."

GL: Will Main Events give him another shot or have you guys determined that this isn't going to work?

KD: "I'm not going to comment on that yet, I haven't even had the time to discuss that with Jolene yet. We're going to discuss the situation and hopefully come to an arrangement that we can all live with, I don't know. He's a nice guy and this happens in boxing, he's been great with us and so has his family. I wish nothing but the best for him, but to be at this level of compeitition changes will have to be made. That fight should have not been...and I don't want to take anything away from Denis Douglin, because he came to win, but for him to get to the level that he wants to be, something is going to have to change."

GL: Closing thoughts?

KD: "We're going to let you guys know about the FaceBook shows and Jolene outdid herself with the whole card. She was walking with a reporter and somebody came up to the reporter and said that they've never been to a show where every fight was good. Our shows are always like this, so get the word out." 

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