We are a little over a month away from the highly anticipated Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev fight. Boxing fans have been on pins and needles waiting for a match-up between two of the top pound-for-pound fighters.
But, unfortunately, the casual boxing fan community is still begging for Gennady Golovkin-Saul “Canelo” Alvarez while ignoring a fight that could be just as good if not better. Neither Ward nor Kovalev are big personalities with huge nationalistic fan bases. What they do is take on the best of the best and reduce them to rubble.
Ward completely dominated the super middleweight division but disappeared for a while due to a contract dispute. Since November of 2013, Ward has only fought three times. This has taken away all the steam he had built up among the casual the boxing fan and has hurt his stock. He’s still a great fighter but is he a great draw?
Prior to the business of boxing getting in the way of his career, Ward had beaten the likes of Edison Miranda, Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch and Chad Dawson.
Like Ward, Sergey Kovalev has made a career out of not backing down the challenges. Kovalev ended Bernard Hopkins’ incredible run with a dominating unanimous decision over the boxing legend. Then in a two fight rivalry with Jean Pascal, Kovalev punished Pascal. In two fights where there was genuine bad blood, Kovalev seemed to take a high level on enjoyment in beating Pascal physically, as well as, mentally. Even in the post-fight hoopla, Kovalev still expressed disdain for his opponent, something that is shockingly rare in boxing.
Twelve of Kovalev’s last fourteen fights haven’t gone the distance. Hopkins and Isaac Chilemba have been the only two who have been lucky enough to hear the scorecards.
So with two of the best pound for pound fighters in the business squaring off, where’s the hype? This falls on Roc Nation and Main Event the two promotion companies handling the event. With it being a fight square in the middle of the NFL season, the beginning of the NBA and NHL calendar and the fall/winter collegiate sport (football and basketball) it is up to those two entities to find a way get the public interested in the fight.
Roc Nation’s stable is slowly being built. With Ward already in tow along with Miguel Cotto, Roc Nation also has one of the best young fighters in Dusty Hernandez-Harrison. Hernandez-Harrison is coming off of a victory over Thomas LaManna. He is on the path of becoming a household name.
Another interesting fighter in their stable is Guillermo Rigondeaux. The 36 year old Rigondeaux has a boxing style that is so tough to match up with, boxers tend to shy away from making a fight with him. Despite that, Rigondeaux has impressive victories over Nonito Donaire, Joseph Agbeko, and Sod Kokietgym.
Main Event has Kovalev in their stable along with a stable of European fighters. Fighters like Vasily “The Professor” Lepikhin, Vyacheslav Glazkov, and Mairis Briedis just to name a few. Those fighters haven’t become household names among casual boxing fans in the United States yet and will need to score some notable wins prior to being talked about.
What is in the favor of both Roc Nation and Main Event is this is an HBO pay-per-view production so some type of 24/7-esque programming could be in the works. Since Floyd Mayweather Jr. left HBO, the 24/7 series has taken a little bit of a dip but this is the type of fight, they could benefit from the full four part series that frequently proceeded Mayweather’s bouts.
Most boxing fans know these two fighters are great but the casual fans need a nudge. They need to get to know both fighters, their trainers and the all-around hoopla that will be in Vegas on fight weekend. From a boxing perspective, there’s no reason why this fight isn’t getting as much love and attention and Golovkin-Alvarez, a fight that has to be made. It’s Roc Nation, Main Even, and HBO’s job to make it the super fight it should be.