With a purse bid well and truly off the table, Duva is in agreement with Michel that both sides need to make their own 50-50 split on the massive light heavyweight unification bout, but also has reservations over whether Stevenson is still the draw he was six months ago.
Duva passed over the following correspondence to World Boxing News:
We have communicated with the WBC and Yvon Michel. We informed the WBC that, while Sergey Kovalev is more anxious than ever to face Adonis Stevenson in order to become the Undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion by the end of 2015, he will not participate in the purse bid for the unification bout that has been ordered by the WBC.
In a letter to Yvon Michel, we proposed to make a voluntary deal for Sergey to fight Adonis Stevenson on HBO or HBO PPV on a 50/50 basis. In this proposal we have included provisions to determine how the various aspects of the promotion would be decided and conducted. These provisions have worked successfully in the past when Main Events participated in co-promotions of bigger events than this one with Top Rank, Golden Boy and Don King, among many others. Based upon Mr. Michel’s recent statements to the media, we were very happy to learn that no contractual prohibitions exist that would prevent Adonis from fighting Sergey on HBO. So let’s make the fight
In December, Main Events asked the WBC to make Sergey Kovalev the mandatory challenger for the WBC Light Heavyweight Title because Sergey is quite anxious to win the green belt and become the Undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion. At that time, we believed that such a match would be a major pay-per-view event in the fall of 2015.
Unfortunately, since December, many things have changed. We have learned that there may be tentative plans for three other PPV events during the same quarter. In addition, the fact that lower-than-expected attendance and TV ratings for Adonis Stevenson’s last fight, coupled with Stevenson’s poor track record with PPV and closed circuit in Canada, have given us pause.
Further, the WBC’s unexpected decision to call a purse bid in April for a fight that will not take place until the fourth quarter of 2015 would make an already speculative bid even more risky. The normal timeline for a purse bid bout is a maximum of 90 days. The current strength of the American dollar and fluctuating exchange rates in Russia and Canada make revenue predictions done six months in advance of this particular event even more speculative.
Therefore, we cannot reliably project the anticipated revenue for a fight that would take place so far in the future. Taking into account Stevenson’s alarming decline in popularity, the highly speculative nature of the bid and the fact that both Sergey and Stevenson are scheduled to take other fights this summer, the risk of guaranteeing a PPV event in the fall is prohibitive. We simply cannot make an informed bid under these circumstances. And we cannot go to a purse bid if we cannot make a realistic bid. Finally, HBO has contractual rights to Kovalev’s next fight that would be violated if Sergey were to fight on another network.
With so much time between the contemplated bout and the bid, we also cannot accept the risk that the winner of the purse bid, who could be any licensed promoter, might default due to unforeseen circumstances, leaving Sergey with nothing. It would be unwise to take such a gamble at this stage in Sergey’s career.
We applaud Adonis Stevenson and Yvon Michel for their stated willingness to go through with the fight regardless of who might win a purse bid. We also applaud the WBC for taking the unprecedented step of ordering this fight. It is unfortunate that the timing did not work out. We are hopeful that we can all work together to make Kovalev-Stevenson a reality. It’s the fight that Sergey, Adonis and the fans all want. Let’s get it done!
It was already a well-known fact that both would have fights in the late spring/summer before eventually putting together the 175lb super-fight, although judging by what both sides are now saying, 2016 could well be the most realistic time-frame when Stevenson and Kovalev eventually trade blows.