Duva and Kovalev linked up as the Russian began making little headway in the light-heavyweight division before eventually cleaning out the weight class some time later against Bernard Hopkins.
The only belt to prove elusive was the WBC strap owned by Adonis Stevenson, although Kovalev has enjoyed an amazing run under the watchful eye of Duva and her Main Events promotional banner.
Asked by Shakhnevich how a promoter goes about signing overseas and foreign fighters, Duva replied: “Oh they come and find me, I don’t have to look,” on his Fight Lawyer Podcast.
“You know, fortunately, the job we did with Sergey Kovalev was kind of the best advertising we could’ve done. He’s someone who came and found me.
“Several American promoters, all of them actually, had turned him down, as well as Canadian promoters. They just didn’t see the value in a Russian light heavyweight who did not have an Olympic medal or you know, a big amateur background to speak of.
“So, he was brought to my attention by his manger Egis Klimas, who asked to meet with myself and Jolene Mizzone, our matchmaker one day.
“He said I’ve got this light heavyweight, he’s great and I believe in him and you just give him one fight and match him with anyone you like and if you don’t like what you see, I won’t bother you anymore.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
Kovalev eventually lost out to the formidable Andre Ward in a two-fight ledger but has since regained his position at the top of the 175 pound tree and continues to rule with an iron fist.