It didn’t take Main Events promoter Kathy Duva long to reach an agreement with Roc Nation Sports to stage the Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward rematch June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Getting rapper Jay Z’s boxing company to call her back to start the negotiations was a different story.
“They just wouldn’t talk to us for three months,” said Duva, who promotes Kovalev. “Once they finally talked to us, it took about a week and a half, and we already had a deal in place, they just wanted to modify it before giving it to Andre.
“Andre wouldn’t sign the contract for three weeks.”
While Duva and Kovalev waited for Ward’s signature to make the rematch official, the longtime promoter was looking at other options to force the light heavyweight champion to sign.
“We had the rematch clause from the first contract,” Duva said. “He promised us a rematch. He was going to get sued if he didn’t go through with it. He was also going to get sued if he decided to retire.”
Ward (31-0-0, 15 knockouts) defeated Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) in a controversial unanimous decision in November at T-Mobile Arena to become the three-belt light heavyweight titlist.
Many boxing fans and media members consider Kovalev the true winner despite the three Las Vegas judges scoring the fight 114-113 for Ward.
Ward, a former Olympic gold medalist from Oakland, California, has contemplated retiring since defeating the Russian.
“To be fair to Andre Ward, I think he wants to fight,” Duva said. “I really don’t think that he doesn’t. I don’t understand why he does things the way he does.
“I think he wanted more and more money, and whatever else he was trying to get out of his promoters. I think it was more between him and his promoters.”
Ward also has given HBO officials a hard time by not participating in interviews to promote the pay-per-view bout.
The undefeated boxer reportedly ditched his “Face Off” appearance scheduled for last weekend in Las Vegas. The popular interview show with Max Kellerman is a major part of HBO’s marketing plan for promoting PPV fights.
It might not be the best idea for Ward to ignore the marketing side for a fight that only did about 160,000 PPV buys the first time around.
— Sergey Kovalev (@KrusherKovalev) May 7, 2017
Jacobs’ life after GGG
Daniel Jacobs came up short against Gennady Golovkin in March, but he walked out of the ring with his head held high.
Jacobs talked last week while he was in Las Vegas for the Box Fan Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The former interim middleweight champion reflected on how his life has changed since giving Golovkin a scare in the ring.
“Life has dramatically changed,” Jacobs said. “I’m living in my dreams now. My fan base has grown. I’ve gotten support from the whole boxing community and outside. People supporting my foundation, people supporting me in so many different avenues in my life.
“I’ve watched the fight about hundreds of times. Every time I watch the fight, I can’t believe how the judges scored the fight the way that they did, but I can’t be a sore loser.”
The judges scored it 115-112, 114-113, 115-112 for Golovkin.
Jacobs said he was pushing for a rematch with Golovkin. His second option was to fight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Golovkin and Alvarez are scheduled to meet in September.
Canelo-GGG venue poll
Ever since the confetti fell from the T-Mobile Arena ceiling to announce the Alvarez-Golovkin showdown, boxing fans have wondered where the superfight will take place.
Las Vegas and Dallas are reportedly the front-runners to land the lucrative bout.
Golden Boy Promotions wanted fans to have a say by posting a poll on Twitter this week asking where the fight should be. Las Vegas, Dallas, New York City and Los Angeles were the options on the 24-hour poll.
After 14,169 votes, Dallas won with 43 percent, with Las Vegas second with 33 percent. New York had 14 percent and Los Angeles 10 percent.
MGM officials have reportedly had negotiations with Golden Boy to bring the fight to T-Mobile Arena. Jerry Jones’ AT&T Stadium, however, won’t go away easy.
Tell us where you would want boxing's biggest fight to take place
September 16 #CaneloGGG
— GoldenBoyPromotions (@GoldenBoyBoxing) May 9, 2017
Contact Gilbert Manzano at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0492. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.
June 17: Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev, 6 p.m., HBO PPV, Mandalay Bay Events Center