Lem Satterfield

Promoter: Sergey Kovalev will fight Fonfara if Stevenson won’t ‘man up’

The promoters of WBO light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev and title challenger Andrzej Fonfara have begun talks for a potential October or November bout, that is, if RING and WBC champion Adonis Stevenson "doesn't man up and fight Sergey in the fall," according to Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, Kovalev's promoter.

Duva's comments came within hours of a report by RingTV.com in which Fonfara's promoter, Leon Margules, of Warriors' Boxing, asserted that his fighter not only "showed that he belonged with the best" light heavyweights during Saturday's unanimous decision loss to Stevenson, but that both Fonfara and Stevenson "can beat" Kovalev.

Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 knockouts), who who turned 31 in last month, was last in action scoring three knockdowns on the way to a seventh-round stoppage of previously unbeaten southpaw Cedric Agnew, which followed a second-round knockout of Ismayl Sillakh last November.

Kovalev is 12-0-1 with 12 knockouts in his past 13 fights, including a fourth-round knockout that dethroned previously unbeaten WBO beltholder Nathan Cleverly in August 2013.

Duva said she expects Kovalev to return to action on Aug. 2 on HBO, adding that Main Events matchmaker, Jolene Mizzone contacted Margules to express interest in Fonfara (25-3, 15 KOs).

"We offered August, but Leon called back and said, 'Not for August, but we'll fight him in the fall,' which is understandable," said Duva. "Because August is only a few months away, so that would be wrong. So if he wants to do it in the fall, I don't see why not."

A 36-year-old southpaw, Stevenson (24-1, 20 KOs) scored knockdowns in the first and fifth rounds and rose from the canvas himself in the ninth for the triumph over Fonfara, a 26-year-old who brought a run of 15 straight victories, 12 by knockout, into the Showtime-televised clash in Montreal.

Before facing Stevenson, Fonfara was last in action during December's second-round knockout of Samuel Miller, which followed a ninth-round stoppage of ex-beltholder Gabriel Campillo in August. He had last suffered defeat against Derrick Findley by second-round stoppage in July 2008.

"Jolene called me," said Margules. "It depends on the money, honey. I told her we were interested, but we'll see. We like the fight if the money's right. Apparently, they're doing another fight first, so we're talking about October or November, so there's no use in really talking about it yet unless they're fighting somebody they can't lose to.

"We would love to fight the best in the division, and, obviously, Sergey Kovalev is one of the best. We just fought the guy who I believe is the best, and Kovalev is one of the best as well. If, in fact, there is the right financial deal that can be made, then that's a fight that we're truly interested in."

Duva would not elaborate on how she thought a fight with Fonfara would go, except to assure that Kovalv would be victorious.

"They're going to have to recognize that this is a very different kind of fight than the one with Stevenson. Sergey will find a way to win, because that's what he does. If you look at the fight with Cleverly, who came at him, Sergey fought one way. When he fought the fight with Sillakh, who was a slick boxer, he laid back and he sized him up for a round, found what he was looking for, and he walked him down," said Duva.

"Then, you had a guy in Cedric Agnew who was trying to survive. I mean, Agnew went into the fight clearly thinking he was going to win, and then he found out that this is not what he thought it was going to be and he went into survival mode. How many fighters look good against a guy who is in survival mode like that? But Sergey took his time and broke him down and capitalized on it."

Stevenson had stopped 10 consecutive opponents prior to facing Fonfara, his last loss being a second-round TKO by Darnell Boone in April 2010. In victory over Fonfara, Stevenson is hoping for a showdown with 49-year-old Bernard Hopkins, who was in action last month with a majority-decision victory over Beibut Shumenov, unifying the IBF and WBA belts.

"We'll go ahead and fight Fonfara in the fall, unless Adonis decides to man up," said Duva. "But if Adonis doesn't man up and fight Sergey in the fall, then Fonfara is a perfectly good opponent, and I would have no problem with that."

Note: Main Events has filed a lawsuit last month against a number of parties the promotional firm contends interfered with a tentative fight between Stevenson and Kovalev, the latter of whom is represented by Duva.

The complaint alleges breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, tortious interference and interference with prospective economic advantage on the part of promoter Yvon Michel, Groupe Yvon Michel Inc., advisor Al Haymon, Golden Boy Promotions, Stevenson and Showtime.

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