Breakfast at the Roosevelt Hotel with Ms. Duva
Kathy Duva, who had flown into Los Angeles from the Bay Area on Tuesday night for the final leg of the media tour for the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev rematch, was a bit frazzled on Wednesday morning. It turns out she had left/lost her travel bag at the airport the previous evening.
As she sat down at the 25 Degrees restaurant inside the Hollywood Roosevelt, Duva spoke of having to buy everything that was left behind. “You don’t even realize how expensive some of this stuff is, like toiletries, until you have to buy them again,” she said, chuckling at her plight.
But there was business to attend for the head of Main Events. In a couple of hours, she had to participate in the press conference for Ward-Kovalev II and then take a flight back east where Main Events is staging a card from the Mohegan Sun, in Uncasville, Connecticut, where Sullivan Barrera headlines against Paul Parker on HBO Latino.
“I know (Sullivan’s) opponent isn’t well-known but this guy called up and asked for the fight. He demanded to fight,” said Duva of her light heavyweight match-up. “Usually, when we see a guy doing that, we get a guy who’s going to give 100 percent, which is sadly becoming more and more rare in this business these days. So first, (Barrera)’s got to deal with the business at hand.
“(Barrera) wants to fight for the (175-pound) title. (If) Sergey wins the (IBF/WBA/WBO) titles back, hopefully, (Barrera)’ll get getting himself a title fight.”
This is Main Events’ second edition of its “Mohegan Sun’s Rising Stars Boxing Series.” When asked how regular their schedule will be in 2017, Duva told UCNLive.com, “I think we’ll have at least three, maybe four (shows). And they are also in the process of building another convention area on their property that will be more like that room at Fantasy Springs Casino, where Golden Boy (Promotions) does their shows, which is just the most ideal room for boxing I’ve ever seen. So what they really want to do is build up that culture of boxing fans to be coming back and, so, when we come back into that bigger venue, maybe we can bring much bigger shows there.”
The boxing business is always in a constant state of flux. If there’s one thing Duva and Main Events have been able to do – if not thrive all the time – it’s adapt and adjust. It wasn’t long ago when a card like this would have been part of their regular series on NBC Sports Network (where Kovalev was first introduced to the American public back in 2013). Now, they have to scramble to find an outlet for these cards. Their first show at the Mohegan Sun, last fall, was streamed via their Facebook page.
Yeah, Duva and her company know how to roll with the punches.
But just what is the current state of the boxing business, in her view?
“I think we took a really big hit from the two years of ‘The Haymon Winter,’ as I call it,” she stated bluntly. “I mean, we were kinda on an upswing. I know, from my perspective, being on the NBC series, building up Sergey, building up (Vyacheslav) Glazkov, we had a lot of guys that fought on that series who made the jump to premium cable. At last count, there were 20 of them that either made it to premium cable or fought for more world titles from that series.
“I really think we were having a nice run and then suddenly we got into this world where nobody wants to fight. Everybody is waiting for some big payday that’s not coming. Everybody thinks that they’re going to get paid three times what the going rate is because ‘We’re going to get paid by PBC.'”
Ahhh, those were the days (in 2015).
Duva continued, “Until everybody finds out that’s not happening anymore, it’s still hard to make really good fights.” But before anyone labels her an alarmist, she adds, “We’ll get past it; we always do. The sport has been up and down so many times, I can’t count.”
But boxing certainly is in a state of transition. Premier Boxing Champions tried to monopolize the airwaves with a series of time-buys with several networks in which very few nowadays actually dole out license fees. All promoters rely on television (and their revenue stream) to fortify their business and develop boxers.
So what does the television landscape look like currently for boxing?
“It stands exactly where I said it would when this (PBC) deal got made,” she stated. “I was quoted widely as saying, ‘I’m not afraid Al (Haymon) will succeed. I’m afraid he will fail.’ If he succeeded and the world decided boxing was the number two sport in America – I would only profit from that. The fear was that he would fail and the networks would lose interest and sadly that is exactly what happened.
“So it’s going to take some time to build their interest back up.”
At that point, she had to do another interview and, soon, she would be off to join her good friends at Roc Nation Sports to conduct her business and then be on her way back to Main Events’ next promotion.
Hopefully, she doesn’t forget anything at the departure gate this time.
MAIN EVENT FLURRIES
The broadcast on HBO Latino starts at 11 p.m. ET on Saturday night…Yeah, so, according to Duva, an idea to have “neutral”/non-American judges for the rematch was summarily dismissed by Ward…Golden Boy Promotions announced the signing of WBA 130-pound beltholder Jezreel Corrales…OK, when does shorts-and-sandals weather officially arrive in Los Angeles?…I can be reached at email@example.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.