Friend-colleague-boxing insider Rick Glaser said today that there are “only seven media” guys in the press center in Las Vegas for the Kovalev vs Ward rematch. I think there were 700 reporters at some of Mike Tyson’s press conferences and over a thousand at his fights.
This is astonishingly bad news for boxing in America.
Because the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward rematch is arguably the Fight of the Year (outside of Joshua vs Klitschko) and a high-stakes grudge match between two superb talents who detest each other.
Boxing couldn’t ask for a better fight right now with the exception of maybe Golovkin vs Canelo which many expect to be a one-sided blowout in favor of the superhuman gladiator from Kazakhstan.
Ward vs Kovalev is a super fight that’s not selling or failing to be sold. Is it the fault of the two promoters Roc Nation and Main Events? Roc Nation has accomplished little in boxing and seems to be making minimal effort with Ward. But Main Events has enjoyed great success in staging numerous successful events with Arturo Gatto and Tomas Adamek.
Certainly Arturo Gatti was such an inspiring and exciting athlete that he simply sold himself. Adamek was also an exciting, likable fighter who was adored by the Polish community all over the US. Andre Ward is a very good fighter with an Olympic gold medal and a perfect record but he has a low popularity rating in the sports world, for whatever reason(s).
Kovalev is your perfect white bad ass, a great fighter and puncher with a unique charisma. But he’s Russian and we all know there is a very strong anti-Russian bias in the mainstream media today. So is it Kathy Duva’s fault that Kovalev isn’t lighting up the media world? Or is Kovalev getting sucked down by the Ward vacuum in the post Floyd conjob era? It’s really hard to say.
Boxing in USA is in a depression. It’s come to the point that boxing now needs to join forces with UFC. As we all know by now the big circus “fight” of Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor has been signed for August. Everybody knows by now that the 40 year old Floyd can’t sell on his own anymore (the Berto, Guerrero fights proved it) and the only way Floyd draw big audiences is by piggybacking off a huge superstar like Pacquiao. If Floyd vs McGregor sells huge it will be because of the huge popularity of Conor and UFC. Floyd is a very famous – or infamous figure – who can no longer sell any fights against B sides and he can’t sell any products or endorsements. And it remains to be seen if the public is willing to shell out to see him box a novice mixed martial arts dynamo.
Kovalev vs Ward is a far better fight than any Mayweather fight in the last ten years but the public doesn’t know it and doesn’t care. The fact of the matter is that boxing in America is becoming more irrelevant by the month.