Following his one-sided thrashing of the great Bernard Hopkins in a three-belt light heavyweight unification fight on Nov. 8, Sergey Kovalev returned to his home in Los Angeles to meet his newborn son, Aleksandr.
Kovalev was deep in training camp for the fight when his wife, Natalia, gave birth. He didn’t want to break camp and waited until after the fight to meet the baby. Kovalev returned home with two more title belts to add to his collection and jumped into fatherhood, changing diapers and all.
“I already lost track of how many diapers,” Kovalev said. “Beating Hopkins is a little bit more dangerous than changing diapers, but he peed on my hand when I changed him. It is most important to be here with my family.”
While Kovalev will enjoy the next couple of months relaxing with his family, Main Events promoter Kathy Duva is already at work with HBO working on his next fight, which is supposed to take place in March.
The question is whom will he fight? He has a mandatory defense due — which he inherited from Hopkins — against France’s Nadjib Mohammedi (36-3, 22 KOs), who is also signed with Main Events and won on the Kovalev-Hopkins undercard. It is not, however, the kind of big fight Kovalev, HBO or boxing fans are looking for.
It is possible that the IBF could grant Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KOs) an exception if he asks for one. It is also possible he could give up that belt, although that seems unlikely.
Whatever happens, Duva and InterBox promoter Jean Bedard are engaged in conversations about a fight between Kovalev and former champion Jean Pascal.
InterBox is pushing hard to have Kovalev come to Montreal, where Pascal is a big draw, to defend against him. Hopkins twice went to Quebec to face Pascal, drawing with him the first time and outpointing him the second.
“There have been some discussions,” Duva told ESPN.com regarding a possible Kovalev-Pascal fight. “But of course we have an IBF mandatory to consider as well.”
Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KOs) also has his own fight to deal with on Dec. 6 (Integrated Sports PPV) at the Bell Centre in Montreal, where he will face Argentina’s Roberto Bolonti (35-3, 24 KOs).
Pascal is the mandatory challenger for lineal champion Adonis Stevenson’s alphabet belt, so he has options. Talks for a Stevenson-Pascal bout have been very, very difficult, which is one reason Pascal is facing Bolonti, and Stevenson (24-1, 20 KOs), also of Montreal, is fighting Dmitry Sukhotsky (22-2, 16 KOs) on Dec. 19 in Quebec City. The sides are way far apart on the money, although if they can’t make a deal, it would go to a purse bid.
The matchup many want to see is Kovalev against Stevenson, which was the fight that was supposed to happen this month but fell apart earlier in the year when Stevenson walked away from the deal and went from HBO to Showtime.
Kovalev would still like to face Stevenson but wants whatever big fight can be delivered to him.
“I am ready for everyone if it is the right fight,” Kovalev said. “[Stevenson] is interesting fight for everyone. This is the job for my promoter and my manager [Egis Klimas]. I don’t think about next fight. Right now I want to spend time with my family. I am going to fly to [my native] Russia for a couple weeks to be with my parents.”