- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Moments after three-belt light heavyweight titlist Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev crushed overmatched mandatory challenger Nadjib Mohammedi in three rounds on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Main Events promoter Kathy Duva outlined her plans for Kovalev's next fight.
It will take place on Nov. 28 in Moscow, just Kovalev's third fight in Russia, his home country. Duva surprised many when she said he would get in touch with promoter Yvon Michel and offer the fight to fast-rising contender Artur Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KOs), 30, a two-time Russian Olympian who owns an amateur victory against Kovalev.
Surely, it would be a big fight in Russia. Many questioned whether it could be made because Beterbiev is with manager Al Haymon and his fighters are banned by HBO, where Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs), 30, is under contract. However, Duva told ESPN.com that Beterbiev was suggested to her as an opponent by HBO, meaning the network might make an exception to its ban.
In any event, Duva said Wednesday that she indeed sent Michel an offer for the fight on Monday. When Michel read on Twitter after Kovalev-Mohammedi that Duva intended to make him an offer for Beterbiev, he said he was interested and looked forward to hearing from Duva.
"I sent Yvon a very fair offer on Monday," Duva said. "Yvon responded that he really wants to make the fight and that my offer was 'a good start in the right direction.' He is on vacation right now. Yvon said that he will meet with Beterbiev [next week] and will get back to me shortly afterwards."
Duva said her offer did not ask for options on Beterbiev, only that Kovalev has the right to have a rematch should he lose, which is customary for a non-mandatory fight deal but less than the usual three options promoters typically seek. Duva said the reason for her lesser request was to show how serious she is about making the fight.
"We really want to close it," Duva said. "And Sergey can't wait to kick Beterbiev's ass or, as Sergey so colorfully put it, 'It's an exciting chance to crush his career instantly!"
Hopefully, Michel, Beterbiev and Haymon will take Duva up on her "very fair offer" and HBO will indeed put a Haymon fighter on the air, because this is a very, very intriguing fight between extremely violent punchers.