Interviews About What’s Next For Sergio Martinez, Vasyl Lomachenko And Others

This weekend TQBR had a chance to talk to Main Events’ Kathy Duva, fellow promoter Lou DiBella and manager Egis Klimas about their plans for the fighters they represent. In a previous post, they talked about Sergey Kovalev vs. Blake Caparello. Here, they talk about Sergio Martinez, Vasyl Lomachenko, Evgeny Gradovich, a featherweight tournament, Curtis Stevens, Steve Cunningham and a couple others.

Lou DiBella on Sergio Martinez

Vs. Miguel Cotto, who took Martinez’s middleweight championship: “I really do believe the fight was over in the 1st round. The interesting thing is he wasn’t limping the next day. They didn’t think it was a structural issue with the knee. It looks like a concussive tissue incident. There was a disconnect between body and head, he was fighting on adrenaline and heart.”

On continuing his career: “What I think doesn’t matter. But he’s a grown guy, he’s a really together astute grown man, he obviously wants to pursue his career, and he’s intelligent and thoughtful enough to say he’s going to go to New York and checked out by one of the best guys. I’ll  be with him to the end. I’ll be the first one to tell him [if he can't be the old Sergio Martinez].”

Can he be? “Not the Sergio Martinez of five years ago, but a lot better fighter than you saw in Madison Square Garden, yeah. I have no question by the way he was not there after the first punch. If he would’ve retired you wouldn’t have heard a peep out of me. His decision to continue is his decision and you’re not going to hear me criticizing. We’re going to be intelligent in his next fight, fight a fight against a credible guy to know where he is. He’s capable of honest self assessment. It’s not going to be a long track no matter what. He promised his mother he’s not going to fight past 40 and i don’t think he will.”

A big fight awaiting? “It depends. If he has a fight and looks good and looks more like the Sergio Martinez people are used to seeing, he’ll have a big fight. There are not more than two to three fights in him no matter what.”

Egis Klimas, manager

On junior featherweight Vasyl Lomachenko: “There will be an HBO Las Vegas meeting with Top Rank [next week]. We’re talking about the fight for Lomachenko what’s next.”

Does he have a mandatory? “No mandatory. Probably what I say, he just had two very tough fights. What we would want to probably do… my opinion and his opinion would be to take #1. Not mandatory but he’s #1 at WBO. A guy from Philippines or Thailand. [It's Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo]. Let him fight a #1. He wants to fight the toughest. He doesn’t want to go the easy route. If he’s a pre-defense, not #15, why not #1? Give these guys a chance.”

Evgeny Gradovich, at 126: “Same thing. He’s still in Russia with his wife, they got a green card. They have a tickets coming Aug. 21. HBO and the Top Rank are going to meet next week to talk about Gradovich.”

Nonito Donaire or Nicholas Walters for Gradovich? “If it could be possibility to fight these guys, if it would be possibility to put two titles together, why not?… He just fought mandatory. At this level, then they are champions, you don’t choose opponents.” Some do: “Those aren’t true champions. at this level, who comes to you, that’s who you fight.”

On a tournament around 122-126: “I love it, because in the very end there will be one champion with the four belts and he’ll be the true champions. There are so many different champions, this champion, this champion, intercontentinental champion, super champion, super super champion. The guy who will take all four champions become a super champion, is ideal.”

Couldn’t your fighters lose out on belts, then? “Well if he’s not deserving he’s not deserving. It’s not all about the money. It’s a sport. You can’t make the sport about the money all the time.”

Kathy Duva, Main Events

On losing the purse bid for Curtis Stevens-Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam at middleweight: “When we chose to make our bid we were well aware we might lose it. Budgets dictate things. My feeling about this fight is we took a strategic approach toward it. I paid as much as we could afford.” As for Stevens’ chances when the circumstances aren’t under his control: “Curtis Stevens will not give up. Curtis will get his opportunity, get his chance to become #1 contender.”

Heavyweight Steve Cunningham: “He is going through this nightmare with his young daughter right now. He is raising money for a heart transplant for his daughter in Pittsburgh so they can get enough money to live there literally six months. I want to find something for him where he is well-compensated in a situation he likely to win. I don’t feel pressure to make a deal in the next month or so.”

On Cunningham vs. Bryant Jennings-Mike Perez winner, which turned out to be Jennings: “It’d be a young prospect vs. a more established fighter with an incredible back story. You saw his fight with Amir Mansour. NBC beautifully told that story. That’s TV. That grabs your heartstrings. That’s emotional. I’m hoping that HBO steps up. They’re open to it… We need to talk to the manager of tonight’s winner.”

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C., where he is a staff writer for CQ Roll Call.

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