Hard Rock Atlantic City landed another blow against the city’s demons.
This past week, Hard Rock AC announced it would play host to a light-heavyweight title fight between Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev and Eleider “Storm” Alvarez on Aug. 4 at the casino’s Mark Etess Theater.
The fight is the first big-time boxing match since Kovalev fought Bernard Hopkins in Atlantic City in November 2014. And with Monday’s US Supreme Court ruling on sports betting in New Jersey, the boxing match and the busy summer ahead have an even deeper meaning.
Promoters excited about Hard Rock Atlantic City
Kathy Duva, president of Main Events, the fight promoter, said she’s looking forward to bringing the fight to Atlantic City for a couple of different reasons.
“I’m so happy to be able to bring a big fight to Atlantic City again,” Duva said recently in a phone interview. “I’m a Jersey girl, and I’ve always said I would never forget that.”
Duva said her company was considering other sites for the match when she received a call. Hard Rock Vice President of Entertainment Bernie Dillon asked her to “keep him in mind” when she found out when the fight would happen.
The match pits Kovalev, the WBO champion, against the undefeated Alvarez, who is ranked the top contender for the title by the World Boxing Council and the World Boxing Association.
Fourth AC fight for Kovalev
This won’t be Kovalev’s first Atlantic City fight. He boxed there three times in 2014. The most high-profile was his November match against Bernard Hopkins, which he won by unanimous decision.
His other two fights resulted in a TKO (Blake Caparello) and a knockout (Cedric Agnew).
Alvarez, on the other hand, has only fought one fight in the United States — a second-round TKO over Ukrainian Anatoliy Dudchenko in Chicago in June 2015.
Things are looking up for Atlantic City
The return of big-time boxing to Atlantic City is a significant development among a treasure trove of significant developments for the casino and the city.
First, Hard Rock Atlantic City will be opening its doors on June 28, laying to rest the former Trump Taj Mahal’s checkered past. The casino-hotel’s grand opening will include musical performances by Carrie Underwood and Pitbull.
Hard Rock Atlantic City will carry that opening-day entertainment momentum into the summer as it hosts Amy Schumer, Florida Georgia Line, Maroon 5, and Blake Shelton.
Second, Ocean Resort Casino will open on the same day. The property hasn’t launched quite the PR effort that Hard Rock has. However, the sleek, window-lined property promises to be a unique, luxury casino experience.
And last but certainly not least, New Jersey as a whole had its dreams come true when the Supreme Court ruled that PASPA, the 1992 law prohibiting sports betting everywhere except Nevada, is unconstitutional. The decision paves the way for NJ sports betting to become a reality in the state as soon as regulations are in place.
In other words, Atlantic City will experience an influx of big names, concert-goers, and sports enthusiasts all in one summer.