Kovalev: Ward Leaving Is Good For Boxing

At a press conference Thursday, Sergey Kovalev while promoting his November 25th fight against Vyacheslav Shabransky, told reporters that Andre Ward retiring was good for the light heavyweight division.

“If it’s 100-percent true, it’s good for the boxing…You know, because it’s good for the boxing. We’re ready to fight again for these titles and it makes interesting fights between great fighters. Right now, in our division [there are] a lot of good and strong fighters who wants to get these titles, you know? And this will be very, very good fights for the boxing fans.”

With his retirement, Ward (33), relinquishes the WBA, IBF, and WBO light heavyweight titles, and the status of being the consensus number one pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

In what will be his last fights, Ward had successive wins over the previously unbeaten Kovalev. Ward won a close unanimous decision against Kovalev in their first fight, November 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and Ward would stop Kovalev in the eighth round of their rematch June 17 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

Both wins were considered controversial, though.

Many media and fans think Kovalev deserved the win in their first fight, in which Ward recovered from a second-round knockdown and later out-boxed Kovalev. Their rematch ended right after Ward landed multiple questionable body blows, which caused Kovalev’s team to file a protest with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

When asked Thursday if being denied a third shot at Ward is disappointing, Kovalev replied, “Yes and no. If this fight can happen very quickly, I’m happy.

“If it’s a long time waiting, and just to fight close to titles, it’s no good. I wanna be best in this division and I wanna fight with the best fighters in this division.”

Kovalev isn’t sure, either, if the timing of Ward’s announcement, on the same morning as the press conference to announce his next fight, was strategic.

“I don’t know,” Kovalev said. “I don’t think about him at all because I’m looking forward to get my goals. What was my last two fights, it’s already history. I forgot about this.”

Kovalev acknowledged, though, that, “His team and himself, they can play mentally the games. They did it before the rematch. I don’t know. I don’t care at all.”

Original Story: Boxing Scene

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