Ward: It May Not Make Sense to Keep Fighting
After Andre Ward’s controversial victory over Sergey Kovalev, the rematch seemed inevitable. While boxing fans, many of whom believe Kovalev won, are clamoring to see the fight again, newly-crowned light-heavyweight champion Ward is uncommitted to the prospect of running it back.
Ward (31-0) is first enjoying the victory, which was the hardest-earned of his pro career. Kovalev dropped Ward in the second round of their Nov. 19 showdown, which was dubbed “Pound for Pound”. The undefeated American recovered and rallied late to win a unanimous decision.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Ward said that the victory over Kovalev is the proudest moment of his boxing career.
“I’ll be honest, I’ve had a lot of fights in my career but this is probably the proudest I’ve been of myself based on how the fight went and having to just show the world, show myself, show my team that I can win a different way," Ward said. "I’ve never had to come from behind and it wasn’t against a B-class, C-class fighter. It was against who many said was the best light heavyweight, if not the best fighter in the world. I’m happy about the performance.
"I didn’t need to get knocked down to know the fortitude that I have in me," Ward says. "Being a champion is not just being a frontrunner and being ahead, but it’s facing adversity. If something happens and you’re behind and you get hit in the mouth early like that, you have two options: You can either pack it in mentally and internally and go into survival mode and quit, or you’re going to get up and go to work. We were fortunate enough to get up and go to work.”
Despite the unanimous decision, many fans and boxing analysts alike believed that Ward was undeserving of the victory. Kovalev seemed to control the fight early, including the second round which awarded him an extra point for the knockdown, but the judges believed Ward did enough to win seven rounds and earn a one-point victory.
"No question I won the fight," Ward says. "If a person thought I lost the fight, god bless you, that’s your opinion, we can agree to disagree. No big deal. But anybody crying robbery or attacking the judges or the Nevada State Athletic Commission, they’ve officially gone too far. That’s not the first tight fight or close fight that’s taken place in the history of boxing. They happen, especially when the best fight the best. It’s just amazing to me that – and I’m not just talking fans, I’m talking boxing media – that it was some kind of robbery or that we didn’t deserve to win."
Kovalev (30-1-1) has been lobbying for a rematch and taunting Ward on social media, still believing that he was robbed of a victory.
The Russian’s handling of his loss has put a sour taste in Ward’s mouth, and he is not ready to guarantee an immediate rematch.
In fact, Ward does not know if he will ever fight again. At 32 years of age, Ward is pleased with what he has accomplished in the ring.
"I really just got to take my time right now because I really don’t have to fight anymore," he said. "I’ve accomplished pretty much everything that I’ve wanted to accomplish. It’s not about the money anymore, it’s just because God has blessed me to still have the ability to do it and I still love it. I just really got to take my time right now and make sure that every decision that I make and every fight that I take is the right situation because if it’s not, I don’t know if it makes sense to continue on."