Ward: Kovalev Has to Own Up to Loss
The controversy continues a month after the light-heavyweight super-fight between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. Ward dethroned Kovalev despite many believing the champion had done enough to win, including Kovalev himself. Now, Ward is growing frustrated that Kovalev can’t accept the loss.
After suffering early trouble and a knockdown in the second round, Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) found his rhythm in the later rounds and was able to win by one point on all three judges’ scorecards.
Kovalev (30-1, 26 KOs) criticized the decision after the fight, and has continued to do so on social media. While Ward understands that Kovalev has the right to believe he won, the disrespectful nature of Kovalev’s statements has bothered the new champion.
“It was a close fight, I’ll give him that,” Ward told FOX Sports Live. “I think what happened was, this guy Kovalev has had such a reputation for being this monster that they thought he was going to hit me and I was going to stay down. He did hit me and I went down, but I got up and as the smaller man I took the fight to him and I feel like I did what I needed to do to close out the show in the last six, seven, eight rounds.”
The contract for their bout had a rematch clause, and Kovalev’s team has said they will be pursuing a second fight immediately. Ward is willing to do the rematch for the right price, but says that he wants a break from looking at Sergey Kovalev.
“The judges got it right. It’s just disappointing…I know that he and his team are disappointed right after the fight and emotions are still high. But for a guy, three or four weeks later to still not give you credit and still make excuses — it’s just not a good look for him. I’m kind of tired of hearing the guy’s voice. We had a ten-week build-up to the fight. I need a break from his face and the things he’s saying.”
When shown a clip of Kovalev saying that he may have lost the decision because he “was not American”, Ward again called for his Russian opponent to take responsibility for the loss.
“It was a close fight that went my way and at some point he has to own up to it.”