Mayweather says Andre Ward didn’t win against Kovalev
By Allan Fox: Floyd Mayweather Jr. apparently saw the fight between Andre “SOG” Ward (31-0, 19 KOs) and former IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) last year on November 19th, because he says that Ward DID NOT win that fight.
The three judges that were appointed to work the fight by the Nevada State Athletic Commission all scored the fight identically in giving War the win by the scores of 114-113, 114-113 and 114-113. This writer saw the Kovalev-Ward fight and he gave it to Kovalev by a 9 rounds to 3 score.
I actually scored it 10 rounds to 2 in favor or Kovalev, but I gave Ward one extra round that looked to be a tie in the second half. My first instinct though was to score it 10 to 2 for Kovalev, because I couldn’t give rounds to Ward for all the holding and wrestling he was doing.
It wasn’t even fighting. It looked like a replay of the Lennox Lewis vs. Henry Akinwande heavyweight title fight from 1997. Referee Mills Lane disqualified Akinwande in round 5 for excessive holding. My guess is if Lane had worked the Kovalev-Ward fight, he would have done the same thing to Ward, because he was holding like crazy in the fight, and turning into a wrestling match. Boxing fans don’t like to see that kind of fighting. They want to see action.
“I like Andre Ward, but one thing about me — call a spade a spade. He didn’t win,” said Mayweather to ESPN.com about Ward’s fight against Kovalev on HBO PPV from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. “Andre Ward got to make some major changes if you going to fight Kovalev again. You got to make some major changes. You got to go get you a trainer that’s been in the crunch before.”
Ward isn’t going to change out his longtime trainer Virgil Hunter, because he’s unbeaten with him, even though he appeared to lose the fight to Kovalev BADLY in my view and in the view of a lot of boxing fans. I don’t know if the idea of grappling was something that Hunter came up with, but it was terrible to watch.
Never the less, maybe that’s all Ward can do against the more talented fighters in the 175lb division at this point. Maybe all Ward can do is grapple. If that’s all Ward can do is wrestle rather than fight, then I think he’s going to have that as his No.1 plan for the rematch against Kovalev in 2017 IF there’s a rematch.
Ward hasn’t made it clear yet whether he’s going to fight Kovalev again. He seems to be talking about the fight needing to make business sense. I don’t know what other options Ward has in the sport besides Kovalev. Gennady Golovkin won’t be moving up to fight him, and he probably can’t fight Adonis Stevenson. I can’t see that fight happening. If Ward fights #2 IBF Artur Beterbiev, he’ll likely lose to him because he has a great inside game.
Beterbiev has the best inside game in boxing in my opinion. Beterbiev is one of those fighters who doesn’t need to hold on the inside, because he’s capable of fighting. If Ward fights Beterbiev, he can hold him all he wants, but Beterbiev is going to work a hand free and belt him repeatedly until he drops. We saw Beterbiev do that to Tavoris Cloud when he tried to hold. It didn’t work too well for Cloud.
I don’t think Ward will be improved with another trainer in his corner, because I think he’s too old to beat the top fighters at 175 by fighting them. Maybe if Ward was still at 168, he could win fights on the outside against those guys, because the division is really lacking in talent. There are a couple of good fighters like Callum Smith and Gilberto Ramirez, but that’s about it.
I believe that the only thing that Ward has left in the tank at this point in his career is his wrestling ability. Even with that, I still thought he lost badly to Kovalev. I thought the judging was just terrible, absolutely terrible. If Ward comes out in the rematch against Kovalev ready to wrestle from round 1, it’s going to be interesting to see how the judges react to that kind of a fight. It’s one thing to see nine of rounds of wrestling like we saw last time, but a full 12? It’ll also be interesting to see how the referee reacts to the constant holding and grabbing from Ward in the rematch. Does the referee let it take place or does he start taking off from Ward after a certain point?
“Virgil Hunter’s not a good trainer at all,” said Mayweather to ESPN.com about Ward’s trainer Hunter. “He’s…a guy who’s never fought before, that’s never been in a crunch moment. I need a trainer that’s in my corner that’s been in there before and felt contact and know how it is to be in a fight. You have to have some type of experience at boxing. So can Virgil Hunter be in my corner? Absolutely not.”
Hunter seems more like a motivator type of trainer than someone that knows the sport from experience. Maybe that’s what Ward needed during his career. I don’t think Ward has the youth to change his style with another trainer and actually fight Kovalev in the rematch rather than wrestle him again. Kovalev has the better outside game than Ward. I think Ward and Hunter both saw that they can slow Kovalev down by not letting him throw punches and just hang on him for 12 rounds. As long as there’s a referee working the fight that doesn’t do anything to penalize nonstop wrestling, I think Ward will go back to the same style he used last time, but this time, he’ll use the grappling from round 1 rather than starting it in the 3rd round.