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Kovalev should have won says Duva

Andre Ward Sergey Kovalev

By Allan Fox: Main Events promoter Kathy Duva says her fighter Sergy “Krusher” Kovaelv (30-1-1, 26 KOs) beat challenger Andre “SOG” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) last Saturday night in their fight on HBO pay-per-view, and that they’ll beat him again in the rematch that they’re asking for. Unfortunately for Duva, the three judges that worked the fight – Burt Clements, Glenn Trowbridge and John Mckaie – felt differently in scoring the fight for Ward 114-113, 114-113 and 114-113.

Duva says that Kovalev deserved to win the 10th round, which all three judges scored for Ward. If Kovalev had won the 10th round on all three judges; scorecards, he would have won the fight. The 10th round was a difficult one to score, however.

Ward fought well in the first half of the round in landing a number of solid shots. Kovalev then came on strong in the last minute to nail Ward with a tremendous right hand to the head. There was also an embarrassing part of the round in which Ward attempted to showboat by winding up on a bolo punch and getting nailed by a hard jab from Kovalev.

Ward continued to feign like he was going to throw a bolo punch, but he never did. Ward wasn’t throwing too many right hands, and Kovalev had little respect for Ward’s use of the right in the fight. The only punches that Ward seemed to be capable of landing from the outside were his jabs.

The fight was more or less decided on the judges giving more weight to Ward’s jabs than Kovalev’s power punches.

“I thought Sergey won the fight sitting ringside and it looks like the Compubox stats bear that out,” said Duva. “The judges gave every close round to the challenger instead of the champion, plus the tenth round which wasn’t even close. Sergey has asked for an immediate rematch. As far as we are concerned, he won the first fight and he will win the second fight too.”

It was troubling that the judges gave all the close rounds to Ward including round 10. Normally you have some close rounds going to the other fighter, but in this case all the close rounds went to Ward in the fight. Luck was firmly on Ward’s side last Saturday night when it came to the scoring of the fight.

The judges, who were all from the U.S, were consistently giving Ward all the close rounds, as Kovalev pointed out. The good news is there will be a rematch so that the two fighters can do it again. However, a second fight might not mean much given that it will take in the U.S again and not in a neutral venue. If most of the boxing fans that are in attendance will be fans of Ward’s, then it’s going to put Kovalev in the same situation as he was last Saturday with the fans cheering every punch Ward throws. That’s not good for Kovalev, because the fans weren’t making the same kind of noise when he was landing his shots.

I just took a look at the replay of round 10, and the fans barely made a peep when Kovalev nailed Ward with a tremendous right hand to the head late in the round. In contrast, the fans cheered extremely loud when Ward landed a simple jab to the head of Kovalev in the same round. If the judges unconsciously influenced by the crowd applause for Ward in the fight, then that might explain why they were giving him all the rounds from the 6th on despite the good work that Kovalev was doing in the fight.

Boxing fans can watch a replay of the Kovalev vs. Ward fight this Saturday night on November 26 at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT. The fans can decide for themselves in taking a second look at the fight to get a better look. For the fans that didn’t see the Kovalev-Ward fight, they’ll get a chance to see it for the first time on regular HBO. There were obviously many fans that chose not to purchase the Kovalev-Ward fight on HBO pay-per-view. Those fans can judge for themselves by watching it on HBO this Saturday.

Kovalev knocked Ward down in round 2, and appeared to do the better work in the majority of the rounds of the fight. I had Kovalev winning 9 of the 12 rounds. With the knockdown he scored in the 2nd, I felt it was a fairly easy fight to decide. Kovalev was landing the power shots, whereas Ward was landing jabs and tying him up on the inside. The only thing that Ward had in his favor was the crowd. It was a pro-Ward crowd, and that put Kovalev at a major disadvantage, because everything Ward did was cheered loudly by the fans. Kovalev didn’t have that same advantage.

This obviously wasn’t the first time that Kovalev had fought in the U.S before. He’s been fighting in the U.S his entire seven-year pro career. You can argue that this was probably the first time in Kovalev’s career where he was fighting someone that the U.S fans were loudly backing. Ward could do no wrong with the fans that were there on Saturday. He would land a jabs, and the fans would go wild.

Kovalev would land a power shot and the fans were not making much noise at all. The rematch will likely be the same. About the only thing Kovalev’s promoters at Main Events can do to make it more of a neutral territory fight is to stage the rematch on the East Coast where there are a lot of Kovalev’s fans. By having the fight in Las Vegas, it slants things in Ward’s favor, because that city is only 550 miles from Oakland, which is Ward’s home city. You can argue that by having the fight in Las Vegas made it easy for Ward’s fans to get to it in mass numbers.

In contrast, Kovalev’s many fans from the East Coast would have to travel approximately 2,500 miles to get to Las Vegas to see him fight. The setup for the fight worked well for Ward, and not so well for Kovalev when it came to the fans. Then there was the judges, which were all from the U.S. Kovalev’s promoters at Main Events should have worked it out in the contract that at least one of the judges would be from Europe or another country rather than all three of them coming from the U.S. That’s something that Duva needs to try and change for the rematch when it comes to negotiations. Kovalev seemed unhappy about all three judges being from the U.S after the fight. He should have made sure that Main Events negotiated to have neutral judges rather than having the fight take place with three American judges. There are a lot of things that should be changed for the rematch.

Here are the things that Kuvalev and Main Events need to push for in the negotiations with Wards’ promoters at Roc Nations:

– Judges from neutral countries rather than all three coming from the U.S

– Staging the fight on the East Coast or in the middle of the country rather than in Las Vegas. Having the fight in Vegas clearly favors Ward, because it makes it easier for his fans from Oakland to get to the fight than Kovalev’s fans from the East Coast.


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