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Ward vs. Kovalev rematch possible for April or June

Andre Ward Sergey Kovalev

By Allan Fox: Main Events promoter Kathy Duva says her fighter Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) could be fighting IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Andre “SOG” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) in a rematch in April or June 2017 if Ward doesn’t retire. She says that April is fine with her. She doesn’t know if Ward will retire, but she could understand why he might want to retire after the punishment he absorbed against Sergey in their fight on November 19 on HBO PPV.

Ward won the fight by a controversial 12 round unanimous decision, but many in the boxing world think the judges gave Kovalev a raw deal by giving the fight to Ward. Duva says that the three judges gave ALL the close rounds to Ward, even the rounds weren’t close.

She says she’s never seen that before in a fight where the challenger gets all the close rounds against a champion. Duva can only conclude that the judges were influenced by the crowd noise that were in favor of Ward. The boxing fans at ringside were cheering Ward all throughout the fight and amplifying whatever he did inside the ring.

As far as Ward’s comments about the negotiations needing to be right for him to face Kovalev again, Duva doesn’t understand what Ward is talking about. The terms for the negotiations were already set in the original contract. There’s nothing to be decided. The only negotiations that Duva thinks that Ward might be talking about are negotiations with his own promoter Roc Nations, but not the negotiations for the rematch. The contract terms are already set for the rematch.

Duva said this to about the Kovalev vs. Ward rematch:

“Well, I guess if Sergey Kovalev had beaten me up the way he beat Ward, I’d feel the same way,” said Duva. “Anybody can retire if they want. That’s his choice. But if he wants to fight, he’ll fight Sergey Kovalev next. The terms for the rematch was negotiated when Ward was given the opportunity to fight for three titles. You make concessions when you get the opportunity, so all the terms for the rematch between Main Events and Roc Nation were negotiated at that time. Whatever negotiations he has to do with his promoter, that’s between him and them. I can only assume that’s what he’s talking about. We have notified Roc Nations that we are picking up our options for the rematch. I’m told they have had conversations with HBO about specific dates. April is fine with us,” said Duva.

Does Ward not know that the contract terms were already set for the rematch with Kovalev? It’s hard to imagine that he wouldn’t know something like that. If Ward is going to bow out of the fight because he doesn’t realize the terms were set for the rematch already, then that would be disappointing.

If Ward retires from boxing without fighting Kovalev a second time, he’ll be missing out on a big payday. The rematch will likely make more money than their fight last November, because a lot of boxing fans will want to see the second fight. The fans that thought that Kovalev was ripped off will want to see the rematch to see if he can avenge the loss and take the three judges out of the fight y knocking Ward out.

In speaking about the Kovalev-Ward fight, Duva said, “There were some close rounds in that fight. Sergey did not get a single one of them. I don’t think that’s ever happened. The champion did not get a single close round. I also think there were some rounds that weren’t close that he didn’t get. People say you shouldn’t complain about a one-pound fight, and I never do unless it’s not a one-point fight. I don’t think that was a one-point fight. I believe at the end of that fight, Sergey was the one coming on. Sergey said, ‘I learned a lot tonight. Now I know.’ It was the whole world that was shocked by this. It wasn’t just here. They were outraged. This is not just something I saw. I think what happened was the crowd. The crowd does effect the judges. The crowd amplifies it. This happens. This is boxing, and that’s why Sergey is going to have to find a way to knock him out next,” said Duva.

The best way for Kovalev to beat Ward next time is to make sure that he knocks him out, because the fight is likely going to take place in front of another pro-Ward crowd in the U.S. He’s the American and the 2004 Olympic gold medalist. Kovalev will still likely be seen as the visiting fighter despite the fact that he lives in the U.S.

The crowd will be cheering for Ward a lot like before. It’ll be up to Kovalev to show that he can take the judges and the crowd out of the fight by knocking Ward out. Since Ward is likely going to be doing just as much holding and wrestling in the rematch that he did in the first fight, Kovalev might need to get a knockout in close with Ward hanging on him. Can Kovalev knockout Ward with him holding onto his waste or one or both of his arms, I don’t know. It’s going to be hard to do. Kovalev should look to lnd a big shot while Ward is coming forward with his arms reaching for him. Ward will always be vulnerable when he’s reaching forward to clinch him.

“I think Kathy has to realize, she’s not the A-side now,” said Ward to this past week. “Her fighter is not the champion. Things are different. When we decide to come to the table, we’ll see if it’s right. But in order for me to get back into the ring period, it has to make sense. The situation has to be right,” said Ward.

It’s unknown what the percentage split that Ward will be getting for the rematch. If it’s already set in the contract from their previous fight, then Ward won’t be able to hold out of the fight to get the biggest slice of the revenue. It will already be in the contract. I wouldn’t be surprised if the revenue split for the rematch is 50-50.

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