Ward will do what he wants to do, says Roc Nation executive
By Allan Fox: Andre Ward’s promoter Michael Yormark of Roc Nation Sports isn’t sure whether Ward will choose to continue his boxing career and face Sergey Kovalev in a rematch. Yormark says it’s up to Ward whether he wants to continue his career. Ward is sounding like he’s not sure if he wants to continue fighting and face Kovalev a second time.
This of course could be Ward hoping to get a better deal for the rematch with Kovalev, as there would be negotiations that would need to take place before a second fight could be scheduled.
Yormark says that the rematch between Ward and Kovalev will bring in better numbers on HBO PPV than their previous fight on November 19. That fight pulled in 160,000 buys, which is less than what a lot of boxing fans thought the fight would do. Ward won the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision, but the boxing public disagreed with the results in large numbers. They felt that Kovalev was the better fighter.
Yorkmark said this about the Ward-Kovalev rematch:
“How valid is the rematch clause [for Kovalev fight,” said Yormark to the boxing media. “At the end of the day, Andre Ward will ultimately decide to do what he wants to do. It’s entirely up to Andre whether he wants to do the rematch or not do a rematch. I think Andre is content with what he’s achieved in life, and what he’s achieved in boxing. He’s been in the sport a long time. If they [Ward and Kovalev] get in the ring again, I’m sure the numbers will be better. I’m sure people anticipate a great battle again. We’ll see if we get there,” said Yormark.
Ward retiring right now would be seen as a signal to some boxing fans that he’s not sure that he can beat Kovalev a second time. Ward fought the best fight he could fight with him grappling the last nine rounds of the fight, and he still won by the scores 114-113, 114-113 and 114-113. However, many people felt that Kovalev won by at least 8 rounds to 4 score.
A lot of fans thought Kovalev won 9 rounds to 3. He knocked Ward down in the 2nd round, and appeared to win 5 of the first 6 rounds and 3 the last 6. The knockdown in the 2nd round made the fight even more one-sided in Kovalev’s favor in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans.
It would be interesting to know what kind of a purse split Ward is looking for in the Kovalev rematch before he’ll agree to a second fight with him.
If Ward is willing to retire if he doesn’t get his way in the negotiations, then I’m sure Kovalev won’t mind too much. If Ward’s talk of retirement is just him bluffing to try and get a better deal in the negotiations for a rematch, I think Kovalev may call his bluff.
Roach: Cotto will break Kirkland down early and stop him late
Miguel Cotto’s trainer Freddie Roach says he’s already got the game plan for Cotto to follow in his fight against James Kirkland on February 25 on HBO PPV in Frisco, Texas. Roach says the plan is to wear Kirkland down with body shots to tire him out. In the second half of the fight, Cotto will go for the knockout of the 32-year-old Kirkland.
What Roach doesn’t want is for Cotto to stand in the pocket too long early in the fight because it will put him at a high risk of being knocked out by Kirkland. Roach says that Kirkland is still a big puncher, and a big guy that is dangerous. Roach feels that Kirkland’s loss to Saul Canelo Alvarez a year and a half ago was a case of him getting caught early and stopped. He feels it could happen anybody. Roach didn’t say anything about the fact that Kirkland hasn’t won a fight since 2013. That’s 4 years since Kirkland’s last win. It would have been interesting if Roach had commented on that.
Roach said this to Fighthype.com about the Cotto-Kirkland fight:
“I was concerned with the size of our opponent,” said Roach about Kirkland. “He’s a big strong guy, and a big puncher. He’s a little dangerous. He got knocked out in his last fight, but anybody can get caught cold in a fight,” said Roach.
Kirkland can punch, but he’s going to be very rusty when he gets inside the ring with Cotto. Kirkland has always had chin problems when it comes to taking shots to the head. Kirkland’s chin didn’t get better in his time out of the ring. He hadn’t fought in close to 2 years when Golden Boy selected him for Canelo to fight in 2015.
Now it’s been 1 ½ years since Kirkland last fought. That’s bad news for Kirkland that he’s entering the Cotto fight after so many layoffs in the last four years. It’s not good for the boxing fans either or at least the ones that purchase it on HBO PPV. The fans that don’t purchase the fight don’t have to worry about the fight being a mismatch and a waste of money. It’s the fans that pay for the $49.95 who might end up being angry for having spent their hard-earned money on the mismatch.
Speaking about Cotto, Roach said, “He beat me up a little bit. He looks really good. I blew the dust off the body bag he made me, and he beat the [expletive] out of me yesterday. He’s a great puncher still. We had a great start so far. He starts sparring on Monday, and I got three good sparring partners for the fight so far. I got three more on the side afterwards. I’m looking forward to this. He still has a lot in the tank. He’s still a very good fighter. Me and him together, we work really well. I haven’t worked mitts with him for 13 months, and he’s still there. The body shots are unbelievable. I did go home last night and I peed blood like I used to. He’s a great body puncher. The pad protects somewhat, but not all of the time. It’s good to be back in the gym with him. He does have a lot of it left in him, I’m sure. This fight, we know we’re in with a big puncher. We know not to get caught and exchange with him too long. We can’t stay in the pocket too long with this guy. We can’t stay too long, because if we stay too long, he’ll hit you back. He can punch, and he can knockout anybody and he does have knockout power. We have to prevent that. I feel like we can break this guy down early in the fight and work the body a lot, and I think we’ll knock him out in the later rounds,” said Roach.
“Canelo is probably the No.1 guy in pay-per-view right now. He [Manny Pacquiao] does still have an audience. [Julio Cesar] Chavez Jr. with the right opponent could be back. They put it in a price that I think is affordable,” said Roach about the pay-per-view price of $49.95 for the Cotto-Kirkland fight on HBO PPV. “I think it’s a smart idea. We’re going to Texas. Jerry Jones is going to help promote. He always does because he loves boxing. He knows how to sell tickets. We’ve already been told that 25,000 tickets have been sold for the live gate. So that’s a good sign right there. People are making noise, because they don’t want to pay, but this is the world we live in. I want the Canelo rematch because I thought we won that fight. I thought we out-scored him easily in that first fight. The thing is he might have landed the better shots and the better power shots, but our game plan was to out-box him, and that’s what we did, and I think we did a good job of it. We didn’t get the results that time. [Floyd] Mayweather is on the fence a little bit. I think he’ll come back. Miguel beat him up a little bit the last time they fought. He’ll beat him up this time, I promise you,” said Roach.