Ward says Kovalev’s promoter agreed to the judges
By Allan Fox: When Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev meet for their rematch on June 17th, it will be with all 3 judges being from the U.S rather than other parts of the world. Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva says she asked for one of the judges to be from outside of the U.S, but she was turned down by Ward’s side. Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) is saying that Duva signed off on the 3 judges being from the U.S during the negotiations for the fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Kovalev vs. Ward II fight will be televised on HBO PPV on June 17. The start time is at 9 pm. ET/6 pm. PT.
The judges are very important for the Ward-Kovalev II rematch, because the first fight saw Ward winning a questionable 12 round unanimous decision in Las Vegas, Nevada. The judges thought Ward had done enough to deserve the victory by the scores 114-113, 114-113 and 114-113. Looking at the fight from this writer’s perspective, it appeared that the judges had made the wrong decision by giving Ward the win. Kovalev looked to have gotten the better of Ward in the 12 round fight.
The crowd was cheering for Ward throughout the 12 round fight. Ward was the U.S fighter, and the questionable scores had some boxing fans feeling that he was given the decision due to him being an American and Kovalev being the foreigner. For this reason, it might have been better if at least one judge for the rematch be a non-U.S judge, so that if there’s another controversial decision in Ward’s favor, at least it would be one judge that would be from another country. It would give the boxing fans a chance to see how a non-U.S judge scored the fight.
“What isn’t he complaining about?” said Ward in response to a media member saying that Kovalev is complaining about the judges for the rematch. “Did Kathy say that she signed off on those deals? Did you realize that she was the A-side for the first fight? I’m just giving you the facts. We’re on the A-side now,” said Ward in commenting on Duva asking for one of the three judges to be a non-American due all 3 of them being from the U.S for “The Rematch” between Ward and Kovalev on June 17 in Las Vegas. “We didn’t have any say going into the first fight. But they underestimated. When it doesn’t go their way, they got to find a scapegoat. They approved those judges. She signed off on it, so why is there an issue now,” said Ward.
It’s surprising that Ward isn’t able to connect the dots to understand why Kovalev’s management feels it’s important to have someone from outside the U.S to judge the second fight. Given that the first Ward-Kovalev fight was scored by 3 U.S judges, who scored it to Ward by a controversial 12 round unanimous decision, it makes sense for the judges to at least have one judge come from outside the U.S.
“This fight is for the fans. This fight is not to prove anybody wrong, because you’re not going to win that battle,” said Ward about the boxing fans that still think he was given a gift decision over Kovalev last November. “This fight is to prove everyone right that has been rocking with me, and that’s been believing in me and fighting for me on social media. I’m fine. I didn’t have to take this fight, but I decided to take it for them. This is what they wanted,” said Ward.
As long as there’s not another controversial decision like in the previous Ward-Kovalev fight, but if there is another one in favor or Ward, he’s not going to get much credit, especially with all 3 judges being from the U.S again. The setup of the fight favors Ward with the judges being American and the venue being in Las Vegas rather than on the East Coast of the U.S. Ward’s fans from Oakland, California don’t have to travel too far to see him fight Kovalev. Having the fight in Las Vegas for a second time is a big advantage for Ward.
“God bless him, I hope he does a better job this time,” said Ward about Kovalev saying he gassed out in the 5th round in the first fight last November. “It’s not personal for us. It’s never personal for me. This fight is not personal than the first fight. I don’t get caught in the sinister look. You’re going to have to earn it. You’re going to have to really show what you say you are. We were the A-side financially last time. We just weren’t the A-side on paper,” said Ward.
If Ward chooses to do a lot of holding in the rematch with Kovalev, then he’ll get a lot more credit if he wins the fight than he did last time. The way the fight was run the last time, it looked as if the referee was asleep at the wheel in not electing to separate the fighters when they were wrestling on the inside for prolonged periods of time. The referee wasn’t choosing to separate the fighters. It was one of those fights where the referee just lets the two guys hold on the inside while he stands and watches.
It made the contest hard to watch because it wasn’t boxing at times. It resembled a MMA fight, but with a lot less action. That’s why it’s important that a good referee work the fight because this is fight that will be televised on HBO pay per view. I personally think it’s important that the referee does his job to make sure that the fight is a boxing match and not a stand up wrestling contest. You’ve got a lot of fans that may not want to keep paying to see boxing if all they’re not going their money’s worth.
Kovalev will have plenty of time to work on his inside game to defeat the mauling tactics of Ward. The rematch will no doubt be similar type of fight to the first one. The only way it changes is if Kovalev can show that he can fight on the inside with powerful shots. A more offensive-minded Kovalev in close will make Ward have second thoughts of holding him all night long. Ward will likely switch into Plan-B if he starts getting worked over on the inside by Kovalev the way he did in his fight with Sakio Bika. Ward was roughed up by Bika on the inside, and he finally had to give up on fighting him at close range.
The tickets for the June 17th rematch between Ward and Kovalev go on sale today at axs.com and at the Mandalay Bay Events Center box office.