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Kovalev: Referee Tony Weeks was on Ward’s team

By Jeff Aranow: Former light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev says referee Tony Weeks was one of Andre Ward’s team from their rematch on June 17. Weeks stopped the fight in the 8th round after Kovalev appeared to have been hit by several low blows by Ward. Instead of Ward being penalized, he was given credit for a knockout over Kovalev.

(Photo credit Craig Bennett/Main Events)

It seems that Kovalev, 34, still has some bad blood about his second loss to Ward. Kovalev is in the full blame mode in dishing out blame rather than admitting that he was hurt from a head shot in round 8, and likely would have lost the fight no matter what Ward hit him with.

Kovalev says he didn’t want to respond back by hitting Ward with low blows in return, as he felt that he would have been disqualified by the referee Tony Weeks if he’d done that.

“Somewhere inside me I understand that if I will do this, like disqualification will be,” said Kovalev to Fighthub. ”Because I already understand since second round that Tony Weeks was in his team. Because when I get a low blow, I show him. He said ‘You professional, he’s professional, I’m professional. Don’t teach me how to do this!’ Okay. And what we saw? How I remember, it was the second round, like ‘oh’ [hunching over from a groin shot]…He goes ‘It’s okay, just keep working.’ And after this I don’t remember the fight.”

Kovalev needs to get over his loss already to Ward. It happened. He needs to move on. Kovalev was going to lose to Ward whether he was hit low or not. By the 8th round, Kovalev looked depleted and ready to be knocked out. It was just like the first fight between them last November. The only difference is Ward didn’t land a big shot on Kovalev that buzzed him.

“You said [it],” Kovalev said in talking about Weeks. “But I don’t know, corrupt or not, but he was in the Ward team. He was with Ward on this fight, not with me, not with anybody — he was against me,” said Kovalev.

The shots that Ward hit Kovalev with to the midsection in the 8th, it was nearly impossible to tell for sure if they were low or not without slow motion replay, and Weeks was watching the action in real time. He based on his decision on the shots being clean on what he saw. Even with the replay, it was impossible to tell for sure if the punches were low due to the angle, and the way that Kovalev was leaning forward.

Kovalev will be fighting for the vacant WBO light heavyweight title on November 25 against Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs) at Madison Square Garden in New York. The fight will be televised on HBO Boxing. This is the WBO belt that Ward recently vacated when he retired from the sport. It’s very lucky for Kovalev to be getting another chance to win back one of his old titles, but he’s going to need to fight a lot better than he’s looked recently if he wants to beat Shabranskyy to win the WBO strap.

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