The highly anticipated rematch has fight fans talking, but their voice is not as loud as the ones partaking in the thriller. Both fighters have some choice words for one another as we are just weeks away from the rematch bout.
As fight fans may know, there has been a mini rivalry sprewling between undefeated light heavyweight champion Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. When they met in the ring the first time back in November of 2016, Ward scored what may considered an controversy unanimous decision win over Sergey as he was able to bounce back from an 2nd round knockdown. HBO Boxing’s Larry Merchant came out and said “It was a classic hometown decision. Kovalev won the fight.” But after all the talks settled, a rematch was in place and on June 17 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, these two will clash to prove who was the real victor from the first fight. Already, there has been some choice words being said about what occurred in the first bout.
You won the first fight but you got dropped in Round 2 and some in the media think you lost that fight. Is that motivation for the rematch? Do you think you have to redeem yourself even in victory? Do you think you need a dominant victory in the rematch?
Andre Ward: As a competitor, I want to get him back for that knock down. As a competitor, I want that definitive victory. But as far as media goes, I’m not interested in that. There were some media members who felt like I won, but that group doesn’t get talked about as much. I want to leave no doubt, but I don’t need any extra push of motivation. It is always lurking inside me, I carry it wherever I go.
How hard was to deal with the defeat after you thought you’ve won the first fight against Andre Ward? How have you use that as motivation for the rematch?
Sergey Kovalev: When they first announced the winner I could not believe it, it felt like I was in a bad dream. I believe that I won the fight. But as much as I would like to change what happened I know that I cannot do this. I have come to accept this is what happened and I am now even more determined to do everything in my power to make sure I do not leave the decision in the hands of the judges. Last time the judges gave him a gift of my belts. I cannot rely on the judges to get it right the second time. I am going to get my belts back. I have to make sure to either knock him out or win in a very convincing way.
Check out the HBO Sports special “24/7 Ward/Kovalev 2” premieres Friday, June 2 at 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT) exclusively on HBO.