By Miguel Maravilla
WBA, IBF, WBO light heavyweight champion Andre Ward and former champ Sergey Kovalev spoke about their rematch Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Andre Ward: “I think it was plain to see that I broke him mentally and physically. I’m not a person that demands respect or none of that. You don’t have to respect me and I don’t demand anything, but at a certain point and time, you got to give a person their just do. I’m 13 years in and I’ve been doing it against the best. What’s next? Cruiserweight? Heavyweight? I dream big. Anything is possible when you have God.”
Sergey Kovalev: “He hit with four low blows. The ref didn’t call them. I felt I could have continued. This is bullshit.”
The thrill of victory did not last too long as Ward was bombarded at the post-fight press conference with questions of the repeated low blows.
“I had a great fight as long as it lasted,” said Ward. “I give God glory for this victory. I knew tonight was going to be different. I got off to a better start. Camp was good and we implemented everything. I am thankful for Virgil and my team. I take nothing from him. He is a great fighter. This adds to my legacy. I really don’t have anything to say on what happened. It’s amazing even after this, they find something to talk about,”
“We want to talk about low blows tonight. There is no discussion, the right hand is what got it started. I did what I had to do that’s not my fault, I did my job.”
When pressed about the low blows, Ward stated, “God bless you man…Tony Weeks did a good job. When I hit him he was acting like I hit him low.”
As what the future holds, the name of WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson came up. “No disrespect to Stevenson but I haven’t even been thinking of him. I have to see if it makes sense. I’m not ruling it out.”
Ward’s trainer Virgil Hunter proclaimed, “I told them (the media) that I only trained Andre for the knockout twice. The first was Chad Dawson. And the second was for tonight. And they laughed at me. But I knew what was going to happen because he (Ward) was healthy. Now we quieted all those who were whining and thought we didn’t take it the first time.”
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When Kovalev came to the podium, he commented “You saw everything. He is really lucky son of judges. I could have still been fighting. He punched me with low blows. I believe and trust Tony Weeks, but he didn’t do his job. I was ready for all 12 rounds and I don’t respect the decision. I wasn’t hurt and I could continue.”
Kovalev’s manager Egis Klimas stated, “Basically what happened today, Ward got away with fighting dirty. The referee did not do what he was supposed to do. If a bank robber goes to the bank and steals $1 million dollars and knows he can get away with it, guess what? He will continue to do it. He got away and we don’t have a beef with Ward. We have beef with the referee.”
Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events said, “He got hit with three low blows. We asked the commission for an instant replay and the commission refused. We will appeal to the commission on Monday.”
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