Russian boxer Sergey Kovalev made his point then stormed off the podium as he butted heads Thursday with American champion Andre Ward in the final news conference before their world title rematch.
The 33-year-old Ward on June 17 improved his record to 32-0 (15 knockouts) by defeating the 34-year-old Kovalev (31-1-1, 26 KOs) in the 175-pound title rematch.
The unbeaten Ward hurt Kovalev with a right hand that buckled his knees and then finished him off on the ropes with a series of body shots around the mid-section at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino. "Krusher" had held the WBO, IBF and WBAlight heavyweight belts since beating the legendary Bernard Hopkins in 2014.
Prior to the first meeting between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev, which took place on November 19, 2017 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, the stakes were high, but they were also quite clear. "When I saw him reacting to the body shots that were borderline I knew I had him", Ward said. But as much as I would like to change what happened I know that I can't.
Not only are these the two elite fighters in their division, but they are also two of the best fighters in the sport, and tonight they go head-to-head once again in one of the most eagerly anticipated rematches of the year. HBO will replay the pay-per-view fight next Saturday beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
The WBA world super bantanweight bout between champion Guillermo Rigondeaaux and Moises Flores ended in controversy as the two were tied up and exchanging punches when the bell rang. "You kind of see a theme in his fights".
Coverage of the fight in the United Kingdom will be shown live on Sky Sports 1 as part of their "Fight Night International: Ward v Kovalev" programme. As far as media goes, I'm not interested in that.
Judging by the current prices, our odds compilers believe this fight will follow the same pattern as the first match, with Ward nicking the decision. The people who are going to buy our fight are still going to buy it and come out.
Oakland's Ward, meanwhile, just wants to keep the party going.
Their first fight may have been a top notch contest but it left a bitter aftertaste for both fighters. "Heavyweight? I dream big, and everything is possible when you have God". That's why I want to face the best, to be the best.
"He's getting paid by one guy, who for some reason is willing to put out extraordinary amounts of money to watch him fight", Kovalev's promoter, Kathy Duva, said.
"The backlash was swift from those who said that making it sound as if Ward-a devout Christian-dropped nonstop N-bombs was racist", TMZ wrote. Obviously, Kovalev is the more accomplished finisher of the two, and it will be interesting to see if he tries to get Ward down early again.