Ward Beats Kovalev For Light Heavywight Title In Front Of Favorable Crowd Of 10,982
Andre Ward beat Sergey Kovalev via eighth-round TKO Saturday night in front of a "pro-Ward crowd of 10,982" at Mandalay Bay Events Center, according to Bob Velin of USA TODAY. Ward last November defeated Kovalev in a controversial decision, but he "didn't leave this one in the hands of the judges." Fans "roared their approval for what Ward called the biggest fight of his career." Ward was "guaranteed" $6.5M for the fight, while Kovalev will take home around $1M (USATODAY.com, 6/18). The AP's Tim Dahlberg noted the crowd was "roaring at every punch landed by Ward and chanting his nickname" (AP, 6/18). In Las Vegas, Ed Graney wrote under the header, "Andre Ward Proves He's Boxing's Pound-For-Pound King." Ward "deserves the top spot on the sport's pound-for-pound list" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 6/18). In L.A., Lance Pugmire wrote Ward "scored a spirited victory" over Kovalev (L.A. TIMES, 6/18). In N.Y., Brian Adams wrote Las Vegas "wasn't cheated because both fighters brought their 'A' game" and were "willing to lay it all on the line" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/18).
HE'S GOT THE MONEY: BOXING SCENE's Keith Idec noted Kovalev grew "increasingly angry" the week leading up to the fight, as Ward was going to be "paid a guarantee of at least" $6M by Roc Nation Sports regardless of the fight's outcome. Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding Strategy Michael Yormark said that Kovalev had "no one to blame but himself and his promoter, Main Events." Yormark: "It’s odd that they would even make a comment about it because they’ve done nothing to promote this fight." He added Main Events CEO Kathy Duva has "been quoted as saying that, ‘I wanna take a backseat. Let Roc Nation and Team Ward do what they wanna do.’" Yormark: "She’s really done nothing. Sergey’s done nothing. If anything, Sergey has hurt the promotion with some of the comments that he’s made, some of the outrageous comments that he’s made. The champ has carried this promotion from Day One. There’s not an interview we asked Andre to do that he didn’t do, because he knew how important it was to get behind this." He added, "Let’s be honest, while we’re talking about this, Sergey has no following. I mean, Main Events has had him for what, five, six years? What have they done with him? Nobody knows who he is, he has no following, he can’t sell tickets, he can’t sell pay-per-view." Ward said he "felt like we did 80 percent of the work," adding Kovalev is "not the most entertaining guy." Ward: "In terms of promoting the fight, I think we’ve done way more than him" (BOXINGSCENE.com, 6/17).
ROUGH NIGHT? Duva said that she would "file a protest" today because referee Tony Weeks "refused to look at a replay of the finish to see whether the finishing blows were legal or not." Duva said of Las Vegas, "We’re not coming here again. We came here (to fight Ward) twice. But (both) times, there was controversy and it went Roc Nation’s way. We really thought Sergey won that first fight and they gave it to Ward. And there was a controversial decision on the undercard that went to Maurice Hooker, who is with Roc Nation." YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Iole wrote the promotion of the event was an "epic failure and given that Roc Nation was the lead promoter, it mostly falls on them." Ticket prices "dropped so low on Saturday it was cheaper for people in Las Vegas to attend the show than to buy it on pay-per-view." Duva "detailed a long list of grievances against Roc Nation." However, Yormark said repeatedly, “We called this fight ‘No excuses!’ and I don’t want to hear any excuses.” It was a "costly night" for Roc Nation, which is "expected to lose millions" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/18).