Ward vs. Kovalev II—Moving on to Monday

By Marc Livitz on June 20, 2017
Ward vs. Kovalev II—Moving on to Monday
Ward and Kovalev II should have had all the trappings to rekindle one's interest in boxing.

Visa may boast that its credit card gets you “everywhere you want to be,” but the race card needs to stay in one’s wallet…

It happened again. The second meeting between two elite fighters ended in controversial fashion just as their initial meeting last November had done. The scorecards weren’t the issue this time, but yes, it happened again. Any sort of controversy which will follow Andre Ward’s eighth round stoppage victory over Sergey Kovalev last Saturday night will ultimately be left to one’s interpretation, be it positive or negative. Regardless of how we may feel about the decision of referee Tony Weeks, we as fans hate to see big nights spoiled this way.

Think of it this way, if you so choose. The “Rematch” received close to zero press, media participation was minimal and the total attendance figures from the Mandalay Bay Events Center were indeed padded. That’s right. Sources in Las Vegas informed this writer that some people were not only able to get four tickets for $15, but some were given away for absolutely nothing as well. The idea that so many high profile fights need to be held in Vegas is becoming as superficial as Sin City itself. Boxing managed to shoot itself in the foot yet again.

The entirety of Saturday’s pay-per-view telecast was a whoopee cushion upon which no one sat until Sergey Kovalev received enough shots to the pelvic region to make him think he was somehow experiencing contractions. Doth our eyes deceive us? The replay is all over social media. Andre Ward hit “Krusher” Kovalev below the billboard more than once. He was warned by Weeks for doing so. The end finally came when Kovalev had such a bad case of the bends that Andre couldn’t properly see where he was throwing or what he may indeed hit. So, in no way can we think of faulting Ward. You’re taught as an athlete to play until the whistle just as a fighter learns to fight to the bell.

We’ve seen other bouts end this way before. Amir Khan was accused of doing the same by Zab Judah about six years ago and in the same venue, no less. We’re not going to subject Ward to vilification by association. He’s not Andrew Golota. It happened as it does from time to time. The way Kovalev crumpled like a wind sock is proof enough. Let’s move on. His promoter, Kathy Duva indicated a few weeks ago that a third fight between the two men would not be pursued. A sigh of relief, anyone?

This was a fight and only a fight. It was ultimately a failed promotion and the bout can’t necessarily be accused of not living up to the hype because frankly, there was no hype to be had. Perhaps most concerning is the race card being flashed by some in regard to the contest. Ward is an American black man. No, really? What is Kovalev? He’s a white Russian. You mean that term doesn’t just apply to a drink? Hold the Vodka! Is this what social media and the ills of the internet have done to some people? Visa may boast that its credit card gets you “everywhere you want to be,” but the race card needs to stay in one’s wallet. In fact, cancel and shred it.

Ward himself didn’t want to address it and that should have been enough, just as Larry Bird didn’t give two pennies about Dennis Rodman’s comments about him way back in 1987. To compare any frustration felt by Andre Ward to that of Jack Johnson is an insult to both parties. “The Galveston Giant,” as he was known, was basically ruined by his own government for thumbing his nose at the establishment over one hundred years ago.

Has Andre Ward been sent to prison for anything as draconian as the Mann Act, as was the case for Johnson? Look up that despicable, abhorrent law if you have the time. At the post-fight press conference, Kathy Duva apparently channeled her late father-in-law, Lou’s anger in regard to the stoppage and the behavior of some people in the media room. She cut no corners and went as a far as to tell them to “shut up.” Kathy had every right to feel a bit of anger. Lou Duva himself admitted that he got “Italian mad” when referee Richard Steele stopped Meldrick Taylor’s contest with Julio Cesar Chavez back in 1990.

People still bicker about that stoppage today, as they do about Jose Juan Guerra’s inexplicable 118-110 score for Sugar Ray Leonard three years earlier when he beat Marvin Hagler. Kathy had a point. There is often more than one individual in the media room who has no business being there, unless they agree that silence is golden.

Does Saturday’s decision have a chance to fall into the same category as ones from contests which actually held the public’s interest beforehand? Not likely but then again, many of us blocked off the night and may have even had people over to our respective couches and lounge chairs. To the less observing eye and casual sports fan, the second fight between Ward and Kovalev should have had all the trappings to rekindle one’s interest in boxing. In the end, did it?

Fair play, however may tell us that a stoppage was inevitable due to the thunderous right that Ward planted upon the Krusher’s chin shortly before the equatorial bombs were delivered. A good pop the head like that can make one think he’s somewhere else, while a sound shot to the vitals, landed squarely or not can make one wish he was someone else.

Some of us may even joke that we didn’t have a chance to fall asleep during the co-main event. Guillermo Rigondeaux wasn’t saved by the bell as much as he was saved by the commission. That ending was a letdown. A main event should give us more. The result won’t likely be changed and it doesn’t have to unless it’s meant as marinade for a third fight. Please, no. Let it be. Again, love it or loathe it, we deserve better inasmuch as big nights shouldn’t end this way. It could’ve have been worse. No ears were bitten.

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  1. nonprophet 06:43am, 06/22/2017

    ALT KNIGHT….
    Is your brain still “swirled.”  Told you before that your creator was quite “niggardly” with you when it was time for the intelligence to be doled out.

    You prove it on a daily basis.

    Be a good little doggie.  Roll over and play dead.

  2. Nicolas 09:06pm, 06/21/2017

    The problem with this event was I think poor timing and poor location. First it conflicted with NBA Basketball final, though not on the same day, and I believe the PGA US Open. Yes different sports, but this is America. Also I think this fight would have received far greater attention had it been back inNew York, and far more in Russia. Imagine the attention it would have received in Russia, and the crowd. Yes Las Vegas was the boxing mecca for a while, but not that long really. From 1980 Ali Holmes, the the Tyson years it was big. It had a revival with Mayweather and Pacquiao. Floyd to his credit, certainly helped his adopted home town. People may point to the years before. Ali-Holmes, but the reason for that I think had more to do with over the air television, and the small arenas in Vegas that you could host the fight. You did not have to worry about a big area being blacked out. Gambling did help, but also of now you can go to the Indian Casinos to gamble. Vegas as the gambling mecca, lasted far less than New York, from something like 1920 to mid 70’s. Only when you have a Mexican fighter in the arena can you really believe that you will have now a big pay per view, and a big card in Vegas.

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:03am, 06/21/2017

    Talk about conflicted…..I leave out of Mass on Sunday past with Agnus Dei ringing in my ears and there’s a portrait of that Commie bastard hanging in the vestibule!

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:48am, 06/21/2017

    C’mon Goddamnit! Lemieux is spoiling for a fight! Somebody fight him! He wants to fight and you know Goddamned well that whoever he’s in there with he’s gonna’ make them fight and you’re gonna’ get your money’s worth!

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:37am, 06/21/2017

    Talk about your oxymorons….Lemieux says Saunders is a “weak pussy”....there’s nothing weak about a pussy! Pussy makes the world go round!

  6. raxman 07:08pm, 06/20/2017

    I’ve defended Ward since the super 6 tourney vs Kessler. I’ve been a fan and I think what he does legal, is a thing of boxing beauty. But I can no longer delude myself. Ward is a dirty fighter.
    He head butts like Bradley used to (Bradley change the way he punched at medium range, TB would throw his head with his punch, so that when the punch missed it was likely the head wouldn’t)
    On the inside Ward uses his elbows to the body, shoulders and arms, to make Roberto Duran proud
    And his low blows are, despite what the author says, very much in the realm of Andrew Golota, the main difference being that Golota owned his, unlike the bible thumping, god bothering hypocrite that is Andre Ward
    The great shame is that the brilliant side of Ward, the clean side, was robbed of a definitive and career defining victory over Kovalev by fighting dirty
    However it wasn’t just Ward who changed in my eyes with this fight, Sergey Krybaby Kovalev has been revealed to me a different light also - but that’s another story

  7. Blind Referee 01:52pm, 06/20/2017

    Kovalev was robbed in the first fight because boxing is still the most corrupt “sport” on the planet!  Both “fights” as far as I can see were FIXED!!!  No doubt about that!  Why did Weeks stop the “fight” even though Kovalev did not go down or take a count?  F I X E D!!!  As for Kovalev,,,,what a dumb phuqqin mule this cnut must be!!!  After the first 2 or 3 low blows from Ward he should have realised something was going on and he should have got stuck in and played dirty like Ward!  Where was the brute that was so angry he was robbed in the first fight he wanted revenge?  Where was the steel and determination to steamroller Ward into a ko or submission?  Nowhere to be seen in that fiasco last week!  Im only too pleased to watch this sh!t happening because I dont have to phuqqin PAY to watch these thick wukfits trying to bash each other into comas!

  8. Lucas McCain 01:37pm, 06/20/2017

    Killed the sport?  The end may piss you off, but try not to forget Duran beat Buchanan with a low blow after the bell.  I liked Kenny—a Pep-like boxer—but those of us old enough to remember got over it and ended up big Duran fans.  The red light district of sports (a Cosell-ism) still shines bright

  9. Your Name 12:21pm, 06/20/2017

    Another controversial ending I’m so tired of the bullshit boxing has gone down the drain and it’s a shame because I love the sport but the people in in charge have totally killed this sport….the whole nite was a travesty from the low blows to The Knockout after the Bell just ridiculous

  10. Your Name 08:36am, 06/20/2017

    You are a very sick human being. I almost feel sorry for you—-almost.

  11. Your Name 08:03am, 06/20/2017

    “Ward is actually a “swirl” man. hehe. Lets not forget his father was White”


    Jesus, can’t you ever resist with your obsession on race? You make David Duke blush. Please get a life and STFU

  12. Alt Knight 06:20am, 06/20/2017

    Ward is actually a “swirl” man. hehe. Lets not forget his father was White. Seriously, I see a lot of people commenting on this fight and how they won’t ever be duped into a PPV event again. I HOPE THEY KEEP THEIR WORD, but I doubt that they will. If people would stop paying to watch this crap, they would eventually have to put it back on the networks. The people who created the Frankenstate we live in today won’t ever let the “race card” die out, they created it and they fuel it every single day. Still haven’t seen the whole fight, but the I saw enuff of the ending to call, bullsheeit on the stoppage. At least this article was somewhat fair and unbiased. My gawd, the first two took biased reporting to the nth level. I think people are starting to have enuff with sports in general. Look at how much the attendance declined in the NFL.  IF this event helps people stop wasting their money on PPV and putting their cabbage to better use, then it was a blessing, no matter the crooked outcome.

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