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Andre Ward, Sergey Kovalev agree to June 17 rematch in Las Vegas

Updated April 4, 2017 - 8:13 pm

The most debated decision of 2016 is headed for a rematch.

Andre Ward will make his first light heavyweight title defense against Sergey Kovalev, the previous owner of the three belts that Ward took in a controversial decision at T-Mobile Arena in November.

Ward (31-0-0, 15 knockouts) and Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) will clash for a second time June 17 on an HBO pay-per-view main event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Ward announced the rematch Tuesday on his social media accounts.

“I’m going to keep it short and sweet. You got what you asked for (Kovalev), now you have to see me on June 17. This time leave the excuses at home,” Ward said on Twitter.

Ward and Kovalev will partake in a three-city press tour starting Monday to officially announce the fight. The areas include New York City, the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Ticket information has not been released.

“I’m glad to know that the rematch will happen,” Kovalev said in a release. “I really hope that Andre Ward will get into the ring for this rematch. Fans of boxing will see the real Krusher, the one they have missed for couple of my last fights. For me, this rematch is very important as no other bout in my entire boxing career.”

The first match between two of the best boxers on the planet was supposed to create a new pound-for-pound king, but it only made the mythical list messier. Ward defeated Kovalev, according to the three judges who unanimously scored the fight 114-113 in favor of the Oakland, California, native.

However, many boxing fans and pundits view the Russian as the true winner. Kovalev dropped Ward in the second round with a right hand and appeared to have a big lead before Ward made a furious comeback in the later rounds.

This will be the first boxing event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center since Saul “Canelo” Alvarez defeated Miguel Cotto in November 2015.

Contact Gilbert Manzano at gmanzano@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0492. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.

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