Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev made it through three straight news conferences this week without ripping each other’s heads off.
No punches were thrown during the three-city tour in New York, Los Angeles and Oakland, California. But the fighters did throw oral jabs, especially the Russian who lost his three belts six months ago.
“When he (Ward) looks at me, I just want to punch him in the face,” Kovalev said. “I lost respect for him.”
Kovalev will have to wait another two months to punch Ward and attempt to regain his light heavyweight titles when the two meet June 17 in a rematch at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Tickets went on sale Friday and are available at axs.com or Mandalay Bay Events Center box office.
Ward defeated Kovalev on a controversial decision in November at T-Mobile Arena, and it has been one of the most debated fights in recent memory. Kovalev, who goes by “Krusher,” dropped Ward in the second round with a power right hand, but Ward made a rally in the later rounds by clinching and attacking the body.
“They have to understand, there’s nothing scary about this man,” Ward said of Kovalev. “You realize we just fought 12 rounds four months ago? Everyone wants to highlight the knockdown, that’s probably one of the most beautiful moments of my career. And did you guys see the other 10 rounds? Nobody’s talking about that.
“But that’s what makes us who we are. It’s hard concrete down there, we don’t want to fall. We’ve got another drive, we’ve got another gear we’ve got to tap into when we hit adversity and hit the cannons. You guys saw that, in the biggest moment of my career.”
There will be a lot more trash talk between the two foes in the next two months. The two promoters don’t even like each other. Kathy Duva of Main Events, Kovalev’s promoter, and Michael Yormark of Roc Nation, Ward’s promoter, have gotten into a war of words.
Negotiations were messy between the two camps. But come June 17, the debate of the true 175-pound kingpin will be settled.
“I want to apologize to my fans for my performance the last time, but we’re going to get this squared either way,” Kovalev said. “We’re going to see who is the best fighter. I’m very excited for June 17.
“The only thing I hope is that a week or two before the fight Andre Ward does not get injured, and he has enough balls to come out and fight me on June 17.”
Contact Gilbert Manzano at email@example.com or 702-383-0492. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.
April 29: Beibut Shumenov vs. Yunier Dorticos, 7 p.m., FS1/Fox Deportes, Sam’s Town
May 5: Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN, 4 p.m., ESPN Deportes/ESPN2, MGM Grand Garden Arena
May 6: Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., 6 p.m., HBO PPV, T-Mobile Arena
June 17: Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev, 6 p.m., HBO PPV, Mandalay Bay Events Center