Friday, March 31, 2023  |


Ward charges Kovalev got tired and couldn’t adapt in fight

Photo by David Spagnolo / Main Events
Fighters Network

Andre Ward fired back at critics who suggested he used dirty tactics in his win against Sergey Kovalev while charging that Kovalev got tired and failed to adapt in their light heavyweight match-up Nov. 19 and that a rematch wouldn’t be any different.

“He doesn’t want that inside work!!,” Ward wrote on his verified Instagram account on Wednesday. “It’s amazing to me that the same guy who said he would kick me in the ring if he had to, the same guy who said he wanted a street fight, is the same guy calling me a dirty fighter & the same guy crying foul because things didn’t go his way.”

Kovalev alleged Ward got a gift decision from three American judges because of Ward’s status as a former U.S. Olympic gold-medal winner; his promoter, Kathy Duva, said Ward’s performance reminded her of a UFC fighter because of all the grappling. Ward claims it was just good, old-fashioned ground-and-pound inside tactics.

“The reality is when a guy likes to fight one way, on the outside, and is very uncomfortable fighting inside, they call you a dirty fighter,” Ward, who won by three scores of 114-113 to win the WBO/IBF/WBA titles, continued. “It’s called inside work!! That’s the way I was taught, you have to be able to adapt and have more than one style at the highest level.”

Ward accused Kovalev of failing to adjust to the new circumstances of the match in the later stages after he rose from a knockdown and started to close the distance and of fading down the stretch. Two of the three judges ruled that Ward won the final six rounds on their scorecards. Kovalev has a rematch clause and Duva reportedly already exercised the option for an immediate rematch, but Ward thinks it will be more of the same if they meet again. Duva hasn’t return repeated messages over the last several days for comment.

“Kov is a good fighter, but has one style,” Ward wrote. “He fought the best fight he could fight and that’s the best shape he could (possibly) be in and he got tired!! Say what you may, the worst mistake he made was knocking me down. It woke me up, and from there we went to work. We bullied the bully. If there is a rematch, we are going to pick up where we left off!!”