Sergey Kovalev: I don’t like Andre Ward, I want to punish ‘fake champion’
There’s no love lost between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev ahead of their highly anticipated rematch.
In fact, there’s been bad blood since Ward outpointed Kovalev in controversial fashion in November.
Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 knockouts) resorted to calling Ward “Son of Judges,” a play on the light heavyweight titleholder’s moniker, “Son of God.” Then, Kovalev failed to appear for a scheduled interview involving Ward during the Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight.
The sides were scheduled to film “Face-off with Max Kellerman” the following day, but Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) jettisoned Las Vegas after Kovalev no-showed, only for the Russian to appear later that Sunday for naught. They will meet June 17 at Mandalay Bay on HBO pay-per-view.
“I don’t like this guy and I want to punish him because he puts his nose really up right now. He knows that he lost,” Kovalev said Wednesday at a media workout in Oxnard, California. “I don’t care if he shows respect to me or not. I know only one thing: I will kick his ass!
“I want to destroy him. I want to destroy this guy as a boxer, as a champion. For me he is not a champion, he’s a fake champion. He lives right now with this status; he’s a fake champion. He believes in his victory over me and right now he’s trying to get belief of people of this victory. It’s wrong. For me, it’s wrong.”
Kovalev stoked the flames by tweeting and then deleting a video containing racist language. Ward, meanwhile, has been mostly quiet, other than to post photos and training updates on social media.
Kovalev knocked Ward, 33, down in the second round and dominated the first half the 175-pound summit meeting, but the Olympic gold medalist rallied over the second half to eke out a unanimous decision on the official judges’ scorecards. The overwhelming majority of fans and media, however, felt “Krusher” deserved the nod.
“It’s not the first fight where I’m angry, I’m always angry when I am fighting, but last two fights were very disappointing for me,” said Kovalev, who went the distance with Isaac Chilemba last summer. “Right now, at this point, I am feeling good and I feel not any problem to get back my belts.
” … I am happy what’s happening around me — I mean in training camp, my family, my life and my boxing. That I have no belts is for me new motivation to kick more ass, because he does not deserve these belts. This is gift for him from the judges for Christmas and Christmas already finished and belts should be back with me.”