ANDRE WARD DEFEATS SERGEY KOVALEV BY A QUESTIONABLE DECISION, VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS, POST PRESS CONFERENCE & POST FIGHT REACTION
By: Victor O. Garcia RCM Head Boxing Video Reporter-Ringside
Photo Credits: David Spagnolo/Main Events
Las Vegas, Nevada (November 19th, 2016)— In the city that never sleeps, boxing fans gathered around to witness a highly anticipated mega fight between two of the best fighters of this era. The WBA, WBO, and IBF Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) suffered his very first loss in his professional career to the newly crown pound-for-pound King, Andre “SOG” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs). All the judges scored the bout 114-113 in favor of the Bay Area native, Andre Ward.
“This is a beautiful thing. We did it, baby. It’s a lot of hardware,” Ward said after defeating Sergey Kovalev in a really close fight. The T-Mobile Arena was filled with a little over 13,000 fans Saturday night, with the majority rooting for the American gold medalist. The fight did not start in favor of the new champion, who was dropped by a counter right hook from the Russian power-puncher. As Ward got up, Kovalev continued to connect strong punches on Ward and it seemed like the fight could come to an end soon. That was not the case as the fight progressed. Andre Ward began to adjust by using his jab more and using the clinch to his advantage to keep Kovalev in a uncomfortable position. That didn’t seem to slow The Krusher down too much, since he was still connecting through out the fight. Both fighter had great moments which had the fans at the edge of their seats.
After a twelve rounds of action, the fight heard the final bell and everyone in the arena cheered and applaud after watching a great match up. The arena exploded when Michael Buffer announced, “AND THE NEW Light heavyweight champion of the world!”
“This sounds good — the new light heavyweight champ. This was my most important and satisfying win.” Said Andre Ward. “He did everything I expected him to do. He started to show up as I expected. He started to fight like I expected. My coach [Virgil Hunter] did a great job.”
After the announcement was made, Sergey Kovalev seemed really disappointed with the outcome.
“It’s the wrong decision. I don’t want to say my opinion,” he said. “The witnesses are here. They saw it. It’s my job. It was a fight of my life. I am disappointed in the judges’ decision.” Said Kovalev.
“He got maybe a few rounds. I agree with that. I kept control. I lost maybe three rounds the whole fight. It is the USA and all the judges were from the USA. It’s a sport. Don’t make it politics. It’s a sport and I won the fight.”
Both fighters felt like they did enough to win the fight. Even though, a lot of members of the media and HBO commentators agreed that Kovalev should’ve won the fight, in the end, the man that walked out of the ring with his hands up high is Andre Ward, and a rematch would be great for everyone to see in the near future.
Maurice Hooker vs Darlys Perez
In the co-main event Maurice Hooker (21-0-3, 16 KOs) fought to a draw against Colombian fighter and former WBA Lightweight Champion Darlys Perez (33-2-2, 21 KOs) in a controversial decision, which to most the fight should’ve ended in favor of the Colombian fighter. The judges scored the bout: 97-93 for Hooker, 97-93 for Perez, and 95-95.
Darleys Perez was the better and the more experienced fighter of the fight. His combinations were on point and rocked the Dallas-native a few times with perfectly timed over-hand rights. Hooker didn’t look like he did in his previous fights, where he won seven of his last eight fights via knockout. Maurice did start off well with his jabs and utilized the ring to his advantage but, in the mid-rounds, Perez changed up the fight and became more aggressive with combos to the head and body. Hooker couldn’t connect with his wild punches and paid a big price for it.
After the final round, Perez raised his arms believing he had just won the fight. After the scorecards were read by legendary ring announcer Michael Buffer, Perez removed his cap in disgust after hearing the outcome.
“I won the fight. He’s a young lion but I know in my heart that I won the fight. I was robbed, I want a rematch.” Said Darleys Perez after the fight.
Maurice Hooker also had some words about his fight.
“It’s not my day. That’s not how I wanted to see this fight end.”
Isaac Chilemba vs Oleksandr Gvazdyk
Isaac Chilemba (24-5-2, 10 KOs) was defeated Oleksandr Gvazdyk (12-0, 10 KOs) via TKO. The fight ended after the eight round, due to a possible broken hand by Chilemba.
Although Chilemba couldn’t continue with the fight, Isaac was completely dominated throughout the fight. He suffered a bloody nose in the early rounds. Oleksandr came in focus and did what he had to do to defend his undefeated record. He worked the body well and combined his punches very well to connect to the body and the head of Chilemba. A clean right uppercut wobbled Chilemba, and Roy Jones Jr —who is the trainer of Chilemba— threaten to stop the fight if Chilemba didn’t show his corner some action.
After a dominating eight round, the fight came to an end as the corner of Chilemba stopped the fight.
Stevens vs De La Rosa
In the first televised fight of the night, Curtis Stevens (29-5, 21 KOs) defeated Mexican fighter, James De La Rosa (23-5, 12 KOs) via unanimous-decision, and retains his WBC Continental Americas Middleweight Title. Stevens scored a knocked down in the first round, and was later deducted a point in the eight round after a low blow. The fight was a close one, James did suffer a knockdown and a cut on his left eye, but fought a real close bout against Stevens. The judges scored the bout: 98-90, 96-92, and 96-92.
Bakhram Murtazaliev (7-0, 5 KOs) made quick work of Botirsher Obidov (6-1-1, 2 KOs) with three knockdowns in the second round before the referee stopped the fight at 2:52 of the second round.
In the final bout before the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast began, heavyweights Darmani “Rock Solid” Rock (6-0, 4 KOs) and Brice Ritani-Coe (4-5-1, 3 KOs) fought in a four round bout. Rock walked away still undefeated with two judges scoring the contest 40-36 and one score care at 40-35 for a unanimous decision for the Philly native.
Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields (1-0) made her professional debut against her long-time amateur rival Franchon “The Heavy Hitting Diva” Crews (0-1) who also made her professional debut in a four-round action-packed super middleweight bout. All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Shields.
Featherweight Tyler “Golden Child” McCreary (12-0, 6 KOs) went the distance against Vincent “Pooh Bear” Jennings (5-3-1, 4 KOs) and earned a majority decision with the judges scoring the bout 57-57, 59-55, 58-56.
The free view opened with junior welterweights Sonny “Pretty Boi” Fredrickson (15-0, 9 KOs) and Gabriel Duluc (11-2, 2 KOs) squaring off for the full eight scheduled rounds before Fredrickson was declared the winner by unanimous decision 78-74, 77-75, 78-74.