Kovalev says favouritism at play in decision loss
SERGEY Kovalev accused American judges of favouring Andre Ward after the Russian suffered a controversial defeat by decision in their world light-heavyweight title battle on November 19.
Many neutrals at ringside believed Kovalev – who scored the fight’s only knockdown when he sent Ward to the canvas in the second round – had done enough to retain his WBA, WBO and IBF crowns.
But the three US judges scoring an attritional bout at Las Vegas’s TMobile Arena all gave more weight to Ward’s disciplined display over the closing stages, when he landed scoring blows as the previously unbeaten Kovalev tired.
All three judges scored it 114113 in Ward’s favour, improving the 2004 Olympic champion’s record to 31-0 with 15 knockouts.
Kovalev however was distraught at the loss, which he suggested was influenced by his nationality.
“It’s the wrong decision. But I don’t want to give my opinion. Everybody is here, witnesses are here, everybody saw what happened,” he said.
“He got maybe a few rounds. But not the whole fight. I kept control. I lost maybe three rounds. Look at his face and look at my face.
“I’m a guest here in the USA and he’s a local, and all the judges are from the USA. I agree they support their boxer but honestly, this is sport. Don’t make it like politics.”
The statistics from a gripping 12-rounder reflected the closeness of the battle.
Kovalev landed more punches, 126-116, and more power punches, 78 to 61.
Ward however, who stepped up a division to take on Kovalev, landed more jabs, 55-48. –
Andre Ward (right) of the US defends against Sergey Kovalev of Russia during their WBA, IBF and WBO light-heavyweight world championship fight on November 19 in Las Vegas.