Representatives for Sergey Kovalev plan to file a protest with the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday after Andre Ward’s eighth-round knockout win in their light heavyweight championship bout Saturday night at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
“I’m still having a hard time processing what I just witnessed,” Main Events CEO Kathy Duva said (via ESPN) in a raucous postfight news conference in which she was shouted down by Ward’s supporters. “I saw someone who should have been disqualified get his hand held up. [Kovalev] got hit with three low blows, four actually, in the last round. We asked the commission for an instant replay analysis, and they did not give it to us. We’ll file a protest on Monday.”
Referee Tony Weeks called the fight in the eighth round when Ward appeared to land several low blows. That gave Ward his second victory over Kovalev in seven months and allowed him to retain his World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Orgnization light heavyweight titles. (He won in November by three 114-113 scores.)
Mandalay Bay erupts after Andre Ward defeats Sergey Kovalev via TKO in the 8th round. pic.twitter.com/TdJzmmbC2m
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 18, 2017
“If you look at the instant replay, which the commission refused to look at tonight, you see the back of Sergey’s cup going up, one, two, three times,” Duva said. “I’ve never seen somebody knocked out on a low blow until tonight, and I hope I never have to see it again.”
As for Kovalev, he was calling for a rematch.
“He’s really lucky, ‘Son of Judges,’ ” Kovalev said of Ward, twisting Ward’s “Son of God” nickname. “He didn’t hurt me. I got tired, but I still wanted to fight. It’s boxing. I could have continued fighting, but I don’t understand what happened. Why did Tony Weeks stop the fight? [Ward] punched me low blow already a few times during the fight. . . . He didn’t let me continue to fight. It was an illegal stop. I believed and trusted Tony Weeks, but he did a wrong decision in stopping the fight.”
Ward was more interested in looking ahead, arguing that he has a better case than unbeaten three-belt middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin for being the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer. “Am I No. 1 now?” Ward asked.
Ward’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, said this was only his second training camp with Ward in which they trained for a knockout in an effort to leave no doubt after Ward won by three 114-113 scores in November.
“Now, we have quieted all those who were whining and didn’t get it the first time,” Hunter said.