LAS VEGAS — During a heated postfight news conference in which she was shouted down by Andre Ward supporters, Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, who promotes Sergey Kovalev, said she will file a protest with the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday following Ward’s eighth-round knockout victory Saturday night.
“I’m still having a hard time processing what I just witnessed,” Duva said. “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.”
Andre Ward left no room for doubt in his rematch with Sergey Kovalev, finishing his rival by TKO in the eighth round to retain his light heavyweight titles Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Ward appeared to hit Kovalev with several low blows before securing the stoppage victory when referee Tony Weeks called the fight in the eighth round.
“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.”
Kovalev, 34, said he wanted to continue to fight, but Weeks had already made up his mind.
Kovalev said he would like a rematch despite losing to Ward for the second straight time in seven months.
“He’s really lucky, ‘Son of Judges,'” Kovalev said of Ward, playing off Ward’s nickname, “Son of God.” “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 wasn’t interested in responding to Duva’s and Kovalev’s comments after the fight.
“I really don’t have a lot to say about whatever they said,” Ward said. “Whatever the excuses were this time, I just don’t have the energy.”
“Andre won two fights,” Michael Yormark, president and chief of branding and strategy for Roc Nation told ESPN on Sunday. “First Main Events, Kathy Duva and Sergey Kovalev blamed the judges. Now it’s the referee stopping the fight and low blows. Enough is enough. Andre beat him and beat him bad in round eight. Fact is two fights and two wins. Andre is ready for another challenge as he defends his pound for pound title and can’t wait to get back to work.”