By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Andre Ward doesn’t see any reason to fight Sergey Kovalev a third time, certainly not next.
Whatever you think of Ward’s wins against Kovalev, he has beaten the former light heavyweight champion by unanimous decision and technical knockout in their two fights over the past seven months. That’s more than enough proof for Ward to want to move on to another opponent whenever the IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion decides to return to the ring.
The 34-year-old Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) said several times following his controversial eighth-round technical knockout defeat Saturday night at Mandalay Bay Events Center that he wants another shot at Ward (32-0, 16 KOs). After failing to deliver the destruction he promised in their immediate rematch, Kovalev shouldn’t hold his breath.
“No third fight. That’s out,” Ward said during the post-fight press conference. “I don’t think that makes sense. It may make sense if say, for example, he fought Stevenson, won a belt, two or three fights down the road.”
Adonis Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs), the WBC light heavyweight champion, wants Ward, not Kovalev, according to what the Quebec-based champion Tweeted on Saturday night after Ward’s win.
Kovalev claims he deserves a third bout because Ward landed three consecutive punches below his belt line just before referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop their rematch at 2:29 of the eighth round.
After another hard-fought defeat of Kovalev, Ward wanted to enjoy his victory, not discuss future opponents. The 33-year-old Ward briefly contemplated retirement after defeating Kovalev in their 12-round fight November 19 at T-Mobile Arena, but he is expected to return to the ring after stopping Kovalev.
Who and when were questions Ward would prefer to address at a later date.
“Vacation is next,” Ward said. “I don’t know. I don’t know, man. … I’ve just gotta sit and talk to my family. We’ll collectively make a decision on what’s next.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.