By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Sergey Kovalev’s manager blames referee Tony Weeks for allowing Andre Ward to “fight dirty” Saturday night.
Ward was the man landing numerous borderline body shots and low blows against Kovalev, yet Egis Klimas has more of a problem with Weeks permitting Ward to get away with those punches at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Weeks stopped their light heavyweight championship rematch in the eighth round, despite that Kovalev hadn’t been knocked down.
The undefeated Ward landed multiple borderline blows in the eighth round, at least one of which was low, before Weeks stepped in and halted their fight at 2:29 of that round. The defending champion connected with a right hand to Kovalev’s chin that hurt him prior to unloading those suspect punches around Kovalev’s belt line.
“Basically, what happened today,” Klimas said during the post-fight press conference, “as many of you saw, Ward got away with what he’s good at – to fight dirty. And the referee didn’t do his job, what he was supposed to do. And let me tell you, [promoter] Roc Nation got away tonight with two fights. Rigondeaux was holding on the head [of Moises Flores], which is completely illegal. And he hit the guy two times, then let him go, and knocked him out [at the end of the first round]. Ward got away with the low blows, OK? If this is the case, to fight dirty, we can fight dirty, too. But we’re not. We’re boxers. We are boxers.”
Kathy Duva, CEO of the company that promotes Kovalev (Main Events), said Saturday night that she’ll file a protest on Kovalev’s behalf Monday with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
“We don’t have a big beef with Ward,” Klimas said. “We have a beef with the referee. OK? And he’s good at it. If I were to rob a bank, and I were to get a million dollars from a bank, and the police are not gonna catch me, guess what? I’m a lucky millionaire, right? So he’s a lucky f*cking champion.”
Ward was winning on two of the three scorecards when the fight was stopped.
Judges Glenn Feldman and Dave Moretti had Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) in front by the same score, 67-66. Steve Weisfeld scored the fight for Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) through seven rounds (68-65).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.