By Radio Rahim
In the last week, WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev and former unified beltholder Andre Ward have once again been trading words on social media.
Ward survived an early knockdown to win a razor-thin twelve round unanimous decision over Kovalev in their first meeting - which took place in November of 2016. And then Ward scored a TKO win over Kovalev in their June 2017 rematch. Both fights were held in Las Vegas and carried on HBO Pay-Per-View.
A few months following the second win over Kovalev, Ward unexpectedly announced his retirement from the sport.
Kovalev still strongly believes that he was robbed on the cards in the first meeting, and felt the referee was careless in the rematch - by waving off the fight instead of penalizing Ward for allegedly punching him numerous times below the belt.
Ward believes Kovalev is spending too much time dwelling about the past and needs to move on with his career.
"Everything is documented. Go back and look at all of the excuses. It's embarrassing to me. Taking myself out of the equation, if I promoted him or I was fan of him.. this is no disrespect to the dude, but you have to grow up and own what happened... because if you don't - if you keep fighting long enough you are going to find yourself in the same situation where things are not going your way.. and if you haven't acknowledged it and if you haven't improved.. you are going find yourself making the same decisions where you are going to tap out and it's going to be everybody else's fault - except yours," Ward explained to BoxingScene.com.
"I've been doing this for 23 years and that's typically how it happens. When a guy like myself, who is not touted to win and I'm dealing with a guy who is supposed to be the boogeyman - when you remove that armor, and you do what you are supposed to do and you do it in the fashion that we did it - this is to be expected."
Kovalev, who returns next Saturday night against Igor Mikhalkin at Madison Square Garden in New York City, wants a trilogy fight with the retired Ward.
"I think he has a lot of heat sitting in front of him with the light heavyweight division as a whole... Dmitry Bivol is one guy. If I'm not mistaken [Kovalev] has a fight next week. He really should not be talking about Andre Ward, because I'm retired," Ward said.