By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – BoxingScene.com has confirmed a Tweet by Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole that the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev pay-per-view show drew just over 160,000 buys.
The figure is considered low for an HBO Pay-Per-View event that featured two of the five best pound-for-pound boxers in the world.
Main Events chief executive officer Kathy Duva, whose company promotes Kovalev, could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
A spokeswoman for Roc Nation Sports, which represents Ward, hadn’t responded to a request for comment by the time this story was posted. A spokesman for HBO Sports declined comment.
Duva told BoxingScene.come before Ward defeated Kovalev on November 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas that they entered this event with “rather modest [pay-per-view] aspirations, and I think we’ll reach that.”
Neither Ward nor Kovalev had previously headlined a pay-per-view card. Duva added that they would have “shot off fireworks” in her company’s Totowa, New Jersey, office if Ward-Kovalev cracked 250,000 buys.
The card cost $64.99 or $69.99 to watch in HD, depending upon your cable or satellite provider.
The 32-year-old Ward (31-0, 15 KOs), of Hayward, California, overcame a second-round knockdown to beat Russia’s Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) by unanimous decision in a very competitive, 12-round fight that included more clinching, fouling and wrestling than should’ve been allowed by referee Robert Byrd. All three judges – Burt Clements, John McKaie and Glenn Trowbridge – scored the fight for Ward by the same score, 114-113.
Ward’s win caused considerable controversy among fight fans and media, many of whom think Kovalev banked enough rounds early in the fight to fend off Ward’s undeniable rally in its second half.
Regardless, Ward owes Kovalev an immediate rematch, according to contracts that were signed a year before they fought. Duva told BoxingScene.com last week that their second fight could occur as early as April, though discussions between Main Events and Roc Nation Sports had not begun by then. Duva also said T-Mobile Arena, Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden and Brooklyn’s Barclays Center are potential sites for Ward-Kovalev II.
The only two rematch sites prohibited by contracts Ward and Kovalev signed are any venues in California, Ward’s home state, and Russia, Kovalev’s home country.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.