WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev was fuming when he was advised of the recent statements that were made by the recently retired Andre Ward.
Last week, Ward spoke to BoxingScene.com about Kovalev's pursuit for a trilogy fight - and how the Russian boxer is not satisfied with the outcomes of their two fights.
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.
A few months following his second win over Kovalev, there came an unexpected announcement by Ward, who made a decision to retire from the sport.
Kovalev believes he was robbed on the cards in the first bout, and then fell victim to Ward's alleged low blows in the rematch.
Ward advised Kovalev to deal with what happened and 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," Ward explained to BoxingScene.com.
When some of those statements were read back to Kovalev, the WBO light heavyweight champion erupted.
"F*** him, I don't want to speak [about] him," Kovalev told Brian Campbell of CBS Sports. "For me, he is nobody. He is not the real champion. He beat me not just with the boxing but with the mind games. He fought not just alone with his thoughts, but he fought with his whole team against me. His team did very great work and a very great job around him during our fights."
Kovalev is back in action on Saturday night, when he defends his WBO title against Igor Mikhalkin at The Theater in New York's Madison Square Garden.