Kovalev: Ward Will Come Back; Has Enough Money to Take a Rest

By Keith Idec

Sergey Kovalev isn’t convinced Andre Ward will remain retired.

The WBO light heavyweight champion thinks Ward is taking an understandable break because he made plenty of money for their two fights and wants to afford his body time to rest. Kovalev expects Ward to fight again at some point, however, and hopes to eventually secure a third bout against him.

“I think he will be back,” Kovalev told “He just made this decision to get a rest and because he has got enough money to be outside of boxing. From the last two fights, he has enough to money to be outside from boxing. So right now, he’s watching what’s happening in the light heavyweight division. He will wait until there’s a unified champion and he will make a call and make a fight, again for the big purse.”

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The undefeated Ward, who will turn 34 next month, beat Kovalev in back-to-back light heavyweight championship matches. Both results caused controversy, though.

Their first fight was very closely contested, but Ward recovered from a second-round knockdown, was more effective throughout the second half of their 12-rounder and won a widely debated unanimous decision in November 2016. They returned to Las Vegas for a June 17 rematch that mostly was another highly competitive clash, until Ward hurt Kovalev badly with a right hand to the Russian’s chin in the eighth round.

The stoppage later in the eighth round was questionable because Ward landed several body blows that appeared to connect below Kovalev’s belt line before referee Tony Weeks stepped in to halt the action.

Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) announced his retirement three months later.

When asked if he was surprised Ward walked away from the sport when he did, Kovalev said, “Yes and no. I understand that he could do this, but I didn’t know he would do it at that time, how he did it.

“He’s one year younger than me. But for him, it’s a business, like a game. He understands what he’s doing. He’s a smart guy. He has a great team who give him the right advice. He made very, very good money for the last two fights. Believe me, I never did this for all of my career.”

The 34-year-old Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) came back from his second defeat to Ward by knocking out Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-2, 16 KOs) in the second round November 25 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. His victory over Shabranskyy enabled Kovalev to win back the WBO 175-pound title, one of three belts he lost to Ward.

He’ll return to Theater at Madison Square Garden on March 3 to defend his title against IBO champion Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs), a southpaw from Russia. Kovalev could fight WBA champ Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) or IBF champ Artur Beterbiev (12-0, 12 KOs) in a title unification fight later this year.

Those matches seem more realistic at the moment than boxing Ward a third time, but Kovalev would welcome that opportunity, too.

“If he comes back, I’m ready to fight him a third time, definitely,” Kovalev said. “It’s on my wish list to have this fight in my boxing career. You should ask him. I don’t know if he will give me the fight again or not. I’m not gonna ask him. When he’s ready, I will call on him to fight me again. Let’s see what will happen. I cannot decide for him. I can say only for me. I’m ready to fight.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by john l on 01-16-2018

[QUOTE=jjsmyth87;18404829]Its the truth it doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out there was corruption in that fight[/QUOTE] Man you need to get on the couch if you think that bs or anything like happened.He got beat its just that…

Comment by _original_ on 01-16-2018

I don't think Ward is coming back, his body started giving up on him. His right hand is all but shot and was fighting with only his left basically. He's alluded to injuries taking a toll and his body not…

Comment by Raleighwood007 on 01-15-2018

I could definitely see him returning as well but needing a break. He took a very very long break from the sport when he was beefing with his old promoter. I’m pretty sure he’s only fought 3 times since that…

Comment by jjsmyth87 on 01-13-2018

[QUOTE=Redd Foxx;18404833]lol, such a compelling argument you made there. In fact, I can't even understand WTF you are trying to say because... well, I guess I'm too delusional. :lol1:[/QUOTE] What I know is Kovalev beat Ward in 2 fights and…

Comment by DuckAdonis on 01-13-2018

Ward vs winner of WBSS at cruiserweight, he is 198 lbs rn

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