By Carlos Boogs
Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) admits that he expected a lot more from Sergey Kovalev (30-1, 26 KOs) when they fought last November at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Ward was knocked down in the second round, but bounced back to win a twelve round unanimous decision to capture the WBA, IBF, WBO light heavyweight titles. The decision was viewed as controversial by some, with continued debates over which fighter deserved to walk away with the titles. All three official judges had identical scores of 114-113.
A second fight is being negotiated for the first half of this year. There was an immediate rematch clause, which Kovalev exercised to secure the second fight. The rematch, like the first bout, is likely heading to HBO pay-per-view.
Leading into the fight, Ward says the media presented Kovalev as some "invincible" force that would power through the contest. Known by his nickname of "The Krusher" - Kovalev had either dominated or knocked out the majority of his opponents.
Ward was expecting to see "The Krusher" persona come out in their contest, but says Kovalev never went into a second gear when the fight became a close pitched battle.
"I'm going to be honest, and this is taking nothing away from Kovalev because in my book he's always going to be a champion, but I expected more from him in the ring. When you hear about the invincible character that the media has portrayed, I expected more. I expected to see 'The Krusher' when it got tough in that fight and I didn't see 'The Krusher,' I didn't see that next gear that he had," Ward told Rolling Stone.
"I saw a fighter that's used to being the frontrunner, I saw a fighter that's used to having things his way and when it didn't work out like that he couldn't match the intensity. I obviously didn't appreciate the excuses and everything that were made after the fight, so I expected more from him."