By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – If the outcome of the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev rematch is as close and/or controversial as the result of their first fight, neither fighter is contractually obligated to participate in a third fight.
Kathy Duva – whose company, Main Events, promotes Kovalev – said Monday that there aren’t clauses in the contracts for the Ward-Kovalev rematch that would guarantee a third fight. There was an immediate rematch clause in the contracts for their November 19 light heavyweight title fight, which eventually led to the scheduling of their rematch.
The 33-year-old Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) and the 34-year-old Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) are set to fight again in an HBO Pay-Per-View main event June 17 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. If Kovalev avenges his controversial loss to Ward in their rematch, there would be significant interest in a rubber match.
That wasn’t a scenario Kovalev was interested in discussing Monday before a press conference in Manhattan that kicked off a three-day, three-city press tour to promote their rematch. Russia’s Kovalev declined to answer when he was asked if he would agree to a third fight if he beats Ward in their rematch.
“Let’s just see what’s gonna happen in the second fight,” Kovalev said.
Kovalev obviously would open himself up to criticism if he defeated Ward and didn’t partake in a third fight. The former IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion repeatedly disparaged Ward on social media when Ward was taking his time to decide whether he wanted to fight Kovalev again or retire.
Ward won their first fight, in which he overcame a second-round knockdown, by unanimous decision at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. All three judges – Reno, Nevada’s Burt Clements, New York’s John McKaie and Las Vegas’ Glenn Trowbridge – scored their 12-round fight 114-113 for Ward.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.