Ever since Andre Ward (31-0) defeated Sergey Kovalev (30-1) by a very close unanimous decision (all three judges scored the fight 114-113 for Ward) back on November 19th of 2016, him and his fans have been blaring that it was a mugging, and that Ward stole his IBF, WBO, and WBA light heavyweight titles. When I asked people, I know think that Kovalev won, how they thought the score should’ve went, they either tell me it should have been 114-113 for Kovalev or he should’ve won by 2 rounds, a few say 3 rounds, but that’s as far as the margin gets, so how is that a robbery? In a lot of exceedingly competitive fights, there are typically close swing rounds that could go either way, so just because you thought Kovalev won by a round or two, that doesn’t mean every Tom, Dick, and Harry seen it the same as you, and evidently not the judges that night, who has a more restricted view of the ring.
We are all certified judges at heart, but until you have sat ringside and tried to score a fight, you have no clue the impediments that come into play while you sit there immobile; the fighters have their back to you, the referee is blocking the action, they are clenched and firing shots and you can tell some are landing and some aren’t but the rapidity of punches is of a high intensity so the give-and-take can become a blur. It is not as easy as one may think because most are sitting at home watching the fight from virtually inside the ring with numerous angles from various cameras (like I did and still scored the fight for Ward), and you also have the commentators convincingly telling you what landed, which can be very influential, but that’s dialogue for another article.
We are now headed to a second go and Kovalev and his corner has asked for neutral judges, meaning, neither of them are from Russia or the United States, and since Ward has scoffed at this, people are acting like that is some kind of ruse to give Ward an advantage with allegations that this was the reason he won the first time; Kovalev has only boxed outside of the US 7 times out of his 31 professional fights, and out of those 7, he only fought in Russia 3 times, so he’s been right here fighting the greater part of his career, so now that he has a close one, he deems them unqualified of supervising a close fight because it didn’t go his way? Also, should we now permit that type of tyranny to happen every time someone comes up on the bad end of a close decision?
I’m not saying that the 3 person juries in boxing are paramount, nor am I acting like they haven’t been a liability on the vigor of the sport, but to try and modify how things are with the Nevada Athletic Commission because you lost by a round is outlandish and just an additional way for Kovalev to show his fuming disbelief and is obviously still distraught that he lost; he’s trying to point the finger at a reason, but the actuality is, he did a little less than he needed to triumph in the judgments of the critics that mattered.
I scored the fight for Ward, but if Kovalev was given the nod, I wouldn’t have screamed robbery or even tried to clash with the people who heralded a difference of opinion, but this is a sport that is sensitively filled with high emotions, which spills over onto the fans, and that is the reason the sport is still the juggernaut fighting entity, whether you believe it or not, but it is also the reason why you can go into boxing forums or talk to a co-worker and be appalled at their view of things, that often will leave you typing or thinking WTF!
The reality is he has to see me on June 17th. Whether you’re with me or whether you’re against me, tune in.
June 17th, he got what he asked for!. Andre Ward