Boxing News

SERGEY KOVALEV CONFERENCE CALL RECAP

Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events

“Hello everyone, I’ll keep it brief. We’re just 11 days away and we’re excited and we’re going to have a great event. And that’s all I have to say.”

Question:

Sergey and John David, when you have gone back and looked at the video of the fight in November, how do you guys score it and when you watch it what do you think it was maybe that the judges saw that convinced them to give, you know, the majority of the rounds to Ward?

Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, Former WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion

“I watched it only one time, this fight. And, I don’t know what they counted, you know, but it’s not my job. I saw what that I won the fight eight rounds of 12 and like I really don’t care. It doesn’t matter what happened. For me the most important work will happen June 17.”

John David Jackson, Trainer of Sergey Kovalev

“Yes, I watched it; I scored the fight. I had a 9-3 best for us and 8-4 worst for us, but he won the fight. He dominated the first half of the fight. The second half of the fight he didn’t dominate as much as he could have but, you know, what Ward did didn’t really justify him getting the decision outside that. Sergey won the fight hands down. You know, the judges, why they scored it only they know exactly.  We can’t dwell on the past. But whatever Ward did to survive those rounds didn’t really merit a victory for him, but he got it and we have to move on with that and just prepare for the second fight. The one thing I will tell the fans is Sergey proved the first half of that fight that he can outbox Ward at Ward’s own game.  And I always knew he could. So, he showed that he could so it just adds more to what we need to do for the second fight.”

Q:

Do you think that you need to change anything in any way dramatically? Because you feel like you won the fight. I think most of the media, many of the fans think that you guys won the fight. It’s a different judging panel in this fight than in the first fight.  So, because you didn’t get the W, do you think you have to do anything dramatic in terms of changing what you’re going to bring on the 17th? Or can you fight in a game plan that you all thought was successful the first time and win again in your mind?

JDJ

“Let me answer something first. Honestly, if you look at it, Sergey is not going to have to do much more than what he did because he proved to the fans in the first half of the fight that he can win it at Ward’s own game. Now what he needs to do is be more aggressive and effective in the second half of the fight the way he did in the first half of the fight. But he proved he’s a better fighter, he’s a bigger puncher. You know, for all Ward’s team is claiming how great he was, if that’s his best, then guess what, he’s past his prime because all he did was survive. And in surviving he was given points and awarded I guess the decision that he survived.

“He wasn’t hit with Sergey’s best shot, it wasn’t a full on hard shot that he landed, it was kind of flush and wasn’t the best punch but it just rocked him. So just imagine what would have happened if Sergey landed his best shot on Ward’s chin? It would have been lights out. So, there’s not much more we need to do really, we’re going to do things differently but there’s not much more we have to really do to be victorious in the second time around as he was the first time around. So, there’s not much question for we’ve got to change these different things. Now on the flip side, you know, all this stuff Ward, they keep talking, they better switch up and they better come up with a better game plan the second time around.”

Q

Sergey is there anything you’d like to add to that about making any kind of changes as you guys go through the rest of your camp for this fight?

SK

“No, I don’t want to add something to everything John answered. And I have just a really big motivation for this fight. I would like to and I want to get back my belts.  And we’ll be ready for June 17.”

Q

Last time after the fight Sergey, you talked about maybe you over-trained and, you know, paid the price for that in the second half of the fight. How attentive are you guys to that issue now as camp comes to a close?  And what measures have you taken to ensure that will not happen again?

SK

This training camp we deleted all my last mistakes and like doing good. Like I think that right now is much better and right now is training camp is going right. Everything is good and we will see June 17.”

Q

Sergey, the judges may have given you a raw deal, in your mind, the first time around and Nevada has come back again I believe with three American judges in this case as well. It seems as if it behooves you to pursue a knockout to take it out of the judges’ hands. Are you doing those kinds of things in training camp to pursue that idea and finish him without it going to the score cards?

SK

“You know, like, everything depends from my preparation how I get the best shape for the fight. And I’m trying to get now in best shape for June 17 and we can see what will happen June 17. I don’t know, like, how exactly the fight is going to be by decision or somebody stop each other. Let’s just see. I don’t have a prediction. I just have one goal to beat Andre Ward and beat all shit from him because he doesn’t deserve the belt and the status of a champion. He now is really high his nose and walking everywhere and don’t see the people around him. I want to put him back in his place.”

Q

“Sergey, I know that your promoter tried to get some international judges involved and, although the three judges that were assigned to the fight are very good judges, considered among the best in boxing, would you have preferred to have international – at least one or two international judges? Because that was your complaint after the first fight.”

SK

“You know, like my answer is I’m ready for everything what God gives me. This is the next step for me.  I believe that the judges will do their best work, their job, what they should do. And I believe that these judges because like my promoter, Kathy Duva, like these judges because they never mistake before. And let’s just see June 17. I don’t think about who is going to like service this fight or like something. I should do my best job into the ring and this fight will be as I will do in the ring and this fight for the fans, for the boxing fans. If you have a champion’s belt, everybody will see what will happen.

“It’s the most important who you will see – what you will see boxing fans, not the decision. Because last decision was wrong. And all people and boxing fans saw what happened. And pitiful is now nobody recognize Andre Ward as a champion. And he should prove June 17 that he is the real champion, not me. He should prove, he needs to prove that he deserves to wear this belts. But I just want to get into the ring and kick his ass. I want to punish him. I want to punish him and get my belts back.”

Q

And Sergey last week Kathy mentioned to me how she felt that you looked much better when she was there for your media day last week as opposed to back in November that you looked fresher and you look much more energetic and just better overall. How much better do you feel maybe at this point in training camp than you felt the last time before you fought Andre Ward?

SK

“Yes, I feel much better, you know, I am not any nervous about my shape right now because the last – before last fight I couldn’t say before the fight like I came to fight and say I don’t want to fight him because I am not ready. I gone to the fight and walked stairs into the ring, you know, and fought Andre Ward with empty strength. My energy strength was empty one month before the fight. And right now, I understand that I did very great fight in myself with empty strength against who I believed was the best American fighter. You know, and good fighters get in the ring there. But now I feel that this fight is going to be different and much better than last one.

Q

Mr. Jackson and Mr. Kovalev, are you expecting perhaps that Ward may come in with a slightly different game plan this time around than he did the first time

JDJ

“They may. Listen, if you’re a fighter and you’re smart, you come in and make adjustments. What adjustments can Ward make?  He can be more aggressive. If he does, that works in our favor. Is he going to run more? If he does, that works more in our favor. The best thing he can do, as champion, he needs to prove that he won that first fight outright. Which he didn’t. So, now he needs to be a little more aggressive. How much smarter in the ring can he be than what he would be, would he be a tremendous talent as far as boxing-wise in the ring? So, you can’t get much more brilliant than he is now. He has to be – if they’re going to change his game, he has to be more aggressive, he has to be willing to take more chances to prove that he did beat Sergey the first fight, which he did not. So, there’s not much more than he can do than they did for the first fight.

“He’s good at what he does and that’s surviving and making the fight ugly and win the way he wins. You can’t knock him for that. But can he improve?  No, not really. He did the best he could that night and he survived and he was even given points for that. So, if you’re going to make any adjustments, they may be small adjustments, but they’re not going to be adjustments that make him a better, more aggressive, dominating fighter. Then guess what, they need to be playing Russian Roulette and he’s going to get clipped.”

KD

“Hey really Russian Roulette, I love it!  That was a good one John, I’m going to use that.”

Q

Kathy, can you just give us your thoughts around the promotion of the event?  I know Main Events was the lead promoter for the first fight and Roc Nation has assumed that role for the rematch. Can you just talk about how you feel the promotion has been executed up until this point and if you would have done any better? And secondly, do you just expect the Pay Per View sales to be stronger for the rematch than they were for the first fight given that they were pretty low for a fight of this magnitude?

KD

“Yes, look, I’m not going to comment on how the promotion is going versus last time or what we did do better because there is really no point to that. Roc Nation bargained for the right to be the lead promoter and so it’s theirs. As far as where the sales are going to be at, I don’t know that there is any way to predict Pay Per View sales [right now] so everybody is just doing their best. I’m really happy with the 24/7 that just came out. I was just watching it today and I was beginning to see it today online and I would urge anyone who hasn’t seen it to take a look. I think HBO’s work is always the very best; it is always brilliant. People are saying this is the best 24/7 in years and that’s quite a statement when you consider the quality of the work that they do. So, that seems to me to be a great selling tool and hopefully that’s going to have a big impact in the next few days.”

Q

Sergey, can you just talk a little bit about what the source of animosity is between you and Andre Ward?  There seems to be a very genuine dislike between you two. And, from your perspective, is that just because he disingenuously in your mind feels that he won the fight or is it how he carries himself or is it just the banter between you two? Can you just elaborate on that a little bit?

SK

“I don’t want to do any comments because he doesn’t deserve my attention to spend time for him. I want to punish him for how he acts right now and no deserve the respect or my attention.”

Q

Sergey, just going back to the night of the fight, I’m just curious about your reaction. It kind of seemed like you were really calm when the judges announced the score. I thought you would be a little more I guess upset or angry. Your team was pretty upset but you were more calm. Was that you trying to control your emotions using your family that kind of kept you calm? What was going through your mind?

SK

“Yes, I was quiet because I was empty. I had no emotions, no energy to do something, you know. I was empty and I was just killed by decision. I shouldn’t do something. I couldn’t change something. What happened has happened. I just understood that I was robbed and I don’t have any more belts now. I already thought, when will be the rematch?”

Q

Sergey, did you feel like you were a little bit upset at yourself, kind of mad that you let him off the hook? You knocked him down the second round. It seemed like you could have knocked him down again, but I think you were saying you were a little tired. But do you feel like you were a little mad at yourself for not finishing the job?

SK

“Of course, I was disappointed but it was the most my disappointed was of my performance. I was very disappointed by my performance, that I didn’t show what I could do and so just it was not my day, it was not my day. And I was disappointed, yes, about decision. He is overrated this paper champion, like overrated, overrated him and so I was disappointed. I was angry for myself.”

Q

Kathy, do you see a third fight between Kovalev and Andre Ward?  What is the – in the contract do you have another rematch clause or not?

KD

No, no more rematch.  No more rematch clause, this is it. There is no obligation for there to be a rematch. Obviously, people could make decisions if they want to have one but it does not say that we are obligated to do one.”

Q

Sergey, I read that you called Andre Ward a fake champion. Can you please explain that a little bit?  What do you mean by that?

SK

I already explained a lot of times why he is a fake champion because he didn’t deserve this belts by wrong decision.”

Q

Is WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis Stevenson still on your radar?  And if so, what are your thoughts on his performance last weekend?

SK

“Yes. He beats his opponents by second last. He is starting to beat his opponents by second round because he doesn’t want to fight anybody fresh. So, he goes in the ring with guys who he knows already he can beat, who already he beat 11 rounds out of 12.  That’s just example. In the last fight, in the last fight he beat Fonfara 11 rounds out of 12 and he’s fighting with him again.  So, it’s a second-round opponent. So, he is fighting like Uber drivers.”

KD                   

“That’s kind of unkind to Uber drivers.”

Egis Klimas, Manager of Sergey Kovalev

“If you’re a taxi driver, Uber driver, you know, you’re not fighting, right?  But it looks like somebody does, it’s okay.”

Q

John David Jackson, you mentioned how in the first fight Kovalev brought in someone you didn’t know to speak Russian to him in the corner so you weren’t able to give instructions that night. Have you and Sergey talked about this and is it going to be different in the rematch?

JDJ

“There was no need to talk about it, you know, the second fight we just came together and we realized the mistakes that were made and things we can improve on. And, so, we don’t have a real problem like people think we may have. But he understood the mistake that he has made and corrected them and so now we just go forward in anything we need to do to be victorious in the second fight the second time around.”

Q

Sergey, it is very obvious how angry you are about the result from the last fight as were many observers. And you have this drive now, this anger to get the belts back. How is that anger helping you motivate for this fight? Do you think that anger is a good tool to motivate you to win this time? And how – for those of you observing him, how are you seeing it in him, drive him towards the second fight?

SK

“You know, I already forgot about this and not keeping my mind on this situation. I just felt like the most what they give me motivation is haters. When I lost, I used to take a lot of punishment that I lost. In Russia is more than in America, you know. But in America, even in America, boxing fans of Ward text me by Facebook, by Instagram, by social media that I won the fight. And they right now are going to support me in next fight. And right now is my most motivation is haters, haters yes. And I want to disappoint them and team Ward, team of Ward because they right now speaking a lot of bullshit to my side. They say that I this, I this, I this. I don’t care. They will pay inside the ring for everything for what they said. Trust me.”

KD

“I believed for a long time that Sergey does his best work when he doesn’t like his opponents, so Ward and his people have done a great deal to ensure that will be the case. So, I’m really happy about that.”

Q

On the other side of that same question, you certainly are one of those people that has a status as a people’s champion. You did have a lot of people say after the last fight you were the winner who saw it the same way your whole team did and supported you. And they see you the same way with or without the loss no matter what. What is your reaction to them and how much has that helped you after that fight, all of you?

SK

“My reaction is good of course and I really appreciate it to these people. What I think it proved by boxing fans is that I am right, that I won.  It’s not only my opinion. And the people know that I won and like it’s much easier to deal with and understand when you’re not alone for this decision.

Q

John David Jackson, the one knock that you can have on Sergey’s boxing ability is that he doesn’t finish strong. While it may not be something that is totally founded but it’s probably the one thing that people say, Sergey doesn’t finish strong. Is there anything you’re doing after looking at that first fight to correct that and make sure that he finishes strong so if it comes to a decision you guys can make sure you solidify it?

JDJ

“Well people say that he doesn’t finish strong. I mean, what fight, besides his last fight, what fight have they seen that didn’t end well for Sergey? He finished strong on all fights. But the last fight Sergey took responsibility for why he didn’t finish strong. That has already been talked about. For the second fight, there are certain things that we’ll work on to make it better for him to finish stronger and to be more dominating like he was in the first half of the first fight. So, if we do that for the second half of the second fight, then there should be no doubt. Hopefully the judges will get it right this time because, if you look at the first half of the first fight, Sergey did exactly what he needed to do. He proved what I’ve been saying for years, that he is a better boxer. He beat Andre at his own game, he outboxed him and he dropped him. So, there’s not much more for him to do but just do more in the second half of the second fight like he did in the first half of the first fight.”

Q

Sergey, is there anything that Andre Ward does that, you know, you think about all the time, it might frustrate you a little bit or something that you look at and you say if I could take this away, figure out a way to take this away I could really, really dominate him?

SK

“No, I don’t think so. What happens, just happens. I am looking forward for June 17 and like think about this day right now. I think about this day and the friends who give best shape for this fight. But I don’t care what happens, what was, it is already was long time ago. It’s a fast life already of my career. I’m looking forward. And right now let’s just see what happens – what will happen June 17. And not to speak about what wasn’t. Let’s wait. Take your time.”

Q

Sergey, it has been known and it’s not a secret that you both have talked about your disdain for each other in the media. Recently he has said that you have succeeded at being a bully. Can you tell us your thoughts about that knowing that you’re also a father and you’re a role model to your son?

SK

“I can say only that this makes everything in my mind and my concentration for the fight and right now say about me, about my team, about my coach, everything like bad things and wrong things and like I don’t care. Like believe me, I saw in my life enough, and more enough than they try to do.”

Q

John, there has been a lot of talk about Andre Ward’s style, right?  So, on one hand there are a lot of fans who say that he’s a brilliant technician and an inside fighter and there has been a lot of talk. I think you said yourself that he’s a dirty fighter and holds too much.  Can you talk about whether you think that you saw the type of tactics in the first fight and, you know, what do you do to neutralize that? Also in the first fight, I noticed that Sergey initiated some clenches and headlocks and things like that. Was that strategic to offset what Andre Ward would typically do in your mind?

JDJ

“I never said Andre was a dirty fighter. I said the things that he does, they’re not fan-favorite because he does hold a lot. As far as the inside game, there is no real inside game for him. Look, a true inside fighter doesn’t grab and hold the whole fight. He makes his hands free, he blocks shot and he counters back. That’s not what Andre does, he does hold a lot. But those things work for him and you can’t knock it. If it works and you’re winning and he has fans for it, okay let it be that. Sergey held somewhat himself. Later in the fight, he got fatigued so he did hold a lot. But we’re working on that for the second fight. And this fighter, he can be the best fighter because you have to think about this. When you have the power that Sergey has, tremendous God-given talent, the power that he has, we don’t need him to hold on the inside.  If Andre wants to fight on the inside this time, which they may try to fight more on the inside, then he has to do a gamble and the gamble is can he take the body shots that Sergey is going to hit him with? Now if he can withstand that, God bless him. He’s a hell of a man. But there is no human being that – your body is not made for that kind of punishment. So, let’s see if he can fight on the inside, not grab and hold, but he can fight on the inside as well as take the punishment. If okay then take it. You know, as far as the dirty part, no he’s not dirty. It’s just smart tactics on his part.  If he gets away with it then hey, that’s part of the game so you have to give him credit for that.  In this fight, here, there are certain things that we had to work on to make the fight better for Sergey. If he does the things that he needs to do, then he’s going to prove no doubt that he’s a better fighter all around and he’s going to prove what I said years ago. I told Egis that Sergey can beat Andre Ward. He proved that the first half of the fight, now let’s finish in the second half of the fight and win the fight.”

Q

John, obviously, what happened last week caused some controversy and everything.  I was just wondering did you have a chance to speak to Sergey after all that happened last week as far as the rumors about switching teams and all that kind of stuff?  Did you guys speak about it or just kind of leave it alone after that?

JDJ

“We talked about it. Here is what Ward’s team is going to try to do: they tried to disrupt our team because, at this stage, they know that’s all they really can do. If they have – if they need – if they want to be honest about it, they can say we really didn’t win the first fight but we got the decision. Okay that’s part of boxing. We have to – and our side has to accept that. But now to try to play mind games and try to make different maneuvers to offset our camp, you can’t do that. Our camp is strong. Actually, what they did, and I’m glad they did it, it made us even stronger and become closer and we’re working a whole lot better. So, I need to thank them for doing the things that they thought were going to offset our camp. It made camp better for us. So, I appreciate it. And for them to say that I reached out to them personal, come on, seriously? If you want to say that, fine, I have no problem with that. Come June 17, all the things that Sergey wants and he does to have back his belts, he’s going to get that. He’s going to do what needs to be done and that’s fight inside the ring, not talk, to be the champion and to fight. If Ward really wants to prove that he is the better fighter, then fight. Fight a good, hard fight, not do what you do best and that’s to be – he takes guys and maneuvers them around the ring and wins fights strategically but not in an exciting fashion. For this fight, here, to prove that you deserved the first decision that you got and that you are the champion, fight. Stand in the ring and fight this man and prove that you’re the better fighter and show the fans that, you know, you deserve this fight, this title. So, we’ll see. We’ll see what happens come the 17th. But when all is said and done, Sergey Kovalev’s hand should be raised, he should be world champion once again.”

SK

“My point of view of this one is I don’t think John is as dumb as they’re trying to say. I don’t think John is dumb to go to other side where there is no guarantee they’re going to take him or not. And, most likely, they contacted John and they were trying to get some kind of like strategy or some kind of like of secrets of my preparation for the fight and, when they got the answer no, then they decided to raise a flag: well, that John is trying to get into their side. This is the point that I see. And, you know, is this going to – if it will come out in the beginning, where John reached them and tried to get his attention then he will be like a spy, you know. But, as far as now, I think we’re just stronger and we’re one team and we’re going forward.”

1 comment on “SERGEY KOVALEV CONFERENCE CALL RECAP

  1. Pingback: SERGEY KOVALEV CONFERENCE CALL RECAP – WorldBoxingNews

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