On November 19, 2016, a controversial decision was rendered in Las Vegas as Andre Ward won a world title fight by unanimous decision against reigning light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.
Although Ward was declared the winner by the official judges at ringside, it is Kovalev who won the popular opinion. Now that some time has passed, will a rematch take place 2017?
In the days following the controversial decision, Kovalev reiterated his stance that the hometown fighter got the decision and that he would be up for a re-match to prove that he is the better fighter. Ward, on the other hand, was of the opinion that his rally in the later rounds gave him the victory and he would consider the rematch if the circumstances deem it, likely meaning a substantial guaranteed payday.
That is where the situation for the boxers stood a few days following the fight. As for the general media, there was an overwhelming sense that Kovalev was robbed and he deserved a rematch.
Ward has since reportedly told media outlets that a rematch might not take place because he is pondering retirement as he has accomplished everything he wanted to do in the sport and he does not want to put his health at risk.
This might be a ploy from the American fighter to secure a higher payday from HBO for a future fight or it might just be that he is done with the sport. No matter what happens with Ward, the Kovalev fight will stand out as a blemish in his legacy.
There is nothing worse for boxing fans than to witness an injustice in the scoring after seeing such a great fight in the ring. It is somewhat strange that the more aggressive fighter, who scored the only knockdown in the fight and lands a higher percentage of hits gets the loss.
Of course, this is nothing new for boxing as it has long been mired in scandal and there is a reason why the sport is losing fans and being ridiculed in the media.
We should all hope that the Ward vs. Kovalev rematch does happen because, let’s face it, no one won that night; neither Kovalev, nor Ward, nor the sport of boxing.
If the rematch doesn’t happen, let’s at least hope that Kovalev gets a shot at Adonis Stevenson because that is a fight that would help boxing.
Enough of guys ducking each other…but that issue is for another day.