Yesterday at Boxing Laboratory in Oxnard, California, former WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) opened his training session to the media in advance of his upcoming showdown with Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs). Below are quotes from this event. Ward vs. Kovalev 2: “The Rematch” takes place Saturday, June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The championship event, presented by Corona Extra, will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev – Former WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion
“I don’t like this guy [Ward] and I want to punish him because he puts his nose really up right now. He knows that he lost.”
“I don’t care if [Ward] shows respect to me or not. I know only one thing: I will kick his ass! I want to destroy him. I want to destroy this guy as a boxer, as a champion. For me he is not a champion, he’s a fake champion. He lives right now with this status; he’s a fake champion. He believes in his victory over me and right now he’s trying to get belief of people of this victory. It’s wrong, for me, it’s wrong.”
“It’s not the first fight where I’m angry, I’m always angry when I am fighting, but last two fights were very disappointing for me. Right now, at this point, I am feeling good and I feel not any problem to get back my belts.”
“I was ‘over-trained’ for my first fight against Andre Ward. I did three workouts a day. I tried to do everything faster and stronger. Instead of running five miles, I did eight miles. I did more than I usually do all the time. I over-trained.”
“My preparation right now is doing great, much better than last time because I took care of all the mistakes I did in my last two fights. In those two last fights, I was over-trained, for Chilemba and for Ward, and I fought similar, you saw already. But this training camp I am doing everything very good.”
“Nothing changed with John David Jackson. We are doing same as usual. I just got over-trained last time with physical conditioning, but with boxing we’re doing the same, boxing, sparring, mitts. I do same as I did last fight [with John]; I don’t think I need to change something. I just to get back what gave me success. My two last fights were really not good and I delete these mistakes and I delete this [physical conditioning] coach from my training camps, he’s not a coach that helps me right now.”
“I am happy what’s happening around me, I mean in training camp, my family, my life and my boxing. That I have no belts is for me new motivation to kick more ass because he does not deserve these belts. This is gift for him from the judges for Christmas and Christmas already finished and belts should be back with me.”
How hard does Ward hit?
“One day in my hometown Chelyabinsk one day a girl, 25-years old, slapped me on my shoulder then Andre Ward punched me in the fight it was same. I didn’t feel any hard punches from him. I didn’t feel his uppercut and so I didn’t block his uppercut. I didn’t feel this punch but judges counted this punch. It is touches it is not punches. Punches is punches his was like a tap. Judges counted any tapping as punches.”
Did you watch a tape of the fight?
“I tried but I saw only six rounds. I don’t have patience to watch it. For me it’s much easier to fight than to watch it.”
“I think I should knock him out and I must to knock him out to get my belts back because anything can happen but I believe in judges. I think first fight they made mistakes but right now there will be other judges, not the same. I think they’re gonna be fair and honest to count our fight.”
Why didn’t you finish him in the second round when you knocked him down?
“I thought that if knock down can happen [once], it can happen again. I tried not to rush. But I didn’t know that my energy will finish in the fifth round. In the fifth round, I lost the speed, I lost the energy and I was empty, 100% empty. My body fought because my heart doesn’t say stop. I’ll be like fighting until I die. Andre Ward got like four rounds of victory with empty Kovalev, we’ll see what happens on June 17. I think will be everything on my side.”
What does this fight mean for your legacy?
“Everything. I want to live from this point of the boxing. It’s the highest level in the boxing. HBO Pay-Per-View was my dream someday be on this level. Everything this fight means to me.”
How do you stay focused at this point?
“It’s my job. I’m boxing since I am 11 years old and nothing can break me. Nothing, only kill me. If somebody will kill me, yes I will stop boxing. If I am still alive, you know I will do my job. God bless me and I have to fight and I’m ready for June 17, to get my belts back.”
“I want to prove that he didn’t deserve these belts and I want to get my belts back. It’s my goal. I want to punish Andre Ward too because he doesn’t deserve this money, these belts, this status and to be champion. He’s not champion. In my eyes, he’s not champion.”
“I have more motivation right now than first fight because I have a goal. Last fight I just had a test. Can I fight Andre Ward or no? But right now, I understand that yes, I can fight Andre Ward and I can beat him. Right now, I have a goal: to get belts back. It’s more to motivate me than any test.”
“My goal was, and still is, to collect all four belts. I got three and left to get just one. Right now, Andre Ward’s in my way to this goal and I should move him from my way to my goal. First of all, I must get back my belts. We’ll see what will happen after this.”
John David Jackson – Sergey Kovalev’s Trainer
What are your impressions of Ward from the first fight?
“He’s an intelligent fighter. We knew that going in. I’m not too impressed with much more than that. The fact that he didn’t get hit with a flush punch from Sergey, if it was a solid shot, he might not have gotten up. So, if I had to be impressed with anything I’d say it was the fact that he went the distance. He got up in the second half of the fight, he made the fight closer than it should have been, not close to where he should have got a decision, but I was impressed that he did get up and survive.”
There’s been a lot of talk in the aftermath of the last fight. Has that been a distraction to Sergey in training camp?
“I doubt that there’s been any distractions for Sergey from the last fight. He realizes that he lost the fight, not outright, but the judges didn’t give him the decision so you must accept that; it’s part of boxing and he must move on. I think that he’s accepted it and now he just wants to get his belts back.”
What adjustments do you expect Ward to make?
“In the first fight, he did just enough to survive and somehow the judges gave him the decision; he has to be Superman in the second fight. He has to be more aggressive, with less movement and he has to be willing to trade with Sergey. Can he do that? Maybe he can, but will he do it? I doubt that. That’s not his style. Most people have said now that Ward has survived the first fight, he solved the riddle of Sergey Kovalev. I highly doubt that because this wasn’t the best of Sergey Kovalev that you could have seen, not the second half of the fight. I think Andre has to do more than Sergey does to be even more successful in this second go round. Can he do that? We’ll find out on June 17.”
Sergey said he was over-trained in his physical training. You were in Big Bear, did you notice a difference?
“I noticed that this time around his conditioning coach was a bit different. He has him resting more. The other coach had him doing a lot of things that to me were unnecessary. I don’t get in the way of the conditioning coach’s job and I’m not doing that with this guy, but he seemed more interested in keeping Sergey a little more relaxed and not over-training. If we can just do that, he’s on course. For the next two weeks, if we do the same thing, it shouldn’t be a problem.”