This week, light heavyweight champion Andre “SOG” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) tried to show that he was not bothered by Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr’s comments in saying that he should have lost his previous fight against Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) on November 19 last year. In the past, Ward reacted in a defensive manner to Mayweather’s comments.
This week, however, Ward made a silly face when asked about Mayweather’s comment, as if to say they don’t bother him. The comments from Mayweather and the many boxing fans that cast doubt on Ward’s previous win over Kovalev bothered him enough for him to want to fight the Russian a second time, as they’ll be facing each other on June 17 on HBO pay-per-view at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Here’s what Mayweather said about Ward’s win to ESPN.com:
“I like Andre Ward, but one thing about me — call a spade a spade. He didn’t win. Andre Ward got to make some major changes if you going to fight Kovalev again. You got to make some major changes. You got to go get you a trainer that’s been in the crunch before.”
Mayweather thinks Ward needs to get a trainer that has fought before in boxing. Ward’s trainer Virgil Hunter was never a boxer, and yet he became a trainer for the sport. I don’t know how common that is. I suppose there are a lot of trainers that never fought before. Mayweather sees a lot of improvement that needs to be made for Ward in his game. It makes sense for Mayweather to be saying that, because Ward looked his all-time worst in the Kovalev fight, and he DID appear to lose the fight to the Russian fighter in the eyes of Boxing News Results.
I don’t know if you can blame Mayweather for pointing out the obvious about Ward’s controversial win over Kovalev. There are too many boxing fans that believe that Ward hugged his way to a questionable decision over the then Russian Kovalev, and they believe that he was given the equivalent of a hometown decision in t fight. The fight didn’t take place in the hometown of Ward, but it wasn’t too far from his hometown. Ward is from Oakland, California, and the fight took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Oakland and Las Vegas are a lot closer in proximity than Kovalev’s home country of Russia, which is over 3,000 miles away. The boxing fans were backing Ward in huge numbers last November for the Kovalev fight. Ward got all the cheering, and Kovalev was out there trying to deal with being the visitor in a hostile environment. As such, it’s not all that surprising that Ward was given the win in that situation by the 3 judges that were working the fight It would have been shocking if Ward didn’t get the win.
“Floyd – I’m not taking the bait, but I will say this,” said Ward on his Facebook. “When is it going to stop? How many more people are you going to lash out at? You’re in a position to build up the sport of boxing and the people in it and not tear it down. Especially the younger generation. Be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem. Don’t become another ‘Critic’ the very ones you’ve been fighting your whole career. Especially toward the ones who go through the same things you do. All the lashing out may make headlines, but it’s not a good look bro. We need to choose our words wisely, the people are listening.”
If Ward doesn’t want to be criticized by Floyd, then he needs do a better job against Kovalev in the rematch on June 17, because all that holding that Ward did last time he fought him looked really bad. There wasn’t much action coming from Ward in the fight because he was wrestling with Kovalev and trying to keep him from throwing punches. That was not a good performance at all from Ward.
Even if you want to say that Ward deserved the ‘W’ in the Kovalev fight, it was still not a good fight from him. Ward changed up his fighting style for the Kovalev fight compared to how he’d been fightin recently. Before he faced Kovalev, Ward had been using his boxing skills to pot shot his way to victory against guys like Paul Smith and Sullivan Barrera. To be sure, Ward didn’t look great in either of those fights, but he at least threw punches and showed that he was a better boxer than those guys.
It was an actual fight, and not an MMA type of affair. But for Ward’s match against Kovalev last November, he changed his fighting tactics to become a guy that holds and bear-hugs. It wasn’t even like a boxing match. Mayweather is not just a fighter. He’s a promoter and he mentally coaches his fighters by giving them tips in their fighting.
Mayweather is a perfectionist when it comes to fighting. So it’s not all that earth shattering that Mayweather would be telling Ward that he’s got to try and improve his game. It’s obvious that Ward doesn’t like hearing Mayweather tell him the truth. He wants Mayweather to be silent on the Kovalev fight judging by his comments. Ward isn’t going to improve if he’s not told by guys like Mayweather that he didn’t fight at his best.
It sure does sound like Ward doesn’t want Mayweather to speak his mind about what he thinks about the Kovalev-Ward first fight. I don’t know why it’s so important for Ward that Mayweather not be a critic. Does Ward expect Mayweather to say, ‘No comment,’ when asked about his thoughts on the results for the Kovalev-Ward fight? Would Andre Ward wants Mayweather to say, ‘No comment’ if he were asked about another sport like football or basketball. It seems to me like Mayweather should be able to give his opinion about Ward’s fights or any other fights, given that it’s a sport and he has the right to free speech in the U.S.