Andre Ward tired of all the negative talk regarding his win over Sergey Kovalev

Sergey Kovalev, right, of Russia, punches Andre Ward

Sergey Kovalev lands a left jab to the eye of Andre Ward during their fight in November in Las Vegas/Photo by Associated Press


It seems Andre Ward is tired of hearing how he was decked by Sergey Kovalev in the second round of their light heavyweight title fight this past November, and how he was fortunate to get the narrow decision over Kovalev at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“They have to understand, there’s nothing scary about this man,” Ward said at Monday’s news conference in New York City promoting the June 17 rematch at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view). “You realize we just fought 12 rounds four months ago? Everyone wants to highlight the knockdown; that’s probably one of the most beautiful moments of my career.

“And did you guys see the other 10 rounds? Nobody’s talking about that, but that’s what makes us who we are.”

Ward, 33, is from Oakland. He’s 31-0 with 15 knockouts.

Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs), of Russia, intimated he’s concerned that Ward will put out of this second go-round.

“I want to apologize to my fans for my performance the last time, but we’re going to get this squared, either way,” said Kovalev, 34. “We’re going to see who is the best fighter. I’m very excited for June 17. The only thing I hope is that a week or two before the fight, Andre Ward does not get injured and he has enough (courage) to come out and fight me on June 17.”


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Sergey Kovalev, Andre Ward will do it a second time June 17 at Mandalay Bay

Sergey Kovalev, right, of Russia, throws a left at Andre Ward during their light heavyweight boxing match, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Andre Ward, left, and Sergey Kovalev exchange punches during their light heavyweight title fight in November in Las Vegas/Associated Press photo


Seven months after their first go-round, Andre Ward of Oakland and Sergey Kovalev of Russia will do it again June 17 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).

The two squared off this past Nov. 19 for Kovalev’s three light heavyweight world titles at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Ward won a narrow decision by three scores of 114-113. Afterward, Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva bemoaned all the clinching Ward was allowed to do. Kovalev thought he won, and wasn’t happy that all three judges were Americans.

Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) on Tuesday seemed to answer to all that in a brief statement.

“I’m going to make it short and sweet,” he said. “You got what you asked for. Now you have to see me on June 17. This time, leave the excuses at home.”

Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) is stoked at the chance to get his titles back.

“I’m glad to know that rematch will happen,” he said. “I really hope that Andre Ward will get into the ring for this rematch.”

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Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, Sullivan Barrera ready to rumble Friday in Indio

Vyacheslav Shabransky Bernard Hopkins v Sergey Kovalev

Vyacheslav Shabranskyy/Photo by Getty Images


Golden Boy Promotions has its hands full this week. Not only is it promoting Bernard Hopkins’ final fight Saturday against light heavyweight contender Joe Smith Jr. at the Fabulous Forum (on HBO), it’s staging Friday’s light heavyweight bout between Sullivan Barrera of Cuba and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy of Ukraine at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio (on HBO Latino).

It’s a big fight for both guys.

“Sullivan is one of the toughest opponents I have faced yet,” Shabranskyy said. “He’s faced fighters like Andre Ward and has gone the distance and has demonstrated his skill. Knowing that he needs this fight will make him even more hungry in the ring, and we are
expecting him to come forward.

“With this fight, I get the opportunity to face opponents like Andre Ward. But first things first; I have to finish Barrera.”

Barrera (17-1, 12 KOs) in March lost a wide 12-round decision to Ward, who Nov. 19 took Sergey Kovalev’s three world titles via narrow decision at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Barrera believes his rounds with Ward have made him a better fighter.

“I believe this fight is the most important fight of my career,” said Barrera, 34. “This fight will demonstrate that I am among some of the top fighters out there. My fight with Andre Ward has built me, and has given me the maturity to step back and think clearly. I needed that loss to win this fight.”

Shabranksyy, 29, is 17-0 with 14 knockouts.

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Virgil Hunter believes mental toughness will make Kovalev-Ward ‘a great fight’

Andre Ward/Photo courtesy of Roc Nation Sports


It’s possible Saturday’s light heavyweight title fight between champion Sergey Kovalev of Russia and Andre Ward of Oakland at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas could be a terrific fight. It could be the opposite if Ward looks to box all 12 rounds in crafty mode, frustrating Kovalev and fans alike.

During a sit-down with the respective trainers Wednesday, Virgil Hunter – Ward’s trainer – told reporters one reason why he believes this bout will be worth every cent fans spend.

“Do I believe that Ward will exhibit mental toughness? Yes, without a doubt,” Hunter said. “Do I believe that Kovalev will exhibit it? I’m sure he will as well. And that’s the making of a great fight.”

Ward is 30-0 with 15 knockouts. Kovalev is 30-0-1 with 26 knockouts. Their bout – and three others – will be available on HBO pay-per-view.


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Claressa Shields ultra-confident about her boxing skills ahead of pro debut

Cleraa Shields (r.) beat Dutch fighter Nouchka Fontijn by unanimous decision.

Claressa Shields, right, celebrates her gold-medal victory over Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands in Rio De Janeiro/Photo by  Alex Livesey, Getty Images


Claressa Shields does not lack confidence, nor should she. Shields won back-to-back gold medals for Team USA in the 2012 London Games and 2016 Rio Games. Now she’s on the brink of turning pro.

Shields on Saturday will take on Franchon Crews in a super middleweight bout underneath the light heavyweight title fight between champion Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).

Shields worked out for reporters Monday in Las Vegas. She touched on many subjects, including her decision to take her talents to the professional ranks rather than go for a third gold medal.

“When deciding to go pro, I thought about my legacy,” said Shields, 21. “I didn’t want to disappear for four years and win another gold medal, but have people not know my name or what I look like or how I box.”

Shields also discussed her talents, and her words demonstrated how self-assured she is about them.

“Expect to see a really good fight, a very skilled fight from me, this Saturday,” said Shields, of Flint, Mich. “The world is going to see a level of boxing that no woman boxer has ever shown before. I’m a smart fighter. I’m an entertaining fighter. I throw everything well and have great combinations.”

Crews, of Baltimore, will be making her debut as well.

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Andre Ward says focus in training always the same, regardless of opponent

Andre Ward/Photo courtesy of Roc Nation


If you have followed the career of Andre Ward, it’s easy to tell how well prepared he has been for all of his fights. That, he says, is because even though the fighters are different, his level of concentrations is the same.

“Regardless of who I’m fighting — (Sullivan) Barrera, (Alexander) Brand, (Sergey) Kovalev, whoever — there’s always different game plans and nuances when it comes to preparation and training,” said Ward, who Nov. 19 will challenge Kovalev for his light heavyweight belts at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view). “The reality of it is, every fight is a must-win for me. I prepare for each fight as if I’m facing the most difficult opponent of my career. That’s always been my approach, and I think you’re playing with fire if you don’t adopt that mentality in this sport.

“I know this is a big fight, the biggest of my career. But my mindset and my focus have been consistent no matter the opponent, and that’s an invaluable asset.”

Ward, 32, is from Oakland. He’s 30-0 with 15 knockouts. Kovalev, 33, is from Russia. He’s 30-0-1 with 26 knockouts.


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Sergey Kovalev’s goal is to become top pound-for-pound fighter in the world

Sergey Kovalev Is the Rare, Refreshing Boxing Star Who Doesn't Duck a Challenge

Sergey Kovalev lands a right hand to the head of Bernard Hopkins during their November 2014 fight won by Kovalev/Photo by Associated Press


Sergey Kovalev, the vicious light heavyweight champion from Russia, is unquestionably a top pound-for-pound fighter. He’s No. 2 or No. 3, with Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez No. 1 and Gennady Golovkin either No. 2 or No. 3.

Kovalev on Nov. 19 will be defending his belts against Andre Ward at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view). Since Ward is a top 5 pound-for-pound fighter, suffice to say that a victory for Kovalev would make his case stronger for being anointed No. 1. He wouldn’t mind that a bit.

“When I was growing up in Russia, I did not hear these words ‘pound- for-pound,’ ” Kovalev said. “Once I learned what this was I knew this was important. I am honored that people think I am the fighter that could get this title. It’s important for me, for my career. I am champion in my division now, but I want to get all the belts and also I would like to be best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.”

Kovalev, 33, is 30-0-1 with 26 knockouts. Ward, 32, is 30-0 with 15 knockouts.

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HBO’s ‘My Fight: Kovalev/Ward’ will make its debut on Oct. 29

Sergey Kovalev/Photo courtesy of Main Events Boxing


HBO’s “My Fight: Kovalev/Ward” will debut on Oct. 29. The documentary will take an in-depth look at the upcoming light heavyweight title fight between champion Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward that will take place Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).

Kovalev, of Russia, is 30-0-1 with 26 knockouts. More importantly, he is 9-0 with seven knockouts in world-tltle fights.

Ward, of Oakland, is a former super middleweight champion with a record of 30-0 and 15 knockouts. He went 7-0 with just one knockout in super middleweight world-title fights before moving up to light heavyweight in 2015.

The documentary will air several more times on HBO as well as HBO2 leading up to the bout.

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Andre Ward’s preparation for a fight is unmatched, trainer Virgil Hunter says

Andre Ward celebrates his lopsided unanimous decision over Alexander Brand in August at Oracle Arena in Oakland/Associated Press photo by Eric Risberg


Training camp can be a grind. But Andre Ward of Oakland seems to embrace it.

Ward on Nov. 19 will challenge Sergey Kovalev of Russia for his three light heavyweight championship belts at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view). Ward on Monday officially began training camp for the biggest fight of his career, but his head was already there.

“I’ve been in pre-camp mode for weeks now following my last fight, and have been mentally preparing for the work ahead of me,” said Ward, who will train in Hayward. “It’s an exciting feeling to be in full camp mode, where I can dedicate 100% of my mind, body and soul to the battle I am about to face. This is a fight that we have been working up to since last spring. The game plan hasn’t changed. I am here and I am ready.”

Ward’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, said this attitude is what separates Ward from others.

“No one beats Andre Ward when it comes to training camp,” Hunter said. “We’re going into camp with the mentality of ‘Another day, another fight, another win.’ His strive for perfection, work ethic and consistency is what makes him a champion.”

Ward, a former super middleweight champion, is 32. He is 30-0 with 15 knockouts. Kovalev, 33, is 30-0-1 with 26 knockouts.





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Isaac Chilemba stoked to be added to Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward card

Isaac Chilemba/Photo courtesy of Main Events


Going the distance with light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (30-0-1) is not easy, as he has come through with knockouts in 26 of his 31 pro bouts. Isaac Chilemba went all 12 rounds with Kovalev in July. Chilemba lost a wide decision, but he is now getting his reward for surviving what most can’t.

Chilemba on Thursday was added to the Kovalev-Andre Ward card Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, an event that will be televised by HBO pay-per-view. Chilemba (24
-4-2, 10 KOs), of South Africa, will take on contender Oleksandr Gvozdyk (11-0, 9 KOs) of the Ukraine in a 10-round fight.

Chilemba is stoked. As is his new trainer, Roy Jones Jr.

“Isaac is a very exciting fighter with a lot of upside,” Jones said. “I am very excited to be training him and be part of his team now. I look forward to seeing much
bigger and better things from him in the future.”

Chilemba seems over the moon for the opportunity to work with Jones, who will one day be enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

“I’m going to work with my idol, the person I look up to most, Roy Jones Jr.,” Chilemba said. “This is a huge opportunity for me to train with him, learn from him and
have him in my corner. Not only is he the greatest, but he cares and has love for the game.”

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