Last night Andre Ward escaped an onslaught of ferocious jabs and a 2nd round knockdown to come away with three new light heavyweight championship belts. A rematch clause was in place for Sergey Kovalev incase he had lost. Kathy Duva, Kovalev’s promoter at Main Events, has already stated they intend to exercise that option immediately.
A rematch could be expected in the second quarter of 2017. April is usually a popular month for promoters to stage fights as its the month after a busy March for NCAA basketball which boxing doesn’t like to compete against, and it’s before the Cinco de Mayo weekend that usually showcases the sport’s most popular fighter at that particular time, which for now is Canelo Alvarez.
Some pundits argued that a Ward win was good for the sport so that the rematch could take place. Those assumptions are based on notions that a rematch wouldn’t have or couldn’t have taken place without a Ward win. I disagree whole heartedly after watching the fight as it went back and forth with Kovalev right hand jabs and left handed hooks from Ward.
When a fight is that close, that entertaining, no one fighter needs to win for a rematch, especially in this case. No other boxer in the division can offer either Kovalev or Ward the paycheck and exposure that a rematch could. Some may argue WBC champ Adonis Stevenson is a worthy opponent but he’s been one of the most irrelevant boxers in the sport for the last two years and has no PPV experience.
Is what the sport of boxing didn’t need was another black eye of a judgment call like the one we saw in Pacquiao – Bradley I and the one we very much saw last night. While the fight was close, there’s just no explanation for all three judges giving Andre Ward the 10th round points. Had Kovalev rightly been given the round, he would’ve walked away with a win at the end of the night and been more than happy to have signed up for a second helping next year with Ward and the lofty 7 digit paycheck that comes with it. The sport would’ve got itself another great PPV and collected more fans along the way. These types of decisions not only give hardcore fans a tough time but keep the casual fan in the caged ring of the MMA.