Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev did the last leg of a three town press tour to hype their June 17 sequel to a light heavyweight clash of titans which saw Ward leave with the W.
This Wednesday LA gathering was, arguably, headlined by Kovalev promoter, Kathy Duva, who thanked boxing media for their coverage and support. These folks do it for passion and pride, not money, she said, and deserve not to be jabbed by bigwig talents, but to be appreciated, for spreading the word about the sport and its upside.
Check out the quotes, including the Duva addressing of appreciation to fight writers and media:
LOS ANGELES, CA (April 12, 2017) – On Wednesday at the Hollywood Roosevelt in Los Angeles, CA, Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion Andre “SOG” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) and former Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) formally addressed the media regarding their highly-anticipated rematch on 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.
Tickets for Ward-Kovalev 2: “The Rematch” go on sale to the public on Friday, April 14 at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT. Tickets priced at $1,255, $755, $505, $355, $255 and $105 not including applicable service charges will be available on axs.com and at the Mandalay Bay Events Center box office.
Below is what the fighters and dais guests had to say at the final press tour stop:
Andre “S.O.G.” Ward – Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion
“I want to thank LA, tremendous fight city, tremendous fight town. I’ve been here a lot as a young boy coming up, taking the trips from Northern California, paying my dues early. I appreciate you guys coming out.
“I told the people in New York, you’ve got perception and you’ve got reality. You’ve got a lot of misinformation coming from that side. You’ve got a lot of lies coming from that side. A lot of old school tactics. It’s 2017 man. All that old school stuff that his side is trying to do, it’s not going to work. At the end of the day, we’ve got a date. You’re selling fear, we’re not buying it. At the end of the day, you’ve got to see me June 17. I don’t care what you say, I don’t care where you’re from, I don’t care how you came up, it doesn’t matter bro. You’re going to have to see me June 17, it’s that simple.
“I didn’t have to take this fight. This fight is for you, the fans. This fight is for the boxing community, because this is the fight everybody clamored about. At the end of the day, where I come from, it’s about showing up. It’s not about all that talking. It sells tickets, it sells Pay-Per-Views and we get a couple of headlines. But if you watch my career, we don’t say anything we just go get it done. June 17 is going to be no different. Reality check.”
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev – Former Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion
“I’m glad to be back in LA, I feel more comfortable here at home than at Oakland. They said I should prove something more, for who? For them? No. I already proved it for myself and for everybody in the boxing world that I came from nothing, nowhere at all as a professional and amateur boxing. I had never been in a world championship or Olympic games, but I came here to the United States and got to where I am right now. Believe in yourself that everything will be good. And I believe in myself and I will get my belts back on June 17. Believe me and be sure I will finish your boxing career.”
Michael Yormark – Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy
“Ward-Kovalev 2 was officially announced just over a week ago, and since then we have been overwhelmed with hype, media coverage, trash talk, and verbal sparring. In fact, Team Kovalev as the B-side promoter has made a habit of playing nice on the dais and then talking trash to the media when they are a safe distance from Andre – a lot of good it’s done so far. But, just as I mentioned in New York, and again yesterday in Oakland, all of this chatter means nothing now and will mean even less come June 17 when the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world go toe-to-toe, and only one man is left standing as champion – with the loser being left with no one to blame but himself – No Excuses!
“It’s quite simple – these guys do not like each other and are literally foaming out the mouth to get back in the ring together. Last November, Andre Ward staged an epic comeback against Sergey Kovalev, and proved he is in a class of his own in the boxing world. Immediately after the match the excuses starting rolling in from Team Kovalev. There was a lot of talk, a lot of debate, a lot of speculation, a lot of finger-pointing and hand-wringing. So, like the true champion that he is on June 17, Andre will be back in the ring with Sergey to once again prove his superiority and continue to cement his legacy as boxing’s best.”
Kathy Duva – CEO of Main Events
“Michael’s speech, as always so eloquent and he did a great job of thanking everyone, so I’m not going to waste your time repeating everything he said. People at HBO, people at MGM, our sponsors, I appreciate everything you do for us. There’s one group he didn’t thank and I’m going to take the time to do that today. I’ve done this I hate to admit for 40 years. I was three when I started, I was the youngest publicist in the history of boxing. My job as publicist is to deal with you, the press. I know that you don’t make a fortune. I know that most of you do this the same reason I do, for love. We are afflicted by this disease. You come out here, most of you on your own dime, on your own time. Nobody here is going to be a millionaire yet you come and have the same passion as we do. You cover this sport so closely because you share that passion. I want you to know how much Sergey Kovalev and Main Events appreciate that. We’re never going to forget you.
“Both Sergey and Andre have a history now. As Michael pointed out, they both have something to prove, they each have a story. Right now, Sergey’s story is that he wants his belts back. Andre’s story is that he wants respect, because he may have those belts but as Egis just illustrated, the respect is still with this man. And that is because, as Egis said, he went to Wales to win his world title, he went to Philadelphia to win his other world titles when he fought Bernard Hopkins. He went to Canada to fight Jean Pascal. He is champion of the world whether or not he’s got the belts at this moment or relinquished them temporarily, he’s still a champion to an awful lot of people.”
James Prince – Manager of Andre Ward
“Now, to get down to business over here. Kovalev’s manager, let me begin with him. The man got up here and said he doesn’t talk a lot, but as we can see he had quite a bit to say. He said a lot, but he didn’t tell the truth, but I like to shine the spotlight on some of those lies he told. As far as Andre Ward, he’s a gold medalist. When you become a gold medalist, that means you fought not only people in Russia, but people around the world. He represented the United States of America in 2004 and won the gold medal. That means you traveled the world and defeated everybody before you. Who can dispute that? We have a good medalist here, which means we have the truth.
“I keep telling these guys over here, beginning with Sergio, I keep telling them that you can’t sell no fear to us, we’re men of God. We’re not buying any fear about what you want to do. We’ve cracked your code and we’re going to pick up where we left off come June 17.
“With that being said, the United States versus Russia. Y’all have a president, Putin I think is his name. And we know Trump, he’s a boxing fan. Maybe we need to call on Trump to call Putin. I think Trump’s a betting man. We may need to crank up something there between the presidents and see what we can get going. Once again, no weapon formed against us shall prosper. Y’all keep on hoping. They call you ‘manager of the year’. I’m going to be ‘manager of that night’, and that’s all that matters.”
Egis Klimas – Manager of Sergey Kovalev
“As Michael was saying about Andre Ward, he had one thing right, undefeated. But undefeated doesn’t mean the best. Muhammad Ali wasn’t undefeated. Many of the great fighters weren’t undefeated because they fought real fighters. Nowadays, it’s a lot of protection going on.
“Yesterday, we went to Andre’s hometown of Oakland. He might be the best in Oakland, I believe that. We’ve been there. We’ve been in England, we’ve been in Canada, we went all around the world which means a world champion. Andre never fought out of – maybe two times, one time he fought Sergey in Nevada and one time he fought in Jersey. Most of his fights were at home in Oakland. We hope this fight is going to be much better. After the press conference, we stopped to grab something to eat. Three or four people from his hometown recognized Sergey and came up to him and said ‘we hope this time you won’t leave it to the judges. You got robbed, you’ve got to kick his ass’. That was in his hometown. We’ll see you guys on June 17.”
Tony Walker – Vice President, HBO Pay-Per-View
“Thank all of you for coming out today to talk some big-time boxing. On behalf of our Executive Vice President Peter Nelson and the rest of the HBO Sports staff, it’s really a pleasure to be here talking boxing with folks in LA who are some of the greatest boxing fans in the world. I’ve got to thank Michael, Kathy, Andre, Sergey and all their staffs for putting together this show. It may have been inevitable, but it’s not easy putting together a big-time boxing match nowadays as so many just don’t get made.
“This is a showcase event, it’s going to be special. We think it’ll be one of the biggest sporting events of the year, it’s a hot show. The first fight left people wanting more. The fight itself was great, it was tactical and dramatic. There’s drama built in the narrative from the first fight coming into today. Drama is always good TV, and we expect a special telecast on June 17.”
Ward vs. Kovalev 2: “The Rematch,” a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight World Championships, is presented by Roc Nation Sports, Main Events, Andre Ward Promotions, Krusher Promotions and Corona Extra, and is sponsored by Monster Products and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The championship event takes place Saturday, June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.