Ward vs. Kovalev II LA Press Conference
Photos: William Trillo
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
"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
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
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