By Allan Fox: Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva plans on appealing his controversial 8th round knockout loss to Andre “SOG” Ward to the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday to see if she can have the results overturned.
Duva feels that the 3 low blows that Ward landed in the final moments of the fight should have resulted in Ward being penalized, and not the fight being stopped by referee Tony Weeks. However, given that Weeks chose not to have instant replay done to review the final 3 punches that Ward threw, it’s likely the results will stand. Weeks felt confident that the three punches Ward threw were on the belt-line and not low. The replay tells a different story. It showed what appeared to be 3 low blows.
Given that referee Tony Weeks chose not to have the last 3 punches reviewed, it appears that the low blow victory by Ward will stand. It’s unfortunate that the fight ended the way it did, because it left a lot of boxing unsatisfied. There’s a huge split between fans that were satisfied with the way the fight ended and those who took issue with a fighter winning off of what appeared to be 3 consecutive low blows.
Another thing that boxing fans are upset about was how quickly referee Tony Weeks stepped in to halt the fight in the 8th round. Weeks stepped in too quickly in the minds of a lot of fans. The fans saw Ward throw 3 low blows, and then Tony Weeks rushing forward and stopping the fight and giving Ward the victory. Weeks may have felt that Kovalev was in trouble, but it didn’t look he was done. It looked like he had been hit with shots to the groin by Ward.
“They were on the line, they were on the belt, and they were good punches, and I don’t need to review instant replay because of the punishment that Kovalev was taking. He clearly lost the fight and I stopped it,” said Weeks to RingTV.com.
In hindsight, Tony Weeks probably should have asked for the review of the final sequence of the fight. When you’re dealing with 3 belt line shots, it would be in the best interest of the referee to review if for no other reason it helps give him cover in case it’s discovered that he made a blunder. The replay that was shown by HBO Boxing appears to show Ward throwing 3 low blows.
The last shot looked really low. I don’t know how Weeks could think the final punch were on the belt line, as they looked really low. If Tony Weeks had reviewed the footage, he could have known for sure and that would have helped determine whether he made a mistake or not in halting the fight.
By Weeks not reviewing the last part of the fight, it leaves him in a position in him having stopped the contest prematurely after low blows. If you want to say that only the last punch that Ward threw was low, that still should have been enough for Tony Weeks to stop the action and give Kovalev a 5 minute break to recover from the low blow. If you’re trying to knock someone out, you’re not supposed to be given a free low blow that you can away with due to him trying to knock the guy out.
“I’m still having a hard time processing what I just witnessed,” said Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva at the post-fight news conference. “I saw someone who should’ve been disqualified get his hand raised. “(Kovalev) got hit with three low blows — four actually — in the last round,” said Duva.
In counting the low blows, Ward appeared to hit Kovalev with 5 low blows in the fight. The first came in round 2. The referee acknowledged at the time that Ward had hit Kovalev low. The next low blow by Ward came in the 7th round. Weeks told Kovalev to keep fighting. The replay showed Ward hitting Kovalev low. The next 3 low blows came in the 8th in the final seconds of the round.
Ward had hurt Kovalev with a right hand to the head. Kovalev went into the survival mode after getting hurt, and he was trying to make it out of the round. If Ward had just continued to hit Kovalev with head shots, he likely would have won without controversy, as he had him badly hurt. But by switching from head to body, Ward’s aim looked a tad bit off with his shots appearing to be low.
“We asked the commission for an instant replay analysis,” said Duva. ”They did not give it to us. … If you look at the instant replay, which the commission refused to look at tonight, you see the back of Sergey’s cup go up one, two, three times. I’ve never seen someone knocked out on a low blow until tonight. And I have to say, I hope I never have to see it again.”
It doesn’t seem if Duva’s appeal to the Nevada Commission is going to go anywhere. That means Kovalev will have to live with another controversial loss on his record from a fight against Ward. That’s too bad, because it hurts Kovalev’s career. Whether Ward wants to admit it or not, I think it hurts Ward’s career too.
You’ve got some boxing fans that think it’s fine that Ward won the way he did, but there are lot of fans that think the ending of the fight was odd. The boxing fans that saw the Ward-Kovalev 2 fight live last Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center reacted in a confused manner when Weeks stepped in and stopped the fight. There was silence. You normally don’t see that when a referee stops a fight.
Why was the crowd so quiet? A good guess would be that they saw Ward throwing low blows that had Kovalev doubled over in a classic position of a fighter that has been hit low. The crowd obviously was wondering why Weeks was stopping the fight to give Ward the victory after he’d just hammered Kovalev with 3 low blows. Again, even if 2 of the shots were on the belt line, one of them looked really low. However, I didn’t see belt-line shots. I saw 3 low blows thrown by Ward. He might have still won the fight even if the referee hadn’t stopped the fight when he did. It’s just that we’ll know for sure. If Weeks had given Kovalev 5 minutes to recover from the low blows, it might have been a different result for the fight.
“At the beginning of the round, a low blow was thrown,” said Duva. ”The referee did not protect Sergey. He waved him back to fight. Then the damage started happening. He got into that corner and he (was hit with) three low blows. When you see the replay, they’re hard to miss. It’s a shame. It’s a shame.”
Weeks should have given Kovalev the benefit of the doubt. All we have is Weeks saying that the 3 last shots that Ward threw were on the belt line. It’s hard to believe that Weeks saw the shots correctly, because the replay showed a different picture, Also, Weeks hadn’t done anything about the low blow that Ward hit Kovalev with in the 7th.
The replay showed that Ward had hit Kovalev low in the 7th round, and Weeks had failed to stop the action to admonish Ward for another low blow. By the 8th, we’d already seen Weeks mess up on failing to call the low blow in the 7th. So are the boxing fans supposed to trust him in policing the low blows in the 8th? I don’t think so, That’s why Weeks should have reviewed those last 3 punches that Ward threw so that he wouldn’t leave himself looking like he blew it.