Top trainer Virgil Hunter has explained why Sergey Kovalev’s lifestyle choice will ultimately be his downfall against Andre Ward next month.
Kovalev lost out to Ward last November, dropping his clutch of light-heavyweight title belts in the process, and the Russian remains a slight underdog to gain revenge on June 17 in Las Vegas.
Ward scored a close decision win the first time around when claiming the number one spot in the pound for pound ratings, before contemplating retirement for some time thereafter.
The ‘S.O.G’ eventually signed on the dotted line as Kovalev invoked a return clause in the contract, although Hunter is still confident Ward will come out on top when the pair prepare to trade blows at the world famous Mandalay Bay.
“It’s a good fight coming June 17 against the most dangerous and most feared light heavyweight in the world, Sergey Kovalev against a lucky victorious man in Andre Ward,” Hunter quipped.
“So, I guess this fight here will pretty much settle it. I think if you look at the realistic facts of it all, I think only Sergey’s been in the media talking. I think Mr. Klimas should understand that we haven’t said a word. The other side has talked about ending people’s careers to knocking you out to insulting God almighty. All that’s coming from this side so we understand what goes on and I think it’s a lot of doubt, it’s a lot of anger. I don’t see Coach Jackson here today and to be honest I don’t expect to see him June 17 because you got to put the blame somewhere.
“I’m looking for a real good fight. Sergey Kovalev is definitely not underestimated. I don’t have a problem saying that before we fought I was a fan of his. I’m still a fan of his. I just won’t be a fan of his on June 17. This is not me blowing smoke. I admire his skill. I always knew that if we came across each other that it was going to be a tough fight, difficult fight, and a fight of attrition. And I expect the same thing June 17.
“I think Andre said it best when he said somebody’s will was going to be broke in that fight. But it would be nice to go into that without biting the hand that fed you. Everybody’s an expert from the reporters to the announcers when it comes to judging a fight. All of a sudden, they were all wrong that night. So, I think that’s an insult to what goes on in boxing. I think it wasn’t right. I think it was wrong particularly since HBO has built Sergey into the star that he rightfully is. Like I said before and I’ll say today, I’ll challenge anybody to sit with me and show me where he won the fight. He fought a hell of a fight because he’s a hell of a fighter, but he didn’t win the fight.”
Giving an eyebrow-raising reason why Ward has the upper hand, Hunter believes Kovalev’s drink of choice could once again be his undoing, in the process ending their feud once and for all.
“I guess all of the answers will be answered June 17. My advice is relax, don’t be uptight,” he said.
“You can’t drink year in and year out and expect at some point for it not to catch up to you and I would bet money that if we could go internally and see inside that, that’s one of the causes that’s causing him to get fatigued now. It’s not the overtraining, it’s not this and it’s not that. It’s just guys are standing up and going 12 rounds now.
“But you can’t drink vodka year in and year out and expect on fight night to fight somebody like Andre.”