“As much as I love boxing, I hate it. And as much as I hate it, I love it.” –– Budd Schulberg
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — Bad news for Vladimir Putin. Good news for his “favorite”, President-elect Donald J. Trump.
We have boxing’s version of the puzzling “electoral college”, the decrepit system that denied Hillary Clinton the presidency despite besting Trump in the popular votes in the recent election.
We respect the judges’ verdict, an identical 114-113 unanimous decision in favor of American Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KOs), but the night belonged to dethroned Russian world champion Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) in the battle for WBA, WBO, and IBF light heavyweight belts on Saturday night (November 19) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
With 84 percent KO in his ledger, the 33-year-old warrior, born in Kopeysk, Russia, should have prevented a “hometown” decision by finishing off the 32-year-old challenger from Oakland in the early rounds.
But orthodox Kovalev allowed Ward to be rescued by the judges when he failed to put him away for good after scoring a second round knockdown which was worth 55 electoral college votes in the presidential race.
But unlike Clinton who gamely accepted her upset defeat, the Russian KO artist could only complain: “It’s the wrong decision. I don’t want to say my opinion. The witnesses are here – they saw it. It’s my job. It was a fight of my life. I am disappointed in the judges’ decision. He got maybe a few rounds, I agree with that. I kept control. I lost maybe three rounds the whole fight.”
He added: “Of course, I want a rematch and I will kick his ass. I want to show good boxing. I am against here it is the USA and all the judges were from the USA. He is a boxer. It’s a sport, don’t make it politics. It’s a sport and I won the fight!”
Ward, who earned my admiration when he blasted to smithereens the incredible Chad Dawson for the WBC and WBC super-middleweight crowns in 2012, believed he won the bout: “No, I was not surprised when I heard the decision, I don’t’ know where you got that from. I know it was a close fight – the crowd you can hear they thought I won…I have been a champ before I knew it was going to be a tough fight – it was the first time in my career I was dropped.”
Ward added: “He did everything I expected him to do. He started to show up as I expected he started to fight like I expected. My coach did a great job…It’s hard for me to call myself great. At the end of the day I am a two-weight division champion. Of course, I would do a rematch. I am not going to negotiate a fight right now I will go home and relax and see what’s next.”