The Rematch is on!

ANDRE WARD VS. SERGEY KOVALEV II “NO EXCUSES” SET FOR SATURDAY, JUNE 17 AT MANDALAY BAY EVENTS CENTER IN LAS VEGAS

PRESENTED LIVE BY HBO PAY-PER-VIEW®

NEW YORK, NY – Roc Nation Sports, Main Events, Andre Ward Promotions and Krusher Promotions are pleased to announce the highly anticipated rematch between the unified Light Heavyweight Champion of the World, Andre “SOG” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) and former title holder Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs). Ward vs. Kovalev II “No Excuses” will take place 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.

Team Ward and Team Kovalev will partake in a three-city press tour the week of April 10 to officially announce the fight, including New York City, the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Further details will be available in the coming days.

“I’m going to keep it short and sweet. You got what you asked for – now you have to see me on June 17. This time…leave the excuses at home,” said Ward.

“I’m glad to know that rematch will happen. I really hope that Andre Ward will get into the ring for this rematch. Fans of boxing will see the real Krusher–the one they have missed for couple of my last fights. For me this rematch is very important as no other bout in my entire boxing career. Thanks a lot to all of boxing fans,” said Kovalev.

“Roc Nation Sports is proud to be the lead promoter behind a boxing rematch for the ages,” said Michael Yormark, Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy. “Last November, Andre showed the world he was boxing’s best. No doubt he will build upon his legacy come June 17 in another historic night. There’s no excuses, the rematch is on.”

“After the last fight, we are preparing for another unbelievable experience. Can’t wait for the bell to ring! This is sure to be another nail-biting roller coaster ride,” said Kathy Duva, CEO, Main Events. “This is the only fight that Sergey wants right now and he refused to settle for anything less than the chance to get his belts back. I’m told that Roc Nation and Andre Ward have lots of great ideas for the promotion and we can’t wait to see them in action!”

“After a razor thin decision last November in their first meeting, the boxing community has been eagerly waiting for a Ward-Kovalev rematch,” said Tony Walker, Vice President, HBO Pay-Per-View. “These are two world class prizefighters who embrace being on the sport’s biggest stage. Like Andre and Sergey, we can’t wait for June 17th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.”

“This spectacular rematch of pound-for-pound champions will be a ‘can’t-miss’ fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center,” said Richard Sturm, President of Entertainment and Sports for MGM Resorts International. “We look forward to working with both Roc Nation Sports and Main Events once again on this championship event which should be one of the most thrilling fights of 2017.”

Known for his strong character and integrity outside the ring and his warrior’s instinct inside it, 33-year-old Andre Ward’s skill and talent were apparent early in his outstanding amateur career. He racked up every title in the books, culminating in a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. As the only male American boxer to claim Olympic gold in the past decade, Ward joined the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya. He turned professional on December 18, 2004, scoring a second round technical knockout victory over Chris Molina at Staples Center in a fight that was televised live on HBO. He has gone on to rack up an undefeated record since then, building an ever-growing legion of fans in the process. After becoming the Ring Magazine and WBA Super Middleweight World Champion, rising to the number two spot on the pound-for-pound list and winning the 2011 Fighter of the Year Award (ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Ring Magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America), it was announced that Ward signed an exclusive promotional agreement with Roc Nation Sports in January 2015, opening a new chapter in his storied boxing career. Ward returned to the ring on June 20, 2015 at the Oracle Arena in front of his hometown fans in Oakland, California and scored a ninth-round knockout over Paul Smith. On March 26, 2016, Ward made his highly publicized 175-pound debut against Cuba’s undefeated and IBF number one rated light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera and came out victorious. Ward continued his conquest of the light heavyweight division on August 6, 2016, with a unanimous decision over Alexander Brand. Immediately following the win, Ward announced that he will be taking on unified Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev in the ultimate showdown for division supremacy and recognition as the best pound-for-pound fighter. In the most anticipated fight of 2016 on November 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Ward would prove to the world his dominance as one of boxing’s top pound-for-pound fighters by becoming the unified World Light Heavyweight Champion with a unanimous decision win over Kovalev, the reigning WBA, IBF and WBO titleholder.

Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, the Russian Wrecking Ball, 34, is currently ranked #2 Pound-for-Pound by Ring Magazine and has been dominating boxing’s light heavyweight division with his aggressive, fan-friendly style since his breakout performance against then-unbeaten Nathan Cleverly in 2013 when he won the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title. One year after winning his WBO title Sergey went on to defeat future Hall-of-Famer Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins in a 12-round unanimous decision victory to add the WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Titles to his mantle. His rise to boxing stardom has been meteoric, as he has gone from an unknown fighter from Chelyabinsk, Russia to headlining HBO Pay-Per-View in just four years after signing with his first promoter, Main Events. In his last fight, Kovalev went the distance against former two-time world champion Andre “SOG” Ward. The bout ended in a highly-contested unanimous decision against Sergey even though Kovalev managed to knock down Ward and many thought the cards should have gone in his favor. Out of Kovalev’s 30 career victories 26 have come by way of knockout. Additionally, he has entered into championship rounds only three times in his professional career. Kovalev has always sought to test himself against the best boxing has to offer; he wants to prove in the ring that he deserves that mantle.

Ward vs. Kovalev II “No Excuses,” a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight championships, is presented by Roc Nation Sports, Main Events, Andre Ward Promotions, Krusher Promotions and Corona Extra, and is sponsored by 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.

Follow the conversation using #WardKovalev.

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ABOUT ROC NATION SPORTS
Roc Nation Sports, a sub-division of Roc Nation, launched in spring 2013. Founder Shawn “JAY Z” Carter’s love of sports led to the natural formation of Roc Nations Sports, supporting athletes in the same way Roc Nation has been working alongside and advocating for artists in the music industry for years. Roc Nation Sports focuses on elevating athletes’ career on a global scale both on and off the field. Roc Nation Sports conceptualizes and executes marketing and endorsement deals, community outreach, charitable tie-ins, media relations and brand strategy. Roc Nation Sports launched its boxing division, a full service promotional company which represents Five-Time World Champion Miguel Cotto and Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion Andre Ward, in August 2014. Roc Nation Sports’ roster includes premiere athletes such as Robinson Cano, Skylar Diggins, Kevin Durant, Geno Smith, Victor Cruz, CC Sabathia, James Young, Dez Bryant, Ndamukong Suh, Rusney Castillo, Yoenis Cespedes, Jaelen Strong, Todd Gurley, Wilson Chandler, Erick Aybar, Justise Winslow, Willie Cauley-Stein, Jerome Boateng, Miguel Sano, CJ Prosise, Ronnie Stanley, Henry Ellenson, Caris LeVert, Mike Gbinije, Melvin Ingram, Rudy Gay, Ty Lawson, Leonard Fournette, Juju-Smith-Schuster, Isaac Rochell and Josh Hart.

ABOUT MAIN EVENTS PROMOTIONS
Main Events is internationally recognized as one of the top boxing promotional firms in the world. Main Events has promoted boxing legends Evander Holyfield, Arturo Gatti, Lennox Lewis, Pernell Whitaker and many more. Main Events was founded in 1978 by Hall-of-Fame promoter Dan Duva, who passed away in 1996, and is now run by his widow Kathy Duva. Main Events is committed to promoting quality fights that boxing fans want to see. Currently, Main Events promotes a stacked roster of international contenders, including former WBO, IBF and WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev. Main Events gained a reputation throughout the 80’s and 90’s as the sport’s number one incubator for new talent. Nearly 40 years after the company’s birth, Main Events is still turning out boxing stars and future world champions.

ABOUT THE MANDALAY BAY EVENTS CENTER
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino is set on 120 lush acres featuring Mandalay Bay Beach, a tropical pool paradise with real sand. The Mandalay Bay Events Center, award-winning restaurants, exhilarating entertainment, unique shopping, Shark Reef Aquarium and the recently expanded 2-million-square-foot Mandalay Bay Convention Center combine to make Mandalay Bay a distinctive Las Vegas resort destination. The resort offers three distinct hotel experiences: Mandalay Bay with 3,211 luxurious rooms and suites reflecting a modern tropical ambiance; Four Seasons Hotel, a AAA Five Diamond hotel offering 424 rooms and suites; and the luxury all-suite Delano Las Vegas. Mandalay Bay is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM). For more information and reservations, visit mandalaybay.com, call toll free at (877) 632-7800 or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

ABOUT CONSTELLATION BRANDS
Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B), a Fortune 500® company, is a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits with operations in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, New Zealand and Italy. Constellation is the No. 3 beer company in the U.S. with high-end, iconic imported brands such as Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Modelo Negra and Pacifico. The company’s beer portfolio also includes Ballast Point, one of the most awarded craft brewers in the U.S. In addition, Constellation is the world’s leader in premium wine, selling great brands that people love, including Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Kim Crawford, Meiomi, Mark West, Franciscan Estate, Ruffino and The Prisoner. The company’s premium spirits brands include SVEDKA Vodka, Casa Noble Tequila, and High West Whiskey.

Based in Victor, N.Y., the company believes that industry leadership involves a commitment to brand building, our trade partners, the environment, our investors and to consumers around the world who choose our products when celebrating big moments or enjoying quiet ones. Founded in 1945, Constellation has grown to become a significant player in the beverage alcohol industry with more than 100 brands in its portfolio, about 40 facilities and approximately 8,000 talented employees. We express our company vision: to elevate life with every glass raised. To learn more, visit www.cbrands.com.

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Ward-Kovalev fight coverage in SF Bayview

Photographer and writer Malaika Kambon has been covering Andre’s fights for years – here are some of her photos and her recent article in the SF Bayview

PHOTOGRAPHY

Weigh-In

Fight

Kovalev’s inability to outbox Andre Ward showed in his used of illegal head locks, wrestling tactics, and tying up Ward’s arms by holding the ropes

Victorious!

Post fight press conference

Ward Delivers in Vegas!

Andre Ward defeated Sergey Kovalev at the T-Mobile arena tonight, November 19th, 2016. In our opinion this was Andre’s most exciting and challenging fight.

At the Fight for the WBA, WBO and IBF Light Heavyweight Championship ANDRE WARD VS SERGEY KOVALEV
Nov 19, 2016 12 Rounds – T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Nice crowd tonight, fans are excited. Andre comes into the arena first. Both fighters look good. Andre looks a bit lighter. Both fighters are 6′. The big screen above the ring shows Andre doing a muscleman pose; chest and arms look great. That was the first time I ever saw Andre do that, but he ‘is’ a Light Heavyweight now.

Round Notes
Round 1: Kovalev throws the first punch of the fight; nothing to it. Both boxers do not feel each other out much, soon go right to fighting. Andre works his jab. They both trade right hand punches and then Kovalev connects with a couple of good jabs. Sergey follows with a one two that backs up Andre. Kovalev looking much Better than Andre. Round 1 to Kovalev.

Round 2: opens with Andre throwing several nice jabs. Kovalev then gets a left and a hard right. He moves forward and hits Andre with a right that knocks Andre down. Right hand punches get to Andre. Is it time to worry? I worry. A good score for Kovalev.

Just into Round 3: Ward ties up Kovalev with a tackle, both boxers get a warning by the ref. Andre connects with a good jab, Sergey punches, backing up Ward. A clinch and some feinting closes the round. Kovalev looks the better fighter. I give another round to Sergey. Will this be Andre’s first loss? This ‘is’ only Andre’s second fight as a pro at Light Heavyweight.

Round 4: opens with some nice jabbing by Andre. Kovalev is not as aggressive this round, but he still connects cleanly, landing several hard. There’s good action by both boxers. Andre a bit more defensive. I’m calling it Even.

Andre is dancing around Kovalev this Round 5. He continues to use his jab while Sergey works the stomach. Andre lands a good body punch and after a jab he lands a right punch that make Kovalev feel it. Ward avoids a right. Andre takes this round; his first of the night that I give him.

This Round 6: Andre is looking better than the earlier ones. There are fewer punches thrown in the round. Kovalev lands several rights, Ward a nice body shot. Andre continues jabbing away. Call the round Even.

Round 7: has Andre getting 3 head jabs in a row, but Sergey is ok. The fighters trade a couple of good ones and at the end trade a left jab by Kovalev and a right by Ward. Andre is moving and boxing better and I give the round to Andre.

There seems to be more clutching going on here in the 8th Round. Some of the crowd boos the ref for allowing too much. Andre continues to move around, using his jab to good effect. Kovalev is jabbing more. He lands a left; Andre lands a hard right to Kovalev’s side. Ward looks more in command now, but
I call it Even

Round 9 has Andre showing more of his boxing skills; starting to outbox Kovalev. Sergey connects with a combination. Ward is working on the body more, but also lands some sharp rights. Kovalev bangs another combo and Andre taking punches fine. Andre wins another round.

The fighters are trading some decent punches here in Round 10, going back and forth, both landing counter punches. Kovalev looks like he is bleeding a little over his left eye. Andre is carrying his left down, without worry of Sergey. More punches by Andre are landing. Andre wins round and is winning the second half of this fight.

Round 11: opens with a hard left that moves Kovalev back. After a couple of jabs Kovalev puts a hard right to Andre’s jaw. Some more jabs and Ward connects a left to Kovalev’s jaw. Kovalev goes to the canvas with a push. Andre get a warning. Ward gets the round.

I’m thinking in this Round 12 that Kovalev will need to do some damage to win this fight and keep his belts. Andre goes forward, looking like the great fighter he is. Kovalev is carrying his hands down; he is tired from all the punching he has done. Referee warns Kovalev for a low blow, maybe two. As the round comes to a end Ward counters a right with a left blow to the body. I call this round Even

My score is 4 rounds even, 3 round to Kovalev, and 5 to Andre Ward, now Light Heavyweight Champion and Number 1 pound per pound. (Of course, I am a Andre Ward fan.)

All three judges scored it 114-113 for Ward. I would have not been surprised if it went the other way. It was a great fight and exciting. It was close.

Andre Ward Post Victory Quotes

“What a beautiful thing! We did it baby! It’s a lot of hardware. Surreal! This is what I set out to do. Now I’m a 5X World Champion in 2 weight classes. Man, it’s amazing!

“I thought I won and it sounded like fair scoring.

“Your last fight is always the most important. But I needed this.

“It was about those in the trenches moments. Sergey has no inside game. So my mid-range and inside game is what I focused on.

“After that second round knockdown, I think he (Kovalev) realized I wasn’t going anywhere and I was stepping on the gas.

“The new light heavyweight champion. That sounds good! This was my most important and satisfying win.

“Technically, there is always stuff I can pick apart. I’m not happy about that second round knockdown but I didn’t panic. I was at peace. Now, it was time to fight. It was a flash knockdown. I wasn’t hurt by it. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t hurt by anything he threw.”

VIRGIL HUNTER, Trainer of Andre Ward:

“This is a good feeling. We were careless with that knockdown but we landed the cleaner punches. Kovalev was aggressive but not effective and that’s why we got this win. I’m happy for Andre.”

JAMES PRINCE, Manager of Andre Ward:

“It went just like I said. We crowned David at the end of the night. And Andre would hold those belts up just like Goliath’s head.”

MICHAEL YORMARK, Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy:

“Great night! Great performance by Andre! Terrific fight by two great champions. It’s a great moment for Andre and his entire family. Roc Nation is very proud of what he accomplished tonight. On to the next one…”

Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward “Pound For Pound” Trainers Debate

ward-kovalev

LAS VEGAS, NV (November 17, 2016) – World renown trainers, John David Jackson and Virgil Hunter, squared off in a debate moderated by HBO Boxing Insider Kieran Mulvaney on Wednesday, Nov. 16, ahead of Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward “Pound For Pound” showdown on Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

John David Jackson is the trainer of WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs). Virgil Hunter is the trainer of Two-Time World Champion and 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs). Here is what the trainers had to say:

Photo Credit: Roc Nation Sports/Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos

John David Jackson, Trainer of Sergey Kovalev:

“Alright, thank you very much it’s nice to have the press out here and I’m glad you made it out the Sergey Kovalev – Andre Ward fight is a fight that I am glad was made for a lot of reasons, but one reason is for the fans because this fight was deserved. In boxing today, there’s too many fights that aren’t being made these are the best fighters in the world so it definitely had to be made.

“Decline I say because when you look at his past (Ward’s) last five years and the way he dominated 168. He fought different fights and he fought a different way.

“In Andre I see many thing but you know what on that night they might not show. He may become totally different but we are prepared for what he brings to us.

“Andre has a lot of strengths. You know when you look at him or when you really study him he’s a well schooled fighter he listens to everything Virgil preaches and he definitely absorbs it. The one beautiful thing I’ve noticed from that is he trusts Virgil. When you trust your trainer that speaks volumes for you, you listen to everything he tells you to do, so any game plan that Virgil advises he’s gonna follow.

“I really studied Andre these past few weeks I have a great appreciation for what he does because looked and I said you know what his style was similar to mine. I was busy in my fights, I was very captivated in my moves, I set traps for my opponents. As soon as I sat down and recognized what he does, I like what he (Ward) does he’s very smart.

“Once I really sat down and studied Andre and Virgil I had to sit back and give them all the credit they deserve I kinda sold them short a couple years back.

“He don’t need to worry about the knockout if the knock come it come but if it doesn’t we are prepared to go 12 hard rounds to get the victory by decision.

“We knew going in that this was the fight that would make Sergey a household name his names good but being in a fight with a name like Andre ward makes it even better.

Virgil Hunter, Trainer of Andre Ward:

“Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward ‘Pound For Pound’ is going to be a historical initiation. As far as preparing for this fight, we’ve been preparing for it from the first time that he started boxing.

“Each fighter is different but you have the masses, the critics who need to be impressed by a certain way that a victory comes up. We came out of the garage from a one-and-a-half-year layoff and fought Sullivan Barrera. He was the number one contender at the time, so it was a dangerous fight until the fight was over, then Barrera was garbage. Nobody is ever going to be satisfied. That’s just the nature of the game so you have to be satisfied with yourself.

“I’m very attuned to body language, I’m very attuned to tone of voice, and from what I hear, from what I see, it’s safe to say that there is a lot of disarray in that camp. What I mean by that is I don’t even know if Coach Jackson is getting the respect he is due in that camp but time will tell. For instance, why do we have to make an excuse for Kovalev in Russia for selling tickets and things. Don’t you have a team who could have taken care of that? You’re supposed to have a team to take care of that to take the pressure off the fighter.

“I believe somebody probably told Kovalev to say that Ward is a dirty fighter because you go eight, nine weeks and all of a sudden he is a dirty fighter? Kovalev will learn, one day, to not be everyone’s robot and do what they tell and ask him to do. He does it because he’s loyal. It doesn’t even sound like him. That’s not him saying that. That’s not in his character. That is his promoter saying that. It’s nothing but if he kicks Ward, he’ll get kicked back. Simple as that.

“We know Kovalev is a dangerous fighter, we give him all he’s due. I give Coach Jackson all he’s due. The coaching fraternity is a very tough fraternity. We are the first ones to get the blame. The fighter never takes full responsibility for his shortcomings. The fighter always has other people in his ear, telling him there is a better way, so I understand what he goes through as a coach.

“I just want the best Andre Ward and the best Sergey Kovalev. If Kovalev wins the fight, my respect goes out to him. If we win the fight, my respect goes out to him because they can’t be great unless they fight each other. Sometimes two people come out of that situation looking great. I wish the best to both of them regardless of what happens.

“‘Do I believe that Ward will exhibit mental toughness? Yes, without a doubt. Do I believe that Kovalev will exhibit it? I’m sure he will as well, and that’s the making of a great fight.”

Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound For Pound”, a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight title at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and is sponsored by the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Corona Extra, Monster Products, JetLux, Zappos, Jordan Brand and Shoe Palace. The championship event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Tickets are available on axs.com and the T-Mobile Arena box office.

Grand Arrival, Las Vegas – Kovalev-Ward

KOVALEV-WARD “POUND FOR POUND” SET FOR SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19 AT T-MOBILE ARENA IN LAS VEGAS, NEVADA PRESENTED LIVE BY HBO PAY-PER-VIEW®

LAS VEGAS, NV (November 16, 2016) – WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) and Two-Time World Champion Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) made their grand arrivals at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Nov. 15, ahead of their ultimate showdown on Saturday, Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound For Pound”, a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight title at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and is sponsored by MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Corona Extra, Monster Products, JetLux and Zappos. The championship event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Tickets are available on axs.com and the T-Mobile Arena box office.

Photo Credit: Roc Nation Sports/Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos