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The Fight Game: Interview with Kovalev

HBO’s Jim Lampley sits down and talks to Sergey Kovalev about his strong dislike for Andre Ward.

Kovalev on his personal grudge against Andre Ward:

“I don’t like this guy at all because he’s Andre ‘Son of Judges’ Ward. I don’t like his face. I don’t like his act. I don’t like what he’s doing, what he’s saying - he doesn’t have my respect at all. I want to punish him, you know, like, I wanna kick his ass.”

On him saying he trusts the judges going into this fight after claiming home country bias in their first meeting:

“I cannot not trust. You know, like, what happened has happened, it’s already history. I wish to [move] forward, and look forward to kick his ass and punish him. I have new motivation to finish him before last bell of 12 rounds.”

On if the second half of their first fight was more about Ward making adjustments, or him simply getting fatigued:

“I got tired. Like after first minute after round number 5 - power gone. Energy gone. And I was empty, my speed low, everything lost.”

On how he’s adjusted his training so that doesn’t happen again:

“My coach, Alexander Mikhailovich, he knows everything about conditioning, everything was under his control - diet, workouts, heart rate. He’s just like a bell, he stops me if he sees that I do much more than I should do. I feel like I can do more, but he says ‘don’t worry, you will do in June 17.’

“I brought a conditioning coach to help me build right plan for this fight. John helped me with the means to get focus, how to punch on time, like with timing.”

On how he feels about the rumors of John David Jackson attempting to defect to his opponents camp:

“Uh, yes. I hear about this and how I think, it’s, uh, mind games, you know, of Andre Ward. They call him and like try to get [him] to Andre Ward’s camp.”

On if he was ever angry at his trainer over the rumors:

“No. And never been.”

On who was the Russian guy in Kovalev’s corner who was doing most of the talking in the later parts of their first fight, as opposed to trainer John David Jackson:

“Uh, this guy is still around. He’s my friend. He’s very good [at seeing] from the side what you should to do. He sent me like some tactics before the fight, and I did it, and I knocked him down. But John don’t say me something, like right things, between rounds. And therefore, like, I don’t listen to John. John just like work on the mitts. I do everything in my training camp myself. Everything.”

[Editors note: I don’t like the sound of this answer...]

On if that’s the case, then should all accountability for what happens in this fight is be squarely on himself:

“It’s my personal fight against Andre Ward and I wanna kick his ass myself. It’s a big test for me. Can I do this myself? He didn’t deserve to be champion like I do. And I will do everything in the rematch to get my belts back. First fight, Andre Ward fights Sergey Kovalev. But right now he’s gonna fight ‘Krusher.’”

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