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Dmitry Bivol, the WBA interim titlist, will make his Las Vegas debut when he faces Cedric Agnew in a 10-round bout at the Mandalay Bay Events Center during the HBO pay-per-view undercard of Ward-Kovalev.

Controversy surrounded their first meeting in November with Kovalev deeply unhappy as Ward took his belts with a tight, unanimous points victory, in what proved to be an entertaining clash of styles.

“I’m excited to fight on this card with the best light heavyweights”.

“I am planning to put on a show”. He hopes to continue that with what would be his 2 win over arguably his best opponent in Kovalev. Im not into taking two (punches) to get one.”. “They want you in a certain place and if they can’t have you there, then you see a totally different fighter”.

“The backlash was swift from those who said that making it sound as if Ward-a devout Christian-dropped nonstop N-bombs was racist”, TMZ wrote. The two promotional companies have taken shot at each other more than working together to get as much buzz about this fight as possible. For the first fight, Sergey was running 22km a day and I asked him why. Most people had him winning four of the six, if not five of the six rounds. “I knew I had it and after those big shots I really knew I had him”. All the talking is good for the fans, it’s good to build it up, it’s all good but anybody that knows me, knows that I’m about the action. Just like a fighter who came in the boxing gym like one month ago. “I want to leave no doubt”.

While Ward will make $6.5 million in the fight, Kovalev has agreed to fight for a percentage of the tickets and pay-per-view money instead of a purse. “Ward fought an empty Kovalev”.

Kovalev seemed to get the early advantage with his aggressiveness as he pressed forward with his punches while backing Ward up with a straight jab. “I didn’t feel like I was getting knocked down by the power of his punches”.

Kovalev looked confused of what’s going when Ward climbed the ropes to celebrate as the crowd was stunned with the sudden end of the fight.

“And you – get prepared”, said Kovalev, pointing his finger at the California native before thanking those in attendance and walking off.

Their first fight may have been a top notch contest but it left a bitter aftertaste for both fighters. Ward showed up and was doing everything he could to sell the fight. Howard Lederman of HBO, Dan Rafael of ESPN and the Associated Press were just a few that scored the fight clearly for Kovalev.

The Cuban retains his World Boxing Assn. title and said afterward, as one of the sport’s most avoided fighters, that he’d be willing to meet either former super-flyweight world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez or super-featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko in a catchweight bout.

Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev II Grand Arrivals