Sergey Kovalev is getting another shot to prove he's the best light heavyweight boxer in the world in a rematch against unified champion Andre Ward.
Ward posted on social media that the two will meet on June 17 in a rematch of their November 19, 2016 encounter in which Ward narrowly beat Kovalev via unanimous decision.
The fight will be contested at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and will headline an HBO pay-per-view, the second time both fighters will compete on pay-per-view. Their first encountered also headlined an HBO pay-per-view, but only had about 160,000 buys.
Since his loss, Kovalev had been very vocal about the judging in the fight and had been demanding a rematch ever since then. Kovalev did have a rematch clause in his contract.
"I am against here it is the USA and all the judges were from the USA," Kovalev said in a post-fight interview back in November. "He is a boxer. It’s a sport, don’t make it politics. It’s a sport and I won the fight.”
Once Ward made the initial announcement of the rematch, Kovalev, was ready to trash talk the champion.
One of the undercard fights will be the mandatory bout between WBA junior featherweight titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux and interim titlist Moises Flores, whose camps made a deal to avoid a purse bid. The bout was scheduled for February 25 on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto vs. James Kirkland HBO pay-per-view card, but that card was canceled when Kirkland suffered an injury.
Ward defeated Kovalev via unanimous decision (114-113, 114-113, 114-113) to become the unified WBA, WBO, IBF light heavyweight titles, but neither boxer had fought since. Ward is also a former unified super middleweight champion and former Olympic gold medalist as a light heavyweight in the 2004 Summer Games.
It was Kovalev's first professional loss while Ward remains undefeated with a 31-0 record as a pro boxer. The loss also ended Kovalev's reign atop the light heavyweight division. He had been holding a world title since 2013 when stopped Nathan Cleverly in the fourth round to win the WBO light heavyweight title.