Virgil Hunter: “Sergey Kovalev was done, he had given up. Russian fighters don’t do well when you put them in a dog fight”

13 Submitted by on Wed, 04 October 2017, 01:28

When Andre Ward decided to retire recently, many were caught off guard due to Ward having established himself as the number one pound for pound fighter in the world after convincingly defeating Sergey Kovalev. Ward stopped Kovalev in only eight rounds, having broken ‘The Krusher’ down with body shots and forcing the stoppage. While there were options for Ward’s next fight, he ultimately retired after those fights did not provide the financial and competitive motivation needed to continue.

In part 2 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Virgil Hunter, I discuss with him Andre Ward’s final bout of his career, getting Virgil’s view on why the rematch was different than the first bout. Hunter also talked about lack of credit given to Ward by some with that win and talked about why he thinks people doubted Ward throughout his career. Additionally, Virgil speaks about the health of the sport and its future going forward. Here is what Virgil Hunter had to say.

Jenna J: Can you talk about the rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev and how Ward performed?

Virgil Hunter: We just picked up where we left off the last fight. I think people have to realize that coming off the layoff, to fight a fighter of Kovalev’s caliber, you do need to have fights. We were allowed two fights, so that’s what we had to go on. Kovalev just ran into a guy that doesn’t know how to lose and has so much tenacity and ferocity.

Andre definitely won the first fight, I can understand why people would take Kovalev because they are used to seeing him finish something that he starts. I challenge anyone to sit down with me and watch that fight and show me where Kovalev won. I can definitely show you where we won but so far no takers.

In the second fight, we decided that we were gonna stop him and we made it known to the boxing world, and they laughed at us but that’s okay because they never knew who Andre was or what he was made out of. When that happened, that pretty much closed the door in that situation.

Jenna J: You still always get some people who won’t give Andre credit. What do you think of people who don’t give Andre credit even when he has won?

Virgil Hunter: That’s okay. There’s a passage in the Bible that says, “Woe unto you when all men speak well of you.” We thank those people, that was the motivation and the fuel, and we came out with the last laugh. Of course Kovalev fans are the only ones talking about that.

There are people who are being realistic who realize that Kovalev was going to get stopped regardless of what they want to say finished the fight. He was done even before he got hurt with the right hand, he was pretty much done. If you listen to me in the corner after the seventh round was over, I told Andre to keep doing what he was doing and the fight would be over before ten. Kovalev was done, he had basically given up. He was going through the motions but he never fought anybody with that kind of tenacity.

If you look at the history of boxing, Russian fighters don’t do well when you put them in a dog fight, they just don’t do well. You can go to Kostya Tszyu and Ricky Hatton, you can go to Klitschko with Corey Sanders and Lamont Brewster. You can go on and on, you can go with Jirov against James Toney, who got him in a dog fight, and he conceded. That’s the history of the fight game when it comes to Soviet fighters in the pros when you put them in a dog fight, they give in. That’s not to say all of them do, but the names that I just put out there, they’ve done it.

Jenna J: The sport is in a good spot right now. We recently had two big fights with Mayweather vs. McGregor and Golovkin vs. Canelo. What do you think about where the sport is right now?

Virgil Hunter: I think the sport is thriving. Boxing is not going to go away, regardless of what people say. There’s always room for improvement, and I think as long as they look in that direction to improve the sport, it should remain healthy for a long time.

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13 Responses to "Virgil Hunter: “Sergey Kovalev was done, he had given up. Russian fighters don’t do well when you put them in a dog fight”"
  1. USA says:

    It’s very true, russian fighters are weaker and more prone to quitting. Ward broke Kovalev down to the body, hurt him to the head, and stopped him. Ward’s a special talent.

  2. EqualMan says:

    What a racist statement! You can’t say that and name a few Russian boxers that have lost and backpedal then say, “not all of them do.” What the hell is that?

    If someone said all black fighters smoke weed or do some type of recreational drug, and name black fighters that tested positive, it would’ve been front page.

    Think before you speak. Especially after that controversial first fight

  3. TheThirdEye says:

    Provodnikov is from Beryozovo and GGG is from Kazaghstan, close neighbours. These type of russian has that aboriginal asian sequence in their DNA, which seems to give them the drive to compete in dog fights. But for the general russians, they may have skills and power, their courage seems affected when they face opponents which fights back with heart. In those cases, their xenon and argon inhalers can’t help them, even if this untraceable doping technique is widely use amoung russian athletes.

  4. HeadShots says:

    GGG just won a dog fight and he’s 35 yrs old with 400 fights on his odometer.

    • Squ□redCircle34 says:

      That was not a dog fight LOL, that was a boxing match in which GGG tried to make it a dog fight but if you look at his face after the fight in his dressing room you would absolutely believe he lost and got dogged in a dog fight LOL!

      Here come the excuses, we all said if GGG loses or if Canelo makes him look ordinary we didn’t want to here the excuses and low behold look at who’s been chatting the most!

      Team GGG know they been gifted a draw but since so many are sympathetic of his performance they’re using what others say to cover their own a$$es from a crap job GGG did at adjustments and Disabled Sanchez as a coach!

      Canelo has more pro fights and fought tougher competition which means he’ll have gone thru more with his body than GGG who’s been crushing garbage truck drivers and house arrest fighters!

      Disabled Sanchez even refutes your statement, he said Canelo has more wear and tear than GGG so I wanna see once again how you and GGG fanatics explain this!

      How you GGG fan club members gonna explain this one?

  5. TheReadyTimeBoy says:

    He’s right, and the thing all the fighters he listed have in common is that they were punchers who weren’t used to being backed up and crowded. When someone could take their power and put them on the backfoot they crumbled and gassed. They never have great stamina because they have had too many amateur fights

  6. MisanthropicNY says:

    Russian fighters??? lol… so now he’s painting an entire country a certain way lol… Let’s all take a knee…

  7. kafkod says:

    Kovalev folding after a barrage of low blows had nothing to do with him being Russian.

  8. Boxing Logic says:

    And Andre Ward doesn’t do well in clean fights, or fights on even playing fields period, which is why fought almost his entire career in his home city, home-or-adjacent state(s), or home country, and which is why it has since been admitted by Ken Herschmann, head of Showtime sports at the time, that the foundation of Ward’s so-called “legacy,” the Super 6 tournament, was hand-picked and puppetered by Herschmann to advantage Ward or Dirrell, but especially Ward, in order to “create an American star,” or “Showtime’s Floyd Mayweather.”

    The entire Super 6 was “set up to create an American star,” meaning they planned for Ward to win, and set up the tournament to accomplish just that outcome by making every other boxer travel besides Ward, and by selecting only slower, European style opponents, mostly past prime (Kessler) or blown-up in weight (Arthur Abraham), who they knew would favor Ward’s style.

    How did they know that would favor Ward’s style? Well Virgil or Ward’s team must have told them, because if you look at Ward’s resumé, you’ll find they knew the exact same thing, and kept Ward well protected from styles that would pull back the curtain on the illusion that he was some generational talent. They were willing to fight all the Arthur Abraham’s, Mikkel Kessler’s, and Carl Froch’s of the world, and heck, even the apex of that style, Sergey Kovalev, but only after they caught wind that he was no longer dedicated to boxing anymore around the time of his son’s birth, and that had started drinking and so forth, but they were never once willing to fight the athletic southpaws around their weight, from Lucian Bute to James Degale to Adonis Stevenson, or even the other athletic fighters period, such as Andre Dirrell.

    Ward has always been a defensive boxer with a combination skills, speed, and power that ranged from B-level to A-minus, but never A-level or A-plus, so in order to create the illusion he was truly elite, despite lacking the A-plus elite level abilities of say a Floyd Mayweather or Roy Jones, they had to always match him only against guys with C-level to B-level speed, skills, and power. This created the illusion that Andre Ward had elite hand speed, when really Froch, Abraham, and Kessler simply had slow hand speed. This created the illusion that Ward had elite skills, when really it was that his opponents, and you can throw in Sakio Bika and Edwin Rodriguez as well, all fought the clumsier, slower, “pressure banger” style that made Ward appear more than he was.

    And of course, when Team Ward finally had to match Ward against a real opponent in order to get on PPV and attempt to make Ward a PPV star for the future, even if it was one who they had the advantage of knowing (another pre-fight advantage for Andre Ward! Has any boxer ever gotten more??) from spies in his camp that he hadn’t been training the same, that he had been drinking, and that he was having major stamina problems, Team Ward knew they could no longer make Ward look dominant, so their plan was at least to keep undefeated… win today, look good tomorrow… and to do that, they needed major help from the referee and the judges. But, given that both Showtime, HBO, and the American boxing establishment at large have been trying to make Ward into a star for the last decade, and have poured lots of unreturned money into him, and were never going to jeopardize all that just to be fair to a “racist Russian” they all seem to dislike, that was never going to be a problem.

    But it looks like the whole time they thought they were conning boxing fans in order to make big $$$ off the long-con later, it was actually Andre Ward conning them. They got him to agree to fight one single real, not incidentally pay-per-view, opponent, I guess because he knew his career would be seen as a joke if he never did, and then the mandated rematch, but only once they agreed to overpay him by a mile, expecting that a second fixed “win” over Kovalev would propel Ward to superstardom where they could make their money back off him, but instead, Ward took their money and ran off at age 33 with his money, his health, and the “AMAZING” legacy that exists in his head precisely because they put it there.

    All this time they were busy brainwashing fans so they could make money off Ward, they didn’t realize they were brainwashing Ward even worse than the fans, to the point that he become so self-satisfied with his “exceptional” career that he didn’t even feel any desire to fight the best anymore.

    But that’s what Showtime and HBO never understood from the beginning: Ward never did. They made the mistake of trying to make a PPV star out of someone who didn’t want to fight PPV opponents. I guess they got tricked by Floyd Mayweather, who was somehow able to sell millions of PPVs without fighting top opponents, but that was a very unique case. With Ward, that didn’t work out so well, sales wise. But they were so in love with the fact he was an American gold medalist that they seemed to overlook everything else. In the future, they would be smart to learn from that, and start favoring the boxers who will fight the best, regardless of whether they are American, rather than always favoring American boxers, regardless of whether they will fight the best.

    In closing, the formula for creating the illusion of Andre Ward’s career has been as follows:

    1. Cherry pick slow, unathletic, unskilled “plodder” style opponents in order to make Ward’s good skills and athleticism appear “great,” and then use refs that will let Ward foul those opponents endlessly on top of all that in order to fatigue those plodder opponents and take away one of the only two advantages they did have over Ward, power, and in order to protect Ward’s chin, which is the other advantage they had. Also make every fight in Ward’s backyard in order to help him feel more comfortable than his opponents, since small advantages add up in boxing.

    2. The one time they had to pick a top opponent, delay the fight until the perfect time, when the opponent is 33 years old (1 year past the end of most offensive boxer’s primes), and only after the moles in his camp, either paid off or friendly to Ward due to their own nationalist biases (i.e. more hometown favoritism for Ward), tell him that this opponent is not dedicated to boxing anymore, and has drinking problems, etc. Then after losing to that opponent even despite those things, have establishment Vegas judges in place to protect your record. Then for the rematch, juice up so much there is acne all over your back for the first time as a pro, and have the referee bought off too to stop the fight on a succession of fouls.

    All of that was supposed to make Ward a PPV star, but not only did they overrate how many people would pay to see him cheat and be protected through another fight, it seems they underestimated Sergey Kovalev as well, because after 20 rounds with the Krusher, the man who was planning moves to Cruiserweight and Heavyweight afterwards has since retired. The biased judges saw one thing in those fights, but the fans saw another, and the toll those 20 rounds took on Ward’s body is just more evidence of who really won their fights, as much as any winner can be declared for the second fight given the ref stopped it early (I believe Kovalev was on his way to winning that fight even with all the fouling and the resulting fatigue that got him caught and hurt. Ward fans will disagree. Due to Tony Weeks likely corruption, none of us will ever know). Judging the 20 rounds as one, however, which is really all you can do given the second fight was stopped on fouls, I had Kovalev winning more rounds than Ward, landing more punches than Ward, scoring more knockdowns than Ward, being the effective aggressor much more than Ward, and judging from Ward’s retirement, doing more damage to Ward than Ward did to him. On the flipside, there were rounds where Ward landed the snappier shots, but I’ve had experts tell me that snappier does not always mean harder, and Ward’s retirement may be evidence of that.

    In any case, we can all agree on one thing, boxing is in a much better place now that it can move forward from an era where Andre Ward, Floyd Mayweather, and Bernard Hopkins took far too many significant dates in the boxing calender away from the next generation of true, clean boxers who are much less picky in who they choose to fight. It’s time for boxing to focus on those guys, guys who will fight anyone and bring the sport back to where it should be. No more cherry picking. No more holding and elbowing and headbutting and cheating. Let’s have real boxing, and real matchups, again!

  9. jas says:

    Bad examples

    I dont think the fighters he cited have a lack of heart and russian fighters do have heart especially eastern europeans in general

    Some fighters are more technical and more outside fighters. Perhaps a better way to put it is fighters like klitschko and kova have a lack of an inside game.

    Is he gonna label all black american fighters weak hearted because of dirrel bros ?

  10. skinnystev says:

    without the multiple nut shots slappin soggy would have gone down to an ignominious defeat just like in the 1st fight

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