Andre Ward has been a prize-fighter since 2004, but he’s never been a thrill to watch, so he’s used to taking heat for a style that is less than fan-pleasing.

Therefore, anyone thinking that Ward is bummed out that he’s not getting full credit for his victory over Sergey Kovalev of Russia in November, think again.

Ward won by a point on all three scorecards, even though he was decked by Kovalev in the second, taking Kovalev’s three light heavyweight titles at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The two square off June 17 in a rematch at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).

During the promotion, Ward has listened to Kovalev beef about the decision and no doubt has seen negativity on social media – especially from Kovalev supporters.

No problem.

“I enjoyed my victory, just like I would any other victory,” Ward, of Oakland, said this week during a conference call. “People have to understand that any time there’s a close decision, you’re going to have opinions either way.

“I’ve never refuted the fact that it was a close decision, but all those out there that say that it’s some home-cooking, they’ve got to remember that I’m not, you know, from Las Vegas, Nevada. You can’t just highlight that side of it. You got to highlight the people that also felt that I deserved the victory and (that it) was a tremendous comeback.”

Again, Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) is used to disapproval, even though he is undefeated and has won titles in two weight classes.

“It doesn’t take a close decision to get criticism,” Ward said. “I’ve shut guys out for 12 rounds and got criticism. So you become immune to it after a certain period of time.”

Does he believe he won that first go-round? You bet, he does.

“I thought I won the fight by at least two rounds,” Ward said. “But at the end of the day, there’s close rounds that you can call a swing round. I don’t know how this individual is judging the round or how they feel about it. But if you look at the scorecards, I think the judges did a tremendous job because they were on one accord.”

Ward mentioned “home-cooking.” That comes from Kovalev complaining afterward that there were three American judges. There will be three different American judges for the rematch, even though Team Kovalev asked Team Ward to encourage the Nevada State Athletic Commission to appoint at least one non-American to the panel.

Team Ward refused.

Expect this second fight to be better than the first, with Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) trying hard to knock out Ward. If he tries too hard, he might be swinging and missing all night at the crafty Ward.

Source: Robert Morales| Long Beach Press-Telegram