An irate Sergey Kovalev is adamant that the decision to award Saturday night's (19 November) blockbuster light-heavyweight unification showdown to Andre Ward was the incorrect call.
"Krusher" was handed the first defeat of his professional career at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and lost the WBA, IBF and WBO world titles after all three judges scored an extremely close 12-round contest at 114-113 in favour of his opponent.
Deemed unbeatable by many due to his hand speed and flawless boxing skills, Ward was knocked down for the first time by a powerful right hand in the second round but recovered his poise in the latter half of a bout dubbed by many as the so-called 'Fight of the Year' to seal a controversial victory.
"It's the wrong decision," Russian Kovalev, on top for the first half being awarded just one of the last six rounds on a solitary card, was quoted as saying by Sky Sports afterwards.
"I don't want to say my opinion, so the people are the witnesses here and everybody saw what happened. I made the best shape for this fight since I was 11 years old. It was the [biggest] fight of all my life and really I am disappointed with the judges' decision.
"He got a few rounds. I am agreeing with that, it's not the full fight and controlled all the rounds. I lost maybe three rounds in all the fight. Of course, I want a rematch. And I will kick his a***. I just wanted to show boxing I am good boxer and fight rounds – not small rounds."
He later added: "I am the guest here in the USA… he's a local and all the judges [Glenn Trowbridge, John McKaie and Burt Clements] were from the USA. I agree they support a boxer but be honest, this is a sport – don't make it politics. I won this fight and everybody agreed."
Kovalev's promoter, Kathy Duva, made it crystal clear that Main Events plan to exercise their clause for an immediate rematch that will take place in 2017.
"In a tight fight, he's going to feel like he got robbed. I'd have been disappointed. But we got the belts tonight," said 2004 Olympic gold medallist and former unified super-middleweight champion Ward, who has now won five belts in two different weight classes. "That was the first time in my career I got dropped. I'm pleased with the way I responded."