FORMER light-heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev sensationally swept out of the final press conference ahead of Saturday’s rematch with Andre Ward. But his promoter Kathy Duva feared it could have been a lot worse.

“I wasn’t expecting it but I wasn’t shocked either,” she told Boxing News. “He’s really just reached that point where the kettle is about to overflow. The pot’s been boiling and it’s just about to go over. He went over. It’s okay. I’d rather him do that than have this turn into some ugly experience which I think might have happened if he’d stayed. I’ve learned with Sergey knowing him for a long time, when he gets really angry he just walks away. Except in the ring.

“It’s gotten so personal.”

Due to the Russian’s early exit the two fighters did not go head-to-head on Thursday. But they are due to face off after the weigh in at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas tomorrow (June 16).

“I always worry but he’s made it through this many fights without having an incident, so it’s his 32nd fight so hopefully he’ll do it again,” Duva said.

She does however believe the tension will help Kovalev come fight night. “They’re trying to get under his skin and they think they’re succeeding. They in a strange way are but it’s not going to end well for them. But they don’t understand the more you get under his skin the more efficient he is at his job. He channels it,” she said.

Sergey Kovalev

Duva felt he wasn’t angry enough ahead of their first fight. That will not be a problem this Saturday. “I was concerned at the last fight because Sergey was not angry, he was way too respectful and he was on edge. This time up until late last night Sergey was not on edge at all. He is not respectful, he is angry. Those are generally the things that will predict he’s going to be at his best. I think what happened today, you bring these guys to a point where there’s so much talk and there’s so much talk, think about a guy who has to do all this in a foreign language,” she said.

“There comes a point where they’re just done and they shut right down. If we’re lucky, if we do it well, they shut down after today. Unfortunately it happened a day early. But I don’t think that’s going to affect his performance at all.”