The first time Ward fought Kovalev I said that the American would enjoy an easy victory. He won, so I was right in a sense, but it wasn’t easy. In fact, if you listen to many experts, he shouldn’t have won that fight.
The rematch was quickly arranged though and one of the biggest unification titles in the sport of boxing is back on almost 6 months after the first one. In fact, there is even more at stake in this fight as The Ring Light Heavyweight title—previously vacated by Adonis Stevenson—has been added to the mix.
As a result, it means that 4 of the 5 light heavyweight titles will be on the line here, with only the WBA—currently held by Cleverly—left. As things stand, only Terence Crawford in the Light Welterweight devision holds as many titles. And when you consider that both of these fighters can beat Cleverly and will probably fight him after this, then it could be just a year before we see a compete divisional Light Heavyweight champion.
Andre Ward is one of the most technically gifted boxers in the world. He is not a people pleaser in the sense that he doesn’t go for the big knockouts, but he is the perfect boxer and if you ask the trainers, the fighters and the experts, he is the man to admire the most.
Ward’s career has been fraught with injury, which is why he only has 31 fights to his name despite looking like he only has a few years left. But he has advanced a lot in the last few years. Between the beginning of 2012 and the beginning of 2016 he fought just three times, culminating with a big TKO win against Paul Smith. After that though he has played catch-up a little.
He fought three times in 2016, winning all by decision, and this will be his first fight in 2017. Ward is a joy to watch. He is almost impossible to hit and to beat, which is just as well, because it’s hard to stay on your feet when you get hit by Kovalev.
Ward has fought some of the best in the division and he has beaten them all. He has victories against Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham and Paul Smith on his record and if he gets things his way then he will also have two big green ticks against Sergey Kovalev.
The fighters were evenly matched in the first fight and they will be so here. However, don’t let that fool you into thinking they are similar, because they are most certainly not. Sergey Kovalev is a power puncher. He’s not as technically gifted and he is more of a route-one fighter. He is still a boxer. He still has good movement and good technique, he wouldn’t have made it this far if that wasn’t the case. But he doesn’t come close to Ward in those areas.
What he does have that Ward doesn’t have is a hell of a power punch. If this fight is going to end early, then it’s going to be because Kovalev has dropped Ward to the canvas. It’s very rare for Kovalev to go the distance. He is perfectly capable of making it that far and staying fit while he does, but his power punching ensures that he rarely needs to hear the bell for the 12th round.
Of his 30 professional career wins, 26 have come by knockout. He took the Light Heavyweight title by destroying Nathan Cleverly in 4 rounds. If that name doesn’t sound familiar then just know that Cleverly has previously beaten Tony Bellew and was a very capable champion before Kovalev took his belt with relative ease.
Not only does he have many impressive KO and TKO victories to his name, but there is only a single defeat on Kovalev’s record and that came in the last fight between he and Ward. He will be hungry for revenge and if anyone can beat Ward you would fancy Kovalev’s chances.
Ward will go down in history as one of the best boxers ever and I think he deserves that more than his opponent. I think he has something special that few others have and I believe he deserves the four titles on the line. When you have so much talent in a division it’s always best for the sport that they are the ones who end up with the belts.
There are too many undeserved champions in the sport of boxing, too many people who claim the belts by chance and then hold onto them by avoiding the people they know will beat them. It’s therefore always good to see when those titles end up in deserved hands. Both of these fighters would be deserved champions, but only one can be a legend and that’s the one I think will win this.
So, get your money on Ward taking this fight yet again. He isn’t going to win by KO or TKO though, so place your money on a points victory and enjoy what could be one of the greatest moments in the last ten years of boxing as Ward claims 4 titles.
Betting Tip: Ward on Points, 2.20 @ Bet365