Kovalev Goes For Redemption In Rematch With Ward

On June 14, 2017, in Sporting News, by Bud Thornton

ward-kovalev-2-rematch-2017On November 19, 2016 Andre Ward and Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev fought for three light heavyweight championship belts (WBA, WBO and IBF). The highly anticipated fight did not disappoint as it featured high-quality boxing, a knock down, and even a controversial result.

Now more than seven months later Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) wants revenge. He has been preparing for it for a long time and this Saturday at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas he also wants his redemption.

The first combat was an epic bout that quickly became one of the fights of the year.Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) fell to the ground in the second round but recovered and won by unanimous decision after all three judges scored the combat 114-113 in favor of Ward.

That decision ignited a controversy that persist even now, more than seven months later. Many opinions were shared and a lot of explanations were given, but few understood how the American had won. For Kovalev the answer was not hard to point out:

“The three referees were American, I’m not surprised by the result,” said the Russian very angry.

After the fight Kovalev asked for a rematch. The Russian had lost his title and he deserved a chance to get it back, but Ward was reluctant.

The San Francisco fighter had managed to become champion in two different weights, and had won a unification championship fight, thus he felt he had reached his zenith. At 33, Ward was on the verge of retirement, but after much hesitation accepted a rematch with “Krusher.”

The Russian, for his part, was very angry with Ward. First due to the scores of the first fight and later due to Ward’s hesitation in accepting the rematch. That anger persists, but now for a third reason: the judges.

For the rematch Kovalev asked for non-American judges, but his lone request was not fulfilled. As a result, the wrath of the Russian keeps growing as the fight gets closer.

Kovalev learned a lot from his first combat with Ward. He knows that his punches are lethal, but he found out that as the fight advances and fatigue mounts they lose knockout power. He has also gained experience. Until his previous fight with Ward, he had only gone the full 12 rounds in just five of his 31 bouts.

Krusher matured and knows that he should not repeat the same mistakes in the rematch. Trusting his power and exhausting all his stamina early was a huge mistake so expect him be more intelligent in this bout. He will most likely use some of his power early but he will save some energy for the late rounds should the fight drag on.

For his part, Ward will look to repeat his strategy. He will try to move and hit. He has lost some foot speed, but his mobility will once again be the key to avoiding Kovalev’s power punches.

Ward will look to keep moving all around the ring to tire Kovalev and try to avoid exchanging punches with him.

Just like seven months ago this fight’s outcome is too close to call and could once again come down to the judges. If the fight goes to the cards anything is possible, thus expect Kovalev to go for the KO to avoid any possibility of controversy.

The bookmakers however don’t think that Kovalev will accomplish his goal and see Ward as the favorite with his line at -150, while Kovalev’s is at +120.

 

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