The boxing world was rocked again this week, with some bullshit fight between a professional boxer who is considered his generation’s best and an amateur. Riveting.
However, lost in the hubbub of that announcement and just by the general lack of promotion (while also being previously mentioned by me) and seeming apathy is the rematch between light heavyweights Andre Ward (UC’s #1 pound-for-pound) against Sergey Kovalev (#3) is set to go off.
Now, I decided to re-score the first match in which Ward won by close, controversial and unanimous decision. In the spirit of transparency, I had the fight scored 115-112 for Kovalev when I watched it live. Then again, I was in a bar and not 100% of sound mind when going through round by round. I have reviewed the fight a few more times, and I was pretty confident that Kovalev won, due to the strength of his opening rounds which included a blistering knockdown of Ward in Round 2.
But upon rescoring, I did have Kovalev winning by a 114-113 margin. The difference being, I gave Round 3 to Ward when I originally had it for Kovalev. I could also Round 12 going either way in addition to Round 9. Ward winning was a bit shocking but it is far from the “robbery” some close to the sport seemingly have suggested.
I am captivated by this rematch because, at the risk of sounding like every cliche person who has ever talked about a rivalry, there is really no love lost between the two. The pre-fight antics of fighters can be amplified, but there seems to be genuine animosity from Kovalev and genuine apathy from Ward. Kovalev does not like Ward and I don’t think Ward cares.
That does not really ever matter though because this is a boxing match which is dictated by skill, athleticism and some luck not emotion. Ward wants to prove that his performance from Round 5-to-12 is proof that “he figured Kovalev out” and Kovalev wants to show that it was fatigue that saw his slight fall-off.
To keep things quick, how do I see this fight going? Kovalev still has thunderous power and it clearly did make an impact on Ward throughout their first bout. Kovalev isn’t some relentless brute of a brawler, but a menacing boxer that can become impatient. He’s got a sadistic streak that was seen in his battering of Jean Pascal in their unneeded rematch.
But I think Ward should take this, again by a close decision, but maybe with a bit less controversy. Ward found that Kovalev was a bit of a head hunter and while, it is not aesthetically pleasing, he was able to slip and connect with a quick jab. I can see Kovalev being better conditioned, but habits are harder to improve than stamina.
Kovalev has the power to change the game and finish anyone in his weight division. He’s also long-limbed and can do damage from the outside.
That being said, we are in for a good night of boxing.