Tag: Sergey Kovalev

Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev: Levels of Greatness

Boxing fans might ask for a lot on occasion, but there’s some basic requests we always want to be heard.  We want the best fighting the best, excitement and a decisive end.  We do not want to see inconsistencies and questionable decisions by judges, refs, or even corners that could hamper a job well done.  We don’t want to see a fighter go unrewarded or ripped off.

In last November’s matchup between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev, there was a belief that we witnessed a violation of our hopes.  We saw the best fight the best and we were given excitement.  But in light of Ward’s unanimous decision against Kovalev, there was enough outcry where a rematch was not just required…but also needed.  Fans deserve either closure, or if a trilogy to occur, a chance at it.

Andre Ward isn’t necessarily a defensive mastermind or a brilliant tactician.  He’s not a brute brawler nor is he a pillow-fisted light heavyweight.  He’s not big nor is he small.  But what he is?  A tremendous fighter who swept out the 168-pound division and took on perhaps one of the scariest fighters on the planet….and knocked him out.

I understand the controversy over the “low blows” and the idea that the stoppage might have been too early.  Maybe Tony Weeks could’ve warned Ward, but its kind of hard to hit someone who is literally in the fetal position and eating precise body shots.  Kovalev was gassed, rocked and on the verge of eating more punches in a very precarious situation.

The point of this blog is that while there isn’t a gap that’s as wide as a country mile between the two, the point still remains that Andre Ward is an all-time great fighter while Sergey Kovalev is a great one.  That is not a slight on Kovalev, who potentially was up on the scorecards and might’ve deserved to win the first bout, but what the crowd got to witness was why there are levels to greatness.

Andre Ward seems to be able to thrive off a sixth sense.  He doesn’t manage to slip all the punches at all, but he’s often able to be able to change the angle of a punch before it is landed.  He has a brilliant short right that rocked Kovalev’s world and was the beginning of the end.  Ward was tearing up Kovalev’s body in a manner that made me think that he saw little bullseyes tattooed on Krusher’s obliques.

Kovalev, to his credit, was showcasing a dangerous and fast jab that was able to significantly mark Ward’s face and had shots of his own.  But the stamina was gone and Kovalev still didn’t develop much of an inside game that wasn’t based on trying to put Ward into guillotines.  Kovalev’s power alone could’ve stymied most light heavyweights (and hell some cruiserweights) but, when that was gone….you saw a great fighter who just did not have the arsenal of an all-time great.

As a fight fan, I feel like I found my closure.  Andre Ward would not win 100/100 matches against Kovalev, but he might find a way to win 80/20 against a legitimately strong, heavy-handed puncher who could beat anyone on the planet near his weight class.  It is time to recognize Andre Ward as what he is: the best current boxer on the planet.

Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev II: Preview and Prediction

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.

 

Where Is The Hype For Andre Ward – Sergey Kovalev II?

To put it bluntly, the first half of 2017 has been absolutely brilliant for boxing.  We have had massive fights (Joshua-Klitschko), fights with huge implications (Brook-Spence, Thurman-Garcia), entertaining rematches (Frampton-Santa Cruz) and a whole host of fights that seemed to truly embody the notion of the “best fighting the best”.  Hell, we even got the confirmation of perhaps the biggest fight post-Mayweather and Pacquaio announced (Canelo-Golovkin).

So there is nothing to blame if you forgot about a few.  James DeGale vs. Badou Jack was one of the best fights of the year but its hard to believe that was in 2017.  Same goes for Takashi Miura vs. Miguel Roman.  Even the embarrassing bouts were still big enough spectacles that ate up a lot of attention (Canelo-Chavez Jr., and this ongoing Mayweather-McGregor bullshit) and wonder.

Yet, perhaps the most important fight of them all might be taking place this upcoming weekend.  It even checks all the boxes off in terms of massive fights, implications, and entertaining rematch that signifies the best fighting the best.  Hell it could lead to one of the most entertaining trilogies of the new millennia.

Where is the hype for the light heavyweight showdown between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev?  If you forgot or just aren’t that pumped up, I guess I could see that.  HBO has had a 24/7 for it but the Face/Off with Max Kellerman was cancelled.  Ward isn’t the most charismatic fighter and Kovalev does/says enough racist shit to be ignored.  An elite American boxer versus a degrading Russian should particularly sell well due to today’s political climate.

Yet, that hasn’t been there.  The first fight has pretty much been debated since the close but controversial unanimous decision for Andre Ward was announced back in November.  There is a very large and prominent portion of the boxing community who thinks Kovalev’s early round dominance (including knocking Ward down in round 2) was just enough to clinch the fight.  Kovalev immediately exercised his rematch clause and while Ward floated retirement, negotiations did not take too long to finalize.

The peculiarity that is the mainstream ignorance of this fight has struck a chord with myself.  Where is Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman bloviating on First Take?  Where’s the commercials touting and demanding you buy this can’t miss pay-per-view special?  Is HBO’s noted drifting from the sport that pronounced where they aren’t even bothering, sans a 24/7, to really push for this?  Did Canelo-Golovkin basically take all the juice out of the promotion for this?

Throughout the week I hope to cover this fight a bit more because well, I have been thinking about this fight for a couple months now.  The undercard features the dominant but inactive Guillermo Rigondeaux, who can often toe the line between boxing brilliance and sleep-inducing, against a game and undefeated Moises Flores.  A potential showcase fight for future LHW contender Dmitry Bivol should also entertain.

At first blush, I lean Ward to take the rematch.  While I believe Kovalev is a top ten pound-for-pound contender, I do think he has shown definite problems with his stamina and issues with fighting on the inside.  Ward easily exploited that once he figured out Krusher’s timing and while it was ugly, Ward took advantage of clinching and using a quick jab.

But while Kovalev is no brawling brute, he still has the big equalizer and that’s the power in both his hands.  Kovalev has made mincemeat out of enough contenders, and while his two batterings of Jean Pascal haven’t aged well (thanks to Pascal’s slide); they still were absolutely dominating a genuine contender.  Ward’s power isn’t anywhere near Paulie Malignaggi levels but he hasn’t shown the ability to pulverize opponents in a way Kovalev has had.

But hey, let’s kick up this hype machine a bit shall we?

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