Kovalev vs Ward 2

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Ward vs Kovalev Live Stream
12 rounds, for Ward’s WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight titles
Date : Saturday 17th June 2017
Venue : Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Start time : 9pm ET HBO PPV
Live/Repeat:Live

Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev will resume their rivalry in a Las Vegas rematch and we asked our Panel of experts to pick a winner.

Ward claimed a narrow victory in the first fight in November, winning by a single point on all three scorecards, and he defends the WBA ‘super’, IBF and WBO light-heavyweight titles in this second clash with Kovalev in the early hours of Sunday morning, live on Sky Sports.

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Can Ward enhance his status as one of the world’s top fighters with a repeat victory, or will Kovalev gain a satisfying revenge win? Our Panel have made their predictions…

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5/1

I’m expecting a similar sort of fight, although there should be more work from Kovalev, who will be trying to force victory this time. But Ward is difficult to beat, he’s hard to hit. Kovalev did find a way to catch him and Ward will try to adjust from that, he’s so clever.

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I’m not sure whether Ward will be able to employ those tactics where he sits on your chest and mauls you, ties you up. He cannot do that effectively against a bigger man. Kovalev is the stronger man at light-heavyweight and I just think he will take the rematch on points, unless he manages to deliver that knockout blow earlier.

David Coldwell

I think Ward will have adjusted for the rematch, because he’s a very smart fighter. But we know what happens when Kovalev lands. If Kovalev can sustain that aggression a bit more, then Ward could be in trouble. But Ward is excellent at nullifying his opponent’s strengths and will try to do that from the start this time.

Kovalev can box and I think he will use his boxing skills more in order to get his power shots off. It will be a better fight all round, both men will be better, and I think Ward will win again on points, but it would not surprise me if Kovalev knocks him out.

VOTE: Your pound-for-pound No 1

Ahead of the much-anticipated rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev, have your say on who you think is boxing’s number one fighter…

Tony Bellew

I think Kovalev will come looking for the stoppage, which is the only way he can win because he can’t out-point Ward. If Kovalev hurts him, believe you me, he will not let Ward off the hook this time. Sergey Kovalev lost that fight more than Andre Ward won it. The opportunity was there for Kovalev and he did not jump on it.

When the rematch was first announced I thought it was 60-40 in Ward’s favour. But now it’s 51-49 in Ward’s favour.

Tony Bellew

When the rematch was first announced I thought it was 60-40 in Ward’s favour. But now it’s 51-49 in Ward’s favour. Ward wins on points, but I’m not saying that with confidence.

Johnny Nelson

Now Kovalev knows what he’s capable of doing to Ward, I think he wins conclusively in this weekend’s rematch.

There will be more knockdowns in the second fight. Kovalev has already shown that he’s strong enough to put Ward down. Kovalev will come for the knockout, but he’ll have to settle for an emphatic points win.

Spencer Oliver

I am going to stick my neck out again and stick with Kovalev. His style is all wrong for Ward, despite the American’s slick skills. Kovalev is such a hard guy.

I don’t see him making the same mistakes this time. I just think he eased off a bit and let Ward in and that proved his downfall.

Spencer Oliver on Sergey Kovalev

I don’t see him making the same mistakes this time. I just think he eased off a bit and let Ward in and that proved his downfall. I just don’t see him doing that again and just think he’ll walk Ward down and win on points.

Jamie Moore

Second time around, Ward might change his tactics slightly. I don’t think he should have allowed Kovalev so much momentum coming forward. He could have sat in the pocket more and not been on the end of Kovalev’s shots so many times. Ward did figure that out towards the end of the fight.

Ward will have learned a lot from that first fight, while I do not think Kovalev can adapt that much. He will be the same fighter as last time. I think we’ll see a different Ward and he’s going to win again on points with a clear-cut verdict.

For this week’s Ringside Rewind, we look back at two of Ward and Kovalev’s best stoppage wins

The world is going gaga over the announcement of Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor, but there’s a great fight happening on Saturday, and it has a compelling storyline as well.

Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KO) will put the WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight titles he took from Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KO) on the line in a bitter rematch. The fight not only pits two of the most skilled fighters in the world against each other for the second time, it will either end an underrated feud or add a second chapter.

The buzz words in this rivalry are among the most emotional in the human vernacular. They could power a primetime episodic drama, let alone a boxing match between elite talents like Ward and Kovalev.

Losing a title on a narrow unanimous decision is a tough thing for a champion to accept. It’s even tougher when the champ was undefeated and scored a knockdown early in the bout. That was the predicament Kovalev was in on November 16, 2016, when Burt A. Clements, Glenn Trowbridge, and John McKaie all scored the first fight 114-113 in favor of Ward.

Kovalev dropped Ward in the second round and for a spell, it looked as if the then undefeated Russian was on his way to a dominant victory.

However, the tough and resilient Ward would fight back, reclaim the momentum and use his superior boxing skills to dominate the second half of the fight. It wound up being enough to earn the tight decision, three belts at 175 pounds and to maintain Ward’s own spotless pro record.

McKaie and Trowbridge gave Ward every round from 7-12 and Clements awarded all but one of the final six rounds to the former Olympian.

Kovalev immediately cried foul. He blamed “politics” for losing the decision and claimed he thought he deserved the win. Driven by bitterness from his first defeat, the loss of three title belts and what seems like a genuine dislike for Ward, Kovalev is looking for revenge.

Racism

Kovalev is an amazing fighter. He’s gifted with above-average hand speed and punishing power in both fists. That said, he’s a hard guy to like. Kovalev’s history of racist remarks and social media posts are well documented. His past targets have been Bernard Hopkins and Adonis Stevenson. Most recently, Ward was in Kovalev’s bigoted crosshairs.

Kovalev unsheathed a mock conversation between Ward and friends and it was packed with racial slurs.

Considering his history, Kovalev’s decision was stupid at best–but more than likely confirmation for our worst suspicions. Ward and his camp didn’t take kindly to Kovalev’s stupidity and that added fuel to an already smoldering fire.

BetrayalOXNARD, CA – MAY 30: Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev works out with trainer John David Jackson at the Boxing Laboratory on May 30, 2017, in Oxnard, California. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)

As if revenge and racism weren’t enough drama to sell a fight, we also have accusations of betrayal and rejection. Kovalev’s head trainer John David Jackson had a conversation with Ward’s team about jumping ship and joining the champion’s camp.

This is one of the most underhanded things a trainer can do in boxing, and it could be a real power move in a fight where the two fighter’s skill levels are comparable. There’s a question as to who reached out to whom.

Ward says Jackson was unhappy with the way he was being treated by Team Kovalev and says the trainer reached out to gauge the champ’s interest in adding him to the camp. Per Ward, his team chose not to bring Jackson in because they felt they didn’t need his services or trust him not to betray them the way he was attempting to do to Kovalev.

Jackson denies that and says it was Ward’s camp that reached out to him.

Jackson acknowledges the riff between him and his fighter, but he insists Ward’s overtures have brought he and Kovalev closer together. That remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure; there will be no love loss in Las Vegas on June 17.