Kovalev vs Ward 2

Photo by Al Applerose

Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev and Andre “S.O.G.” Ward Collide Again


By Igor Frank

Fans and pundits alike have been passionately debating over the outcome of the first Andre War and Sergei Kovalev showdown ever since it ended last November in Las Vegas and a controversial decision victory for Ward was announced.

“How can a champion force the action for twelve rounds, dominate with a jab, score a knock down and still lose his title?” was a question repeated over and over by the backers of “The Krusher.”

However, Ward’s supporters insist that after a rough start the American Olympic gold medalist figured out his opponent and took over the fight in the second half and thus deserved the victory he was awarded. They bring up the essence of sweet science, “to hit and not get hit.”  To which Kovalev’s backers reply that he never got hit or hurt in any way.

One thing everyone can agree on is that it was an intense and a high skill level boxing match.

As this debate rages on I think about another memorable boxing contest that ended in a controversial decision. Thirty years later boxing folk are still fighting over who won that historic middleweight battle between Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard.

Would this new controversy in light heavyweight division last for the next thirty years?

The answer to that question is no! At least no one left the sport due to an unjust decision and these two tough competitors get to settle the score on Saturday June 17th, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. HBO PPV will televise this event live starting 6:00 pm Pacific Time.

Even though the return bout is scheduled, the heated debates about it go on. Kovalev’s proponents insist that the only reason Ward agreed to get back in the ring to face his Russian nemesis is the rematch clause in the original contract. To which “SOG” backers reply that history would indicate that Ward does not always follow the contracts and in any case he will make it look easy the second time around.

While some intense battles in the ring create great friendships outside the squared circle, such as late Arturo Gatti and Irish Mickey Ward, others create more animosities, case in point: Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales. Our light heavyweight drama between Ward and Kovalev belongs in the second category. Their extreme warfare last November did nothing to endear the combatants to each other.

On the contrary, Kovalev is resentful about not getting a decision in Las Vegas against an American fighter and feels utter disdain for his foe who undeservedly acquired all of his championship belts. Sergei is chomping at the bit to crush his opponent in the rematch, no pun intended.

For his part Ward feels that his craft and ring intelligence is not being appreciated enough by a boxing world and he feels slighted by the media. Perhaps that is the reason the American champion didn’t show up for his media obligation, HBO’s face off with Kovalev hosted by Max Kellerman.

Whatever the reason, the animosity and resentments between two camps are palpable. In no uncertain terms these two fighters don’t like each other. The only salvation from tension between these two is by training and that is exactly what Andre and Sergei have been doing ever since the rematch was announced.

And while they are training the media is going to keep writing about it and fans are going to keep talking about it hoping that the score will be settled on June 17th in a definitive way.


Contact Igor Frank via Twitter (Fightmonger) or via email at axident@pacbell.net