Kovalev vs Ward
Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward Eager to Decide the Best.
By Igor Frank
Promoter Kathy Duva expects the highly anticipated showdown between Sergey “ The Krusher” Kovalev and Andre “ SOG’ Ward to play out like a high level chess match with two grand masters trying their best to outdo one another in a battle of skills.
The undefeated stars Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 Kos) and Ward (30-0, 15 Kos) will collide on November 19th, 2016 at the newly built T- Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to determine the supremacy not only in light heavy weight division, but a pecking order in the mystical pound for pound rankings.
“For me this is a mental fight,” said Kovalev, 33, during a recent telephone conference. “It’s not who is stronger, but who is smarter and brings the best skills into the ring and who is mentally stronger.”
Thirty-three-year old Kovalev, who currently holds three world championship belts in the light heavyweight division (WBA, IBF and WBO), proved his mental toughness in a fight against aging ring legend Bernard Hopkins two years ago. Hopkins who made a career out of upsetting the odds and damaging his opponent’s psyche, was no match for ‘The Krusher’ on that memorable November night in Atlantic City. No matter what Hopkins pulled out of his bottomless bag of tricks that night, Kovalev had an answer for the cagey veteran. It was utter domination and a flawless performance.
Can Kovalev stage a Hopkins-like encore against Ward in Las Vegas?
That is the million dollar question which will be answered in the ring on November 19th. But when it comes to mental toughness it seems that the American star wrote a book on it.
Undefeated since the age of 12, 2008 Olympic gold medalist Ward has found a way not only to beat but to dominate every single one of his professional opponents. But nothing demonstrated his mental toughness more than when he took a stand in a dispute with his promoter, the late Dan Goossen. Right or wrong, he stayed out of the game for a year and half during his prime, just to prove a point.
With an exquisite skill set and remarkable ring IQ in his war chest, Ward seems to be well equipped for a chess match promoter Kathy Duva anticipates. At least on paper, he is better suited for it.
“Ward is a very intelligent, smart fighter,” acknowledged Kovalev’s trainer, John David Jackson during a recent interview:” He has had to win most of his ring battles with ring smarts.”
So wouldn’t it stand to reason that playing chess in the ring with Ward is a recipe for disaster? Wouldn’t it be better for Kovalev to turn this contest into a street fight?
“He is a better boxer than most people give him credit for,” said John David Jackson about his charge.
Still, trying to beat Ward in a boxing match is like trying to outbox Floyd Mayweather in his prime. Wouldn’t it be better if Kovalev used his advantages to best his American adversary?
“Kovalev’s biggest visible advantage is his punching power,” said trainer, Jackson;” Power like his is God given. You either have it or you don’t and he has it. He has tremendous punching power.”
Wouldn’t it be better for Kovalev to rely on his power and go for a knock out? Fans would love it.
“If I happen to knock him out,” said Kovalev during his telephone conference:” It will be a bonus for boxing fans and for me, myself.”
But just because Ward is not known as a power puncher don’t think for a moment that the undefeated American boxer can’t score a knock out or hurt his opponent, especially if Kovalev opens himself up by going for it. Case in point Ward’s 2012 demolition of Chad Dawson. The roles could easily be reversed and the boxer could become a puncher while a puncher, Kovalev could turn into a boxer. That is why this contest is so intriguing. No one could predict the outcome with absolute certainty.
“Of course this fight is an opportunity for both of us to show the boxing world who is the best pound for pound,” said Kovalev;” It’s going to be a war between us. Who is the best boxer and who is the best athlete?”
HBO PPV will televise the event live beginning at 6:00 pm Pacific Time. Don’t’ miss it.
Contact Igor Frank via email at email@example.com or via Twitter (Fightmonger)