Pound for Pound. There are no better three words to describe the significance of this match-up between two of boxers most elite fighters. That’s what the Ward vs Kovalev fight represents.
Andre Ward vs Kovalev will take place on Saturday November 19th, 2016.
The fight will take place at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Event coverage will begin on TV in the USA at 9pm ET/6pm PT and in the UK and Ireland it will commence on TV at approximately at 2am Sunday morning.
The TV channels for the above times are as follows:
US – HBO Pay Per View
UK and Ireland – Sky Sports 1
Andre Ward vs Kovalev Fight Preview
The listings at the top of the boxing pyramid are subjective, but there is little argument in saying that Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev make up two of the top three places in the mythical Pound-for-pound ladder.
Kovalev-Ward is 2016’s marquee fight, and it seems to be leading an example that will be followed heading into 2017.
Both fighters are the A-side of this event, and their accolades inside the ring speak for themselves.
One is a prodigy. A good-looking and well-spoken individual, with a boxing style that fits his personality. He swept aside all viable challengers in the Super Middleweight division, leaving it in rebuilding mode around Badou Jack and James DeGale.
The other is a maverick. A destructive fighter, who carries an edge that makes him even more dangerous. The Light Heavyweight division belongs to him, and on Saturday night he plans to keep it that way.
This is the ideal meeting of an Immovable Object vs an Unstoppable Force.
Kovalev 30-0-1(26KO’s) had tasted nothing but domination and success since dethroning Nathan Cleverly in 4 brutal rounds back in 2013. That was up until July of this year, when in a final contest before the biggest fight of his career, Kovalev was for once made to look human.
Isaac Chilemba – an unheralded, awkward boxer – gave Kovalev all he could handle and more. In his home country of Russia, Kovalev emerged victorious, but it was far tougher than anyone could have predicted.
It has left many to question, if Kovalev struggled with the style of Chilemba, then how on earth would he get on against the slick and highly intelligent boxer that is Andre Ward?
Ward 30-0(15KO’s) has returned seamlessly to the ring.
He was absent for over a year after completing his reign in the Super Middleweight division with another one-sided victory – this time over Edwin Rodriguez.
In his return, Paul Smith was dominated and withdrawn in 9 rounds, before both Sullivan Barrera and Alexander Brand were turned back with ease this calendar year.
In Las Vegas, Ward will be the crowd’s favourite.
His fan base in Oakland has exploded as his career has worn on. And his profile in the Bay Area has been helped greatly by Oakland’s favourite sporting superstar, Stephen Curry.
But the IBF, WBA and WBO Light Heavyweight champion of the world – the fact that it has taken me this long to acknowledge this shows how little belts mean in a fight as huge as this – will have little problem dealing with a loud pro-Ward crowd.
He has twice converted Jean Pascal’s supporters in Quebec, and he silenced the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff three years ago.
Both have dealt with enormous pressure since they each shot onto the world scene in equally impressive fashion. But neither has been in a fight this big.
Kovalev dealt with the doubt’s surrounding his contest with the sensational Bernard Hopkins.
And after many wondered whether B-Hop would tame the knockout artist, it turned out to be roles reversed as Kovalev outboxed Hopkins from start to finish.
Ward also came through his biggest challenge with flying colours, as he boxed sublimely to turn back Carl Froch in the Super Six tournament final.
Both resume’s displays a who’s-who are top names in the 168lbs and 175lbs divisions. But for the victor, the name next to Saturday 19th November 2016, will be the one that stands out above the rest.
After months of deliberation, my final verdict is no clearer than it was the first time this fight hit the negotiation table.
Ward’s inside game is elite, but Kovalev’s power is shuddering.
If Ward tries to rough Kovalev up, then could he be barking up the wrong tree, or will he stifle Kovalev’s attacks, and beat the bigger man up on the inside, at a range in which Kovalev cannot generate enough power on his punches?
Ward vs Kovalev Fight Prediction
This contest really does go against all normal conventions of a bout between fighter and boxer.
The fighter is usually the one who wants to combat at close quarters, while the boxer tries to keep the action at range. But in this truly fascinating match-up, it will be entirely the opposite way around.
One would normally favour an elite boxer over an elite fighter, but when their co-ordinates are as unpredictable as this, then there is no way of coming to a conventional conclusion.
Given that he has proven me wrong on two separate occasions, it would be unwise for me to bet against Kovalev again.
But in Andre Ward, I see a fighter that just knows every inch of a boxing ring, and every inch of it he can control.
Ward moves out into an early lead, which may prove critical on the final judges’ tally’s.
It may take some time for Kovalev to let his hands go with regularity, but in front of Ward, this does not result in easy success.
Through some rounds in which Kovalev wins based on the higher volume of punches, Ward will yet again find a way to victory on the scorecards, in his finest display to date and one that will not be matched throughout the remainder of his hall of fame career.