Andre Ward (-156) vs. Sergey Kovalev (+117), Draw (+2500)
The highly anticipated rematch between Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KO) and Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (31-1-1, 26 KO) has finally found a time and place — June 17th at the Mandalay Bay Center in Las Vegas. The rematch took almost five months to negotiate and puts Ward’s WBA, WBO, and IBF light heavyweight titles on the line.
The first time the then-undefeated fighters faced, Ward was given the win. The judges were unanimous in their decision, each scoring the fight 114-113 in favor of Ward, but the public was a little more divided. Many outlets scored the bout in favor of Kovalev, and the crowd at T-Mobile Arena clearly agreed.
The fight definitely started in Kovalev’s favor. He wobbled Ward twice in the opening two rounds before knocking him down with a vicious combination. Ward was lucky to survive the opening rounds and was clearly in trouble for the first half of the fight.
But as the fight reached the halfway mark, Ward’s movement improved and Kovalev began to tire. Ward picked Kovalev apart for the remainder of the fight, landing a flurry of punches but failed to put Kovalev in any real danger. Nevertheless, he continued to outscore his opponent.
When the verdict was announced, Kovalev said “Look at his face and look at my face, who is the winner?” Ward had been badly beaten while Kovalev appeared completely unscathed. But power punching is Kovalev’s game; Ward is much more of a technician. He may have been knocked down in the second round, but he came back and outboxed the hard-hitting Russian.
According to the Ring Magazine rankings, Ward and Kovalev are the two top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. So, like the first fight, this is a really tough one to pick. If the fight goes the full twelve rounds, Ward’s unbeaten streak will probably continue. But as we saw in the first fight, Kovalev packs enormous power and is more than capable of stopping the fight early.
Ward was able to survive the opening rounds of the last fight, but Kovalev came very close to putting him away. Something tells me Ward won’t be as fortunate the next time round.
Pick: Sergey Kovalev (+117)
Photo Credit: by Magic Media Production [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]