It’s almost seven months since Andre Ward (31-0-0, 15 KO’s) challenged Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KO’s) for his light heavyweight titles, in a fight that matched together arguably the two best pound for pound fighters in the sport today. Despite being sent to the canvas in the second round Ward was the victor, claiming a close decision on all judges scorecards.
As is often the case, close decisions lead to controversy. Many media outlets and bloggers alike thought Kovalev did enough to secure the victory, who managed to control the pace and land the more meaningful shots in the first half of the fight before Ward started to take over in the latter half.
Both Ward and Kovalev traded barbs with each other before the first fight, however both fighters have taken it a step further by displaying their genuine dislike for one another more recently. Almost as soon as the first fight finished, Kovalev was quick to label Ward ‘son of judges’, a ploy on his ‘son of god’ moniker.
When Ward was asked by Fighthype recently what he thought of Kovalev, he responded: “Yeah I don’t like a lot of what this dude does and what he stands for, you know what I mean. And I’m just gonna put that out there. And I certainly have disdain for him.” It’s set to be a fiery affair in what is already one of the most competitive matchups the sport has to offer.
With regards to the fight itself, it will be interesting to see what adjustments will be made as both fighters will be a lot more familiar with each others style now that they have already faced each other. Despite the somewhat controversial scoring of the first fight, there is no doubt that Ward adapted better as the fight went on. Many see this to be the key to the upcoming rematch, with Ward coming in as a slight 4/6 favourite.
There’s no doubt Kovalev knows he will be facing an even better Andre Ward come Saturday night, and he knows he will have to exceed all expectations if he is to regain his titles. He told ESPN, “Last time the judges gave him a gift of my belts. I cannot rely on the judges to get it right the second time. I am going to get my belts back. I have to make sure to either knock him out or win in a very convincing way.”
It’s clear Kovalev isn’t willing to risk coming away empty handed this time, even going as far to say the result of the first fight “felt like a bad dream”.
Whoever wins, It should be another entertaining fight just as it was seven months ago, with enough momentum swings throughout to keep fans on the edge of their seat. In addition to the main event, fans will welcome the return of Guillermo Rigondeaux, who defends his title against the undefeated Mexican Moises Flores. The night’s coverage will be shown in the US on HBO Pay Per View, whilst UK fans can see the action unfold on Sky Sports 1.
By Joe Lewis. You can follow him on Twitter on @Joe_Lewis94