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Kovalev: Ward will pay for his trash talk on Saturday night

By Allan Fox: Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) says he’s going to make light heavyweight champion Andre “SOG” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) pay for all his trash talking when he gets him inside he ring on Saturday night in their rematch at the Mandalay Bay Resort Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. During the Tuesday’s grand arrivals at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Kovalev let it be known that he’s going to take it out on Ward inside the ring for all the talking he’s been doing. Kovalev wants to make Ward and Team Ward pay on Saturday night on June 17.

There’s bad blood between Ward and Kovalev from their previous fight on November 19 last year. Ward won that fight by a close 12 round unanimous decision. The three judges all scored it 115-113, 115-113 and 115-113. However, a lot of boxing fans felt that Kovalev should have had had his hand risen, as he landed the cleaner and more powerful shots during the course of the fight.


“Yeah, my fists will say it. I’ve already said enough. I want to say to Team Ward – they’ve said a lot of trash to my side, my team. He will pay for everything; I promise you,” said Kovalev.

Kovalev can win the rematch as long as he attacks more, and throws more combinations. Kovalev can’t just throw single shots if he wants to beat Ward, because he’s going to answer back with his weaker single shots. If the judges scored the fight based on crowd applause, which some boxing fans they did last time, then Ward will another decision, because this is a Ward venue. This is the venue that was picked out by Ward’s promoters. It favors him in terms of the crowd. Las Vegas is only a little over 400 miles away from Ward’s hometown of Oakland, California. It’s hard for Ward’s loyal fans to make the trip to Nevada. Kovalev’s fans are on the east coast of the U.S.

Kovalev maintains that he was over-trained for the first fight with Ward, and that he had nothing left in the second half of the fight after round 5. Kovalev attributes him wearing down on him having too much aerobic exercise during training camp. Ward believes something different. He thinks his body shots wore Kovalev down. A more realistic view is the wrestling that Ward did each round wore Kovalev down. In watching the Ward-Kovalev replay, it was clear that Kovalev won the first 6 rounds, and at least 2 of the final 6 rounds of the fight. The judges saw something else that didn’t resemble the fight that I saw inside the ring, as well as HBO unofficial scorer Harold Lederman, who scored the fight for Kovalev.

”I don’t just want to get my belts back and thank boxing fans for the support. I want to thank my haters – they motivate me to keep going.”

Kovalev had a rematch clause in his contract for his first fight with Ward last November, which is one of the reasons why there’s a second fight between them. I’m not sure that Ward would have given Kovalev a rematch if not for the rematch clause. Ward would have likely gone in another direction to defend his title against someone like Badou Jack or fight someone like Nathan Cleverly. I don’t think for a second that Ward would have taken on anyone good like Artur Beterbiev or Adonis Stevenson, because those dangerous guys with heavy hands and one-punch power.

Kovalev, 34, is a good puncher, but he doesn’t have that kind of power that you see with Beterbiev and Stevenson. When those guys hit somebody cleanly, they go down and stay down. I don’t see Ward ever fighting Beterbiev or Stevenson. It’s definitely a positive that Ward, 33, chose to give Kovalev a rematch, because they have unfinished business between them because of the controversy surrounding their previous fight. Ward can say it was a conclusive win if he wants, but he’s talking to himself, because the boxing public doesn’t believe that it was a clear win.

”I want to get my belts and I’m here for this,” said Kovalev. ”I appreciate him giving me the opportunity to get my belts back and on June 17 it’s going to be a different fight.”

It should be interesting to see how the Ward-Kovalev 2 fight plays out. The fight will once again be televised on HBO pay-per-view, and it might draw a respectable amount of boxing fans. I don’t think it’s going to be a ton of buys though, because the previous fight had too much wrestling and zero drama for the fight to bring in a ton of PPV buys in the rematch. There hasn’t been nearly as much buzz for the fight compared to the recent Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight on May 6th on HBO PPV. That fight brought in over 1 million buys, and it was a terrible fight. But the build-up to the contest had a lot of electricity that is almost entirely missing with this fight.

One problem is Kovalev doesn’t speak English well enough to understand him without his interpreter. Also, Ward has been repeating himself a lot in saying a lot of the same things without coming up with new stuff. There’s been too much emphasis on the drama between Kovalev’s trainer John David Jackson about him supposedly being in talks with Ward’s team about switching sides. It’s stuff doesn’t casual boxing fans.

That’s all stuff that hardcore fans might be interested in, but you’d have to be really into trainers rather than the fighters themselves to get hooked into dull stuff like that. I think it was a mistake for Team Ward to even bother talking about Kovalev’s trainer. If you want to build up a fight, you don’t do it by bringing in nonsense about a fighter’s trainer. What a waste.

“I am looking forward to making a statement in this fight and answering any questions that may be out there and removing any doubt that may be out there,” said Ward.

If Ward wants to make a statement in this fight, then he needs to make sure he doesn’t spent half the fight holding Kovalev like he did last time. He needs to actually fight, and not punch to the back or to the thigh. Ward needs to keep it clean actually fight this time. I think Ward lost that fight last time, and he definitely didn’t make a statement. If Ward is serious making a statement, then it’s good news for the boxing fans, because he used to be capable of fighting at a high level six years ago in 2011. He was so much better back then compared to now. Yeah, Ward did a lot of grappling in the past, but nothing like what we saw last November against Kovalev.

Ward was great at moving around on the outside, and landing single shots with a lot of speed behind them. I didn’t see that speed from Ward last November. I don’t see Ward as being able to get his lost hand speed back despite him saying that he’s doing things in training camp that he hasn’t done in years.

I don’t believe that for a second. If Ward is doing well in training camp, then it’s because he’s got a different set of sparring partners that don’t possess the talent needed to make Ward struggle against them. If Beterbiev was in training camp with Ward, I think he’d be struggling against the Russian fighter and wondering what happened to his once blazing fast hand speed.

“A lot of people talk about the jab and the right hand. But if you look at the second part of the fight, he [Kovalev] wasn’t landing right hands and jabs,” said Ward.

I don’t know what Ward is talking about. I just watched the entire 12 round fight between Ward and Kovalev on Youtube, and I saw Kovalev landing his jab and right hands in the second half of the fight. The only times I didn’t see Kovalev land his shots was when Ward was holding him, which unfortunately he was doing a lot of in the last six rounds of the fight. I saw Kovalev winning rounds 1 through 6, and then 2 rounds in the second half of the fight. That’s 8 rounds to 4 with the knockdown in round 2, which should have been more than enough for Kovalev to win the fight. Kovalev should have won that fight. This Saturday, Kovalev can show that he’s the better fighter and that the judges made a mistake last time.




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