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Kovalev: I want to fight Ward, but I must focus on Pascal

kovalev444By Allan Fox: IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs) is really looking forward to his fight later on this year against the unbeaten Andre Ward. That fight will surely be taking place later this year.

However, in the meantime, Kovalev must take care of business in his rematch against Jean Pascal (30-3, 17 KOs) on January 30th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. Ward is going to be a formidable threat for Kovalev, because he’s got great boxing skills, is hard to hit, and he does well against slow punchers.

Kovalev will have his hands full when he eventually faces Ward. However, Kovalev will need to pass the Pascal test for a second time for him to get the Ward fight. Pascal is now trained by Freddie Roach, and he supposedly has fixed some of the flaws that he had in his game. 9
Kovalev already knocked Pascal out last year. Roach likely only fixed the overly aggressive tendencies Pascal showed in his loss last year against Kovalev. That’s about the only thing Roach can change in Pascal’s game.

“This fight is personal fight,” Kovalev said. “It is something personal for me. It is not everything true that he is speaking. I understand for why he is doing this. He is trying to make me angry. I am giving him a reminder. I didn’t do my job last time. I should have stopped his career.”

At 33, Pascal is the finished product, and he’s not going to improve at this stage other than becoming more of a pure boxer and less of a puncher. It’s not likely that Pascal is going to be able to out-box the taller, longer-armed Kovalev in this fight. Pascal is giving away too much arm reach and size to Kovalev for him to have chance of beating him by staying on the outside all night. If that’s the plan that Roach has for Pascal for the January 30th rematch, then you have to hope for Pascal’s sake that Roach is astute enough to have a good plan-B and plan C for him to use.

It’s unclear why HBO agreed to let the fight take place again on their network so soon other than the previous fight brought in good ratings. It would be disappointing if HBO agrees to a third and fourth fight between Kovalev and Pascal if the fights keep bringing in good ratings and Kovalev keeps knocking Pascal out.

It’s better for the sport if new fighters are given chances to fight for world titles rather than guys that don’t rate another chance so soon.

“Andre ward is a great boxer. I am very happy he came to my division and we can make a very good fight for the fans. I want to fight with him, but now I have to stay focused on my next fight with Jean Pascal,” Kovalev said.

If Kovalev gets past Pascal, which he likely will, then we should be seeing Kovalev and Ward facing each other in their next fight. It’ll be good for boxing to see these two fighters face each other.

Hopefully, Kovalev can close the chapter in the Pascal fights, because it’s getting old already seeing these fighters face each other, and they can’t waste the fan’s time with these rematches.

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