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Kovalev beats Ward says Roger Mayweather

Andre Ward Sergey Kovalev

By Allan Fox: Roger Mayweather, the former trainer of Floyd Mayeather Jr, is picking IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) to defeat challenger Andre “SOG” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) in their fight on November 19 on HBO pay-per-view from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Kovalev, 33, is seen as the underdog in the minds of a lot of boxing fans, as they feel that Ward will have too many skills for the Russian fighter. analysis

Roger Mayweather said to about the Kovalev-Ward fight:

“I think it’s going to be a tough fight. I don’t think it’s going to be an easy fight.”
When asked who he thinks will win, Roger said, “The Russian. I think so.”

It’s hard to pick Ward to win this fight because he’s not looked that good in his last three fights since making his comeback in 2015 following two years of inactivity. In Ward’s three fights since coming back, he defeated Alexander Brand, Sullivan Barrera and Paul Smith. Those are not major players in the 175lb division. Barrera was ranked high at the time that Ward fought him, but he still wasn’t a major player.

The one reason that some people in the boxing world believe that Ward will lose is because he doesn’t seem capable of throwing a lot of punches. He’s still throwing pot shots, and he still lacks punching power. For him to beat Kovalev, Ward will at least need to be able to throw a lot of shots. He obviously isn’t going to be able to increase his punching power at age 32. Ward is as powerful as he’ll ever be, and that’s not powerful enough for him to be able to stand in the pocket and trade with Kovalev. Ward moved up in weight from the super middleweight division in 2015, and what little power that he had didn’t carry up with from the 168lb division.

Since Ward can’t even throw a lot of shots, he’s going to be in a tough position trying to win the fight unless he can come up with a strategy to limit the amount of shots Kovalev gets off in the fight. Ward can no longer move around the ring like he used to. Ward lost his ability to move years ago. The last time that Ward was able to move around the ring quickly was back in 2011, when he was in the Super Six tournament competing with Carl Froch.

That was five years ago. The years have not been kind to Ward’s game, as he’s not only lost his mobility but also a decent amount of hand speed as well. Ward is now a stationary fighter, who has a habit of fighting with his back against the ropes. That’s not going to work to his benefit on November 19 when he gets inside the ring with Kovalev. The last thing that Ward needs is to be a trapped fighter stuck against the ropes against a KO artist like Kovalev. Unfortunately, that’s Ward’s situation. He’s going to be stuck against the ropes next month, and it’s going to be really hard for him.

You can argue that Ward’s only chances of winning the fight against Kovalev come down to these areas:

Mobility – Ward needs to try and find some youth somewhere so that he can move just enough to keep from being a sitting duck against the ropes in this fight. It’s not going to work for Ward if he’s stuck in one spot for 12 rounds in this fight, because he’ll not be able to get out of the way of Kovalev’s heavy shots if he’s trapped against the ropes. It’s doubtful that Ward will be able to use much movement in the fight without gassing out himself. Ward is heavier and older now. He can’t move like he used to, and it would be disastrous if he gassed out against a puncher like Kovalev.

Clinching constantly – This is an old standby for Ward that he’s used frequently during his career. He likes to hold, and then throw shots while in the clinch. That style worked for Ward in the 168lb division, because he was stronger than the guys that he was fighting. At light heavyweight, it could be a little tougher for Ward to get away with this approach. Ward tried to wrestle a little against Sullivan Barrera, but he lacked the size and strength to overpower the Cuban fighter. You can bet that Ward will at least try to beat Kovalev using this wrestling approach. If Ward finds out that he doesn’t have the power to beat Kovalev in the grappling department, then he’ll abandon this approach and try something else out.

Speed – This is probably the main asset that Ward will be using to try and beat Kovalev. He has the much faster hands, and the better reflexes than Kovalev. However, there’s still no guarantee that fast hands will lead to Ward beating Kovalev. Jean Pascal is arguably faster than Ward in the hand speed department, and he was still unable to beat Kovalev on two attempts. If Ward isn’t able to get the better of Kovalev with his faster hands, it could be curtains for him. He’d be forced to try and hold him all night long to stall out the fight.

If Kovalev beats Ward like many boxing fans think he’ll be doing, it’ll be bad news for the Oakland native’s career. If Ward can’t hang with a guy like Kovalev, then it’s highly unlikely he’ll do any better against a dangerous puncher like WBC champion Adonis Stevenson. Ward doesn’t have the punching power to handle Stevenson’s power. Ward would likely be knocked out by the southpaw Stevenson. While Ward would possibly be able to hang around the light heavyweight division long enough until Stevenson ages out and is ready to be beaten, but by that point in time, Ward will have aged as well. Other top light heavyweights could step up and likely ruin Ward’s chances of winning a title at 175. Ward might need to move back down to 168 if he wants to do something with the remainder of his boxing career. That would be pretty hard for Ward to get back down to 168 without draining himself. Even if Ward does move back down to 168 without draining himself, there are no big names in that weight division for Ward to fight.

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