Kovalev to Ward: “I’ll finish your boxing career”
By Jim Dower: Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) is saying he’s going to send IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Andre “SOG” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) into retirement when the two of them face each in a rematch on June 17 on HBO PPV. Kovalev thinks he was robbed by the 3 judges in his last fight against Ward last year. This time, Kovalev doesn’t plan on letting the judges decide his fate against Ward. He plans on knocking the 2004 U.S Olympic gold medalist Ward straight into retirement.
Kovalev has the power to beat Ward, but he may not be able to send him into retirement unless he gives him a real battering. It would have to be one of those real brutal knockouts in which Kovalev left no question of his dominance for Ward to possibly retire from boxing.
Ward-Kovalev2 Be ready mother[expletive]! I’ll finish your boxing career👊🏼 @Sergey krusher Kovalev,”, said Kovalev on his Twitter site.
If Kovalev is going to knockout Ward on June 17, then he’s going to need to attack him with much more sustained combinations this time compared to their previous time. Kovalev stopped punching too soon when he was in close. He didn’t work while he was on the inside like what we were seeing from Ward. He was trying to work when the two of them were in close. Kovalev won’t be able to knockout Ward if he just stops punching every time that he gets in a clinch. Kovalev had never developed his inside game before the Ward fight. He hadn’t had the experience of fighting someone that would continue to throw shots while on the inside.
If Kovalev saw someone like Artur Beterbiev fight, he’d understand that it’s a must that you continue to fight while your opponent is holding you. Beterbiev doesn’t stop fighting when he’s on the inside. He throws clubbing shots with whatever arm is free. It’s legal to do. That’s why the referee says ‘You’ve got one hand free. Fight out of it.’ Kovalev wasn’t doing that last time he fought Ward. He was being passive, and waiting for the referee to separate him from Ward.
Kovalev will need to knock Ward out if his plan is to send him into retirement. I don’t think Ward is going to retire though. If Ward loses to Kovalev, he’s going to want a third fight with him, because he’s going to want to avenge the loss. There’s also a lot of money to be made for Ward in a third fight with Sergey.
Kovalev will need to fight in a lot more aggressive manner for him to KO Ward. Other than 2nd round knockdown that Kovalev scored, he never came close to hurting Ward. Kovalev will need to let his hands go in a real way. He mostly jabbing against Ward the last time they fought. Kovalev would miss with his power shots, and instead of continuing to throw them until they landed, he would grab him or throw jabs. Kovalev wasn’ t throwing punches, which is what you normally do when you can’t land your head shots.
Kovalev has the fire power to get Ward out of there if he goes on the attack in a sustained manner, round after round for as long as it takes. Kovalev needs to realize that it’s OK for him to keep throwing power shots when he’s on the inside. Kovalev seems to be still stuck in the amateur mode where he waits for the referee to pull him apart when he’s on the inside. That’s not how things are at the pro level. Some referees expect you to fight out of a clinch yourself, and they’re not going to step in and look to separate you from your opponent.
Ward has no reason to change his fighting style from the last time he fought Kovlaev, because he did nicely when he was on the inside. If it’s not broke, then don’t fix it. Ward may plan on fighting on the inside against Kovalev in the rematch unless he can prove to him that he has the ability to hurt him or compete with him in that area.
Felix Verdejo’s next training camp could be moved from Puerto Rico
In an effort to get unbeaten #1 WBO lightweight contender Felix Verdejo (23-0, 15 KOs) to focus more, Top Rank is considering moving his next training camp from his home country of Puerto Rico to another location inside the United States, according to Ring TV. Verdejo, 23, needs to focus more in his next fight for him to have a chance of winning a world title. He’ll be challenging WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan on June 10 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Flanagan has to win his next fight against Petr Petrov this Saturday before he faces Verdejo.
“He’s in position to make that fight. They’re looking to see where they’re going to get prepared for this fight,” said Top Rank president Todd Duboef to RingTV.com. “A lot of distractions in Puerto Rico. It’s been tough for a lot of people. And should you go to New York, go to California? Should you go to Big Bear, should you go to Las Vegas to train?”
Verdejo didn’t look good in his last fight against Oliver Flores on February 3 in San Juan Puerto Rico. Verdejo won the fight by a 10- round unanimous decision, but the fight was a lot closer than the 2 of the judges scored it. They had it as lopsided decision with Verdejo winning by the scores 99-91 and 98-92. The third judge appeared to see the fight more accurately in scoring it 98-94. Boxing News 24 scored it for Verdejo by a razor thin. If this was a really good fighter that Verdejo had beaten like Mikey Garcia or Robert Easter Jr., then it wouldn’t be cause for concern with the fight being so close. But this wasn’t a great opponent, and it’s not good that Verdejo won the fight. This wasn’t the first time that Verdejo has looked bad, however. Verdejo also looked bad in beating William Silva by a 10 round unanimous decision in February 2016. That was another fight where the judges scored the fight by a lopsided decision despite the contest being a very close one.
Verdejo might be any better if he’s isolated in a place like Big Bear, California. If Verdejo lacks the takent and the killer instinct, then it might not matter where the fight takes place. You can put Verdejo anywhere, even on the moon to train, and he might not be any better than what we’ve seen from him. Verdejo doesn’t fight like he’s got the heart for the sport of boxing. He doesn’t go for the kill, and he doesn’t seem to like the idea of mixing it up. Even when Verdejo fights guys that are clearly not at his level, he fights in a lackadaisical manner that suggests that he’s not properly motivated. In Verdejo’s last fight against Flores, he didn’t look good in the early rounds. If it was a conditioning issue why Verdejo looked bad, then he at least would have shined in the early rounds. That wasn’t the case.
Verdejo may not pan out for Top Rank the way that some of their other fighters have. Top Rank may need to think about cutting the cord on Verdejo if he fails to improve his game, because right now, he doesn’t look good enough to beat any of the top lightweight champions.