June 2017

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Two Weeks Out: Ward Vs. Kovalev Rematch

What promises to be the fight of the year, Andre Ward versus Sergey Kovalev, will take place on June 17th at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Light-heavyweight boxers Andre “Son of God” Ward and Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev will go head-to-head once again after Ward beat Kovalev in a very close fight last November. Even though the judges came to a unanimous decision, there has still been talk about the fight being “close,” lending to it being considered a controversial win by Ward.
 
Ward has answered these comments by agreeing to a June rematch. In a phone interview with the L.A. Times, he stated, “This is necessary. This is….to set the record straight once and for all. It’s less about me. I’m secure with the first fight. It was no robbery. It was a close fight that I won.” Indeed the fight was close, with all three judges scoring the fight 114-113 in Ward’s favor, but many, including Kovalev, believe the win should have gone to the him instead. Insight into the fight has been brought to you by Chantilly Martial Arts.
 
Ward, who won a 2004 Olympic Boxing gold medal, announced his bid to rematch Kovalev back in April of this year, but Kovalev, who was undefeated until November’s upset delivered by Ward, states it was only a matter of time due to a rematch clause inserted into the original contract.
 
Ward does not seem worried at all about the rematch and insinuated in an interview with the L.A. Times that it has to do with the “mentality” and “heart of each fighter.” He furthered this notion by stating that he has learned a lot about Kovalev over the past several months by observing his behaviors and responses to adversity. Ward named these as weaknesses and stating bluntly he would be “tapping into that weakness from round one.”
 
Ward did not stop there. He went on to criticize Kovalev’s handling of defeat, stating he makes a lot of excuses, insinuating that it was this tendency in Kovalev that caused him to lose the fight last November. He then gave credit to his own trainer, Virgil Hunter, for instilling in him the drive and perseverance necessary to successfully navigate the tough parts of the fight to see things through to a win. Indeed, during November’s fight, things were not looking up for Ward in the second round, but he came back to earn a unanimous decision by three judges.
 
There is definitely a lot of tension between Ward and Kovalev. Kovalev believes he performed well enough in November’s match that he should have won and, apparently, many fans seated ringside, also, felt this way. To add insult to injury, Ward was a no show to a publicity interview with Kovalev on the HBO “Face Off with Max Kellerman.” Kovalev states he had taken time off of training to show up, only to find out it was postponed due to Ward’s absence.
 
Kovalev has responded to Ward’s agreement for a rematch by stating he “really hopes” that Ward will step back into the ring for the June rematch. He states his fans will see the “real Krusher” in this upcoming match, going on to insinuate that he has not performed at his optimal level in the last couple of fights. Kovalev stated in an interview, “For me, this rematch is very important as no other bout in my entire boxing career.”
 
CBS Sports deems Ward to be the “best pound-for-pound fighter,” but Kovalev follows this ranking closely at spot number four. It remains to be seen if Kovalev can redeem himself from the November 2016 upset. Adding to the excitement is Kovalev’s threat to end his career if he loses the rematch, according to TMZ, fueling Ward’s desire to put forth his best effort during the upcoming rematch. Ward states he is not threatened by Kovalev’s threats and states he “has big problems” come June.
 
Considering how close the original match was and how devoted each boxer is to his sport and to winning this rematch, no doubt this will be the fight of the year, if not the decade, with lots at stake for both boxers. Both are ready and willing to square off once again and it will, if nothing else, be a very exciting match up. The Andre Ward versus Sergey Kovalev rematch has been set for June 17th at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, but can also be seen on HBO pay-per-view.