Ward, Kovalev to duke it out again at Mandalay Bay in Vegas June 17th

April 25, 2017

Boxing

photo courtesy berkcommunications.net

By Jeremy Harness

OAKLAND–Throughout his career, as an amateur as well as a professional, Andre Ward has always found a way to rise above any circumstance to keep elevating himself to the top of the boxing world.

That was most evident on Nov. 19, when the Oakland product boxed and gutted his way to a unanimous decision victory over then-light heavyweight champion Sergei Kovalev, who entered the fight unbeaten and has utterly destroyed nearly everyone in his path.

The decision, which was reached when all three judges turned in identical scores of 114-113, was disputed, and at that point, a rematch was all but inevitable. The date was made official earlier this month, as the two fighters agreed to the highly-anticipated second meeting, which will happen at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas June 17.

Not only did his win in the first meeting garner him another world title, but it also put Ward (31-0, 15 KO’s) into the discussion of who should be the world’s top pound-for-pound fighter.

The other fighters in the discussion include middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KO’s), who solidified his claim on March 18, when he earned a 12-round unanimous decision over Daniel Jacobs, who became the first fighter to extend Golovkin to the full 12-round distance.

Another is junior bantamweight champ Roman “Chocalitito” Gonzalez (46-1, 38 KO’s), whose last fight also came March 18, but he was beaten in a 12-round majority decision by a fighter named Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.

Despite his loss, Kovalev is also considered by some experts as one of the pound-for-pound best.

Although he is not known for having big punching power, Ward is known for his superior boxing skills and ring savvy, and those two qualities have served him extremely well during his career, allowing him to capture titles in three different weight classes.

Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KO’s), on the other hand, is known for the exact opposite, as his heavy hands have paved the way for his rise from humble beginnings in his native Russia to becoming a world champion.

He is also known for trash talking in and out of the ring. Upon his knockout win over Jean Pascal in their rematch in January of last year, he called for a possible matchup with Pascal’s fellow countryman in Adonis Stevenson, who was in attendance at that fight and to whom Kovalev referred as “Adonis Chicken-son.”

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