Andre Ward (-150) vs. Sergey Kovalev (+130), Draw (+2500)
Andre Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) and Sergey Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) both stand at six feet tall, have 30 wins to their name, and a big, fat zero in their loss column. But that’s where the similarities end. As fighters, they’re as different as it gets. Their contrasting styles will be on full display come November 19 when the two meet at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Andre Ward, hailing from Oakland, California, is an extremely technical fighter. While he has the power to land a devastating knockout, it’s his defensive technique and boxing IQ that has gotten him to where he is.
Sergey Kovalev, the Russian “Krusher”, is more of a slugger – and his record shows it. Of his 30 wins, 26 have been knockouts. He’s among the best power punchers in the world but suffers from some defensive issues.
This is good news for Ward, who is a specialist when it comes to targeting his opponent’s weaknesses.
Kovalev is the current WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight champion and Ward has moved up to the weight class to contest for the title.
The fight is being heralded as the fight of the year. Pay-per-view numbers are unlikely to top last week’s Pacquiao-Vargas audience since the two boxers are not big name draws for casuals outside of boxing. But it will be a fight every boxing purist will want to see.
With Ward at 32 years old and Kovalev at 31, the two fighters are very much in their primes. This fight has the potential to put the spotlight on the often overlooked light heavyweight division.
Both fighters are ranked in Ring Magazine’s pound-for-pound top-five, and the bookmakers are giving Ward a slight advantage. If the fight manages to go the full 12 rounds, Ward is the heavy favorite to win on decision. His speed and technical ability make him much more likely to win on points.
Personally, I believe Ward has the better chance in this match-up. He has the ability to dictate the pace of the fight, slowing it down when he needs to and exploiting Kovalev’s defensive weaknesses when he sees fit. But Kovalev will be looking for that knockout, and one error by Ward could see him out.
Pick: Andre Ward (-150).
Photo credit: Fort George G. Meade (flickr) CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0].
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