In the early hours of Sunday morning, two of boxing’s pound-for-pound best will battle it out in Las Vegas with Sky Sports having exclusive rights to one of the most highly anticipated fights in recent history.
Andre Ward is the unified super-middleweight champion and widely regarded as one of the best ever, and this step up to light-heavyweight against the division’s dominant force Sergey Kovalev presents an opportunity for Andre Ward to become the clear pound for pound number one in world.
The same applies to hard-hitting Kovalev however and the bookmakers make him only a very marginal underdog at 11/10 generally, with Andre Ward the slight favourite at 8/11 with most bookies. So – how will this one go down?
It is a very difficult fight to be too confident about and that’s what makes this arguably the match-up of the last decade. Russian powerhouse Sergey Kovalev (30-1-0-KO26) puts his WBO, IBF and WBA Super world titles on the line against fellow unbeaten star Andre Ward (30-0-KO15) at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, in this huge light-heavyweight showdown.
Californian native Ward, who will be making his Vegas debut against ‘Krusher’ Kovalev, has previously dominated the super-middleweight division, comprehensively beating the likes of Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham, Mikkel Kessler and Chad Dawson and has now set his sights on conquering the 175lbs division.
Despite periods of inactivity in recent years, Ward has been almost untouchable in the professional ranks owing very much to his first-class skillset and technical ability. That ability may well be the difference in this bout.
The power of Kovalev means he will be a threat throughout the contest and there is no question he possesses the shots to stop Ward. But Andre Ward has one of the best defensive games in the sport, his footwork and head movement, along with the promise of dangerous counters, should ensure he sets the tone early on and gets the respect of Kovalev. It’s a tricky one to call, but Ward to win on the scorecards after fighting an intelligent fight seems to be a sensible boxing bet.