Sergey Kovalev Vs Andre Ward – Preview and Prediction

Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward will face each other this Saturday night which on paper has to be the best match up of the year, the winner can certainly make a claim for being pound for pound the best fighter on the planet right now.

HBO boxing will be televising the bout Pay-Per-View stateside, but UK boxing fans can catch the fight on Sky Sports from 2am Sunday morning.

Kovalevs WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight titles will be on the line in a bout dubbed pound for pound, which is fitting as boxing fans finally get to witness the best versus the best this weekend in what otherwise has been a disappointing year for boxing.

This is a genuine 50/50 fight and even the bookmakers can’t split them, both fighters can be backed for around even money, most books however have Andre Ward marginal favourite.

Former super middleweight king Andre Ward has stepped up to light heavyweight to face one of the biggest challenges in boxing, dethroning the formidable lineal light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.

Wards technical brilliance is one for the boxing purists and with the absence of Floyd Mayweather Jr, Ward could quite easily be the best technician in the sport right now, there are not many, if any, that will top Andre Wards boxing IQ either, that is for sure.

However while Ward beat everyone there was to beat at super middleweight, declaring himself as the number one super middleweight in the world in the process, he really hasn’t fought any elite opposition at light heavyweight as of yet, Kovalev will be his first, and its a big leap from the likes of Paul Smith, Sulliven Barrera and Alexander Brand.

One of Wards weaknesses is his lack of power, particularly at world title level, Ward only has one stoppage in 7 world title fights, and that was to a weight drained Chad Dawson. His opponent to the contrast has stopped 7 of his 9 opponents in world title fights.

The difference in punching power is wide in this one and Kovalev is without question the biggest puncher Ward has ever faced in the ring to date.

Kovalev is renowned for his punching power and knockouts, as a result his boxing ability tends to get overlooked quite somewhat, while technically not on the scale of Andre Ward, Kovalev himself is technically excellent also.

While Kovalevs biggest asset is his power he also possesses excellent technical fundamentals, his jab is excellent and his ability to dictate the range of a fight is also underrated, Kovalev is patient and precise with his assassinations.

If you are going to pick weaknesses in Kovalev it would have to be his defense, he had some struggles with a slickster in Isaac Chilemba in his last outing. Chilemba showed Kovalev was certainly hittable and you could understand many peoples thought processes being of – well if a contender like Chilemba can give Kovalev struggles what will Andre Ward do? but sometimes boxing is not quite as simple as that.

Chilemba is a very underrated fighter and Kovalev still dominated and dropped him, it was also well known that Kovalev didn’t put in a proper camp for that bout and wanted the 12 rounds to prepare him for Ward, personally I think it would be a dangerous play to completely write off Kovalev because of his performance against Chilemba.

Like any 50/50 bout there will be many difference of opinions regarding who will win the contest and why, and like any 50/50 split, half will be right and half will be wrong and while I am quietly confident in my pick this weekend I do understand this is not a clear cut call and I can make arguments for both fighters to win this weekend.

However for me Sergey Kovalev will be victorious weekend, my reason being Kovalev is one of the most formidable fighters I have seen in recent years and his boxing ability and ring intelligence is hugely underrated, I don’t believe he is going to be bamboozled by Wards spoiling or smothering tactics, I just don’t believe they will work with the Krusher who will be able to use his power to dictate where the fight takes place.

Andre Ward is an exceptional fighter, at super middleweight he beat some great fighters in Mikkel Kessler, Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham but people forget he had some struggles with a game Sakio Bika who landed over 200 punches in a closer fight than the judges gave it.

Sergey Kovalev in my opinion is a different animal to any of the fighters mentioned above and Ward has not beaten anyone at light heavyweight to give me confidence he can beat Kovalev.

For me the value lies with Sergey Kovalev this weekend who can be had for a price of 5/4 at some books, surprisingly a Kovalev decision victory has almost been written off at many books with a 5/1 price, in my opinion that is a big price.

Look for Kovalev to struggle early on with Wards elusive style but I think he grows into the fight and begins to land his power shots and backing ward up, I can see him dropping Ward a couple of times on his way to a close but unanimous victory.


BETTING TIP: 2 pts on Sergey Kovalev to win 5/4 Betfair