Let’s Get Ready to Rummmmble

In boxing, when a fight of this magnitude is dubbed “ the potential Fight of the Year” one thing is almost certain, disappointment. If expectation is the root of disappointment then that would explain why a potential let down may occur Saturday night inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Nevada. Andre “Son of God” Ward ( 30–0, 15 KO ) takes on Sergey “The Crusher” Kovalev ( 30–0–1, 26 KO ) in a matchup that could dictate the future state of boxing, regardless of who wins.

Both fighters arrive in Las Vegas undefeated in the ring with cult like followings even Charles Manson would be proud of. My wallet is already cheering the $59.99 pay-per-view price, after years of paying Mayweather $ 80 to watch him outbox and evade opponents for 12 rounds, even if that happens again this weekend, I save 30 bucks basically watching the same performance. For the record, I fully believe this will be a 12 round unanimous decision where the only fans leaving happy will be the boxing purist and the professors behind the sweet science.

For all of Kovalev’s impressive stoppages, what has me most in awe of this man, win, lose or draw, is the fact Sergey Kovalev will travel anywhere, anytime, to potentially beat anybody. That deserves respect, Andre Ward is no fool, he will gladly give it in exchange for ring space and distance. Ward has a talent in his feet that is only replicated through his hand speed. If the Mayweather shoulder roll is one of the best defensive postures in all of boxing, then the Andre Ward ring command and hand speed should be held in the same regard. People seem to forget, Andre Ward is a U.S Amateur Gold Medalist. The man is polished.

What Kovalev lacks in agility and grace, he certainly makes up for it in power. I was a little shocked to see Kovalev painted as the underdog here, he is +115. But when it comes to rounds fought in the professional ranks, the experience isn’t even close. The two men are a little over a year apart in age, but by the time Kovalev turned pro in 2009, Andre Ward already had a gold medal and was on his way to entering the Showtime Super Six, in which he won a few years later. While Kovalev is rough around the edges, lacking the technical and tactical elements Ward brings to the table, Andre hasn’t had a knockout in over a year and a half. The last time Ward stopped an opponent, it was against UK’s Paul Smith, in which Smith was overweight and sloppy. Fun fact, the money Smith was deducted for being overweight, Ward gave back to him 
after he beat him in the ring. Who says there aren’t nice guys in Boxing?

The Floyd Mayweather era is officially over, even if he fights Pac, nobody is going to want to see it or pay it any relevance. Kovalev, Ward is 2016’s conclusion to an otherwise lackluster year in Boxing. MMA has all but kicked the sweet science out of New York with the crazy insurance premiums enacted by the state, Las Vegas may just be the last honest refuge for the sport, and with fight headlines being dominated by the UFC sale, Connor McGregor, and a defeated Rhonda Rousey, it seems boxing has been lost in translation in the minds of the sporting public. Above all, Saturday night is important not just to Ward and Kovalev, but to boxing as well. The “PBC” has kind of stalled out and the politics of boxing will always leave a nasty taste in a select few mouths, but as fight fans, we need this. We need action, we need to highlight the sports talent, and we need to show the world, boxing is alive and well even after “Money” rode off into the sunset.

My advice, while everyone will be looking at Sergey Kovalev to land that killer shot, keep an eye on Wards feet, they will tell a better story come Saturday night. In my experience, boxing will always beat brawling, this is how I’ve come to terms with Andre Ward as a -135 favorite. I will be paying my cable provider $59.99 while simultaneously taking the chalk that is Andre “Son of God” Ward.

Author: Robert Kools

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