Last Saturday Andre Ward won a unanimous decision over Sergey Kovalev, with all three judges scoring the bout 114-113. This result puts Ward in a precarious position as it begs for an immediate rematch against an opponent nobody fight twice.
Prior to the fight most ringside observers had it as a competitive match up which Ward would likely win through superior ring generalship and technique, the only potential equalizer being Kovalev’s world class power.
But from the opening bell the larger and more powerful Kovalev asserted a domineering presence never seen before in a professional ring that included Ward. I can scarcely recall individual rounds which Ward has given up since he entered the Super Six Boxing Championship; maybe enough to fit on one hand between Mikkel Kessler, Sakio Bika and Carl Froch combined. All which made the first half of the fight (I scored it a Kovalev sweep through round 6) particularly surprising. This domination was highlighted by a second round knockdown, which painted Wards face with the look that seemed to indicate he knew he was in with something special.
Following the knockdown Ward did battle back valiantly. First through the roughhouse tactics of tackling Kovalev in round three, and then later by seeming to win a series of rounds between 7-10. And although he still did not do enough in my opinion to win the fight, he demonstrated the best of what is uniquely inspirational about boxing, in its ability to show tremendous resolve in the face of adversary.
Also credit is due to Virgil Hunter, who I thought did a fantastic job keeping Ward focused while reaffirming his confidence. Particularly after the knockdown in which he seemed to encourage Ward to stand up to his bully, and prior to the 12th and final round in which he gave an impassioned speech that seemed to demonstrate the unique bond the two share.
All said Kovalev is not a guy who people should fight twice (if at all), just ask Jean Pascal. I would have said ask Roman Simakov, but you can’t because Kovalev killed him. Yes, you read that right, Sergey Kovalev has killed at least one person that we know of, and he did it with twelve ounce gloves on in a legally sanctioned event. A point that seems to have had little effect on Kovalev’s killer instinct.
In the end I would encourage Andre Ward to take a long vacation in the time being. And when he returns he should think long and hard before getting back in the ring with Sergey Kovalev.