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20 JULY 2018

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SecondsOut Team Picks: Ward Vs Kovalev ll

Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev renew their rivalry this Saturday night at the at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada and SecondsOut’s writers once again put their reputations on the line to predict the outcome of arguably the biggest rematch in boxing.




There are those that think Ward underestimated Kovalev last time and will win clearly this time to prove a point. But I feel Kovalev is the stronger more focused and more determined of the two and feels he was robbed last time out. The question is will Ward box more this time and does he still have the hunger? Or will the dogged determination and rough house tactics of Kovalev prevail? I feel this is Kovalev’s time and he will rise to the occasion and nick a deserved points win this time to set up a rubber match


Kovalev w pts 12 or late stoppage


Clive Bernath









Let me start by saying I think Kovalev won by two or three points the first time around. However, I do applaud Ward for making serious adjustments to do very well over the second half of the bout. Both guys have plenty of room for improvement during the second chapter or what I ultimately expect to be another boxing trilogy. Even boxing one of his finest performances, Ward was outboxed and outpunched early. The knockdown certainly opened the gap between the two. I think Kovalev is one of few guys who can effectively turn his anger into positive energy inside of the ring and win the rematch. Kovalev has nothing but disdain for Ward and does not believe for a second he lost the rematch. Kovalev found the timing on his right hand and was able to hurt Ward. In training, he appears to be working his left hook high and low, doubling up. I have no doubt the right hand is still a major part of his plan for victory, but the Russian is honing his arsenal to break Ward’s high guard. I expect a very different fight, but with Ward still starting slowly to bank on another late round rally. He will try to get started early with the body attack though as it was his best offense last time. Kovalev will be prepared for the inside attack with better conditioning and use the hook to cut short Ward’s time inside. Kovalev will hurt Ward early again with the right hand, but this time he will seek to finish, using hooks. His set-ups will be educated and behind the same jab that controlled Hopkins. The Russian will capitalize and keep the champion hurt with a pair of crippling left hooks. The rematch will end before Ward can execute his plan.


Kovalev ko 4

Derek Bonnett

Oxford, Connecticut



I’m glad to see the immediate rematch was made. Many felt Kovalev won the first time around. Pro-Ward fans and followers felt he slowed down the Russian storm enough down the stretch to sneak out a 1 point decision. It’s hard to say how the rematch will play out. Will Kovalev come out firing or will he look to out box Ward? My best guess is that he will come out aggressively, looking to land something big early. This time he will likely look for the finish should he catch Ward early on. I feel Ward has the ability to adjust a little more than Kovalev can. I’m going with Ward in another points victory, but slightly more decisive this time around.


Ward w pts 12

Derek Gionta

Pittsburgh, PA



Without a doubt, the first meeting between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev was a boxing fan’s dream, packed with action the entire fight. Ward won that fight despite mixed reviews, many thought Kovalev was robbed. To be honest, I thought Kovalev pulled off the win but wasn’t totally surprised by the outcome, it was a difficult fight to score. Ward took a digger in round two and was dropped for a count, a position he wasn’t accustomed to. The second meeting should be as exciting as the first, both fighters will make adjustments in regards to the first fight. Ward is a very intelligent fighter, he must continue to move forward on Kovalev like the first fight but avoid leaving himself open to Kovalev. The only improvements for Kovalev I can see, being more patient and placing his punches with more pinpoint precision than before, most of all, not letting Ward frustrate him. This fight is going to be a battle, a fight that will be exciting and entertaining. I see Ward winning this fight, I think he will fight much smarter this fight. He will need to fight smart, Kovalev is a dangerous fighter with tremendous power.


Ward pts 12

Ron Valderrama

Phoenix, Arizona



As we know Ward won a controversial decision over Kovalev when they first met. Many of the boxing experts felt that Kovalev won a close fight, but all agreed that Ward made it very close by winning the majority of rounds during the second half of the fight. They seemed to conveniently ignore the fact that Kovalev should have won round ten and possibly hurt Ward to the body in the final round. Why? Because their narrative prior to the fight was that Ward would figure out Kovalev and outbox him down the stretch.


Many of those same writers are now picking Ward to win a decisive decision in their rematch. Why? Because it fits their narrative of the technician being able to make adjustments to frustrate and disarm the puncher.


What they are conveniently forgetting to mention is that Kovalev has met two fighters in a rematch. He erased Darnell Boone in three rounds, after settling for a split decision in their first bout. He also toyed with and tried to end Jean Pascal’s career in their rematch, after winning a completive fight in their first go around.


My point is that Kovalev is a much better boxer than many give him credit for. He has proven that he could dislike an opponent and yet remain patient while mounting his attack. He feels like Ward robbed him. He has taken the decision loss personally, and he knows that the only way to avoid being robbed again is to stop Ward before it goes to the cards. I believe he will be more patient during the early rounds, and once he catches Ward, the fight will end suddenly.


Kovalev e tko 7

Jason Pribila

Bethlehem, USA


Last November’s initial match between Ward and Kovalev was one that I won’t soon forget. It’s not often that we can simply watch in amazement at how sublime the two competitors truly are. They both fought with a certain degree of ring intelligence which saw not only Andre Ward being knocked down for the first time as a professional, but Sergey Kovalev being tested like never before. "Krusher" Kovalev entered new waters and as the fight wore on, it was if he had run out of options. The changes Ward was able to make were the key, which is why despite the early knockdown he still prevailed, albeit by a razor thin margin.


It’s anyone’s guess as to why the rematch has not received the attention it so richly deserves. This is once again a case of "1 vs 2", pound for pound. What’s not to like? All things considered, I think Ward is simply too good. We may see a knockdown later this time, yet it’s hard to foresee a stoppage. Another close, tightly matched battle. Kovalev will certainly land some notable shots but as the fight wears on, he will ultimately be outboxed once again. More of the same but still another great night.


Ward w pts 12

Marc Livitz

Austin, Texas.




I thought Kovalev won the first fight by close decision. One of the intriguing things that I noticed was after the first fight Ward mentioned several times he thought about retiring. In my mind once a fighter starts thinking amount retirement his heart isn’t in it as much mentally. Kovalev on the other hand seems angry and with a mission feeling he was robbed.

I think Kovalev will put more pressure on Ward landing harder shots and hopefully his new conditioning coach will have him more prepared for the middle rounds and not fade as in first fight. If this is successful I see Kovalev capturing a win to even up the series.


Kovalev w pts 12

Andy Rivera


New Mexico





I think Ward slightly underestimated Kovalev first time around and he will not make the same mistake twice. Kovalev is more than just a power puncher, although it’s a great equaliser, but I think his emotions in the buildup will play right into Ward’s hands. I think we may see a more aggressive approach from Ward at times, he knows a lot of the rounds were close (no matter how you scored them) and he will not want to leave this result in any doubt. Kovalev says he has worked out the kinks in his stamina but I remain sceptical. If he goes hunting for Ward earlier there is every chance he gasses again and allows Andre to outbox him or potentially even stop him.


Ward w pts 12

Steve Bateson

Kirkby Lonsdale,




It is rare to see the #1 and #2 P4P-fighters facing off, but we are about to witness this special treat, and it is going to be a good one. Sergey Kovalev is intent to use his jab and take control from the beginning, this time hoping to hold on to it for the whole duration of the contest. But, Andre Ward is a generational fighting talent. During their first encounter Ward developed a reading for his Russian foe and will nullify Kovalev´s strengths enough to get a points win, this time clearer than number one. It will be a great mix of careful chess moves and flying leather!


Ward w pts 12

Mikko Salo




Most people are familiar with the old saw, “Fool me once, shame on me…etc etc”. Make no mistake, Kovalev won the first fight. That was an unequivocally bad decision. But it won’t happen again. Ward won’t need the judges to win it for him this time. He’ll have Kovalev figured out, get inside his punches and mug him on the inside. Kovalev has no chance in this fight. Zero. A comparatively dull but grueling struggle; Ward by clear decision.


Ward w pts 12

J.R. Jowett






Ward = 6

Kovalev= 4


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