On Saturday, November 19, 2016, the two pound for pound stars, Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (30-0 15 KOs) and Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1 26 KOs), will meet in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on an HBO Pay-Per-View title bout.
The bout has been titled “Pound for Pound,” as the winner of the fight will undoubtedly be crowned the pound-for-pound best in boxing.
Ward has shown great courage in accepting this fight against Kovalev, only fighting two previous bouts at Light Heavyweight.
Although Ward has showed time and time again that he has the skills to beat great fighters such as Edwin Rodriguez, Chad Dawson and Carl Froch, people question if S.O.G. has the chin to withstand an attack such as Kovalev’s.
Keep reading to find the three keys to victory for Andre Ward to defeat Sergey Kovalev.
1. Change Your Angles
Sergey Kovalev is a vicious power puncher, but he’s not perfect. Kovalev’s biggest flaw is that he can tend to be too offensive and forget about his head movement.
Although this flaw has not come to haunt him yet due to his iron chin, he may find a new problem against someone as quick as Andre Ward.
In his fight against Isaac Chilemba, the few times Kovalev was hit with a clean punch, it was due to the fact that he did not bother moving out of the way and was too focused on moving forward and punching.
To add onto this flaw, Kovalev himself does not attack from multiple different angles, but rather begins each attack by coming at his opponent head on.
If Ward is able to change his angles and catch Kovalev with quick punches repeatedly throughout the night, the chances of an SOG victory will be much higher.
2. Don’t Chase
Although he is not one to move his head often, that is not to say Sergey Kovalev can’t counterpunch. He is notorious for his step back straight right hands.
Kovalev’s most powerful punch is his straight right hand and one of his best ways to put it to use is to wait until his opponent begins swinging. As they begin to swing, he will step back, luring them in, and they will walk straight into his most powerful punch.
This punch was instrumental in his second destruction of Jean Pascal and he will no doubt attempt to use it against Andre Ward.
If Ward wants to come out of the night without being floored he will have to stay away from Krusher’s step-back trap.
3. Keep Moving
Unlike Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, Sergey Kovalev is not proficient in cutting off the ring. Andre Ward could stand to gain a great amount in the bout by continually moving and not being a stationary target.
One of Jean Pascal’s greatest detractors in his rematch with Kovalev was that he did not move and remained in front of Krusher the whole time. This allowed Kovalev to lock onto him and put together the required power punches to end the night for Pascal.
In the same way, Isaac Chilemba did tend to move and counter Kovelev and, although he didn’t win, he forced Krusher to go the full 12 rounds with him.
If Ward wants to stay in the fight past Round 7, he’ll have to keep moving and keep switching up play against Kovalev.