Ward vs. Kovalev 2, dubbed simply as “The Rematch,” is scheduled for 12 rounds for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight World Championships.
The championship event takes place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View.
Read on for Round By Round Boxing‘s staff predictions and let us know who you think will win.
Round By Round Boxing Staff Predictions - 2017
|Name||Win||Loss||Total Fights||Win Percentage|
Sergey Kovalev 2
Liam Brady, Staff Predictions
I’m sticking with my pick from the first fight, which was Andre Ward. I believe he answered more questions, in the first fight, than Sergey Kovalev did. He showed he can take Kovalev’s power, and he showed that he can compete with Kovalev physically, particularly in the clinch.
As stated in my prediction for the first fight, Ward is more suited for 12, and that was evidenced by Kovalev’s inability to increase his punch output, and pressure, in the final half of the fight.
I see Ward being frustrating, and elusive, with his movement and jab, while regularly attacking the body again–which can be argued as being the key to Kovalev’s capitulation, in terms of intensity, as the first fight progressed.
Granted, his shots aren’t damaging, but they are enough to win the rounds. I say Ward wins via a close unanimous decision, again.
Brandon Glass, Staff Writer
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Sergey Kovalev this frustrated before. He’s never been this visibly displeased, even during the build up for the Jean Pascal rematch.
Have Andre Ward and his team gotten inside his head?
Kovalev seems angry and anger usually hurts a fighter more than it helps. However, Kovalev will always have the ability to end the fight with one punch, if he can land it.
That said, I think Ward wins a unanimous decision in a more definitive fashion, unless he’s not “prepared.”
Mike Burnell, Staff Writer
The second clash for Light Heavyweight supremacy is finally upon us as Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) takes on Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (31-1-1, 26 KOs) this Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This happens to be the same city and state that Ward captured a very controversial decision and Kovalev’s belts seven months ago. Once again, all three judges are from the United States.
The referee is American Tony Weeks who also refereed many of Floyd Mayweather’s championship fights.
It will be an uphill battle for the extremely motivated Russian strongman despite seeming to have done enough in the first bout to retain his belts including dropping Ward in the second round.
Ward famously has a high ring IQ and fought 12 rough rounds with Kovalev, winning several of the late rounds, and he may have figured out how to control the range and pace.
If Ward is allowed to utilize the clinch it will be a long, frustrating night for Kovalev. If the referee keeps them broken it is advantage Kovalev who is the one who found his range early and employed an educated jab to break Ward’s rhythm.
Kovalev knows he needs either a knockout or he needs to win each round definitively to insure that he emerges with the win.
This is a tough one to pick and I can see it going a number of different ways. I will go with Kovalev by decision in an exciting, if occasionally ugly affair.
Vince Minnick, Staff Writer
Alan Garcia, Staff Writer
If this fight goes nothing like the first one, then the obvious winner will be Sergey Kovalev…again. Since this rematch has a good reason to happen, the finishing outcome will most likely be a little more different than the first. And it should be if Kovalev wants to avenge his loss convincingly.
Somewhere I heard something along the lines of “in their first fight, Andre Ward fought Sergey Kovalev. In the rematch, he’s going to fight The Krusher.” I really believe this is going to be the case. There’s no doubt in my mind that Kovalev will fight at a smart, aggressive pace, looking to corner Ward into his destruction or surrender.
While I can easily predict how Ward will fight this rematch, he’s going to have to be spectacular and extremely accurate with his punches if he’s going to have a chance at winning (not that he doesn’t have a chance if the same blind judges keeping score are there again).
Even then, the style I predict Ward will bring (hit and run all night, taunts and meritless flashiness) wont be enough to win points. He might win the crowd, which I hope won’t influence the judges, but that’ll be it, the crowd doesn’t know boxing.
Kovalev is coming with a vengeance to get back what rightfully belongs to him, his belts. Krusher’s will is going to be a really strong one to break come fight night. Let justice be served and let the best man win.
Amber Williams, Photographer
Ty Paul, Staff Writer
If, and it’s a big if, Sergey Kovalev can keep his emotions in check, I think he’ll beat Andre Ward in a decision. Such a key element in this rematch will hinge on Kovalev maintaining his poise early and not just going for the kill. Andre Ward and Virgil Hunter will be aware of that, I’m sure.
Also, how will Tony Weeks officiate this fight inside? Will he let Ward grapple and borderline wrestle inside as Ward was allowed to last November?
All in all, what a tremendous fight this should be. I’ve been counting down the days since the rematch was confirmed. I’m sticking to my guns with a Kovalev decision. He’ll do much more than he did in the later rounds this time around and might catch Ward again and score a knockdown.
The difference will be Kovalev’s power shots late. People are saying Kovalev might have to score a knockout to win, but I think he does enough punishment this time around to sway the judges in his favor. And hey, maybe we’ll get a third installment next spring (I can dream, right?).
Shelbi Keyes, Staff Writer
This is a very difficult fight to call. There is a lot on the line for both fighters–Sergey Kovalev is looking to prove he was in fact robbed the first go ’round and that he deserves to be in that No. 1 spot on pound-for-pound lists, while Andre Ward wants to prove the naysayers wrong who believe he indeed lost in the first bout last November.
I expect Ward to look better in this second fight than he did in the first. I believe he is going to learn from the mistakes he made and come out stronger in the early rounds. Ward needs to start out strong to avoid playing catch-up again.
Kovalev is going to have to use his jab again to keep Ward on his back foot. By using his jab, Kovalev can avoid getting in a wrestling match with Ward. Kovalev has to keep the pace and energy high throughout the entirety of the fight if he wants to come out on top.
Though I think this is going to be a challenging fight for both men, I believe that Ward will come out victorious and remain the WBA, WBO and IBF Light Heavyweight champion. Learning from the first fight, Ward is going to perfect the flaws in his game and exploit the weaknesses in Kovalev’s. With that being said, I am still giving Kovalev a puncher’s chance–I would not be surprised if he knocked Ward out either.
Regardless of what happens, this is going to be an exciting fight and once in for all, we will know who truly deserves to be at the top of the Light Heavyweight division. Boxing fans are in for a treat.
Alex Burgos, Editor-in-Chief
So many storylines going into this one, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. The key one being the anger and disrespect which John David Jackson has allegedly been feeling alongside Sergey Kovalev.
Is that story true? Not quite sure, but it will be interesting to watch the Kovalev corner and see who is giving instructions. We know how Kovalev and Jackson do when things are going well, but after taking their first loss, will Kovalev’s trust in Jackson waiver?
Andre Ward on the otherhand knows exactly what he wants to do and he’s coached by a father-figure in Virgil Hunter. Whether you like him or not, you can’t take away the fact that Ward is a winner. He moved up in weight, stood up to one of the most feared fighters in boxing and won.
I think Kovalev will come out aggressive and look to prove a point, but if he doesn’t get Ward out of there early on I think he’ll hit that same fatigue wall. Whether it’s pretty or not, Ward will stick, move and hold when necessary to win this fight.
Final Count: Ward (5) – Kovalev (3)
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