This won’t be the Vitali Klitschko moment when his gutsy performance in his loss to Lennox Lewis catapulted him into a boxing star.
Sergey Kovalev, at this stage in his career, is much further along than where the elder Klitschko was that night in June of 2003 at Staples Center when he appeared to be on the verge of capturing the Heavyweight championship until a nasty gash above his left eye forced the physician at ringside to halt the bout and in that instant derailed Klitchko’s opportunity of dethroning what looked like an out-of-shape Lewis.
What Kovalev did achieve in his controversial loss to Ward is that he has dispelled the notion that he is simply a “Krusher” and one dimensional. On the contrary, Kovalev from the outset displayed a sharp jab, not too dissimilar than Ward’s jab, which is quite famous.
The jab did wonders for both combatants. For Kovalev, the jab set up a monster right hand which floored Ward in the second round. For Ward, the jab is just what the doctor ordered to get him right back into the fight in the middle rounds and turn the tide in his direction.
Ward was all things slick, smooth, feisty and sometimes nasty when he held on to Kovalev and wrestled with the alligator and won. It was evident that Kovalev’s energy was diminishing as the rounds went on and Ward was the fresher man in the end.
While he was not able to hurt Kovalev with any one punch, Ward knew how to pick Kovalev apart as if the entire second half played out just how he and his trainer Virgil Hunter scripted it in the lab.
Ward felt the mighty Kovalev’s power and desperately looked to avoid another missile type shot at all costs. Kovalev boxed well in the opening rounds, which allowed him to use his power to push Ward all around. When Kovalev stopped boxing that’s where the fight changed once and for all.
A major takeaway from this bout that no one predicted was in a loss, Kovalev won over more fans than he would have had he won. Kovalev, in the heat of the moment probably misspoke when he said as a Russian boxer he can’t get a fair shake against an Olympic hero with three American judges.
It’s not like American judges never butchered scorecards when two American fighters duke it out or when a non-Mexican judge gets it wrong judging a bout between two Mexican fighters. The time to dispute a referee or a judge is before the fight, not after.
It is important to note that referee, Robert Byrd did not help the cause by allowing Ward to hold and hold and hold and hold. Boxers have been warned for less.
Ward was able to neutralize Kovalev’s power and then was able to outbox him. Scoring aside, that was the difference of the fight.
We know Kovalev’s side has the pen ready to sign the rematch. The question will be whether or not the money will be enough for Ward’s team to get up for it.
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