Andre Ward

Kovalev vs. Ward: 3 Keys to Victory for The Krusher

Kovalev Pascal 2 - Vincent Ethier 2
Photo by Vincent Ethier

3 Keys to Victory for Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev

Undefeated pound-for-pound boxing stars, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) and Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) go toe-to-toe Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Kovalev, the unified Light heavy weight champion, is putting his WBA, WBO, and IBF belts on the line against former Super Middleweight champ, Andre Ward.

This is a true super fight–Kovalev-Ward is a great matchup between two evenly matched warriors in their prime.

The Krusher is a beast. Not only does he want to win fights, but he wants to destroy his opponents–which he typically does. Kovalev’s biggest advantage is his punching power, stopping 26 of his 31 opponents.

On the other hand, Ward may just be the most sound technical boxer in the game right now. Many people might argue that Ward is a sloppy fighter– this is all a part of his defensive prowess which often frustrates his opponents forcing them to abort their game plan.

Saturday, November 19, we will find out who the top pound-for-pound fighter is as well as who will be the next face of boxing. Will the boxer or the puncher come out victorious?

Though Andre Ward is the slight betting favorite going into Saturday night’s bout, the Krusher should never be counted out.

Keep reading to find out the three keys to victory for the Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev to defeat Andre “S.O.G.” Ward.

1. Make Andre Ward Engage

Kovalev Pascal 2 - Vincent Ethier 3
Photo by Will Hart

Sergey Kovalev must be proactive rather than reactive in this fight to come out on top. He can’t show Andre Ward too much respect.

While being proactive, the Krusher should not simply focus on unleashing all of his artillery early on–Kovalev needs to focus on establishing his jab and dictating the pace of the fight.

If Kovalev can force Ward to exchange on his terms, Kovalev has a much better chance of catching Ward. Ward is very much a defensive fighter, so Kovalev needs to be aggressive but not get over zealous in order to land his clean, effective power shots.

It is extremely unlikely that Ward has felt power like Kovalev’s, but he must first get Ward to abandon his “Plan A” by controlling the fight and holding the center of the ring. If Kovalev can get Ward to exchange–it will leave Ward vulnerable to Kovalev’s undeniable power.

2. Keep the Distance / Tie Andre Ward Up

Sergey Kovalev vs. Nadjib Mohammedi - Will Hart4
Photo by Will Hart

Andre Ward is going to want to smother Sergey Kovalev, he closes the distance better than any fighter in the sport of boxing today. Kovalev needs to maintain the distance between them.

In order for Kovalev to land his power punches, he must be able to force Ward to fight from the outside.

Ward is going to close the distance at one point or another, and when this does happen, Kovalev needs to tie Ward up on the inside.

When forced to fight on the inside, Kovalev must counter Ward’s plan to wrestle by either maneuvering his way out or simply putting Ward in some kind of clinch or headlock to defer Ward from constantly trying to fight chest-to-chest.

3. Feint & Counter

Sergey Kovalev vs. Nadjib Mohammedi - Will Hart
Photo by Will Hart

The perfect example of how the combination of a feint and counter can lead Sergey Kovalev to victory is how he scored his opening round knockdown against Bernard Hopkins.

By dropping his left shoulder ever so slightly, Hopkins rushed forward–this allowed Kovalev to take a step back and tag Hopkins with his dangerous straight right hand.

Kovalev is a master of not only shifting his weight to give his opponents the idea he is going to pounce, but using his footwork to confuse them as well.

Once his opponents take the bait and lunge forward, it allows a balanced Kovalev to counter with the space he needs to create devastating power punches.

Kovalev needs to use his variety of feints to open Ward up and leave him vulnerable to take punishment.

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