It’s one of the best possible matchups that can happen in the sport of boxing. Andre Ward is the recognized pound-for-pound king and he’s set to put his undefeated record on the line against world No. 2 ranked P4Per Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev Saturday in Las Vegas and to say that the two camps aren’t overly fond of each other would be an understatement.
Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) has only lost to Ward in his stellar professional career but that result has been criticized and debated since it occurred last November. Kovalev had Ward dead to rights in the second round when they fought, but he couldn’t put the Oakland native away. Kovalev struggled with his stamina down the stretch and allowed “S.O.G.” into the fight. Ward stormed back in the latter stages of the duel and walked away with a controversial unanimous decision.
At Thursday’s final pre-fight press conference, both fighters kept things short, and while some irritations and accusations were tossed between the camps, tensions de-escalated just as things were heating up.
“You all want to hear from me (but) I’ve already said enough. I will prove it June 17,” Kovalev said with a scowl on his face. The Russian opted not to say anything else to the media and instead pointed his right finger at Ward and said, “You… get prepared.”
Ward shouted at him not to point his finger at him, but before all hell broke loose, Kovalev and his team bolted from the stage, never to return.
Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) was clearly miffed at his rival’s actions and declared another victory when they finally lock horns inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
“I’m the same guy I was last time, the same guy I was five fights ago, two years ago,” Ward said. “We don’t have a lot of highs and lows in this camp. We’ve been grinding from the beginning and whether we get our just dues or not, we have a blue-collar mentality. We don’t take no mess, but we fight to stay humble. It’s not different for this fight. I’m no higher than I was last time, I’m not lower, I didn’t train harder, there were no major overhauls or adjustments.
“At the end of the day, I’m not going to be distracted by all the talk (or) the ploys,” Ward added. “I’m locked into what I gotta do. I’m expecting his best, but you’re going to see a different Andre Ward. You’re going to see another guy in there Saturday night, and that’s my favorite time. That’s show-and-tell time and everybody who knows me knows I get it done.”
Whether fight fans who tune into HBO pay-per-view on Saturday will see the same Ward or a different version against Sergey Kovalev, it should be an excellent fight. The action will be broadcast live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.