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Boxing: Sergey Kovalev will have his hands full in Andre Ward rematch

By in Press Enterprise on June 16, 2017

By Robert Morales

Andre Ward does not hit that hard, but he is difficult to hit cleanly. Even if you don’t think he beat Sergey Kovalev in November, he was at least close because of that ability to evade the worst a punch has to offer.

Ward was decked in the second round, but by the second half of the fight he fought like he had figured out Kovalev, and took the decision by a point on all three cards. This newspaper had Kovalev winning by a point, but Ward earned respect here.

Since he’s such a cerebral fighter with that ability to adjust, might Ward have an easier time with Kovalev in their rematch Saturday after having spent 12 rounds surveying Kovalev’s tendencies with that outstanding sweet-science brain?

We’ll find out when they square off at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).

“(Andre’s) IQ speaks for itself,” his longtime trainer, Virgil Hunter, said. “The worst mistake you can make is to underestimate an opponent’s IQ. We take it all the way to the top, whoever we’re fighting.

“The mindset is you’re the best in the world. You’re the best that ever did it. You don’t want to stop the bar at eight when you can get to 10.”

And what was the punch that played such a big role for Ward in November? A very quick left jab. You hear it all the time – boxing’s most important punch. Ward, of Oakland, is smart enough to believe it.

“The jab is a lost art today,” Ward said. “Skilled inside fighting is a really lost art and a lot of guys don’t want to be there. They want you at range. They want you in a certain place and if they can’t have you there, then you see a totally different fighter.”

Which is what Kovalev was in the […]    

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