The news boxing fans have been waiting for finally arrived. Andre Ward will give Sergey Kovalev his rematch on June 17. For the second year in a row, the biggest fight in boxing will take place at 175 pounds. These are the top two pound-for-pound fighters in boxing. Their battle last year was fought at a level rarely seen and fans will be debating the real winner for years to come.
So for the good of the sport, this was a fight that had to happen.
The build up to last year’s clash was marked by mutual respect and sportsmanship. But after last year’s controversy, the promotion for this one is already getting chippy. Both men believe they deserved to win and are insulted by any comments to the contrary.
So be prepared to see the insults fly over the next two months.
I had Kovalev winning by the narrowest of margins last year, 114-113. I scored the fight six rounds each with Kovalev gaining the verdict by virtue of knocking Ward down in Round 2. Kovalev won the first part of the fight. But Ward rallied heroically and won the majority of later rounds.
It was not a robbery. There were two different rounds I scored for Kovalev that could easily justify scoring for Ward. And that’s watching the fight on television, instead of sitting ringside like a judge.
I predicted Ward to win the last time. Even though I felt Kovalev earned a narrow decision, I am picking Ward for the second go-round. After climbing off from the canvas, I thought he was thoroughly in control down the stretch. He made the kind of adjustments I believe will allow him to win the next bout more convincingly.
Let’s hope the example of this fight provides a good example to Gennady Golovkin in regard to Daniel Jacobs. That was another fight that could easily have gone either way.