Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KO) will put the WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight titles he took from Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KO) on the line in a bitter rematch. The fight not only pits two of the most skilled fighters in the Ward vs Kovalev world against each other for the second time, it will either end an underrated feud or add a second chapter.
The buzz words in this rivalry are among the most emotional in the human vernacular. They could power a primetime episodic drama, let alone a boxing match between elite talents like Ward and Kovalev.
Losing a title on a narrow unanimous decision is a tough thing for a champion to accept. It's even tougher when the champ was undefeated and scored a knockdown early in the bout. That was the predicament Kovalev was in on November 16, 2016, when Burt A. Clements, Glenn Ward vs Kovalev Live Trowbridge, and John McKaie all scored the first fight 114-113 in favor of Ward.
Kovalev dropped Ward in the second round and for a spell, it looked as if the then undefeated Russian was on his way to a dominant victory.
However, the tough and resilient Ward would fight back, reclaim the momentum and use his superior boxing skills to dominate the second half of the fight. It wound up being enough to earn the tight decision, three belts at 175 pounds and to maintain Ward's own spotless pro record.
McKaie and Trowbridge gave Ward every round from 7-12 and Clements awarded all but one of the final six rounds to the former Olympian.
Kovalev immediately cried foul. He blamed "politics" for losing the decision and claimed he thought he deserved the win. Driven by bitterness from his first defeat, the loss of three title belts and what seems like a genuine dislike for Ward, Kovalev is looking for revenge.
Kovalev is an amazing fighter. He's gifted with above-average hand speed and punishing power in both fists. That said, he's a hard guy to like. Kovalev's history of racist remarks and social media posts are well documented. His past targets have been Bernard Hopkins and Adonis Stevenson. Most recently, Ward was in Kovalev's bigoted crosshairs.