Ward vs Kovalev II: USA vs Russia

Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev have agreed on a rematch on June, 17 in Vegas.  The first time Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev fought we witnessed two of the top ten pound for pound boxers on the planet exchange leather.  It was the greatest bout to feature an American and a Russian since Rocky and Drago, and this fight did nothing to disappoint.  The fight drug Andre Ward into deeper waters than he has ever been, and he showed that the hardest hitter in the division couldn’t phase him.  The fight also reinforced the fact that not only does Kovalev have legendary power, but the man knows how to box.

From the start Kovalev established his powerful jab, and Ward quickly took notice.  Throughout the first parts of the fight Kovalev was finding his Jab and straight right hand consistently as Ward constantly would use head movement to find a way inside and clinch up.  In the second round Ward successfully slipped a jab from Kovalev and came back to fire a left hook counter, but Kovalev wisely stepped back and to the right in order to land a crushing straight right that dropped Ward to canvas. The American would then pick himself up by his bootstraps, put his head down, and get back to work.

Although the next few rounds Kovalev stayed in control  Ward was still searching for ways to avoid the power of Kovalev while finding offense of his own.  As the fight progressed it seemed that the body shots inside the clinch took some life out of Kovalev, and Ward began to find that offense.  Ward learned from getting knocking down and avoided getting too distracted by Kovalev’s signature jab, and throughout the rest of the fight it was too close to call.  The final punch stats had Ward landing 116 of 337 (34.4%) and Kovalev at 126 of 474 (26.6%).

The judges would go on to crown Ward the victor in what would be very controversial decision in many viewers eyes, but that is besides the point.  The important thing is that the viewers got to see the pinnacle of boxing.  They witnessed a matchup between unquestionably great fighters in their athletic primes where they threw everything onto the table.  One of these men was going to lose their aura of invincibility, and that is the most valuable thing a boxer can possess.  Many top boxers these days don’t seem to be willing to risk that, but these men did.  They were also rewarded with a measly 160,000 pay-per-view buys.

That is a number that would have been dwarfed 20 years ago by a fight that featured this much talent.  Just look at Mike Tyson vs Evander Holyfield I back in ’96, they took in 1.6 million buys.  Neither of these men are as Iconic or controversial as Mike Tyson, but there is a media goldmine staring these promoters right in the face.  With our current political climate, right now would be the perfect time to push the us versus them narrative.  Our country loves to remember the past (e.g. Star Wars, Ghostbusters, etc.) and what better narrative to dig up than our greatest victory, the Cold War.

Boxing needs interest right now, and this rematch has everything you need.  It has the talent, a great first fight, and a potential narrative.  So if these promoters like money, they better step up their game.

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