Andre Ward Speaks on Disrupting Kovalev’s Timing, Mental Quickness

By Caryn A. Tate on June 22, 2017
Andre Ward Speaks on Disrupting Kovalev’s Timing, Mental Quickness
“He’s a really, really good fighter.” (Roc Nation Sports/Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos)

Personally, I’ve always felt that Kovalev’s superb and almost super-human timing is his biggest strength as a boxer…

On Saturday, June 17, Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) defeated former light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) via 8th round TKO.

Many were shocked by the fact that Ward hurt and wore down Kovalev, because many pundits chiefly focus on the Russian’s power when discussing his best attributes. Personally, I’ve always felt that Kovalev’s superb and almost super-human timing is his biggest strength as a boxer, which allows him to catch even very good or great fighters with that power.

After the bout, at the post-fight press conference, I had the chance to ask pound-for-pound king Ward about the timing aspect of the fight, his use of feints from round one, and what exactly he did to throw off Kovalev’s timing and get ahead of him mentally (both of which he struggled with in the first fight).

“S.O.G.” talked about using his motor and not just standing in one place, posing. “I think the key for the timing thing was just to keep—we call it my motor. My feet. Keep my body moving. That’s what I didn’t do in the first fight. I did a lot of posing, and kind of standing still.”

A good example of what Andre is speaking about can be seen in round 2 of his first battle with Kovalev. Ward did the same thing twice when he threw the jab and betrayed his intent to throw the right. The second time, when Ward actually let his right hand go, Kovalev timed him and got there first with his own right, which caught Ward upstairs and dropped him.

Ward talked about how he and his trainer Virgil Hunter fixed that problem in preparation for the rematch. In the latest fight, the difference is plain to see. Ward’s use of feints was on display from the first round, and he was a lot more mobile than in their first bout. But he also used angles and continuously changed the distance to mess with Kovalev’s ability to catch him.

“He’s a really, really good fighter, and he’s a timing fighter,” Andre said. “He’s not the quickest, he’s got good timing though. A lot of Russian fighters, they’re good with their timing. So keeping my motor moving, giving him different looks—whether I was feinting him, whether I was acting like I was gonna do something, whether I just attacked him out of the blue—I gotta keep giving him different looks.”

To get an even better idea of how hard Ward is to time in the second fight with Kovalev, try counting 1-2-3-4 as he feints, between punches, and see when he chooses to throw shots.

“That was the most disappointing thing that I saw when I watched the first fight. I’m like, ‘Dude, you just gave him some rounds.’ Just by not doing nothing, you know, just posing. And that was something we worked on all camp. I had great sparring. First fight I think I sparred 107 rounds total, this training camp was about 135 rounds. I had 4 different guys. It was just a great camp. So what I did in camp translated tonight.

“There were times [tonight] where I did get stationary, and I’d hear Virg saying, ‘Keep your legs moving!’ Again, that’s what he’s there for, if I fall asleep for a second, to get me back on my game. With a fighter like [Kovalev], with timing, it’s the small movements that keep him off balance.”

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Andre Ward on Kovalev Timing.mp4

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  1. The Fight Film Collector 08:41am, 06/23/2017

    Whether it’s boxing or the stock market, people who achieve success like to think it’s because they’re geniuses.  Andre came in to the rematch with a new strategy, but he didn’t force Kovalev to punch himself out.  Sergey did that to himself, abandoning his normal pace of fighting, and believing that he could score an early knockout.  Andre is a brilliant fighter, but he turned the fight around only when his opponent became vulnerable.  Ward was losing up to that point, whether one thinks he looked good or not, he was still behind.  Ward turned out to be the better fighter on this night, but the low blows soiled his victory as far as I’m concerned.

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 04:39am, 06/23/2017

    @nonprophet-We knew you were there… that dark corner….we saw your glowing, red beady eyes. We ignored you like those that ignore the tell tale signs of cancer….but now you are out in the open and we learn that you are metastatic. A rabid, hate filled, grievance ridden maggotshit progressive.

  3. Koolz 10:06am, 06/22/2017

    looked like Kovelv got nailed in the balls, Weeks let it go then a body shot and Kovelev let his head drop for Ward to nail him.  After that Nut shot Kovalev body was already bending forward dropping his head out to be smacked.

    Before that Ward was starting to get better timing on Kovalev yes.

    I watched the fight again it was stopped bit to early I think. 

    There were two nuts shots that made Kovalev bend down then there were the body shots that kept him that position. 

    Either way Ward would have won, Kovalev was only winning by two rounds that is not enough to get the judges to swing it your way.

  4. nonprophet 06:49am, 06/22/2017

    The comment below was made by nonprophet.  Somehow, it got screwed up the first time I signed my name.

    So….once again….

    Caryn Tate,

    You are an OUTSTANDING writer….

  5. o 06:46am, 06/22/2017

    Caryn Tate,

    You are an OUTSTANDING writer.  Full stop.

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 04:55am, 06/22/2017

    Another great contribution to!