Ward vs. Kovalev 2—Silent Fiesta

By Marc Livitz on June 8, 2017
Ward vs. Kovalev 2—Silent Fiesta
All three scorecards read 114-113 and some of the fans left the T-Mobile Arena in shock.

Ward and Kovalev respectively are listed (per The Ring magazine, the “Bible of Boxing”) as pound for pound the two best fighters on planet Earth…

Earlier this week, Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward took part in international media conference calls to discuss their upcoming rematch set to take place on June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Their November bout, of course was full of high drama, especially when the full twelve rounds reached a conclusion which baffled some while it pleased others. All three scorecards read 114-113 and some of the fans in attendance at the new T-Mobile Arena left in a state of shock as well as disappointment.

Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KO’s) showed much of the same brilliance which helped him win the “Super Six” super middleweight tournament in late 2011. He made the jump to light heavyweight two years ago and after three fights in the division, he went for the highest rung in the form of Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KO’s), who at the time of their November 2016 clash was also undefeated. “Pound for Pound” was the name of the promotion.

The majority of Kovalev’s thirty-one contests up to last November were bulldozing sessions against overmatched opponents, though through no fault of his own. His promoters set them up and he knocked them down. To the trained eye, his twelve-round meeting with Ward last November was a great fight which was fought between two great fighters. Sergey delivered Andre to the canvas for the first time in his career in the second round and as the contest wore on, Ward, the last person to win a gold medal in boxing for the United States adjusted and fought smart. Many have said the knockdown and the aggression shown by “Krusher” Kovalev should have been enough to win a decision. Was the unanimous decision win for Ward questionable? Maybe but a robbery? Absolutely not. In any case, the Russian former champion immediately exercised his rematch clause, which brings us to the contest next weekend.

Although there are some exceptions, aren’t the best fighters supposed to fight in Las Vegas, the “fight capital” of the world? Times have indeed changed and although Ward and Kovalev respectively are listed (per The Ring magazine, the “Bible of Boxing”) as pound for pound the two best fighters on planet Earth, it’s anyone’s card to play as to just why no justice is being paid towards it. There is some, to be sure, but not the type that’s being shown to a bout which was just given a site yet isn’t taking place for another 90 days.

Granted, these are no longer the days of the Cold War, where nukes were supposedly pointed at each other from Moscow to D.C. and such an angle cannot be used for this fight, regardless of the fact that it would be so tasteless to do so. Ward comes across as a humble guy and Kovalev seems amiable as well. Each side had made their questionable comments but they’re each participants in a sport where any trip to the ring could be your last time walking anywhere at all. It’s so easy for some to forget that simple fact, which might make it understandable as to why some fighters proclaim their greatness or even feelings of being a victim.

Roc Nation Sports is said to have taken the reins for the promotion of the rematch, yet as of today, tickets to the bout are available at all price points. This is the lineal light heavyweight championship of the world, is it not? Why no fanfare comparable to past events? Is it because Kovalev never uttered, “I cannot be defeated. I defeat all man. Soon, I defeat real champion. If he dies, he dies”? Could it be because Ward doesn’t flash his wealth or drive a supercharged Lamborghini? One of the drawbacks of purchasing tickets for a championship fight is the opposite of what many fans experience when looking for seats for a football or basketball game, for example. In those instances, the “nosebleed” sections are all that remain after pre-sales are done or if one simply waits too long. For a title fight in Vegas, the least expensive seats go first because they’re so well, expensive. You wouldn’t be able to tell that by the current interest shown for the June 17 contest.

The September 16 contest between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is being held at the T-Mobile Arena and it will likely sell out in a few hours. A plain, run of the mill room at the Monte Carlo Casino Hotel just steps from T-Mobile is now listed at $398 per night for Friday and Saturday, September 15 and 16. Contrast that with the weekend of June 17, which is $218 and $209, respectively. Granted, it can be argued that this is an apples to oranges type of argument, but certainly the apple must fall somewhere, right? It’s not because Guillermo Rigondeaux is part of the card, is it? Camera angles will only tell part of the story next Saturday.

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  1. Alt Knight 07:14am, 06/08/2017

    Next to the heavyweight division, the middleweight division has always been perceived as the second most popular division in boxing. The light heavyweight class was always the bastard division in boxing, at least until the cruiserweight class came along. Jake LaMotta starved himself to compete at 160lbs instead of fighting at his more natural weight of light heavy, and guys like Charles, Patterson, and Tunney decided to abandon the 175lb class and take on the bigger fellows, all three weighed not much more than the light heavyweight limit in their prime..  Eddie Mustafa Muhammad said that being the light heavyweight champion is like being the Vice President. This match is at least on par with Canelo-GGG, but the average sports fan probably has little if no interest. Too bad this couldn’t have been a doubleheader with Canelo & Golovkin.

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