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Sergey Kovalev: “My Goal Is To Get All Four Titles”


By: Sean Crose

“This is my biggest opportunity,” light heavyweight Eleider Alvarez said of his August 4th title fight against WBO champ Sergey Kovalev in Atlantic City. “I waited three and a half years.” Alvarez was in line to face WBC champ Adonis Stevenson for ages, but, as has sometimes been the case for potential Stevenson opponents over the years, the bout never materialized. Now the undefeated Colombian fighter finally has his chance. “I’m going to be ready for this,” Alvarez claimed on a Tuesday conference call. For his part, Kovalev seems prepared to slip on the gloves and prove whose best, as well.


Photo Credit: Main Events Twitter Account

“He’s undefeated,” Kovelev said of his foe in his trademark broken English (Alvarez himself spoke through a translator), “he’s number one WBC rank.” Still, Kovalev made it clear that he’s not the type to be easily frightened. “I’m not scared,” he said on the call. “I’m ready to face any champion.” Indeed, Kovalev wishes to finally accomplish his longstanding dream of unifying all the major light heavyweight belts. “My goal is to get all four titles,” he said, “to be undisputed champion.”

That may be a very hard goal to accomplish in an era of competing promotional outfits and networks. What’s more, Stevenson, fairly or not, has a reputation in many quarters for having previously been completely unwilling to face Kovelev in a unification match. Asked whether he was tired of hearing about the likes of Stevenson and Andre Ward, who bested him in the ring twice, Kovalev came across as unperturbed. “It’s part of my career,” he stated. “I’m happy I’m still fighting, but Andre Ward’s already retired.”

I asked Kovalev’s promoter, Kathy Duva, and Alvarez’ promoter, Yvon Michel, how difficult it was to make Kovalev-Alvarez after Alvarez had been standing at the door to a championship fight for so long. “From my perspective,” said Duva, “it was extremely easy.” According to Duva, she simply gave, Michel a call, an assertion Michel quickly backed up. “We had a meeting,” he said, referring to events that occurred immediately after the Duva call. “I came back from that meeting with a mandate.” And hence, a title bout was made. “It’s not that difficult,” Duva said, “when you have two fighters who want to make the fight.”

Rising star Dmitry Bivol will also be on the August 4th card. He’ll be facing veteran fighter Isacc Chilemba, who stunned Sullivan Barerra in March. The winner will be in he possession of the WBA light heavyweight title. That means, should they both win this weekend, a Kovalev-Bivol bout may be on the horizon. “Most likely the fight will happen,” Bivol said, “as Sergey and I are both HBO boxers.”

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The Krusher Returns: True or False?


By: Kirk Jackson

Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev 31-2-1 (27 KO’s) certainly looked confident after securing victory for the first time since July of 2016, recapturing the WBO light heavyweight championship in the process.

Scoring a 2nd round knock-out over Vyacheslav “Lion heart” Shabranskyy 19-2 (16 KO’s), Kovalev aims to conquer the light heavyweight terrain heading into 2018.


Photo Credit: David Spagnola/Main Events

“I did it and worked very hard to get to champion status. My brain, mentally, my conditioning, my body – I’m back. It’s my goal to be the best in this division. I am here, I love boxing,” said Kovalev in a post-fight interview.

Kovalev is scheduled to return back to the ring in March of 2018, against an opponent yet to be determined and with his biggest obstacle (Andre Ward retirement) no longer in the picture, is the path clear for the Russian “Krusher” to resume reign over the division?

HBO boxing analysts Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman suggest that is the case.

They actually suggested upon conclusion of the fight and during the post-fight interview with Kovalev, that we should forget about the two fights against Ward that previously took place – resulting in defeats for Kovalev.

It’s as though they want to paint a narrative where the viewer is supposed to forget about Kovalev losing and we are to wash that foul taste out of our mouths.

Well for one, reality does not work that way, what’s done is done and history cannot be erased.

However, Kovalev can use these previous experiences and set-backs and learn from those situations.

Redemption can be a wonderful story and adversity plays its part as the antagonist.

Over the course of the past year, Kovalev experienced his share of adversity losing to Ward twice, along with the dysfunction within his training camp including discord between head trainer John David Jackson.

The boxing ring serves as an absolute truth, because it reveals everything about whoever steps in the ring.

It reveals who trained, who properly prepared and poses the question to each combatant who wants it more? During the duration of a fight, the ring also exposes strengths and weaknesses for those who enter.

Defeat brings upon harsh reality as well.

When a fighter experiences defeat, many cases there’s an evaluation of the process; training regimen, coaching, outside distractions/activities, all the aspects of preparation leading up to the fight.

Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva, hardcore fans of the “Krusher,” along with Kovalev himself emphasized the notion he was robbed of a decision in the first encounter against Ward and was unfairly stopped against Ward in the rematch – due to poor officiating.

The perspective with each case is subjective, but the results in which is etched in history is a defeat on two occasions for Kovalev.

Something to consider as well, if Kovalev felt so strongly in his mind about the result of each fight with Ward, why undergo vast changes in training camp in preparation for the second fight against Ward and then again for his most recent fight against Shabranskyy?

Obviously he needed to switch things up, improve on his skill-set and changes had to occur. There was a glaring disconnect between trainer and fighter. With Jackson out, Kovalev is now being prepared by Abror Tursunpulatov.

Now that Kovalev is back in the winner’s circle after destroying Shabranskyy and equipped with a world title, questions still remain.

The fight against Shabranskyy was a small sample size and not a true telling tale to see if Kovalev gained improvements to his overall style.

We don’t know how good Shabranskyy is. Regarding high level opposition faced, Shabranskyy fought the likes of light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera and was soundly defeated.

For Kovalev, he looked good in there; he was loose, relaxed and displayed a few new wrinkles to his repertoire.

Known for his reliance on his left jab and straight right hand, Kovalev managed to sneak a few left hooks in there and also jabbed effectively to the body.

Kovalev also displayed weapons presented in previous bouts; laser sharp jabs and a blazing counter-right hand which sparked the end for Shabranskyy.

Perhaps the most important element to recovery for Kovalev was the mental aspect and regaining any lost confidence.

Losing to Ward shouldn’t fully damper what Kovalev has accomplished in his career; he was a top pound-for-pound fighter prior to the pair of defeats and can regain that status depending on how he performs moving forward.

Some of the questions regarding Kovalev is can he return to an elite level and for how long? Former foe Bernard Hopkins, believes Kovalev can fight effectively at a high level for a number of years.

“Although he (Kovalev) is certainly not the youngest guy, he is not an old man, he is still dangerous for a lot of opponents.”

“Sergey can box at the highest level for at least four more years and be at the top. Perhaps, it’s possible that he goes to cruiserweight? Who knows?”

Assuming Kovalev is back on an elite level, there’s the question of the fights against Ward and whether they should be viewed as an anomaly, or a true illustration and exposure of Kovalev’s weaknesses.

Can any other fighters in the division capitalize on the perceived weaknesses of Kovalev? The light heavyweight division is certainly loaded with talent.

Adonis Stevenson 29–1 (24 KO’s) is the WBC, Ring Magazine and Lineal champion, Dmitry Bivol 12-0 (10 KO’s) is the WBA champion and Artur Beterbiev 12-0 (12 KO’s) is the WBO champion.

The aforementioned Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KO’s), who has his pick between facing Kovalev or Bivol next for a title, former super middleweight champion Badou Jack 22-1-2 (13 KO’s), Eleider Alvarez 23-0 (11 KO’s), Marcus Browne 20-0 (15 KO’s) and Oleksandr Gvozdyk 14-0 (12 KO’s) occupy the division as well.

The end of 2017 and entering 2018, there is new landscape at light heavyweight and a long list of challenges awaiting Kovalev. Challenges Kovalev aims to embrace.

“I’m a real fighter,” Kovalev said. “I’m not running from the real fighters. In the future, it will be very interesting fights because right now we are just belt-holders. We’ll find out from all of the champions who is the best.”

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HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy


By: Ste Rowen

This coming Saturday the Madison Square Garden Theater, New York sees the return of Sergey ‘The Krusher’ Kovalev as he looks to regain the crown in the light heavyweight division after his two controversial defeats to Andre Ward. In his way stands Ukrainian fringe contender Vyacheslav ‘Lion Heart’ Shabranskyy, a man looking to establish himself as a frontrunner for a world title shot.


Photo Credit: David Spagnolo/Main Events

Twelve months ago, Sergey Kovalev (30-2-1) was reeling from his first professional career defeat. An unjust defeat to many. The highly anticipated bout between Sergey ‘The Krusher’ Kovalev and Andre ‘S.O.G.’ Ward neither disappointed, nor set alight into a real classic however, it did decide who was the consensus number one P4P fighter in the word. Unfortunately for the Russian, it was Andre who was given that crown, and the belts he held before their 19th November bout last year.

Almost seven months later he looked a completely different man to the feared light heavyweight juggernaut who stepped into the ring for the first bout. Rumours of needle between himself and trainer, John David Jackson did nothing to help convince those who backed Ward to a get a second win without any controversy this time.

Controversy is what unfolded though. Unlike the previous fight the Russian struggled to beat Ward to the punch and there was no knockdown in his favour to make the scorecards close even before the stoppage. Ward did what many thought was impossible, not the TKO victory, but the fact that Kovalev looked broken, and searching for a way out.

The old ‘Krusher’ wouldn’t have complained about Ward’s low blows, ‘The Krusher’ of previous fights would’ve fired back his own illegal shots ala Ricky Hatton vs Kostya Tszyu, but instead, after six unanswered punches to head, body, and almost definitely lower, the referee stepped in and called off the bout as Kovalev leant on the ropes almost folded in half.

In a recent interview with ‘Fight Hub TV’ Sergey said he’s cleaned up now, dropping the one or two beers he drank a day, and sticking to only water. He looks in supreme condition now, another criticism that followed Sergey going into the rematch with Ward, S.O.G. calling him soft bellied due to the training camp vodka Kovalev was supposedly enjoying. He also has a new trainer in tow but there remain questions over whether Abror Tursunpulatov is the man to rein Sergey back in if he’s lacking discipline in the fight itself or in camp.

Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1-0) himself twelve months ago was a relatively feared light heavyweight picking up notable victories over Paul Parker & Derrick Findley via stoppages, and a majority decision over, then 16-1-0 Yunieski Gonzalez. Momentum was slowed abruptly though when he was handed his first defeat comprehensively in December last year by Cuban, Sullivan Barrera, who fights on the undercard of Saturday’s main event vs Felix Valera.

In previous fights Vyacheslav has looked quick on his feet, constantly on his toes, looking for the opportunities to fire off quick left and right hooks. In his longest bout when he went ten rounds with Gonzalez, Shabranskyy took a more methodical approach, working behind the jab, counter-shots and short spurts of hooks; but last December there seemed a gulf in class between himself and Barrera.

Despite all the signs seemingly being that this would a well-matched fight, perhaps leaning toward the Ukrainian, after the first bell rang, Shabranskyy was ruthlessly dominated. Despite dropping the Cuban in round two, he himself was dropped in the 1st, 5th and 7th when the referee called the fight. He’s steadily built himself back into winning form with a routine win over journeyman Larry Pryor and a fight ruled a TKO victory for the Ukrainian, in an ugly encounter with Todd Unthank May; the fight stopped in the seventh due to cuts.

Shabranskyy is not as polished as Kovalev despite his amateur background. If allowed to attack he will hit the throttle and test what resolve Kovalev has left after the two Ward fights. The Ukrainian however, leaves his chin wide open for the counter, and even if Saturday night’s Kovalev isn’t the Russian of 2015, if the power is still there, Kovalev will only need a few opportunities to put it on his opponent and turn the fight.

At his best, ‘The Krusher’s’ jab was king, and if he’s able to throw it as he did in fights before the second defeat to Ward, it will be a sure sign the Russian is back somewhere close to his best. Another positive for Kovalev is that it was evident in Shabranskyy’s sole defeat, he couldn’t work out how to get around the jab, which setup his eventual downfall in the fight.

Like most fighters returning from a possibly career defining loss, the big question is, ‘Will Kovalev be motivated to keep on fighting?’ He achieved light heavyweight supremacy, even if the WBC title held by Adonis Stevenson alluded Sergey. The WBO strap will be on the line for the weekend’s bout, a belt Sergey won back in 2013, when he beat up recently retired Nathan Cleverly for four rounds.

The current light heavyweight division, even without retired Andre Ward, is one of the most stacked. To name just the current title holders, newly crowned IBF and WBA champions respectively, Artur Beterbiev & Dmitry Bivol, along with WBC Champion Adonis Stevenson. Then add in contenders, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Badou Jack, Sullivan Barrera, Eleider Alvarez and Marcus Browne.

There will be no easy fights for any of the light heavyweights who dare to unify.

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Vaughn Alexander Ready to Make his Mark at Mohegan Sun this Thursday


By: Eric Lunger

This coming Thursday night, October 5, the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT, will host a night of live boxing in its popular Rising Stars Boxing Series. Headlining the Main Events show is a ten-round middleweight clash between hard-hitting Vaughn “the Animal” Alexander (10-0, 7 KO’s) and seasoned professional Elvin Ayala (29-9-1, 13 KOs).


Photo Credit: David Spagnolo/Main Events

Vaughn took a moment earlier today to speak to Boxinsider.com in an exclusive interview. Ebullient but thoughtful, the St. Louis native was confident as he looked forward to Thursday.

Boxinginsider: Your last five fights have all been at middleweight – is that a natural weight for you? Is making weight an issue for you?

I don’t have trouble making weight. Yeah, I mean I can move pretty easily between 160 and 168. I am ready to fight in either division, I am a professional and I am ready.

BI: How would you characterize your style? Pressure fighter? Counter puncher? front foot, back foot?

Well, I try to use all those styles, depending who I am fighting. I like to have all those tools in my arsenal, and use them depending on who my opponent is.

BI: Vaughn – you’re fighting this coming Thursday at the Mohegan Sun Casino (Rising Stars Boxing Series) against Elvin Ayala – who is from Connecticut. But you have fought twice at Mohegan Sun. Who is the home fighter? Does it matter to you or are you just focusing on being your best?

You know, where I am now, that doesn’t matter to me: I am there to fight and I am focused on what I am doing. At this point in my career, that stuff just doesn’t matter.

BI: You went the full ten rounds in your fight against Andres Rey in April of 2017 – did you learn anything about yourself in that experience? About your conditioning?

I really wanted to go the distance in that fight, and find out what kind of shape I was in. I do a lot of work on my conditioning, and it was important to find out where I was. I felt really good at that distance, over those ten rounds.

BI: Your last fight was a TKO win over Fabiano Pena on the Ward vs. Kovalev undercard in Vegas. What was that like? Fighting on a big stage?

I’m used to that kind of atmosphere; I’ve fought at Mandalay Bay several times. I knew what I needed to do. I knew I could get him [Pena] out of there. I was working to the body, putting in rounds that would pay off later.

BI: Vaughn, how much do you game-plan for a given opponent? Or do you just focus on where you are and what you want to achieve?

I really focus on my game, what I’m doing about 90%, and only 10% on what my opponent might do. I work on what I can control. We do look at film, but I really focus on working on my game.

BI: Can you comment on your relationship with your brother, Devon? Will be he in your corner on Thursday?

We talk almost every day, but he is in camp in Florida and I am working on my fight in my camp here. We are close, but we are focused on what we are doing right know, you know?

BI: What drives you? What motivates you to go to the gym and live the tough life of a professional boxer?

First, I have to say God, because he has brought me to where I am today after being in some real difficulty. And also, you have to motivate yourself in this game, in this hurt business, you know what I mean? If you need someone telling you what to do, when to work out, and so on – man, you are in the wrong business.

BI: Thanks for speaking with me, Vaughn.

The action unfolds this Thursday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. As Kathy Duva, Main Events CEO said in a recent press release, “the winner will be right in the mix at middleweight, so this crossroads bout is meaningful to the division, as well as a local attraction.” Tickets start at $40.00 and are on sale now at ticketmaster.com and at the Mohegan Sun box office.

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Gritty Brooklyn Fighter Frank Galarza seeks to reset Career by Signing with Main Events


Gritty Brooklyn Fighter Frank Galarza seeks to reset Career by Signing with Main Events

by: Eric Lunger

Frank “Notorious” Galarza signed with Main Events promotions, it was announced yesterday. The Brooklyn native, 31, was on track as a super welterweight contender, posting an undefeated record (17-0-2, 11 KOs) until he ran into Jarrett “Swift” Hurd in November of 2015. Galarza was stopped in the sixth round by a brutal Hurd uppercut, a punch that has become something of a trademark for the Accokeek, Maryland fighter.

Galarza Signing
[Photo courtesy of Frank Galarza and Main Events]

In September of last year, Galarza’s career went sideways again as he dropped a ten round majority decision to crafty veteran Ishe Smith. Trying to start fast, Galarza walked into a trap in the second round and was unable to close the deficit, at least on two judges’ cards.

Now the “Brooklyn Rocky,” as Galarza is known, is seeking to reset his career by signing with Kathy Duva’s Main Events. “I am just one of those fighters who will never turn down anyone,” Galarza said via press release.“I will fight anyone. I wanted to work with Main Events because I have seen what they have done in the past. I like the way they move their fighters.”

The thirty-one year old boxer knows it is time to make the leap from contender to champion. Away from the ring, Galarza is a new father, as well as a man who believes in giving back to his community. In 2014 he founded Youth Fighting Forward, helping young people reach their goals through boxing, education, and job training. A serious person as well as serious contender, Galarza hopes to make his mark in an already loaded division, against the likes of Erislandy Lara, the Charlo Brothers, Jarrett Hurd, and Demetrius Andrade.

For more information on Youth Fighting Forward, visit frankgalarza.com/youthfightingforward.

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Kovalev Gets Shafted by Ward and the Referee Again!


​Kovalev Gets Shafted by Ward and the Referee Again!
By: Ken Hissner

Foul’s ended two fights while the Nevada commission allowed this to happen on the PPV event. The event was held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. Another black eye for boxing!

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WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight champion Andre “S.O.G.” Ward, was given the stoppage over Russian Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, 30-2-1 (16), of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, at 2:29 of the 8th round.

In the opening Kovalev outlanded Ward who did more clinching than fighting. In the second round Kovalev used an effective jab. Ward hit Kovalev low and referee Tony Weeks gave him a minute rest. In the third round Kovalev landed the best punch of the fight up until that point a right to the head of Ward. In the fourth round Ward got in a jab and right hand though Kovalev continued to press the action. Looked like the first round Ward won.

In the fifth round Kovalev bloodied Ward’s nose. In the sixth round Ward landed a good left hook to the chin of Kovalev. Kovalev continues to outpunch Ward. In the seventh round Ward outlanded Kovalev in a close round. In the eighth round Ward rocked Kovalev with a right to the head hurting him. Kovalev did his best to hold on but was hit low for the third time without losing a point. The fourth low blow doubled Kovalev over while the referee Ton Weeks suddenly stopped the fight not DQ’ing Ward but giving him the win.

Judges Glen Feldman and Dave Moretti had Ward ahead 67-66 while Steve Weisfeld had Kovalev ahead 68-65 as did this writer.

WBA Super World Super bantamweight champion Cuban southpaw Guillermo Rigondeaux, 18-0 (12), of Miami, FL, hit Flores “after the bell” but the referee was overruled by the Executive Director Bob Bennett ruling a knockout over IBO Super bantamweight champion Moises “Chucky” Flores, 25-1 (17), of Guadalajara, MEX, at the end of the 1st round.

For some reason referee Robert Byrd was allowed to talk and influence Bennett while referee Vic Drakulich wanted it called a NC. Bennett said it was a punch before the bell sounded though the replay showed it was after the round. Bennett said he got word from the truck confirming it was before while HBO commentator Jim Lampley of HBO said he called someone in the truck and got the opposite answer. Roy Jones, Jr. agreed it was a knockout despite watching the replay show it was a punch “after the bell”.

In the first round Flores did all the punching until the 10 second warning when Rigondeaux grabbed Flores behind the head and hit him with a pair of uppercuts to the midsection when the bell sounded Rigondeaux hit Flores with a left hand to the head and to the canvas.

USBA Middleweight champion Luis Arias, 18-0 (9), of Milwaukee, WI, stopped Arif Magomedov, 18-2 (11) at 1:16 of the 5th round.

In a close 4 rounds Arias was allowed to clinch and hit Magomedov in the kidney and behind the head without warning from referee Robert Byrd. In the 5th round during a clinch referee Byrd out of position behind Magomedov grabbed him by the arms while Arias “sucker punched” him to the head. Referee Byrd only warned Arias without taking a point. Within 30 seconds a right hand from Arias dropped Magomedov. After beating the count Arias jumped on him causing referee Byrd to halt the fight.

WBA World light heavyweight champion, Dmitry Bivol, 11-0 (9), of St. Petersburg, RUS, stopped southpaw Cedric Agnew, 29-3 (15), of Chicago, IL, at 1:27 of round 4.

In the opening round Bivol dropped Agnew with a combination to the head. In the following 2 rounds Bivol beat up on Agnew who kept his hands up and threw very little in return. In the fourth round Agnew suffered a bloody nose and swelling under both eyes. Bivol landed a left hook driving Agnew back a few steps forcing referee Russell Mora to wisely call a halt.

It was a sad night for boxing. NV insists on using their own referee who are average at best. The PPV buyers got shortchanged again!

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Ward Stops Kovalev With Violent Body Attack


Ward Stops Kovalev With Violent Body Attack
By: Sean Crose

No one could have predicted this. No one.

For Andre Ward stopped the frightening Sergey Kovalev…with body blows in the eighth round. Truly, it was a stunning and brutal end for the light heavyweight title fight. For it was Kovalev who was long known as the terrifying ring monster. Ward, on the other hand, was seen more as the tactician. Yet ultimately the bout came down to tactical destruction. Seeing Kovalev crumpled helpless by the ropes was simply stunning for fight fans to see.

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Photo Credit: HBO

It was some kind of fight.

And, sure enough, the fight seemed VERY close throughout. Kovalev’s shot were hard and he was as aggressive as they came as he stalked Ward about the ring. The night, however, ultimately belonged to Ward “I’ve never been the most talented,” Ward claimed after the bout, as he thanked Jesus. “I’ve never been the biggest.” He didn’t need to be, either. Even though it looked to this writer that he was losing almost as many rounds as he was winning, Ward’s body attack took a brutal toll on his Russian nemesis.

Kovalev claimed that Ward hit him low on several occasions. On the last occasion, however it seemed as if Kovalev was feinting injury from a submarine shot that wasn’t actually a submarine shot. Indeed, the shot seemed to land on the beltline at worst. Perhaps Ward sensed it, too, for Kovalev was clearly hurt shortly thereafter. And then the Oakland native went for the kill, ending things by tearing into the body rather than the head. It proved to be a perfect strategy, as referee Tony Weeks stepped in and stopped the bout.

It was an interesting night of boxing in other ways, as well. For Guillermo Rigondeaux knocked out Moises Flores with a shot that clearly landed after the bell closed the second round of their super bantamweight fight. Whether the shot was launched before or after the bell rang was a matter of some debate – but it was the Miami resident’s bout…at least for the time being.

In earlier fights, Dmitry Bivol stopped Cedric Agnew in a light heavyweight bout that made it clear that Agnew no longer has the skill which once troubled Sergey Kovalev a few years ago. Earlier still, Luis Arias dominated Arif Magomedov in the fifth round of a middeweight affair.

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The Best Match In Boxing Is Going Down This Saturday…Does Anyone Care?


The Best Match In Boxing Is Going Down This Saturday…Does Anyone Care?
By: Sean Crose

While the sports world focuses on more frivolous matters this week, the best matchup in all of combat sports is going down this Saturday. No, it doesn’t involve a loudmouthed Irishman or a flashy hedonist with a perfect record. Believe it or not, it doesn’t even involve a red headed Mexican and a Kazakh knockout machine. No, the best match in all of combat sports involves a Russian immigrant and a churchgoing Californian who are set to collide in the city of Las Vegas. Few outside of the world of boxing even know it’s happening. Perhaps few inside the world of boxing even care.

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And that, friends, is really too bad. For Saturday night’s Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev fight for light heavyweight supremacy promises boxing at it’s best. Exquisite skill. Frightening power. Two men with a lot to prove. Ward-Kovalev II has it all. The first fight between both men last fall wasn’t a classic, but it was damn good, with Ward pulling off a close, yet controversial decision win. Each man now aims to settle things once and for all. Oh, and they don’t like each other. Or at least Kovalev despises Ward. In fact, he despises Ward so bad, he’s made it clear he wants to hurt the man.

Considering the fact that Kovalev has already ended one life, that’s legitimately frightening stuff. Not that the Russian is actually looking to kill Ward, he’s just looking to dispense a world class ass kicking. Ward, on the other hand, is clearly looking to take his opponent to school. And by the way, the guy’s really good at taking opponents to school. One suspects Ward’s also looking to let Kovalev know he’s no pushover. In other words, there’s a lot to look forward to here. The question, however, is whether or not anyone’s actually looking forward to it.

This writer is, and no doubt others are, as well. Probably not too many others, though, and that’s a shame. Neither Ward nor Kovalev has an enormous fan base. People aren’t going to fly across the Atlantic by the jet full for this fight. Nor is an army of people donning hats declaring its preferred fighter the best ever going to be spotted around Vegas this weekend. Nope. This fight is for the purists. As George Foreman once said, boxing is like jazz, the better it is, the less people like it.

Here’s hoping for some seriously good jazz this weekend.

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HBO PPV Preview: Rigondeaux vs. Flores, Bivol vs. Agnew, Ward vs. Kovalev


HBO PPV Preview: Rigondeaux vs. Flores, Bivol vs. Agnew, Ward vs. Kovalev
By: William Holmes

HBO Sports will present four fights on Pay Per View on Saturday night which will feature a main event rematch between the two top boxers in the light heavyweight division, Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward.

Their first bout was a close and entertaining affair that saw Ward scratch out a decision victory after being knocked down early in the bout. Ward and Kovalev genuinely dislike each other and this bout should be as entertaining as the first one.

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Main Events and Roc Nation will be co-promoting this event which will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The following is a preview of three of the planned televised bouts.

Dmitry Bivol (10-0) vs. Cedric Agnew (29-2); Light Heavyweights

Prospect Dmitry Bivol is a two time Russian National Gold Medalist as an amateur at two different weights and has never tasted defeated. He lives in Russia but was born in Kyrgyzstan and has never tasted defeated.

Bivol will be four years younger than Agnew, who just turned thirty. They are both six feet tall. Agnew was a runner up in the National Golden Gloves as an amateur.

Both boxers have decent power, but Bivol appears to be the harder puncher. He has eight stoppage wins in only ten fights, while Agnew has fifteen stoppage wins and one stoppage loss.

Bivol has been very active and already fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016. He has defeated the likes of Samuel Clarkson, Robert Berridge, and Felix Valera. Bivol has never faced someone with a losing record, which is rare for prospects as they are usually brought up slowly.

Agnew’s biggest wins have come against boxers past their primes. He has defeated the likes of Yusaf Mack, Otis Griffin, and Daniel Judah. His two losses were to Sergey Kovalev and a man that Bivol has defeated, Samuel Clarkson.

Agnew is a decent boxer with a good looking record, but he’s been fairly inactive since his loss to Kovalev. He only fought once in 2017 and did not fight at all in 2016. This is a bout that Bivol should win quite easily.

Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0) vs. Moises Flores (25-0); WBA Junior Featherweight Title

Guillermo Rigondeaux is one of boxing’s best talents and unfortunately, one of boxing’s most avoided fighters.

He’s a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and a two time Gold Medalist in the world amateur championships. He’s slick, quick, and has some incredible defense on top of pin point accuracy. But, his style is considered boring by the average fan and he struggles to bring in a large fan base.

He’s facing his mandatory challenger for his WBA Junior Featherweight title, but it doesn’t appear Flores will be a real challenge to him.

Flores does have an edge in the physicals. He’s six years younger than Rigondeaux and will have a five inch height advantage and about a one inch reach advantage. He’s also been more active than Rigondeaux, but not by much. Flores fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015. Rigondeaux fought once in 2016 and once in 2015.

Flores also doesn’t have the amateur pedigree of Rigondeaux and hasn’t faced good opposition.

Rigondeaux has defeated the likes of James Dickens, Drian Francisco, Joseph Agbeko, Nonito Doniare, Roberto Marroquin, Teon Kennedy, and Rico Ramos. He has eleven stoppage wins on his record but has been unable to entice any of the other world champions to face him in the ring.

Flores has spent most of his career fighting in Mexico against sub-par opposition. He has seventeen stoppage victories, but only two of his past five fights resulted in a TKO or KO victory. His notable wins have come against Oscar Escandon and Mario Macias.

Rigondeaux needs an entertaining victory badly if he wants to stay relevant and land a date on HBO or Showtime. Hopefully he takes some risks to go for the stoppage on Saturday, but there’s little to no doubt that will emerge victorious.

Andre Ward (31-0) vs. Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1); WBO, WBA, and IBF Light Heavyweight Titles

Their first bout was close, very close, and many boxing aficionados thought Kovalev did enough to win the decision. However, the judges disagreed and scored the bout 114-113 on all three cards for Andre Ward.

Luckily for fight fans they get to witness a rare rematch between two of a division’s best on Saturday night, between two boxers who genuinely dislike each other.

Both boxers are nearing the end of their prime. Ward is thirty three years old and Kovalev is thirty four. They are both six feet tall and Kovalev will have a slight one and a half reach advantage on Ward.

Ward is known for his slick, defensive boxing and his accurate counter punching. Kovalev is known for his devastating power. Ward only has fourteen stoppages in his career while Kovalev has twenty six of his opponents.

However, Kovalev’s last two opponents made it all twelve rounds and he was not able to stop the aged Bernard Hopkins. Kovalev’s power appears to be waning.

Ward had a considerable amount of success as an amateur and was able to win the Gold Medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Kovalev won a gold medal in the Russian Amateur Championships, but did not experience the type of success Ward experienced as an amateur.

Ward has defeated the likes of Alexander Brand, Sullivan Barrera, Edwin Rodriguez, Chad Dawson, Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Mikkel Kessler, Edison Miranda, and of course Sergey Kovalev.

Kovalev has defeated the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Ismayl Sillah, Nathan Cleverly, and Gabriel Campillo.

Ward is a slick, intelligent boxer who’s able to adjust his style mid match to defeat his opponent. Kovalev’s power caught him off guard in their first fight, but he was able to adjust and win a majority of the rounds in the second half of the fight. Kovalev’s power appears to be escaping him and he looked frustrated in the later rounds against Ward.

Even though their first bout was very close, a rematch favors Ward and this writer expects him to win by a more comfortable margin.

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Vaughn Alexander Interview: “My overall plan is to be the best middleweight in the world”


Vaughn Alexander Interview: “My overall plan is to be the best middleweight in the world”
By: Matthew N. Becher

​Vaughn Alexander is a 9-0 prospect from St. Louis Missouri who will be fighting on the undercard of the June 17th, HBO pay per view between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward. Alexander’s story is a bit different, since he is 31 years old and still a prospect. He was an up and comer on the rise in 2005 when he was sent to prison for armed robbery, 11 years later he is back to where he left off. The brother of 3x world champion Devon Alexander, we spoke with Vaughn about his past, his upcoming fight and what his future in boxing has in store.

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Boxing Insider: So could you tell us a little about your background and coming back from an 11 year hiatus to the sport?

Vaughn Alexander: I’ve been fighting since I was 8 years old. I was one of the top amateurs in the world. I turned pro in 2004, I was signed to Don King promotions. I had 5 fights. I was 5-0 before I went to prison. I went to prison in 2005. In the 11 years that I was in prison I learned a lot, mentally, spiritually and I kept myself right physically.

Boxing Insider: How do you stay in fighting shape while incarcerated?

Vaughn Alexander: I ran a lot. Of course they didn’t have any of the things the outside world have, since they stopped boxing in prison a long time ago. I just did any and all things to keep my body strong. I ate right, I didn’t eat any junk or things that keep your body down. I just basically did everything I could, in the 11 years I was in prison.

Boxing Insider: Is it hard mentally to start over as a prospect again, being that you are now 31?

Vaughn Alexander: No. I feel that everybody goes through things. It’s just that I had to go to prison. That was just something in my life that I had to go to. Everybody makes mistakes, but they don’t all have to go to prison. I had to go to prison to become the man I am today. I have lots of patience that I didn’t have before. I have a lot of knowledge that I acquired in those eleven years. I always had a good work ethic, but I feel that I gained a proper work ethic dealing with myself. If it is dealing with people or dealing with my training, or anything I had to deal with, I’m 100% better to deal with because of the man I am today.

Boxing Insider: Your brother became a world champ while you were away. Has he given you any words of advice or wisdom in your comeback?

Vaughn Alexander: No, not really. I mean, you can’t give advice to someone that was doing what he was doing at the same time. It’s just that he became a world champion while I was in prison. The fact of it is, I am so proud of my brother for that. I’m proud of him in that sense, but me and Devan are two different people. I just go by the things I learned from my own mistakes. It’s just some things you have to learn on your own. You can accept peoples advice, but if people haven’t gone through the things you’ve went through. Me and Devan didn’t really talk a lot when I was in prison. That was my time to get myself together.

Boxing Insider: What advantages will you have over Fabiano Pena, who is younger and has more ring experience?

Vaughn Alexander: No one in the middleweight division has more experience than me. I feel that I was gone for 11 years, but I gained so much knowledge. I feel that these guys in 11 years were getting beat on, I wasn’t. I was eating right, working out while they were getting beat on. I’m fresh and I’m just ready to put myself in a position to fight one of these top guys. I’m not looking over this guy, trust me, every fighter has a punchers chance. And the likelihood of this guy beating me is slim to none, because I trained so hard and I’m coming in June 17th to get this guy out of there.

Boxing Insider: What are your overall plans in boxing, now that you are back?

Vaughn Alexander: My overall plan is to be the best middleweight in the world. I don’t just want to be one of the best. You got these people that are politically correct saying they want to be “one of the best”, nah, I’m trying to be the best middleweight in the world. That is my goal and that is what I’m trying to accomplish. I’m taking steps right now, with Main Events behind me to accomplish that.

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Sergey Kovalev Interview: “I Want to Destroy this Guy”


Sergey Kovalev Interview: “I Want to Destroy this Guy”
By: Matthew N. Becher

Sergey Kovalev will attempt to redeem his lone defeat against Andre Ward on June 17th, Live on HBO Pay per view. Kovalev has been very outspoken in the media about his disdain for Ward and that he felt ‘Cheated’ out of his titles the first time they fought. We were able to briefly speak with Sergey as he is entrenched in the middle of his training camp in California.

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Photo Credit: HBO BOxing

Boxing Insider: What was running through your mind when the judges read all 3 scorecards were for Ward?

Sergey Kovalev: When I hear him say ‘and the new…’ I could not believe what I was hearing.

Boxing Insider: What do you need to do different in this fight to make sure you win?

Sergey Kovalev: I was “over-trained’ for my first fight against Andre Ward. I did three work outs a day. I tried to do everything faster, more, and stronger. Instead of running five miles, I did eight miles. I did more than I usually do all the time. I over-trained.This time I do everything less, more smart.

Boxing Insider: The last time we spoke I asked “do you think you can actually knock Andre Ward out?”…you answered, “I don’t know”. Nowthat you have fought him, can you knock out Andre Ward?

Sergey Kovalev: This is boxing, anything can happen. Do I wish to knock him out? Sure. We will see on June 17 on HBO PPV

Boxing Insider: What are some things that impressed you with the way Ward fights?

Sergey Kovalev: (No answer)

Boxing Insider: Will you change anything in this training camp compared to the last?

Sergey Kovalev: My preparation right now is doing great, much better than last time because I took care of all the mistakes I did last two fights. Two last fights I was over-trained, for Chilemba and for Ward, and I fought similar. But this training camp I am doing everything very good. I am doing the same training, but less.

Boxing Insider: What are your true feelings about Andre Ward, is it hate, respect, etc.?

Sergey Kovalev: I do not like this guy. I want to destroy this guy as a boxer, as a champion. For me he is not a champion, he’s a fake champion.

Boxing Insider: If you do win this rematch, would you make Ward fight outside of his comfort zone?

Sergey Kovalev: Let’s see first what happens on June 17th. First of all I must get back my belts, we’ll see what will happen after this.

Boxing Insider: Since he missed your HBO Faceoff, Is there any message you’d like to send to Andre Ward right now?

Sergey Kovalev: He’s playing with me, but what’s broken you makes you only stronger right? I only care that I should beat him on June 17 and get back my belts.

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Boxing Insider Interview with Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev


Boxing Insider Interview with Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev
By: Francisco Martinez

This past November 19th Sergey Kovalev walked into the ring as the unified world champion when he faced Andre Ward. That’s WBA, IBF and WBO 175lbs titles. Titles Sergey wants back and says are his “dream” and “goal” “it’s my life” expressing the only thing on his mind is June 17th. The Rematch at the Mandalay Bay Sergey Kovalev would get his opportunity to get those titles back and avenge his sole loss to Andre Ward.

HBO Boxing Results: Mikhaylenko Decisions Mayfield, Kovalev Mauls Pascal

BoxingInsider: “He insists that you rely on fear a lot. Can you sense the fear in your opponent and can you sense that he doesn’t have any fear of you as a fighter?”

Sergey Kovalev: “It’s very good for me you know that he’s not scared. It’s good for me but usually who is scared acts very calm or very hyper you know, He’s the type of people who’s calm. I think he’s nervous and he understands that the rematch won’t be a easy fight and I understand to that it won’t be an easy fight but I’m ready you know, I wanna get my belts back. It’s my dream, it’s my goal, it’s my life right now. When I go to lay down to sleep and I wake up in the morning there’s this desire and he’s everyday in my head and I know what I should do in the ring and how to do it, I will do”

BoxingInsider: “Would you say he’s the best fighter you’ve faced to date?”

Sergey Kovalev: “No he’s not the best fighter who I’ve faced”

BoxingInsider: “Than who is?”

Sergey Kovalev: “Right now I don’t remember who to campare. Jean Pascal was in the first fight a much harder fighter in the fight. Darnell Boone was a much harder fighter in the fight with him. I don’t want to say if I want to say what I have right now is great motivation for this fight and I will try to get my belts back”

BoxingInsider: “Do you remember the moment when you dropped him and what went through your mind when he was hurt?”

Sergey Kovalev: “That I should not rush you know, keep calm and continue to do what I do but in the 5th round I finished I was confused. I lost my speed, I lost my power, everything. My trunk was empty one month before the fight”

Sergey Kovalev claims that 1 month before the first fight with Andre Ward he was already 175lbs which affected his performance and leading to that moment in the 5th round where he says his “trunk was empty” his stamina, conditioning had ran out “my running, the heavybags, everything. My weight was already in my division one month before the fight. That’s very bad. I finished one month before the fight but I can’t say to to everybody or the public I finished, I cancel the fight. I will bring everything that I have in my pockets and if my pockets are empty okay I will be fighting with my skills, don’t worry, I’m a fighter, I’m not a business man you know”

Sergey Kovalev attacked Andre Ward through out the negotiations process of the rematch. Took to social media by calling him a “piece of sh*t” or “son of judges” also went as far as to say he was Andre Ward’s “god” attacking Ward’s religious and spiritual integrity by posting a picture of a fallen Ward after he connected him with a big right hand in the second round. Sergey said on his official Instagram “hey Andre Ward, you should call yourself Andre S.O.K. Ward” Ward’s acronym of S.O.G being “Son Of God” Sergey flipped it around to “Son Of Kovalev” saying the photo of him on his knees during the knock down in the second round was him “praying to his god”

Tactics not new from Sergey Kovalev heading into this highly anticipated rematch. Will Sergey finish Andre Ward’s boxing career like he told him he would do up at the podium or will Andre Ward duplicate his winning effort once again? Stay tune and don’t miss it “The Rematch” Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev live on HBO PPV at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas Nevada.

Follow all coverage leading up to the fight via #WardKovalev2

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Barrera Blasts Through Parker On HBO Latino Card


Barrera Blasts Through Parker On HBO Latino Card
By:Sean Crose

The ballroom at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut featured Main Events Boxing’s Rising Stars program on Saturday night in a card that featured light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera. A former opponent of Andre Ward (who beat him by decision) Sullivan was still in the division’s upper echelon when he stepped into the ring against Toledo’s Paul Parker in a ten round scrap. First, however, middleweights Vaughn Alexander and Andres Calixto opened the HBO Latino card with a scheduled ten rounder.

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The 7-0 Alexander literally started with a bang in the first. It was clear early that the St. Louis native was looking for an impressive KO. The way he was dominating and throwing power punches made his intentions abundantly clear. Calixto, who entered the ring with a record of 14-3, tried mocking his man, so Alexander hit him some more. It was an interesting first three minutes. The second looked like a replay of the first. If there was one weakness to Alexander, it was that he wasn’t moving his head much. Then again, perhaps he felt he didn’t have to. By the third, Calixto seemed as if he was simply fighting to get through the round rather than truly win. To be sure, when he actually threw, his punches lacked pop.

What’s more, by the end of the second, the Mexican native looked to be getting hurt. To his credit, Calixto continued to brawl, even becoming the aggressor in the second half of the third. In truth, though, he simply didn’t seem to have the strength to truly dominate. Or did he? The man landed himself some very clean and solid shots as the round wound down. The two men were exchanging hard, crisp punches. It was becoming a fight. Alexander returned to dominate the fourth while Calixto returned to mocking his opponent without throwing back.

Things developed into a pattern in the fourth, fifth and even the sixth, with Alexander landing hard shots, before occasionally stepping off the gas and letting Calixto have his moments. By the seventh, eighth and ninth rounds, things had reached a more or less steady pace. Alexander was obviously dominating, but it was clear he wasn’t getting the KO he desired. The referee deducted a point from Calixto in the tenth (it was a bit confusing from ringside as to why) and Alexander went on to win a well deserved unanimous decision victory.

It was time for the main event. Both Barrera, at 18-1, and Parker, at 8-1, looked confident and loose upon entering the ring. Barrera’s well oiled skill set told the tale for most of the first, though Parker landed in impressive fashion by round’s end. One thing was clear in the second round, this was not the one sided affair some thought it would be…at least not yet. Barrera may have been winning the early rounds, but Parker was a live opponent.

Still, Barrera started to assert himself in the third and fourth chapters, landing effectively and perhaps slowly taking control of the bout. Parker went down in the fourth from what referee Harvey Dock claimed was an accidental head butt. The ring doctor came in and Parker was given a full five minute break, much to the crowd’s dismay. People got no happier when Parker literally took a knee like a medieval saint and took what seemed to be a long time to recover, although he appeared no worse for wear (though, in fairness, one really never knows about these things).

Barrera came out like a pit bull when the round finally resumed, but there were only a few seconds left until the bell rang. Early in the fifth, though, Barrera subsequently beat his man down to the canvas. Parker got up, and the fight was subsequently stopped due to another head butt seconds later. Fortunately, the bout resumed quickly on that particular occasion, however. Barrera then knocked Parker through the ropes. The brave Ohian got up again, but was subsequently pummled, causing Dock to stop the fight.

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A Case of Revenge or the Same Result? Ward vs. Kovalev II


A Case of Revenge or the Same Result? Ward vs. Kovalev II
By: Kirk Jackson

In a bout titled “NO EXCUSES,” Andre Ward 31-0 (15 KO’s) defends his light heavyweight titles against the man who previously reigned over the division with iron fists – Sergey Kovalev 30-1-1 (26 KO’s).

After Capturing Light Heavyweight Titles, What is Next for Andre Ward?

After talks of retirement from Ward, talks of frustration from both fighters revolving around many things, and trash talk amongst each other, the time for talk is over and the time to resume the battle of supremacy of the light heavyweight division will continue.

The rematch is set for Saturday, June 17th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View.

Kovalev in vengeful fashion responded to Ward’s tweet stating, “Be ready motherf***er! I’ll finish your boxing career!”

Further elaborating, the no.2 ranked pound-for-pound fighter according to The Ring discussed the importance of this fight.

“I’m glad to know that rematch will happen. I really hope that Andre Ward will get into the ring for this rematch. Fans of boxing will see the real Krusher–the one they have missed for couple of my last fights. For me this rematch is very important as no other bout in my entire boxing career. Thanks a lot to all of boxing fans,” said Kovalev.

It’s obvious the two fighters have strong dislike for one another. At the top of any sport or profession, there will be competition; rivalries developed and strong emotions may play out in the midst of competition between the opposing parties.

There was a time when some people of the boxing community questioned if the rematch between Ward and Kovalev would surface.

Many questioned Ward’s desire to fight Kovalev again; citing the controversy of the original decision, along with Kovalev’s punching power reasons not to mix it up again with the man from Russia.

What many of the doubters failed to realize is the contractual obligations between Kovalev and Ward’s teams. There is a rematch clause in the contract that must be honored and a breach of contract may come with many ramifications.

It may also be argued that the victor of the initial bout (Ward) was frustrated with the network’s lack of promotion and may have felt his performance and recognition of his ability was undermined.

The HBO commentary team was critical of his performance and Ward may feel he does not get the same leeway or appreciation some of his HBO contemporaries (Gennady Golovkin, Roman Gonzalez)receive despite his success in the ring.

Ward is the last American male to win an Olympic gold medal and a five time world champion across two weight classes.

Having won the first fight controversial or not, Ward’s team holds leverage with the negotiation process. They exercised their leverage and thankfully the rematch is on.

The magnitude of this match is significant. This bout between Kovalev and Ward not only features the best fighters in the light heavyweight division (No disrespect to Adonis Stevenson), but this is a battle between arguably the best fighters p4pwith Ward and Kovalev listed in the top four on many respective lists.

Question is how will this fight play out? Will Ward pick up where he left off in the first fight? Mounting a strong attack on the inside, attacking Kovalev’s body, slowly but surely wearing down the bigger man while avoiding crushing punches?

Or will Kovalev make the adjustments against Ward? Keeping the fight at his distance (mid-range), creating offense off his potent jab, perhaps attempting to finish off Ward if he manages to hurt the defense-minded rival, leaving no doubt as to who the winner is?

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Breaking: Ward-Kovalev II Is On


Breaking: Ward-Kovalev II Is On
By: Sean Crose

“Wait for it…”

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These words came from a Tweet today from light heavyweight kingpin Andre Ward. Shortly thereafter, one was able to find some major observers of the boxing world taking to the internet to declare (via sources) that a Ward rematch with Sergey Kovalev was a done deal. What’s more, the date of the rematch was said to be June 17 at the T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. Naturally, it wasbeing stated that the fight will appear via pay per view (you didn’t expect it on CBS, did you?). If word around the campfire was to be believed, a press conference announcing the much anticipated battle will occur next week.

Then, later in the afternoon, Ward tweeted the following:

I’m going to keep it short & sweet, you got what you asked for, now you have to see me JUNE 17. This time leave the excuses at home. #EARNED

Long story short…Ward-Kovalev II is on.

Ward knocked Kovalev off his light heavyweight pedestal with a highly controversial decision late last fall. It was a good, close fight, no matter how you look at it and a rematch is most certainly in order. Still, there was fear in some circles that Ward was far less than interested in facing the Russian again anytime soon.

So much for that line of thinking.

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