Opinion | Oct 04 2016

John Conteh analyses Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward

John Conteh breaks down Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward and predicts who will win
Andre Ward
Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward 3  |  Stacey Verbeek

IT’S a shame that the much-talked-about Sergey Kovalev-Adonis Stevenson fight still hasn’t happened. Stevenson has gone off the radar a little bit, when he should be exploiting his talent and fighting the best possible opponents. Nevertheless, Kovalev’s fight with Andre Ward is a very interesting one. The Russian Kovalev is a big puncher – he’s got 26 wins inside the distance out of 30. Ward has got just as many victories, but only 15 inside schedule. And Ward has only recently moved up to light-heavy, whereas Kovalev has fought at the weight for his whole career.

Looking at Ward’s record, the gap from 2013-2015 stands out. This period of inactivity due to promotional issues was bad news for him. In spite of this, it seems like the majority of people believe that Ward will nullify and outsmart Kovalev with his boxing science. But whichever way you look at it, that stretch of time out of the ring will not have done Ward any good.

Kovalev wasn’t at his best last time out against Isaac Chilemba, though he got the job done. It’s difficult to look good against tricky, slippery opponents like Chilemba, who tend to stay out of range. Chilemba was never going to pile straight in against a puncher like Kovalev. He was always going to stay at a distance and be clever.