Boxing is a sport of politics as much as it is skill and guts, and unfortunately the factors that take place outside of the ring mean that fans of the sweet science are often left short-changed in terms of genuine ‘50/50’ fights.
Happily, the various promotional teams and TV networks were able to get together and create a dream super fight between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev, two unbeaten fighters who are widely regarded as two of the best as far as the pound-for-pound rankings go.
1. Ward vs Kovalev II - The Rematch
They first locked horns in Las Vegas back in November, and what a bout it was. The action seesawed in one fighter’s favour and then the other; Kovalev dominating the early rounds and knocking Ward to the canvas with a blistering right hand in the second.
But the American got stronger as the fight wore on, and by the bell to signal the end of the contest in the twelfth round nobody was quite sure who had taken the glory. A draw was probably a fair result, bit boxing judges don’t tend to like stalemates and so instead the bout went Ward’s way with all three judges scoring it 114-113 in his favour.
Such is the occasional interpretation of the sport that most pundits were split down the middle, with HBO’s Harold Lederman even scoring the contest 116-112 in Kovalev’s favour. There was a general sense of unease amongst the crowd of spectators, and so it was no surprise when an immediate rematch was announced.
That will take place at Mandalay Bay on June 17, and already the anticipation is building for another potential Fight of the Year contender.
2. Winner Betting Odds
Even though the proximity between these two fighters is well documented, the bookmakers clearly feel that the psychological advantage that Ward will have taken from the first fight is enough to hand him the ascendancy. That’s why the American is the 1.61 favourite for the bout.
But it is impossible to write off a guy like Kovalev, he hits so hard that he is capable of winning a fight in the blink of an eye. As such, his odds of 2.30 are particularly interesting.
3. Ward vs Kovalev Betting Tips
Before the first encounter we outlined two possible outcomes for the fight: Kovalev would win by KO/stoppage, or Ward would win on points.
You see, the Russian is a power puncher of some repute, winning 26 of his 32 bouts by KO. Kovalev isn’t the best technical fighter on the planet, he is simply a powerhouse who likes sending his foe to the canvas.
Ward, meanwhile, is an outstanding boxer who comes from a stellar amateur background. His hit and move style has won his numerous belts and honours over the years, and lest we forget he hasn’t beaten similarly rough fighters – Mikael Kessler and Carl Froch spring to mind – in the past. He can take a punch, put it that way.
But there is no betting value in backing Ward at such a short price. Kovalev can win this fight, and at odds against has to be the smart play here.