Andre "S.O.G" Ward (30-0, 12 TKOs) will face Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 TKOs) on November 19th at the T-Mobile Arena in Vegas, Nevada. CHAMPION vs CHAMPION.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT ANDRE WARD
During that time and having to deal with the issue of being raised by addicted parents was the issue. One was living and smoking crack cocaine on the streets while the other injected heroin and lost the family home.
It was clear he had to grow up fast. From that time Ward and his brother were living with his godfather, Virgil Hunter aka the trainer of Andre Ward, and still takes lessons from him till this day.
Andre growing up has a SUPERB amateur fighting resume starting in 1994 which goes all the way into holding numerous Championship belts till 2003 then decided to start training for the Olympics. He had a dream and he wanted to pursue it.
One thing that got in the way was was the sudden death of his father at the age of 18. This sent ward on a downward spiral of heavy drinking and hanging out with the wrong crowd.
According to his father, he was very huge on the family name and he knew after some time that he had to step up and shake it off. Ward found himself at the Olympics in Athens, Greece and he walked out a being the first American to win gold in boxing in eight years.
He went, made history, and set up what he was born to do.
After the Olympics his pro career started in the same year and fight after fight Ward would TKO after TKO his opponents to the point where it was like
OK-- this guy might REALLY something...
From there he fought in the Super 6 World Boxing Classic in 2009 and fought Mikkel Kesslar (46-3) for the WBA (Super) middleweight Championship (which he did) and kept the win streak going by winning all the bouts through the tournament until he faced Carl Froch (33-2) during the final.
He successfully defended his WBA (Super) middleweight Championship belt while winning the entire tournament and the WBC. He even got a broken hand during that fight.
Through the years more fights and more injuries came along especially in 2013 where the injuries were so bad he was forced by the WBC to give up the belt since he was inactive and couldn't defend it. Ward fought back because he thought it was wrong since he had to get surgery and in the end, he retained the belt back.
In 2014 he decided to vacate his WBA (Super) middleweight Championship belt because he wanted to move up to light heavyweight instead.
He has been winning ever since and soon he will face Sergey Kovalev.
Ward is probably the most mentally focused fighter in the game right now and you need that in order to succeed in the ring. The speed he possesses is undeniable to watch and the strength is there. Andre has always been someone that has had to fight his entire life.
Not just physically, but emotionally as well. He is ONE tough guy to continue down the path he is and it's clear boxing really did save his life.
I MEAN can we just talk about how he hasn't lost a fight since he was 12?
TWELVE. YEARS. OLD.
He is 32 now. Just let that sink in...
His nickname "S.O.B" stands for "Son of God" and he personally feels that. If that is the motivation he needs to get through all these fights given everything he has gone through that's what's up.
Because I love watching him fight and he is really a modern legend in our lifetime right now. How when I was growing up I was looking up to fighters like Laila Ali, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Ann Wolfe, Muhammad Ali and now the younger generation is looking up to pioneers like Ward right now and that's really cool.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT SERGEY KOVALEV
Growing up poor seemed to be an understatement for Kovalev as he and his family really didn't have much to live off of. He stayed in a cramped room with his little brother and older sister just trying to find hope through it all. At the age of 11, he found boxing.
One year his stepfather passed from a heart attack. He didn't want to continue fighting after that put he pushed through and made his pro debut three years later while living in Russia. During 2000-2008 his amateur career hit a peak while becoming a multiple Championship holder.
His pro career was close to following while dominating and creating a name for himself.
Once December 5, 2011, rolled around Sergey was set to fight Russian light heavyweight, Roman Simakov (19-2-1), and that night everything changed. During the match, Simakov was getting knocked around pretty badly in the head to the point where coaches were thinking the fight should have been stopped. Sergey was feeling a little bad once the coaches told him to switch where he was hitting him so he starting throwing strikes to the body (which worked).
However, Simakov started getting back into the game at this point, and in the 6th round, he got knocked to the floor because Sergey had to do what he had to do. During the 7th round, the strikes continued and the fight was stopped with a TKO win for Kovalev.
It wasn't the same reaction of the opponent's side as he was taken out of the ring in a stretcher and sent to the hospital. Simakov remained in a coma for 3 days until he ended up passing from brain damage. This struck a nerve in Sergey and he knew he wasn't guilty, but the family of Roman thought differently.
They were calling Sergey and his time killers and murders then filed a case to sue. Kovalev has been interviewed by numerous Russian police and he is still dealing with the case to this day.
The kind of heart he has to have to continue fighting is crazy. He stated that what made him continue is the fact that when he looked around in his life he still had nothing yet he was the breadwinner of the family. Sergey knew he had a responsibility to take care of his family and decided he doesn't just fight for himself, but for Roman Simakov too.
After a few months have passed he started training again and got back at it in 2012. In 2013 he fought Nathan Cleverly (30-3) for the WBO light heavyweight Championship. Sergey got his hand raised.
BUT NOW in 2014, he faced legendary Bernard Hopkins (55-7-2) to not only retain the WBO light heavyweight Championship belt but the IBF and WBA (Super) light heavyweight titles as well.
Oh, and he did JUST that.
He was knocking him around the ring left and right. Sergey was the first fighter to ACTUALLY knock Hopkins to the ground.. this was important and it seems like Kovalev did everything with no effort because the fight seemed pretty once sided for sure.
Sergey has been holding onto his belts through all the victories since Hopkins all the way to Andre Ward.
He's proven many times he can take a punch to the chin. The speed, the range, and the height are all working for Sergey and they always have. Through the years he has emotionally grown stronger and has become a tougher fighter inside of the ring.
He has a lot to lose going against Ward, yet that is the risk he will take by putting everything on the line.
SO WHAT DO I THINK ABOUT ALL OF THIS?!?!
Liiiiike this is where things are going to get interesting because here we have 2 Champion boxers that happen to both be undefeated at (30-0) to showcase their skills against each other to find out who is the number one pound for pound boxer in the world...??... YAAAS.
This is a HUGE. DEAL.
And honestly, probably one of the greatest and most legit mashups in boxing I have personally seen in a long time.
So let's get to it, shall we?
Because let's keep it real we haven't seen two top-ranking pound-for-pound fighters on this caliber go at it since the bout between Oscar De La Hoya vs Shane Mosley back in July 2000.
YA FEEL ME?
Let's breakdown these two fighters:
Ward is known to be a counter-striker to some people. Do I think he is worthy of much more?
Meanwhile, he does have the special left-hand jab that he surprises his opponents here and therewith. THERE IS ALWAYS AN ANSWER which is what I love. He can work the outside as well as inside and is obsessed with level change.
This is good going against a competitor for the reason that getting low and fighting from underneath confuses the fighter sometimes since the height change is so significantly different. He holds all the ingredients to give anyone trouble. Ward is always in the moment when he fights and he comes hard.
Andre is smart in ways where he creates openings in-between his opponents to make room for throw-away punches if need be. These feints are huge in boxing since you can distract the person you are fighting.
Ward is LIVINGGGG to fight more defense rather than offense because this allows him to be more in control of where he wants the fight to go.
While Sergey is known for his powerful strikes he will be very dangerous for Ward to handle and vice versa, to be honest. With Kovalev, he plays on the offensive-minded side as far as keeping distance goes. He likes to utilize what seems like a reverse one, two where he leads with the jab and comes across with a strong right.
If that ends up reaaaaaally connecting multiple times along with his fierce striking combos that will once again be a problem for Ward. He has great footwork and clinch work, but works the outside a lot better.
He tends to punch over the top from his midway stance which can cause issues, but with Wards lower-level changes that could always be a problem for Sergey. His pace is fast and he loves to keep head control with jabs. jabs. Jabs. JABS.
Sometimes I feel he might be too big and too powerful for Ward, but going through the career of both fighters they cause an extreme threat to EACH OTHER.
Kovalev also feints when he fights so that will be interesting to see how they both use it on each other and/or how the other defendants them.
This fight can either go two ways in my eyes... MAYBE.. #1) one fighter getting a surprise flash knockout during the early rounds OR #2) This fight will go all 12 rounds and one fighter will come out winning in a near close decision...
Do I really mean that? I honestly have no idea.
It is hard to lean on a deciding edge because when I think about Ward winning I don't feel 100% about it and when I think of Sergey winning I don't feel 100% about that either since THIS FIGHT WILL BE THAT CLOSE.
But I will say that Andre Ward has been in the game for a very long time and the mind games of Sergey just aren't really going to work. Ward knows how to overlook all of that.
The punches might be strong from Kovalov, yet he is going to need more of that to destroy Ward to be quite honest with you...
And when it goes the other way around I can say the same for Kovalov as well. Ward is gonna have to work the game to really get on the inside of him and dodge the strikes.
I'm sure he will have something up his sleeve though.
This bout is going to start off slow as they feel each other out while using all the techniques they know. It would be rather tactical until you get further down the rounds is when the WAR will really begin...
Given everything these fighters have endured after all these years of training and experience to face each other on November 19th in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena is soooo exciting for our fans.
BOTH of their lives are going to change whether it is good or bad. Someone is going to have to come out on top and that is really what makes this sport what it is.
It is a beautiful thing, my friend. See you in Las Vegas...