The Kovalev-Ward Megafight – According to a story first reported by ESPN’s Dan Rafael, the highly-anticipated showdown between WBA/WBO/IBF World light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs) and Andre Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) will take place on Nov. 19 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas….that’s assuming that both win their interim bouts which is pretty much a foregone conclusion.
Kovalev’s promoter, Main Events, and Ward’s promoter, Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports, will formally request this date and venue at the Tuesday meeting of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The NSAC will assuredly rubber-stamp these petitions.
Kovalev’s interim fight is scheduled for July 11 at Ekaterinburg, Russia. In the opposite corner will be Isaac Chilemba (24-3-2, 10 KOs), a native of Malawi who fights out of South Africa. Andre Ward’s next fight is tentatively scheduled for August 6 at the Oracle Arena in Ward’s hometown of Oakland. The opponent remains a mystery.
The Kovalev-Chilemba match is being billed as a homecoming for Kovalev, the “Russian Crusher,” who began his pro career off the grid in North Carolina and has fought only twice in his native country since leaving the amateur ranks – most recently on Dec. 5, 2011, right here at this very venue in Ekaterinburg where the stopped countryman Roman Simakov in the seventh round. That bout proved fatal for Simakov who lapsed into a coma shortly after the bout was halted and died three days later without regaining consciousness. This was reportedly the first ring fatality ever in Russia.
Kovalev and Ward were on a collision course that began the very day that Andre Ward made known his intent to relinquish his 168-pound titles to compete as a light heavyweight. The only U.S. boxer to win a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, Ward had nothing left to prove as a super middleweight after unifying the belts. His interim fight in August will be his third since moving up in weight.
Kovalev vs. Ward is a classic confrontation between a boxer and a puncher. The 32-year-old Ward has obvious advantages in speed and ring generalship, but Kovalev, the older man by almost 11 months, packs a harder punch and can seemingly turn the bout in his favor at any moment.
Kovalev is currently ranked #2 in the pound-for-pound ratings of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, trailing only Nicaraguan flyweight Roman Gonzalez. Ward is #5. Between him and Kovalev sit middleweight Gennady Golovkin and flyweight Juan Francisco Estrada.
The Kovalev-Ward Megafight