We have been waiting for a fight of the year and I think its time. It has only taken 11 1/2 months but we finally have a fight with a lot of buzz around it. This fight should do well on Pay Per View. It is time for predictions as we are only a few hours away from the fight.
Both fighters have not lost as a professional. Both have 36 wins. Kovalev has one draw and Ward is a perfect 36 & 0. I expect that to change tonight. In no way do I see a draw in this fight. If it happens to be a draw I will start campaigning for the thirteenth round as overtime, because no fight like this should ever end in a draw.
Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev in my opinion are both in the Top 10 in best pound for pound fighters in the world. In my top 10, I have Ward as number two, only behind Gennady Golovkin. Kovelev is the seventh ranked pound for pound fighter on my list, behind GGG, Ward, Daniel Jacobs, Adonis Stevenson, Canelo Alvarez and Terrance Crawford.
Having two of the top seven ranked pound for pound fighters makes this a must watch event. Either fighter is capable of winning this fight. There are some factors going into my prediction.
Andre Ward is top of the chart boxing technique. He has good offense, good defense, transitions well, fights both inside and outside with a lot of punching power. I would also consider Ward a better athlete than Kovalev.
Kovalev is top of the chart bone crusher. His technique is not the best, and he doesn’t transfer from offense to defense and vice versa at an elite level. That said, his punching power and ability to control distance in a fight for his advantage are elite strengths he brings to the table.
I believe Kovalev is the naturally bigger man than Ward. He is also more of a power puncher. If Kovalev can control the distance he can win the fight. If he can keep the fight at mid range he will have Ward in the danger zone more than Ward can afford to win the fight.
Ward is a better ring generalist. He needs to dictate the pace of the fight and distance to win. I believe Ward wins on the inside and also on the outside. Kovalev wins the mid range battle. Wards advantage inside and outside should bring him the win. On the outside Ward’s speed and ring generalist skills will win him points.
When Ward is on the inside it will restrict Kovalev from the distance he needs to generate power on his punches. Ward should be more effective than Kovalev on the inside. He can score points there and may even be able to hurt Kovalev. When Ward fights on the inside it is important he stays away from the danger zone which is mid range in this case.
When Ward moves out of, or away from the inside, he must pass the mid range before he gets back to another strength on the outside. That is what I am referring to as the danger zone. Ward has to do that by sliding out to his right after he is done punching and not wait to where Kovalev would have opportunity to counter.
If Ward is consistent and doesn’t get caught very often as he moves inside and outside, he wins the fight pretty easily. He cannot move straight back after punching inside, he must move to the side. Moving back means moving through the danger zone right in front of Kovalev and if that happens Kovalev will win.
My prediction is Ward by decision. I expect him to execute his game plan. After a long break he has had a couple of fights to sharpen him up. Tonight is where Andre Ward can become an iconic fighter.