It is do or die for Sergey Kovalev Saturday, at least that is what he believes, as the former light-heavyweight champion looks to turn the tables in a blockbuster unification rematch against undefeated Andre Ward. After receiving the short end of the stick in the first clash last year, the Russian feels he has no choice, but to knockout his bitter rival.
“I will finish his boxing career,” Kovalev adamantly stated in an interview with Fight Hub TV. “I don’t have another way to get a victory over him.”
Many ringside reporters, analysts, and fans felt that Kovalev deserved the win, albeit he admittedly was running low on energy during the second-half of the bout, which allowed Ward to close the gap.
The 34-year-old also went on to imply that he is at a disadvantage not being from the United States. “They (Team Ward) can say everything because they are at home,” he asserted. “They will never go to my country because Andre Ward is a hometown champion; he never fought out of the USA, never!
For the record, Ward has fought out of the United States. He stopped former prospect Roger Cantrell in Saint Lucia in 2007 and stopped Jerson Ravelo to claim the then-vacant WBO NABO super-middleweight title in 2008.
However, Kovalev is likely referring to legitimate championship fights, in which Ward has only fought in the states. This could be the case because, for instance, Kovalev has fought in the U.S. for a majority of his career. Additionally, he fought former world champion Jean Pascal in his native Canada twice.
Both fighters are hungry and motivated with completely different mindsets. Ward is coming into this matchup extremely confident. He noticed how much Kovalev slowed down in the second-half of the first bout. However, he is expecting his adversary to improve in some areas. We will see what those areas are on June 17th.
On the other hand, Kovalev is looking to take Ward’s head off and regain the belts he felt were stolen from him. However, the implementation of a more aggressive strategy is a risky move against a fighter as smart and cagey as Ward. Fight fans should be in for an entertaining night of boxing.