Let me start by saying I am a Sergey Kovalev fan. There is nothing I like better than a fighter that consistently moves forward, looking to put together combinations and finish the fight with a knockout victory.
That big puncher style has always been my cup of tea, and while I can appreciate the style of Andre Ward, I wouldn’t pay to watch it. Much like that of Floyd Mayweather, who I loved watching, but never bought a single one of his Pay Per Views. I let my friends buy those one-sided exhibitions; sorry guys. The beauty of this fight is the slugger (Kovalev) could actually beat the technician (Ward).
This Saturday marks the rematch of the razor close first fight last November at T-Mobile Arena. This time the two world class fighters battle at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
At press time, the Westgate has Ward as a -150 favorite with Kovalev at +130. MGM has the best price on Ward at -145 and Golden Nugget has Kovalev at +140. No round proposition was available.
The first fight was very entertaining as it saw Kovalev jump out to a commanding lead with the highlight knocking down Ward with a big right hand in the second round. To Ward’s credit, he rallied and looked like the better fighter down the stretch. From my couch I had the fight 6-6 with Kovalev winning by one point, 114-113, thanks to the knockdown. All three ringside judges had it 7-5 in favor of Ward, 114-113. Press row was very split on the decision but a few rounds were close enough that either fighter could have won this fight.
When it comes to the rematch, what troubles me as a Kovalev fan is Ward did the best work as the fight moved on. Ward made Kovalev miss and did a great job countering off Sergey’s aggressive style. So I would think Ward has more of a sense of caution this time around and will be even better to start “Round 13.”
Kovalev’s best shot is to get after Ward right when the opening bell rings. He can’t let Ward develop a rhythm or this fight will look a lot like Rounds 8-12 where Ward did his best work.
If I am betting the side it’s tough for me not to like Ward at -145, which is in the sweet spot for as high as I will go on betting chalk.
USFantasy is also offering props on the fight: Kovalev or Ward by KO Rounds 1-2, Rounds 3-4, Rounds 5-6, Rounds 7-8, Rounds 9-10, Round 11, Round 12, Draw or either fighter by decision.
Ward by decision is the play that would make the most sense for me, and if you can get 2-1 or higher that’s probably a better bet than laying the -145, depending on the level of your bet.
For Kovalev, take the first four rounds. He’s shown he can get to Ward but again, if he does I think he will have to do it early. I would be awfully surprised if he wore down Ward with a late KO.