It’s generally agreed by fans that Andre “SOG” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) was lucky to escape with a close 12 round unanimous decision over IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 2 KOs) in their fight on November 19 on HBO PPV. Ward fought well enough to lose the fight, but the judges gave him a victory by the scores 114-113 x 3.
Trainer Robert Garcia is under the impression that Ward will learn from the fight, and will make the needed adjustments to win in a more convincing manner in the rematch against the 33-year-old Kovalev in their rematch on June 17. The fight hasn’t been made official yet, but that’s the date that Kovalev is saying the fight will take place on.
“It’ll be another close fight,” said Robert Garcia to Villianfy about the Ward vs. Kovalev rematch. “Ward will certainly fight differently. He’ll be different. It will be a different approach to it, and a little smarter. I still think Ward has the skills to pull it off, even though Kovalev won the first one. Ward will make a few adjustments in the rematch, and win more convincing. I think Kovalev won [the first fight]. I think Ward is one of those types of fighters that can make adjustments and win a little more convincing. If he goes to 160, I think he could beat Triple G,” said Garcia.
It’s hard to figure out what Ward can do differently than last time to beat Kovalev in a more convincing manner. Ward couldn’t do much when there was separation from the two fighters, because Kovalev had the better jab and far superior boxing skills from the distance. The only thing that Ward could do was grab Kovalev and bend him into a pretzel in close. Ward was holding and using his clinching to win. You’re not supposed to win fights by clinching, but that’s what we saw. I think Ward is going to go straight back to that style against Kovalev because it worked last time. The judges gave Ward rounds based on holding for the most part, and the referee was missing in action with him not taking points off for the holding.