Boxing Snippets

‘No Excuses’ as SuperSport goes all out for Vegas mega-fight

The mutual dislike of light-heavyweight boxers Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev could fuel this weekend’s rematch in Las Vegas.

The action will be broadcast live on SuperSport 5 from 3am on Sunday.

In the seven months since their first fight, Kovalev has been stewing over the result, a narrow points win for the American that was hotly disputed. He threw himself into a brutal training regime and when he wasn’t doing that, he was shouting his mouth off at the man who inflicted his first defeat.

The buildup to a fight labelled “No Excuses” has been predictably spiky. Kovalev is said to have been testy with even his own trainer, former champion John David Jackson, and barbs have been flying between the two fight camps.

Kovalev exercised his right to a rematch days after losing his light-heavyweight belts and has vowed to avenge the single blot on his record. “I will finish [Ward’s] boxing career because like, right now, I’m already in a corner and I don’t have like another way except like get a victory over him. It’s a necessary victory,” said the Russian.

Ward prevailed via his ability to recover and boxer smart for 12 rounds in their first bout. Despite getting dropped early, he rallied well and forced much of the action down the stretch.

Despite his excellence – he hasn’t lost since the age of 12 – Ward is often portrayed as a villain, a narrative formed by his refusal to venture out of America, his frequent long ring absences and his seeming preference for style over substance.

In essence, this fight for the WBA, IBF and WBO titles pits Kovalev’s power against the refined skills of one of the best fighters in the world. Ward is one of the best pure boxers in the game, but as Kovalev showed in the first fight, he can be hit – and hurt – and even outboxed, as we saw in some rounds last November.

Ward has opened as a slight favourite with the bookmakers, but Kovalev is a vicious puncher. A single punch can blow a hole in the odds – and in Ward.

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