ANDRE WARD VS. SERGEY KOVALEV – VICTOR O. GARCIA PREVIEW & WEIGH-IN
By: Victor O. Garcia
Las Vegas, Nevada (June 16, 2017) — 7 months ago, we witness the two-top light heavyweight fighters go one-on-one in front of thousands of fans inside the T-Mobile Arena. The outcome was a huge disappointment for and for the other it was the biggest victory of his career. Undefeated light heavyweight champion Andre “SOG” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) will defend his WBO, WBA, and IBF light heavyweight titles for the first time, when he faces the former light heavyweight champion Sergey “ Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) in a highly anticipated rematch. The mega-fight that failed to be promoted as a mega-fight, will be televised Live on HBO PPV, Saturday, June 17, 2017. From the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The outcome of the first fight was a controversial decision that went in favor to the American fighter Andre Ward. Sergey Kovalev felt the fight was a robbery and has promised to leave the judges out of it.
“I don’t care if [Ward] shows respect to me or not. I know only one thing: I will kick his ass! I want to destroy him. I want to destroy this guy as a boxer, as a champion. For me he is not a champion, he’s a fake champion. He lives right now with this status; he’s a fake champion. He believes in his victory over me and right now he’s trying to get belief of people of this victory. It’s wrong, for me, it’s wrong.” Said Kovalev
“I thought I won the fight by at least two rounds. But at the end of the day, there’s close rounds that you can call a swing round. I don’t know how this individual is judging the round or how they feel about it but if you look at the scorecards, I think the judges did a tremendous job because they were on one accord.” Said Ward, during the media conference call.
Now the two will face each other once again and have shown tremendous enmity for one another. The anger has grown and grown as the fighters got closer to fight night. During the final press conference, Sergey Kovalev walked out after stating the following,
“What do you wanna hear from me? I already said enough. And I will prove it June 17 in the ring,” Kovalev then pointed his finger at Ward and said, “And you—get prepared.”
The weigh-in on Friday was a heated one. The last stare down —after both fighter hit the scales— was intense. The animosity was felt and was seen in the eyes of both fighters. Come Saturday night, the world’s top-fighters will go head-to-head to settle their dispute and make no excuses after the outcome.
Rigondeaux vs Flores
In the co-main event the return of the undefeated Cuban sensation Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) will go face-to-face with undefeated WBA interim Super Bantamweight champion Moises “Chucky” Flores (25-0, 17 KOs), who has won 7 of his last 10 fights via knockout.
The fight is scheduled for 12-rounds and it is for the WBA Super World Super Bantamweight title and the IBO Super Bantamweight Title.
Guillermo Rigondeaux —one of the greatest amateur boxers of all time— has only fought twice in the last two years. His return is an exciting one and is definitely a tough one.
“I can’t wait for Saturday night. The Mexican boxing community is going to be out there and every Mexican is ready for war, so we’re ready to put on a spectacular fight on Saturday. I believe my preparation has always been excellent and the Cuban school of boxing has always been something I’ve focused on. I believe, on Saturday, June 17, it will be shown. I train for one boxer at a time and when it comes, it comes. You just train hard all the time. No boxer intimidates me in any way. [Flores] is a good boxer and I’m impressed by his style, but I’m not intimidated by anyone. It’s a God-given gift to move [the way I do] in the ring and have the reflexes I have. It just kicks in. I go to work when I step into the ring.” Said Rigondeaux.
“[My reach and height] is definitely an advantage. We’re definitely going to use that advantage – we just need to use it the right way. His age will play a part in [the fight], so we need to take advantage of it and my youth. But I’m sure he’s done his job in the ring and in the gym. But so have I. I think it will be one of the toughest fights of my career because of his boxing style. He operates from a distance, his legs are strong and he’s intelligent. He doesn’t have the same speed he once had, but he’s still fast. We just need to attack him and trap him. I think my boxing style can slow him down.” Said Flores.
Interim WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (10-0, 8 KOs) takes on Cedric Agnew (29-2, 17 KOs)
In the press conference, Bivol said, “I never really try to set the main goal of knocking somebody out. Obviously, I want to showcase a good, exciting fight. I will be looking for openings and if there are openings I will use as many of them as I can. Hopefully, I can try to finish the fight earlier but I am ready to go the full ten rounds if I have to.”
“I think he is a pretty tough competitor but that goes without saying because everyone is a tough competitor. My thing is to overcome what I am dealing with that night and to impose my will on him and come out with the victory. It is going to be an all-out war. I am just trying to take it to him the whole fight. The things they say about him [Bivol] are the same things they said about Kovalev. I didn’t run from Kovalev. I can take a hit. I just need to stand in there and try to overcome that storm for the first few rounds and stay focused, stay grounded and stay ready.” Said Agnew.
Luis Arias (17-0, 8 KOs) takes on Arig Magomedov (18-1, 11 KOs) in a middleweight showdown.
“[Magomedov] has a good record. He has the best record that I’ve fought so far. I honestly don’t feel like he’ll be my toughest opponent. But like I said, we’ll have to wait and see. He’s coming off a loss; he got dominated by an opponent. He’s fighting an undefeated champion, who is very confident and strong. Had the best camp I ever had. We’ll just have to wait and see. If he’s willing to take it, I’m willing to dish it out for 10 rounds but it will be over before then. We’ll find out Saturday night.” Said Arias
“He’s a very good boxer; he never had a loss and I watched a lot of his fights. I saw the video on the internet about him and he’s very fast and a very tough guy. I think he is one of the best opponents I ever had. Anybody who saw my fights on the internet probably tell that I’m going all the time straight, I give a lot of power punches and I’m doing a lot of combinations all the time.” Said Magomedov.
|Andre “S.O.G.” Ward||Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev|
|31-0, 15 KOs||30-1-1, 26 KOs|
|Oakland, California||Chelyabinsk, Russia|
|Weight: 175, Trunks: Red/WHT/BLK||Weight: 175, Black/Platinum|
|Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux||Moises “Chucky” Flores|
|17-0, 11 KOs||25-0, 17 KOs|
|Santiago De Cuba, Cuba||Guadalajara, Mexico|
|Weight: 121.5, Trunks: BLK/Red||Weight: 122, Trunks: WHT/GRN/Red|
|Dmitry Bivol||Cedric “L.O.W.” Agnew|
|10-0, 8 KOs||29-2, 15 KOs|
|St. Petersburg, Russia||Chicago, IL|
|Weight: 174.5, Trunks: BLK/Flag||Weight: 175, Trunks: BLK/GLD|
|Luis “Cuba” Arias||Arif “The Predator” Magomedov|
|17-0, 8 KOs||18-1, 11 KOs|
|Milwaukee, Wisconsin||Kizlyar, Russia|
|Weight: 160, Trunks: WHT/BLK||Weight: 159.75, Trunks: Red/GLD|
|Junior “The Young God” Younan||Zoltan Sera|
|11-0, 8 KOs||28-12, 19 KOs|
|Brooklyn, New York||Budapest, Hungary|
|Weight: 170.5, Trunks: BLK/WHT||Weight: 170.5, Trunks: BLK/Blue|
|Vaughn “The Animal” Alexander||Fabiano Pena|
|9-0, 6 KOs||16-7-1, 13 KOs|
|St. Louis, Missouri||Chiapas, Mexico|
|Weight: 161, Trunks: 161||Weight: 166, WHT/Red|
|Tramaine “Mighty Midget” Williams||Christopher Martin|
|10-0, 3 KOs||30-8-3, 10 KOs|
|New Haven, Connecticut||San Diego, California|
|Weight: 124.5||Weight: 125.75, Trunks: Black|
|John Bauza||Brandon “Bam” Sanudo|
|6-0, 3 KOs||5-4, 2 KOs|
|North Bergen, New Jersey||San Felipe, Mexico|
|Weight: 143||Weight: 144, Trunks: WHT/BLK|
|Bakhram Murtazaliev||Alex Sandro Duarte|
|8-0, 6 KOs||6-0, 4 KOs|
|Grozny, Russia||Sao Paulo, Brazil|
|Weight: 159.5, Trunks: Black||Weight:159, Trunks: BLK/GRN|
|Enriko Gogokhia||Jonathan Steele|
|4-0, 2 KOs||7-0, 5 KOs|
|Weight: 146.5, Trunks: Red/WHT||Weight: 146, Trunks: GLD/BLK/Re|