Boxing’s pound-for-pound title on the line in super fight

2016-11-17 06:01

Given boxing’s often fiendish machinations, it is rare that two fighters at the very peak of their craft pit their wills against each other.

But there’s a fantastic exception in Las Vegas this weekend as light-heavyweights Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward put their unbeaten records and luminous reputations on the line.

The action will be broadcast live from the US on SuperSport 5 from 4am.

Kovalev is a multiple title belt holder, having cut a swathe through the division since relocating to the US from Russia in 2009.

He’s a formidable puncher whose concussive power has seen him put 26 of 31 opponents to sleep. He’s not one-dimensional, though, as his superb exhibition against Bernard Hopkins in 2014 demonstrated. He has a loose, natural rhythm and is able to adapt his game-plan according to circumstances.

Fight fans love punchers and the Russian has used this talent to win over international audiences who appreciate his explosive style.

Ward is a much different fighting animal. He’s a technician of the highest order, a bigger version of Floyd Mayweather, and uses his boxing smarts to dominate the opposition. He’s never come close to defeat as a professional fighter and has beaten a range of formidable foes, among them Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler and Chad Dawson. He does so with a range of skills and instincts that put him in a class all his own. After dominating the super-middleweight division, he moved up to light-heavyweight last year with an eye on Kovalev’s scalp.

A former Olympic champion, Ward is said to have last lost a fight at the age of 12, which gives some indication of the dominance he has enjoyed. This bout, then, is a clear boxer versus fighter gambol, where raw power is matched against acute skills. Early betting is with Ward, based on his outstanding defence and fast hands, although few are reckoning on some of his faculties having slowed. He is 32, after all, and hasn’t been matched tough since his fight against Froch six years ago. Kovalev is unlikely to outbox the American, notwithstanding his team’s belief that he has the arsenal to do so. The undercard includes SA-based Malawian Isaac Chilemba against unbeaten Ukrainian Oleksandr Gvozdyk.

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