The fight will be televised live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Price TBA.
Fight fans celebrated with the announcement of one of the most significant fights to be made in recent times, as “S.O.G.” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) returns to championship action– after a two-year layoff due to a contractual dispute– to claim what many believe rightfully belongs to him: the top spot of the mythical pound-for-pound list.
Standing between him and securing his legacy in the sport: “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs), one of today’s most feared and ferocious sluggers who has been waiting for Ward to shake off the ring rust and stand opposite him in the squared circle.
“I think he is ready,” said Kovalev after watching Ward’s most recent fight from ringside. “I am ready too, I just want to say, let’s do it November 19 on HBO.”
Early Odds and Favorite to Win
Andre Ward enters a slight favorite on online sportsbooks and Vegas (see the early odds below), but these numbers are merely academic in what is truly a pick’em that pits Kovalev’s power and boxing skills against Ward’s tactical counter-punching.
“I have been doing this for 22 years and if I am not ready to fight the best now then I will never be ready,” said Ward. “You got to respect Sergey for the way he has gotten to where he has gotten. He didn’t have any soft touches. He wasn’t protected. He wasn’t really pushed by the media. He is a guy who should get a lot more credit than he has.”
Let’s take a look at how the bookies are calling it:
bet365: Sergey Kovalev +130 Andre Ward -162
skyBET: Sergey Kovalev +150 Andre Ward -110
Boyle Sports: Sergey Kovalev +137 Andre Ward -110
bwin: Sergey Kovalev +142 Andre Ward -125
At once at heavy-handed wreaking machine and a savvy ring strategist, Sergey Kovalev, 33 years old, was last in action decisioning Isaac Chilemba in July. Prior to the Chilemba fight, the undefeated Kovalev, who was born in Kopeysk, Russia but fights out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida had brutally beat down Jean Pascal to a seventh-round stopped in January and knocked out Nadjib Mohammedi in July of last year. With 26 of his 30 victories coming by way of stoppage, Kovalev wields an 84% knockout ration.
Andre Ward, 32, of San Francisco, California, made his last ring appearance easily disposing of Alexander Brand with a one-sided decision win. Going into the Brand encounter, Ward has defeated Sullivan Barrera, and Paul Smith. Ward, 2004 Olympic gold medalist, has been a top rated pound-for-pound fighter since 2011 and hold wins over Chad Dawson, Carl Froch, and Mikkel Kessler.