Kovalev’s One Weakness Cost Him Three Titles

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#KovalevWard Round 2 Knockdown

In the aftermath of the #KovalevWard super fight which took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the controversial decision is still being discussed. Although Andre ‘S.O.G.’ Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) started the fight slowly and was dropped in round 2, he managed to come back by winning the battle on the inside and slowing Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev (30-1, 26 KOs) down with vicious body shots. Both fighters showed championship pedigree but only one fighter had a major flaw exposed. The fighter, Kovalev. The major flaw, infighting. Krusher’s ineptitude in this area is the reason he lost three titles in the same night.

Kovalev has no inside game and no answer for an opponent who uses it against him. After the fight his team complained about Ward doing a lot of holding, but in reality it was the other way around. “He did just a jab and grab me. Jab, and grab me,” said Kovalev. Instead of fighting his way out of a clinch or working inside the clinch, he tried to hold Ward’s arms while he waited for the referee to break them apart. However, Robert Byrd, the referee, allowed them to work on the inside since both fighters had one arm free and stayed busy.

Andre was smart in that way . . . he suffocated Sergey’s long range punching power.

In most instances Ward was digging to the body while Kovalev looked towards Robert Byrd for help. Everyone knows Ward is crafty on the inside, did Krusher overlook this? Apparently his trainer did. “We kind of fell into Andre’s trap and started doing the wrestling, holding, grabbing, and fighting on the inside. Andre was smart in that way . . . he suffocated Sergey’s long range punching power. We just have to work on those things and Sergey’s inside game a little bit more so he doesn’t succumb to that,” said John David Jackson.

Seriously?

 

 

If Kovalev plans to win the rematch he better become adept at fighting on the inside because that’s exactly where Ward will be for the sequel. Also, his trainer needs to do a better job of getting him prepared. The fact that Kovalev isn’t a pressure fighter plays into Ward’s hand and allows him to set the pace of the fight and do  things on his own terms. Although it took Ward several rounds to figure out the timing of Kovalev and the velocity of his punches, the rematch should play out like the second half of the first fight. “He has a reputation of being the Krusher but on the inside he was the kitten,” Virgil Hunter said.

[Sergey] can’t change who he is and John David Jackson does not know how to make adjustments for him.

It would be great to see more dimensions added to Krusher’s game like infighting and the ability to cut the ring off. Kovalev is used to fighters cowering in the ring once they feel his power but it’s obvious Ward is resilient and up for a challenge.”[Sergey] can’t change who he is and John David Jackson does not know how to make adjustments for him,” Virgil Hunter continued. This couldn’t be more true. Jackson never told Kovalev to make any adjustments during the fight and he watched him fight the same fight for 12 rounds even as he got out boxed in the championship rounds.