Trainer Virgil Hunter believes that his fighter IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Andre “SOG” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) is going to beat Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) in their rematch in 2017, because he doesn’t see the Russian fighter as capable of making adjustments to get him the victory.
Ward beat Kovalev by a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 114-113 last November on the 19th. The scores were close, but Hunter feels that the boxing world didn’t see the best of Ward in that fight. When he faces Kovalev a second time, he’ll be better and ready to improve upon the last performance he put in.
Hunter said to Fighthype.com this about the Ward vs. Kovalev fight:
“As far as what’s going to happen in the next fight, that Sergey is going to knock him out and Andre can’t get any better, I think he’s going to be in for a rude awakening,” said Hunter about Jackson’s perceptions on the rematch between Kovalev and Ward. “You didn’t see the best of Andre in that fight.”
Kovlev is going to be trying different things. He obviously knows that if he lets Ward move around on the outside, he’s going to be landing his jabs and catching the attention of the judges. Kovalev cannot fight Ward like that a second time, because it won’t work. Kovalev will need to come forward and throw a lot of punches. That’s what Kovalevl failed to do last November against Ward, which is why he failed to get the results he wanted to. Kovalev will also need to be prepared for all the inside wrestling that Ward will be doing in the rematch. You can expect Ward to be holding and mauling a lot more from the very start of the fight.
“You didn’t see how good he was,” said Hunter about Ward in his fight against Kovalev. “You saw who he was in that fight. No, Sergey cannot make any more adjustments. Anything that he tries is going to be new to him and it’s simply not going to work. It’s going to make him think, and if he has to think, he’s going to be a sitting duck. A rematch will not be anywhere near this kind of fight. No way.”
Hunter doesn’t know what’s going to happen in the rematch. He can speculate, but it could go against Ward if Kovalev makes some minor tweaks to his game. Ward did not look good. If Hunter believes that Ward was shining ast time, then he’s kidding himself. Ward looked old, and he appeared to be winning by tying Kovalev up. It was a strategy that was ugly to watch, but it was all Ward had. It was 12 rounds of spoiling from Ward, and it produced a win that was far from a clear victory for him. Ward can’t do much more than he did last time, because he’s too old at this point. Ward has to win the same way he did last time by mauling for 12 rounds.
I don’t see Ward going too much longer in his boxing career before he suffers his first defeat. Unless Ward’s promoters have him milk his titles for a while after a second fight against Koavalev, I think Ward is going to lose to someone.