Andre Ward cannot do a better job in the rematch against Sergey Kovalev than he did last time, says Kovalev’s trainer John David Jackson. Kovalev lost to Ward by a 12 round unanimous decision last November in a fight that fans largely disagreed with the outcome. There was one point that separated the two fighters on all three of the judges’ scorecards.
Ward won the fight with the judges scoring it 114-113, 114-113 and 114-113. Jackson doesn’t believe that Ward can increase his punch output in a rematch with Kovalev. That would be the one area where Ward would need the most improvement in his game. Jackson notes that Kovalev’s main problem was him fading down the stretch in the second half of the fight. He plans on working on Kovalev’s conditioning to make sure he doesn’t tire out again. Jackson also plans on having Kovalev throw more body punches next time. That’s an area that Kovalev didn’t work on in the fight. He was focusing a lot on throwing head shots, and missing quite a bit.
Jackson said this to fightype.com about the Ward-Kovalev rematch:
“If he wants to retire, then there’s probably a certain reason why he’s thinking that,” said Jackson about Ward. “I can’t see what’s in his head. I’d rather see the rematch. It may or may not happen. If he retires, then Sergey fights somebody else for the vacant belt. What can Ward really do better in the second fight? If he punches more, then he’s going to have to open himself up to getting countered. He can’t throw more punches. If he throws more volume, he’s going to open himself up. On the other hand, Sergey can do a lot of things better than he did in the first fight. His conditioning can be a lot better.
Ward is not likely to retire like he’s been hinting of doing. He made $5 million for the Kovalev fight on November 19. Ward could make considerably more in a second fight. He’s not going to retire and not get another big payday.
“He kind of faded down the stretch,” said Jackson about Kovalev tiring in the second half of the fight. “He can cut off the ring a lot better, and go to the body a little bit more. There are things he can do that will make things a lot easier for him. Sergey can gain more in the rematch than Ward. He can improve a lot more than Ward. I had it 9-3, 8-4 [for Kovalev]. Sergey won most of the first six rounds. Sergey had it 5-1 after 6. He [Ward] ran the first six rounds, Ward ran. He ran. In the second half, he started to fight, but he definitely didn’t win the fight,” said Jackson.