I don't know what kind of music Sergey Kovalev is coming out to [for his ring walk to combat with Andre Ward], but Rihanna's dark-sexy “You Needed Me” blasting through T-Mobile Arena on Nov 19 in Las Vegas, just might work.
The enigmatic Ward is a black talent adjacent to that of a great jazz singer on a hip-hop radio station. Sorta like a “We appreciate you ‘n all, but ehhh…” vibe among urban hipsters, which has a lot to do with Ward himself over the last five years.
He showed all of his skills during Barack Obama's first presidency, while Kovalev has been a tyrannical Vladimir Putin during the second term. Operating like a Bond “007” villain behind a personality disorder with an evil accent, Kovalev has been the more dominant and more entertaining fighter during this stretch. In HBO's new ‘shit or get off the pot' period, that matters.
But what matters for Ward is that he appeals to the refined tastes of ROC Nation's Jay-Z and the empire that is Michael Jordan. They believe Kovalev will force classic Rhythm & Bruise out of Ward, while knowing he can be drowned out by the mighty Russian's Heavy Metal.
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“I don't like bullies.”
Well before Andre Ward stated the above in reference to Kovalev– who essentionally went ‘barefoot and pregnant' on 2016 gold medalist Claressa Shields (and ape t-shirt on WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson), the “Son of God” beat the holy ghost out of Chad Dawson in 10 commanding rounds.
But then, Ward saw “Superman” Lex Luthor Dawson in less than a round, right in front of his HBO commentating seat. He issued a direct challenge to Ward in the ring on that June 2013 night, which resulted in Andre's refusal of baptism under light heavyweight waters.
Seeking a “Money” fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and viewing Stevenson as too much risk for the reward, Ward passed on a mega-fight which could've occurred on September 28, 2013 (HBO reserved that date for Ward), approximately two weeks after “Mayweather vs. Canelo: The One”. It would've given him the type of spotlight he'll have on Nov 19th, in the biggest fight of his legendary career.
He needed Sergey Kovalev.
Ward will probably battle Kovalev the same way he did Dawson, but will it work and can he get away with it? Without the speed, movement and power he posessed at 168, can he ‘Floyd Mayweather' Kovalev at 175?
“More than rich, more than famous, more than happy, I wanted to be great.”