Ward v Kovalev II (Vol. 2): Anti-‘S.O.G.’



Ward v Kovalev II (Vol. 2): Anti-‘S.O.G.’
There are those who do not believe in God.

As far as the boxing world is concerned, on June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Andre Ward will be facing the Antichrist. Sergey Kovalev will be an atheist when the bell rings and does not believe that “S.O.G” can walk on water, especially after (according to him) not having any business walking away with his light heavyweight belts last November 16.

Now, more than six months removed from their epic encounter at T-Mobile Arena, the “Krusher” will attempt to drown the Son of God in the name of justice.

“One fighter is angry and hungry. I want to prove he's not a real champion– he's a paper champion,” said Kovalev, during the 2nd installment of HBO's 24/7 preview. Just when you think this award-winning series from the “Network of Champions” can't get any better, guess again. It is both riveting drama and breathtaking production at its finest, showcasing the fighters in the elements they call their own. I happened to see the show immediately after Kovalev's international media call on Tuesday, just days after a visit to Ward's training camp near Oakland last Friday.

Armed with visual and verbal data that formed the basis of “(Vol. 1): Warning” and Ward's own physical preparation to produce a most unholy baptism, imagining Kovalev defeating Ward in the sequel became very difficult. That is, until I saw the HBO show and listened to him speak during the conference call. Then, I remembered my scorecard of the first fight: 59-54, Kovalev after six rounds; plus I gave him the 10th- which I thought he clearly won; thus, in my opinion, he clearly won the first fight fight. Barely.

I tend to believe that Andre solved Kovalev over the last 1/2 of that fight and will beat him decisively this time. I'm even rooting for him to do that (You're naive if you believe media members don't have rooting interests. Please.), just as I've wanted to stare at my scorecard long enough to alter the numbers.

I can't.

But this time, Kovalev will have to alter the number of combinations he throws at Ward- and how. He may have also needed to put a combination lock on parts of his anatomy. Much has been made of his physical conditioning and bad habits (such as alleged drinking and disregarding the boxing tradition of not having sex during training camp), habits said to have contributed to a lack of conditioning over the 2nd half of the fight.

Habits, said to have been leaked by none other than John David Jackson, Kovalev's lead trainer, who may or may not have (depending on whom you believe) made overtures to join Ward's camp as an adversary of Kovalev. Who knows? Jackson, for his part, debunked or down played the whole situation near the end of the media call, but did acknowledge “we had talks.”

Kovalev, with a new Russian conditioning trainer to better manage his fitness and perhaps functional dysfunction with Jackson has raised his figurative pitchfork and is tired of ‘all the bullshit from their whole team.' The villainous former world champion promises vengeance and a one-sided Cold War on the 17th. Then, he will aim to destroy Adonis “Superman” Stevenson.

“Where is ‘Krusher' he (Ward) asked? He will see him. I'm going to beat the shit out of this arrogant bastard,” said Kovalev, from his Oxnard camp last week. “He is not God.”

Speak of the Devil and he shall appear.

Senior correspondent for NY Fights and author of upcoming book, "The Fist Club." Conscious indie recording artist "T@z" and humanist advocate for the Green Party.