Ward (30-0-0, 15 KOs), an Olympic gold medalist and undefeated with 15 knockouts, will be welcomed to Las Vegas and the T-Mobile Arena for the first time by Kovalev.
Kovalev sat down with Larry King on Nov. 2 for an interview on Ora.TV about the matchup in Oxnard, California.
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Kovalev was careful to show respect for Ward in the interview, refusing to predict how the fight would go, and acknowledging the accomplishments of Ward.
Kovalev, with his 84 percent knockout rate, is considered to have the power advantage in the fight. Canadian fight fans will remember Kovalev traveling to Montreal and bullying hometown hero Jean Pascal twice. The rematch was particularly dominant, as Kovalev’s power forced Pascal’s trainer Freddie Roach to throw in the towel in the seventh round.
“It’s new motivation for me. In my important fights, I fought as a guest in other countries since amateur ages, and I like when I disappoint everybody. It makes me happy.”
According to the experts, Ward is considered the better technical boxer, with better movement, and footwork. But he has been rather ordinary in his last three fights since returning from a two-year layoff. Still, it’s no surprise oddsmakers like Bodog favour the higher-profile Ward at -130 (versus even for Kovalev) , who is also a fight analyst for HBO.
“It’s new motivation for me,” Kovalev said in response to his underdog status. “In my important fights, I fought as a guest in other countries since amateur ages, and I like when I disappoint everybody. It makes me happy.”
Then there is the question of Ward’s previously injured shoulder. Kovalev’s trainer, John David Jackson, has been quoted saying Kovalev will target Ward’s shoulder.
The question of Canadian Adonis Stevenson (28-1-0, 23 KOs) still looms though.
— Dan Buffa (@buffa82) January 31, 2016
Stevenson, the WBC light heavyweight champion, has said in interviews he wants to fight the winner of Kovalev-Ward, but has been accused of not fighting top-ranked opponents.
The fight takes place Nov. 19 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.