Two of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet meet with Sergey Kovalev defending his WBA, WBO and IBF world light heavyweight titles against Andre Ward on Saturday 19 November in Las Vegas.
Where to watch
It's another big Vegas fight, which means a late night for UK viewers. Kovalev vs Ward is available to watch live on Sky Sports 1 with their broadcast beginning at 02:00 in the early hours of Sunday morning. The main event itself is not expected to get underway until 04:00 at the earliest.
Getting a fight pitting two of the world's best against each other can be hard work these days. The seemingly simple task of agreeing on a fight the entire planet wants to see doesn't happen often enough, with sporting politics, personal animosities and the almighty dollar often complicating matters. Often, the best case scenario is that it takes years to finalise – see Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao which was six years in the making.
But in Kovalev vs Ward, we have it. Since taking the WBO light heavyweight title from Nathan Cleverly back in 2013, the hard-hitting Russian has been untouchable in his weight class, dismantling Jean Pascal twice and punishing the evergreen Bernard Hopkins along the way. A technical draw with Grover Young in 2011 is the only blemish on an otherwise flawless CV, which is also marked by a fearsome knockout ratio of 84%. While Kovalev is not limited to power, it's his ability to tear through his opponents that has seen him rise to the summit and poses the biggest threat to Ward.
Ward meanwhile is now perhaps the most polished technician in the boxing game since the retirement of Floyd Mayweather Jnr. The Californian has already taken down all before him as a super-middleweight, defeating Carl Froch and the only other man to stop the Briton in Mikkel Kessler. His sights are now on conquering at 175lbs. The 32-year-old swept past Alexander Brand in a warm-up fight at his new weight in August while barely breaking a sweat, but his unrivalled skillset will be put to its sternest test on Saturday as he attempts to pick apart the more powerful Kovalev.
What they've said
Kovalev: "I have never won big fights just doing one thing, being one-dimensional. I typically do the opposite of what people think I am going to do.
"We have a game plan and the bottom line is making the necessary adjustments. You have to be able to adjust on the fly and that is what the great ones do."
Ward: I want to take him places he's never been before. I don't like bullies, I don't advocate bullying and I've never been bullied, and that's not going to change in this fight.
"They are going to realise it's not what they thought it was going to be. He's going to be taken to places he's never been before. [via Sky Sports]
Kovalev: 31 fights, 30 wins (26 via knockout), 1 draw, 0 losses
- (W) Isaac Chilemba – unanimous decision – July 2016
- (W) Jean Pascal – referee technical decision – January 2016
- (W) Nadjib Mohammedi – technical knockout – July 2015
Ward: 30 fights, 30 wins (15 via knockout), 0 losses
- (W) Alexander Brand – unanimous decision – August 2016
- (W) Sullivan Barrera – unanimous decision – March 2016
- (W) Paul Smith – technical knockout – June 2015
Kovalev win: 5/4
Ward win: 5/6
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