Drenched in sweat and dancing inside of an empty ring, Andre Ward looks ready. Ready not only to silence the critics, but also his opponent, Sergey Kovalev — again.
On Tuesday, one day prior to Ward’s public workout, Kovalev (30-1-1) told reporters his plans for the highly anticipated rematch:
“I want to destroy him. I want to destroy this guy as a boxer, as a champion… For me, he is not a champion, he’s a fake champion. He lives right now with this status; he’s a fake champion.”
Two weeks and a day before the pair square off at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas Saturday, June 17, Ward addressed Kovalev’s statements on Friday as he was asked about Kovalev “tugging on Superman’s cape.”
Ward (31-0) responded by saying:
“He’s definitely barking up the wrong tree. … If you’re going to talk smack, just come wit’ it. Like enough where I can at least respect it.”
“I want him to be as mad as he can be, I really do… Get mad. I want you to get as mad as you can get. And it’s going to get worse and worse and worse. Round by round by round.”
Much of Kovalev’s animosity towards Ward stems from the first time these two fighters met in the ring. The 12-round fight last November ended in controversy, as Ward emerged victorious by unanimous decision despite being knocked down for the second time in his career.
Ward acknowledged this and says that he wants to win in a more convincing fashion this time around:
“The first fight was a great fight. I just didn’t want to win like that. But I want to win in a different kind of way.”
Considering that critics have discredited Ward’s last victory over Kovalev, the pressure now falls on Ward to come out and win the rematch in decisive fashion. And by the looks of things, Ward looks ready to go.
Footwork, hand speed and mobility looked to be on schedule as Ward only engaged in a light session of shadow-boxing in a seldom-occupied ring. Dancing to music, Ward posed for photographers and seemed to be in a good place from a mental standpoint.
The chiseled Ward appeared to be in phenomenal shape and was only a few pounds over the required 175-pound weight limitat the beginning of the workout. A ceiling mounted heater helped take care of that, as the reigning light heavyweight champion left the Hayward facility just under weight.
With only 15 days until the fight, all systems are a go for the Ward camp. With a title defense in mind, Ward expects sparks to fly in the rematch but is ready to silence the outside noise, including Kovalev:
“He’s really going to be unnerved after this fight. If you think he’s unnerved now, Wait ‘til June 17.”