When Mayweather-McGregor was announced Twitter exploded and mainstream news outlets such as BBC who cover boxing with modest interest, announced it as “BREAKING NEWS!” A newsflash which is usually deserving of the biggest and most important stories.
With that being said there is a massive fight approaching. Not the one between two foul-mouthed, egotist, mercenaries who would be willing to mug a pensioner to be in possession of a $5 note. It’s one that pits the two best pound for pound fighters in the world against each other for the second time to settle a grudge match with significance.
Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward 2 will take place this weekend. The first fight was named ‘Pound For Pound’ due to the consensus view that the winner will sit atop the mythical pound for pound rankings. It was an entertaining and intense chess match which ended in controversy in Ward’s favour. With that bout shrouded in doubt the two have agreed to do it again. Kovalev has been incensed over the verdict, frothing at the mouth and indulging in mental masturbation at the thought of exacting sweet revenge in the most punishing manner. Ward has been convinced of his victory in the first bout, determined to silence his critics and opponent by this time attempting to claim a less disputed victory in the rematch.
This is the type of fight that boxing fans crave and casual fans have their heads turned towards. Two tremendously skilled fighters at the peak of their powers. Kovalev, the bruising boxer puncher capable of systematically delivering beat downs in a brilliantly brutal manner. Ward, a defensive technician with great grit, an unfathomable winning mentality and a capability to neutralise even the most heavily armed of foes.
The blood shed in the ring will be worthwhile to these warriors whose rivalry has reached boiling point and has spilt outside of the squared circle. A mutual resentment has developed with Kovalev outwardly expressing his disdain and a lack of respect towards Ward, with some suggesting that his slurs have also been racist. ‘Son Of God’, Ward hasn’t been on his most saintly behaviour by shunning Team Kovalev and skipping the HBO Face-off show, leaving his opponent jilted at the studios after spending great time and money to be there.
As if the personal rivalry was not enough to get the juices flowing, there’s also the national rivalry as Andre Ward plays the well spoken, Olympic Gold Medal winning American and Sergey Kovalev is the bad-ass Russian wrecking ball; his broken English only adding to his menace. They are the perfect characters befitting of a story that could provide the narrative of the next Rocky film.
This fight should be an easy sell to the public but the biggest challenge for this event, has been the dreadful lack of effort by both Team Ward and Kovalev in promoting themselves. If they can learn one thing from Mayweather and McGregor, it should be the art of promotion. Like selling fools gold, they’ve managed to trick the public into believing that their event is going to be an unmissable super-fight. Really, what you have is a retired boxer 10 years removed from his best and an albeit talented but deluded MMA fighter conning the public in aid of elevating their bank balances and expanding their egos.
Mayweather-McGregor is a shambolic money grab, bound to leave a sour taste in our mouths. But if I was to tell you that an American and Russian will go toe to toe in a genuinely heated rivalry, would you be interested? A fight that stirs hatred and passion of the protagonists in equal measures, whilst they pursue the ultimate status in boxing. Surely that should provide enough ingredients to create a fiery, fistic feast that will leave the public scraping their plates and demanding more world-class boxing. Kovalev-Ward 2 is the fight that deserves the hype, under the glare of bright lights, they can give a super fight to satisfy the fans and illuminate the sport of boxing in a way that it deserves.