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Saturday, 17 June 2017

Boxing Picks 2017- Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev (June 17th)

In a week when the 'super-fight' between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor was announced, the hardcore boxing fan will know a true 'super-fight' is being displayed this weekend as we get to see Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev go at it for a second time.

The controversy from the ending of the first fight which saw Ward pick himself off the canvas to secure a Unanimous Decision has bothered Kovalev ever since the scores were announced. After threatening to retire, Ward did eventually come to the right decision to offer the former unbeaten Champion a chance for revenge and this should be another barnstormer.

I mentioned Mayweather vs McGregor which has been scheduled for Saturday 26th August and I can understand the anger from some in the boxing fraternity. If you love boxing you know this is nothing like the competitive fight that some are suggesting and Mayweather should win easily, likely by stoppage as McGregor tires and is outboxed.

While this isn't the big fight like we have seen throughout 2017, it is a huge event which is likely to put together a decent undercard for the fans to enjoy.

The main event is just that... An event.

And I won't say 'I refuse to watch this circus show' which has been a line I have seen repeated over the last few days. Instead I will watch for the event that it is, and just accept that the two participants have got together to make a lot of money and I can't criticise them for that. Enough people still believe McGregor is going to 'shake up the world', but this would be the biggest upset in any sport if an amateur is able to beat Mayweather despite the two year absence from the ring the 40 year old has had.

First things first, let's get on with the picks from the really competitive fights where two pros are taking on one another.


Tyron Zeuge vs Paul Smith
I like Paul Smith and it would be nice to see him fulfil his dream of being called a World Champion.

However I do think Smith's best days are behind him and I would not be surprised if he was to call it a day at the end of this latest effort to win a World Title.

This is the third time Smith has been given an opportunity to win a World Title, but he has been picked by Tyron Zeuge who is the WBA 'regular' Champion after stopping Giovanni De Carolis and defending the belt once already. Zeuge's team have picked Smith as the chance to show their man is ready to really compete with the very best Super-Middleweight fighters out there and the fact that he is taking on a British fighter may make it easier to create a fight with the likes of James DeGale, George Groves and Callum Smith, Paul's brother who has his own World Title shot in September.

Groves is the 'Super' Champion of the WBA strap and is promoted by the same Sauerland brothers that the 'Super' Champion is which makes that a potentially easy fight to arrange.

For Zeuge to be mentioned alongside those bigger names in the Division, he will have to match the stoppages DeGale, Groves and Andre Ward have had against Smith. There is no doubting the toughness of Smith, but Joe Gallagher protects his fighters and I would not be surprised to see a situation where he prevents Paul Smith from taking too much punishment later in the fight.

I think that is going to be the outcome and a late stoppage for the home fighter to announce himself on this stage. Paul Smith has been stopped when stepped up a level and while I am not sure Zeuge is quite there, I think he will force the stoppage at some point either via referee or corner.


Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev
Anyone who is serious about boxing and looking to the big fights of 2017 will have had this one right at the top of the list for some time. Ever since it was announced that Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev would be doing it all again after their controversial first fight I have been looking forward to this one.

I had the first fight down as a draw when I scored it on the night so I am not surprised that whoever lost would have been unhappy with how things had played out. It was a really tight fight but I think the knock down Kovalev scored in the Second Round should have been enough for him to avoid a loss, but the Russian just didn't step on the gas in the second half of the fight as he should have done.

The feeling from the majority of fight fans is Ward will make this one a little more certain in his favour as he wins by a wider margin on the scorecard.

However it does feel like those people believe Kovalev has lost his mind and is fuming and ready to go all in at Ward. Doing that will lead to inevitable mistakes, but I don't think Kovalev will make those mistakes as he is an established boxer who is blessed with power.

Kovalev is a better boxer than people think because of that power and I don't think he will be worried about the refs if he can impose himself a little more. It did feel like Kovalev lost the first fight more than Ward won it, although he could have easily been on the right side of the decision, and I think Kovalev will want to push Ward backwards more than he did in the second half of the fight.

Some think he needs the Knock Out against an opponent who will make some fine adjustments which makes him such a quality fighter. Ward will like to mix in the rough stuff with the boxing and I am not buying that he is really looking to KO the bigger and stronger man.

I picked Kovalev to win the first time these two met and I think he will be able to channel his frustration from the way the first fight into a positive. I'll look for Kovalev to just do a little more in the second half of the fight than he did in November and I will look for the Russian to set up the possibility of a rubber match by earning the nod from the three American judges this time around.

MY PICKS: Tyron Zeuge by KO, TKO or Disqualification @ 2.20 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Sergey Kovalev by Decision or Technical Decision @ 4.00 Sky Bet (2 Units)

1 comment:

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