The highly anticipated matchup between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev is officially official.
Ward cruised to a unanimous decision over heavy underdog Alexander Brand by scores of 120-108, 120-108, 120-108 on Saturday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
Kovalev (30-0) and Ward (30-0) signed a contract months ago for a light heavyweight showdown in November if the two won their interim bouts. Both fighters took care of business and will make one of the best matchups that could be made in boxing today come to fruition. HBO announced the fight after Ward’s victory.
“I’m excited, looking forward to it,” Ward said while Kovalev was in the ring. “I want to be light heavyweight champion. (Kovalev) got past his step, I need to get past mine. I’ll see you in November.”
The outcome of Saturday’s fight was not a surprise, with some sports books having Ward as a minus-10,000 favorite. The suspense came before the fight when reports emerged about a possible change in venue for the Ward-Kovalev matchup.
Main Events, the promotional company that represents Kovalev, reserved T-Mobile Arena for Nov. 19. Roc Nation Sports, which promotes Ward, reportedly isn’t set on having the fight in Las Vegas and has interest in Madison Square Garden in New York. The camps announced the fight will be on HBO pay per view, but didn’t mention the location.
Ward landed 190 of his power punches compared with Brand’s 45. The fight appeared more like a sparring session for Ward, who toyed with Brand for 12 rounds.
Kovalev, the unified 175-pound champion, won his interim fight in July with a unanimous decision over Isaac Chilemba.
Contact Gilbert Manzano at email@example.com or 702-383-0492. Follow him on Twitter: @gmanzano24