Ward vs Kovalev 2 odds: Surprised?Written by Lee Cleveland
In a battle of unbeaten light heavyweights last November, Andre Ward lifted the titles of consensus champion, Sergey Kovalev, winning a tight but unanimous decision.
All three judges scored it 114-113.
Ward's win, of course, wasn't without controversy. Ward vs Kovalev was a 'tale of two fights.' Sergey won the early rounds and Ward asserted himself in the second half. However, many believed Kovalev deserved the nod.
Andre Ward entered that bout as the very slight favorite and, in this case, the odds were terribly on-point considering the scoring and decision.
So what are oddsmakers telling us about Ward vs Kovalev 2 on June 17?
At this moment, Andre is a clear but not heavy favorite. Nevertheless, he's appears to be a slightly stronger favorite now than he was prior to their first fight.
Sportingbet lists Ward as 7/10 favorite and Kovalev as the 6/5 underdog.
In their first fight, Kovalev outlanded Ward in overall punches and powershots. Moreover, he scored a knockdown in Round 2 and had Ward seriously rattled if not hurt. Given the above facts and that many in the boxing community believe Kovalev should have won the first fight, how is Sergey the underdog is their rematch?
Answer: For the same reason he was the slight underdog in the first fight.
Experts tend to think the safer money is with the perceived natural boxer or ring technician. And the first fight certainly did nothing to quell that concept.
Sugar Ray Leonard vs Marvin Hagler (1987) is a fine example of a close fight between two top fighters with contrasting styles. A case could probably be made for either fighter winning. But not surprisingly, Leonard, the fighter with the smoother, more technical style, convinced 2 of the 3 judges he'd done enough to win.
Combine 1) Ward’s perceived advantage in craft with 2) the fact Kovalev, despite literally 'beating-up' Andre in three of the first four rounds, still failed to convince any of the three judges he won and it’s easy to understand why Andre is the favorite.
Look for Kovalev to remain a slight but clear underdog.
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.