Andre Ward: Kovalev Isn’t Same Fighter, But Still Difficult

Following his reclamation of the WBO light heavyweight title, Andre Ward says Sergey Kovalev isn't the same fighter, but he's still a tough match-up for anyone.

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Andre Ward doesn’t see Sergey Kovalev as the fighter he once was. However, he believes he still has enough in the tank to give the rest of the light heavyweight division problems. Over the weekend, Kovalev regained the WBO light heavyweight title by defeating Eleider Alvarez via unanimous decision. “Krusher” picked apart Alvarez throughout the bout, who seemed reluctant to engage.

Two-time Kovalev opponent and former light heavyweight king, Andre Ward, was working the Kovalev vs. Alvarez card. Speaking after the bout, Ward said he believes a piece of Kovalev is still left inside the ring from his defeats to Ward and Alvarez (via Boxing Scene):

“He’s never gonna regain that,” Ward said. “When you go through what he went through in our two fights, when you quit like that, there’s a piece of you that’s always left back there. But he’s still good enough to deal with a lot of light heavyweights in the division.”

Kovalev was dethroned from the top of the light heavyweight mountain in November of 2016. Ward out-classed the Russian after 12 rounds, winning via unanimous decision. They rematched the following year, only for Kovalev to be knocked out by Ward in the eight round. After two back-to-back victories, regaining the WBO light heavyweight title, Kovalev had yet another setback.

He was knocked out by Alvarez in the seventh round of their bout last August. Now, he has avenged that defeat, and is once again WBO light heavyweight champion. It will be interesting to see if he can remain on top after already having faced two TKO defeats in the past several years.

What do you think about Ward saying Kovalev isn’t the same fighter he once was?