By Jason Gonzalez
The “Nature Boy” Ric Flair once said, "‘To be the man, you got to beat the man."
And you’d be hard pressed to question the prevailing wisdom of the WWE Hall-of-Famer. But as we transition from the world of sports entertainment to the realm of the “Sweet Science,” it’s plain to see that the same concept applies to the sport.
However, the only difference is that in boxing, the realities of all outcomes are for the most part unexpected. In a post Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao world, six years later, boxing can still deliver on the premise of the best fighting the best, in a “pick’em” style type of fight.
The WBA, WBO, and IBF [unified] light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev exemplifies excellence. Known in boxing circles as the “Krusher,” Kovalev is a staple on every consensus pound-for-pound list. He sports an undefeated record of 30-0, with 26 of his victories coming by way of knockout, and the mean streak of a comic book villain to boot.
According to Flair’s mantra, any objective observer would have to agree that Kovalev meets the criteria of being the “man,” especially at 175 pounds.
Meanwhile, the “Bay Area” native Andre Ward has compiled a pretty impressive resume of his own during the same time. His accolades and personal achievements consist of a gold medal, victor of the “Super Six” tournament, while unifying the super middleweight titles [WBA/WBC] in the 168-pound division simultaneously.
The 32-year-old Ward has managed to remain undefeated for the past 20 years [30-0 (15)], which includes both his career as an amateur and as a professional. In light of Mayweather’s recent retirement, a few pundits have crowned Ward king of his respective craft. However, the praise wasn’t without criticism.
Although Ward is a cerebral assassin in the ring, promotional issues combined with long bouts of inactivity prompted others to deem him as a prima donna.
The biggest argument from detractors alike is that fans rarely get the opportunity to see the best fighting the best, while both combatants are still close to their physical prime.
With a huge demand from the general public to see Kovalev and Ward lock horns much sooner than later, Kovalev’s promotional entity Main Events negotiated a deal with Ward’s promoter Roc Nation Sports. Fortunately, both enterprises were able to make good on their promise of suppling “fight junkies” with the goods.
Kovalev and Ward will collide on November 19th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The contest which has been dubbed “Pound-for-Pound” marks the second boxing event hosted at the 20,000 seat venue, with the first being Canelo Alvarez versus Amir Khan. Tickets for the showdown start out at $55.
The contest will be syndicated on HBO Pay-Per-View for the price of $69.99.
Kovalev-Ward is one of the best match-ups the sport has seen in recent times, and obviously the most significant showdown in 2016.
The odd makers are calling this one a 50-50 crap shot, the outcome can go either way. This fight is a dream come true for fans alike, if you hear anything different, obviously they don’t know what’s at stake. It’s more than just titles; the winner will be recognized as the best fighter in the world.