By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Unlike their press conference Thursday, Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev came face-to-face after their weigh-in Friday afternoon.
They talked trash, but otherwise it was business as usual. Ward and Kovalev both made weight for their light heavyweight championship rematch Saturday night at Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Ward (31-0, 15 KOs), a 2004 Olympic gold medalist from Hayward, California, weighed in at 175 pounds, the light heavyweight limit. Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs), of Kopeysk, Russia, also came in at 175 pounds.
Kovalev and Ward weighed in at exactly 175 pounds apiece for their first fight, too.
Ward will defend the IBF, WBA and WBO light heavyweight titles he won from Kovalev on November 19 at T-Mobile Arena. The 33-year-old Ward won that 12-round bout by unanimous decision after surviving a second-round knockdown.
Each of the three judges – Nevada’s Burt Clements, New York’s John McKaie and Nevada’s Glenn Trowbridge – scored the fight the same exact way for Ward, 114-113, but the decision was widely considered controversial. The 34-year-old Kovalev exercised an immediate rematch clause in their contracts.
Ward contemplated retirement, but ultimately decided to attempt to produce a more convincing victory over Kovalev in their rematch. The former undisputed super middleweight champion is a slight favorite over Kovalev a day before their second fight (-155/+125).
HBO Pay-Per-View will televise Ward-Kovalev 2 as the main event of a four-fight telecast set to start at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. It’ll cost $54.99 in SD and $64.99 in HD.
Here are the weights for two of the three additional televised fights Saturday night:
Super bantamweights, 12 rounds: Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs), Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, 121½ pounds, vs. Moises Flores (25-0, 17 KOs, 1 NC), Guadalajera, Mexico, 122 pounds; for Rigondeaux’s WBA and Flores’ IBO super bantamweight titles.
Light heavyweights, 10 rounds: Dmitry Bivol (10-0, 8 KOs), of Tokmak, Kyrgyzstan, 174½ pounds, vs. Cedric Agnew (29-2, 15 KOs), Houston, 175 pounds.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.