LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - As WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) and former Two-Time World Champion Andre "S.O.G." Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) prepare for their epic "Pound For Pound" showdown scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, fans, media, experts and odds-makers around the world are split on who will be the favorite to win this virtually even-money battle.
And with good reason. Both Kovalev and Ward are undefeated and in their prime, making for a rare and exciting boxing match-up and a testament to the moxie of the boxers and the promoters.
Jay Rood, Vice President of Race & Sports for MGM Resorts International, provides his expert analysis of this exciting match-up:
"I really believe this could end up being a 'Fight of the Year' candidate. Usually fighters in good form don't meet up."
Because of that, this fight opened close, has remained so and, most likely, will close so.
"It's not very often that a fight in Las Vegas that's this significant is this close in terms of odds," says Rood. "Ward opened at -145 and he now is at -150. I don't believe it will change much from here."
The fact that Ward is the slight favorite is because, in part, the public, especially those bettors who consider themselves as experts or 'sharps,' tend to go with the boxer over the puncher.
But while Ward is considered the boxer and Kovalev the puncher, both are versatile, in keeping with the tremendous skill each possess. In other words, Ward, the perceived boxer, has power, and Kovalev, the perceived puncher, can box.
"The public is perceiving this fight, right or wrong, as 'Boxer vs. Puncher,'" added Rood. "Usually the boxer draws the 'sharp' action. Most of the 'sharp' money will be on the boxer."
However, the general betting public appears to be trending toward Kovalev.
According to Rood, "Kovalev will draw good action, otherwise this number would need to be closer to -200 to balance the fight (betting action). I don't think it will be that one-sided. I think the crowd going to the fight will be 60 percent on Kovalev."
Kovalev vs. Ward "Pound For Pound", a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight World Titles, takes place Saturday, Nov. 19, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. "Pound for Pound" is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and is sponsored by MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Rosneft and Corona Extra.