Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Ward-Kovalev II: Who Cares Who Isn’t Watching?

image

By Cliff Rold

Some fights grow, at least for a night, bigger than the sport. They belong to a bigger picture, a tapestry of memorable events, moments in time where the world slows down and boxing is all of sport.

This Saturday isn’t one of those fights.

Who gives a damn?

There has been lots of gnashing of teeth about issues irrelevant to what happens in the ring this week. On canvas, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist, former super middleweight champion, and currently unified light heavyweight titlist Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KO) faces Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1, 27 KO) in a rematch of what of the most hotly debated outcomes in recent memory (HBO PPV, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST).

Hotly debated, of course, among those who debate about boxing when it isn’t front page.

In recent weeks, much has been written, tweeted, and spoken about what isn’t happening. Ward-Kovalev II has not caught the general sports viewer’s attention any more than their first fight did. Why it’s not bigger, who didn’t hold up their end of the promotion, and which fighter lacks the requisite star power is all interesting enough conversation. For anyone whose business is covering the sport, it’s certainly worthy of a headline on the road to the leather flying.

But, really, why does it matter to fans?

If one is the sort who watched the first fight, argued about the outcome, wondered if this rematch would happen, and is preparing to watch the sequel this weekend, isn’t that what counts? Boxing fandom can be a myopic endeavor full of disappointments and unfulfilled hypothetical musing. 2017 is the reward for those who stay with boxing during the down times.

Everyone who loves boxing is getting a lot of what they want this year. We’ve seen classics from Jr. bantamweight to heavyweight, the rise of new stars, some network television success, and we keep getting fights actually asked for.

xbP9jeward-kovalev-scorecard

Fights like Ward-Kovalev II.

When Ward had his hand raised against Kovalev last November, almost everyone who saw it wanted to see it again. For Ward fans, even if they thought he earned the win, they knew it was close. This is the chance to find out if their man is really the better man. For Kovalev fans that saw their man wronged, this is his opportunity to set the record straight.

They’re still two of boxing’s best current fighters in any weight class. They match up well. Kovalev’s long arms, stiff jab, and frightening power against the tenacious, methodical, win by single rounds approach of Ward meets multiple desires. For the action fan, their first fight had some heavy hands landed. For the technically impressed, the chess match was there. It should be again.

It’s boxing, as sport, showing its best competitive face. In the US, the number of people who are happy with that alone dwindled a long time ago. We’ve lived with this dichotomy for more than a generation.

How many people beyond the solid boxing base were glued to the television for nights like James Toney-Mike McCallum I? Why were there so many empty seats at Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo I? When a boxing fan asks a non-boxing fan what they thought of the epic Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez rivalry, how many get an answer beyond, “huh?”

The tree fell in the forest. The folks reading right now? They saw it fall. Having a forest to oneself, or shared only with the people who like the same surroundings, is where great memories are made.

The whole world might not be watching this weekend, but the boxing world will. Enjoy it for what it is because, here’s the thing…

…as the years go by, most fights fade far from view. Sure, more Americans used to watch boxing than is the case now. How many of the fights from those times really still spark much conversation? There is a seemingly infinite supply of Muhammad Ali documentaries and we still talk plenty about Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, the 1980s Fab Four, and the Mike Tyson era.

How often does mainstream press recall Carlos Monzon-Rodrigo Valdes, Emile Griffith-Nino Benvenuti, or Matthew Saad Muhammad-Yaqui Lopez? When the dust settles and time passes, most of the best of boxing is only recalled and embraced by people who like boxing all the time and never stopped.

This weekend will end, or extend, the sort of rivalry that only boxing fans would still be talking about a decade from now no matter how many buys come in on pay-per-view. Would it be better if there were a larger viewing platform, bigger buzz, and more people chattering at the water cooler?

Of course.

It doesn’t mean anything once the bell rings.

Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev are stepping to scratch this weekend for the second time. If that’s your sort of kicks, the world will stop for a scheduled twelve rounds.

The accountants can worry about the rest. 

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by aboutfkntime on 06-16-2017

[QUOTE=kushking;17764190]Kovalev vs Stevenson or Ward vs Stevenson is hopefully going to be the next big fight in 2018,& if canelo/ggg fight jacobs/charlo/andrade/ maybe even trout,then itll be an absolute great yr for boxing again,& if we get Joshua vs Wilder/ortiz/…

Comment by kushking on 06-16-2017

[QUOTE=aboutfkntime;17764033]and me, he is good value Kovalev/Stevenson is the fight I want[/QUOTE] Kovalev vs Stevenson or Ward vs Stevenson is hopefully going to be the next big fight in 2018,& if canelo/ggg fight jacobs/charlo/andrade/ maybe even trout,then itll be an…

Comment by aboutfkntime on 06-16-2017

[QUOTE=Shadoww702;17762693]Odd??? But it seems like Im the only one on this site who like BOTH Ward and Kovalov. Each for different reasons of course. [B]Kovalov because he's a MEAN, nasty, old school no PC BS type of fighter.[/B] Ward because…

Comment by TheThirdEye on 06-15-2017

[U]Winston Churchill Quote[/U]: [B]Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. [/B] - There's only one Undisputed Champion, which one will be King? [CENTER][IMG]http://img.pixady.com/2017/06/720082_undiputed1.jpg[/IMG][/CENTER]

Comment by Shadoww702 on 06-15-2017

[QUOTE=kushking;17762935]I liked kovalev the fighter before he started behaving like a drunken mongoloid & crying like a bltch all the way up to the rematch.[/QUOTE] I hear ya! And that's does annoy me also but in the ring he fights…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (38)
Top Headlines Malignaggi Explains Why Conor McGregor May Get Disqualified Billy Joe Saunders: Tyson Fury Will 100% Return To Boxing Alberto Machado Drops, Decisions Carlos Morales Why The Glove Size Means Absolutely Nothing For McGregor Against Mayweather Video: Bob Arum on Pacquiao-Horn 2, Crawford-Indongo Video: Crawford's Trainer Talks Mikey Garcia, Indongo Clash Mayweather-McGregor: Money Fight Pop-Up Shops Information Mosley: Mayweather Sr. vs. McGregor is 50-50 Fight - I Pick Sr. Photos: Luis Nery Embraced in Mexico as Hero After Title Win Mayweather: Conor McGregor, as a "Fighter" - is Undefeated! Photos: Maurice Hooker vs. Courtney Jackson - Official Weights Photos: Jennings, Alvarado, Stevenson, Reed Ready To Fight Video: Crawford vs. Indongo - Weigh-In Gets Very Tense Mayweather-McGregor - Weigh-In Ticket Information Photos: Crawford, Indongo - Ready For Unification War Manny Robles, Everton Lopes Return on LA Fight Club, 9/1 Crawford, Indongo Intensely Go Head-to-Head at Weigh-In Luis Ortiz Laughs at Joshua: Where is Your Pride To Fight The Best? Mosley: McGregor Will Be Surprised By Mayweather's Power Hugo Centeno Returns, Set To Face Immanuwel Aleem Shawn Porter Plans To Pursue Danny Garcia Showdown Joshua Admits He Felt Massive Disappointment Klitschko Retired Report: Leo Santa Cruz-Abner Mares Rematch Off Over Money Mayweather: I'm Partying at My Strip Club Every Day Through Fight Antonio Orozco vs. Roberto Ortiz Set For Linares-Campbell Card News: Briedis-Perez Tickets, Victory Boxing Update, Yard-Ford Bob Arum Eyes Michael Conlan ESPN Card in Ireland, in 2018 Mayweather Sr. on McGregor, Malignaggi: Neither One Can Fight! White: Floyd Wouldn't Even Discuss 8-Ounce Gloves in Negotiations Mayweather: I'm Taking Bigger Risk Than McGregor; Legacy on Line Nicholas Walters Cancels His Return Due To Illness, Eyes Fall Bout Shakur Stevenson: I Plan on Taking Over The Sport of Boxing Paddy Barnes To Return On October 6 In Scotland Whyte: We Are Trying To Make Noise To Get The Wilder Fight White: Malignaggi Had To Leave, He Got His Ass Whooped Bad! Billy Dib vs. Guillaume Frenois Eliminator For Gervonta Davis Terence Crawford-Julius Indongo: Risk All Around Mayweather: McGregor 'Extremely Dirty' Even With Cortez in Camp McGregor: I'm Confident I'll Walk Through Mayweather's Shots Arum Aims To Finalize Pacquiao-Horn Rematch Soon, at Suncorp
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement