By Ryan Burton
Newly crowned WBA/WBO/IBF light heavyweight champion Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) recently announced that his rematch against Sergey Kovalev (30-1, 26 KOs) is indeed on and will take place on June 17th at the Mandalay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Recently retired former middleweight and light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins, who lost an unanimous decision to Kovalev in 2014, thinks that the rematch willl be another close fight.
In the first bout, Ward got off the floor in the second round to win via scores of 114-113 on all three judges scorecards.
"I am going to go on record right now and say that this fight will happen like Joe Frazier and (Muhammad) Ali. Not necessarily the outcome but they will fight three times. I look at this fight where it will be so close that Sergey might get a decision or Andre gets a decision and then there won't be a need for a third fight but I see a fight that will go down to the wire to the point where it will be split and they will fight again and it will be for all the marbles. I see a fight happening like that," Hopkins told BoxingScene.com.
Some insiders feel that Ward figured Kovalev out in the second half of the encounter and they believe that he will have an easier time in the second outing. Hopkins doesn't subscribe to that theory and doesn't believe there is a such thing as an easy fight against the hard hitting Russian.
"Will it be easier in the second fight? I don't think it's going to be easier. I don't think any fight with Sergey will be an easy fight based on his size and his punch and he will always have that (potential) one punch knockout that can get you in trouble. Ward knows that and he knows he has to avoid that right hand. If he takes the right hand away from Sergey then he has a good chance of making the fight not as hard or as difficult as the first one but I see this fight easily, easily - I won't be surprised if it won't go that way but I won't be surprised - over 50% (probability), that this fight happens three times," Hopkins and explained.
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