By Edward Chaykovsky
One of the more anticipated fights this year is a showdown between Olympic gold medal winner Andre Ward (28-0, 15KOs) and WBO/WBA/IBF light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (28-0-1, 25KOs).
Last year, Ward signed a multi-fight deal with HBO that guarantees a showdown with Kovalev by the fall of this year.
A lot of fans have been critical of Ward, calling the fighter boring and not really taking in his style of fighting.
Veteran trainer Naazim Richardson sees Ward as one of the best and smartest fighters in the sport.
"They call Ward boring cause he’s so smart. But I’m going to tell you a fight the crowd would go see and would love. When they see Kovalev and Ward, they are going to get what they want too," Naazim told On The Ropes Boxing Radio.
Kovalev is already being pushed by some insiders, and many fans, as the favorite to win that fight. Ward has barely fought in the last few years due to injuries and legal issues with his former promoter Dan Goossen. Since 2013, Ward has only seen action once when he came back last June to stop Paul Smith.
Naazim trained Bernard Hopkins for his unification with Kovalev in November of 2014. While Kovalev won a lopsided twelve round decision, he called Hopkins his "toughest opponent to date." Kovalev returns on January 30th in a rematch with Jean Pascal in Montreal.
The outspoken trainer is not ruling out the possibility of Ward getting clipped and going down in the fight, but he also says Ward could shock the viewing audience by getting off the floor to give Kovalev a pounding.
"See what they don’t know is yeah, Kovalev can hurt anybody, but they will be surprised cause Ward can get off the canvas [and] whoop Kovalev’s ass. That’s the kind of dude Ward is, so they better not sleep on that," Naazim said.