By Radio Rahim
Former four division world champion Roy Jones Jr. expects Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1, 26KOs) to be far more confident in his rematch with Andre Ward (31-0, 15KOs) in 2017.
Two weeks ago at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Ward won a razor close twelve round unanimous decision over Kovalev to capture the IBF, WBA, WBO light heavyweight world titles.
Jones was ringside for the fight, working as an expert analyst as part of HBO Pay-Per-View's broadcast team.
There is an immediate rematch clause which Kovalev has exercised and he wants to get Ward back in the ring as soon as possible. The scoring of the contest was deemed controversial, with all three official judges scoring it for Ward by a point, 114-113.
Jones felt the fight was close, with Ward finally breaking through in the late rounds after Kovalev became tired. Jones expects the same kind of fight in the rematch.
"Ward came back from a knockdown and neutralized the man late in the fight, but Kovalev had a couple of good rounds late in the fight too. It's kind of hard to give it to either fighter. I would just call it a draw and have them come back and do it again," Jones told BoxingScene.com.
"[Kovalev] has a chance to win it [in the rematch], because he did so well in the first fight. His confidence is going to be at an all-time high. I think the second fight is just as good as the first fight, and it's still a 50-50 you pick 'em. Kovalev left thinking he won the fight, so morally he didn't lose. And we can say that Ward did neutralize him late in the fight and Ward started having his way, but he still had to wait until he wore Kovalev down to neutralize him.
"He'll have to go out there and wait until he wears him down, without getting knocked out, and then he'll run away with it. He's not going to run away with it from round one, because he didn't run away with it from round one this time. He took over in the later part of the fight, because of the work he did in the early part of the fight - and not because he outsmarted Kovalev."
"Kovalev was a problem the whole fight until the final bell rang. Now Kovalev is going to come out the same way like the last time, dangerous. And Ward will have to go through that whole process again, and maybe he walks away with it but who knows."