The greater history of sport in Australia in the early part of Federation in the 20th century revolved around Cricket, Horse Racing and Boxing. A game we traditionally loved, and 2 games we could gamble on.
A major contributing catalyst to boxing’s early 20th century success and popularity was a major sporting event held in 1908. The Jack Johnson vs Tommie Burns Heavyweight championship title fight held at an outdoor purpose built arena in Rushcutters Bay was the biggest sporting event to be held in Australia for many years. The story of Hugh D McIntosh’s entrepreneurial efforts to bring the event to Sydney can be read about here on the ‘Sydney Living Museum’ website.
More recently, mainstream boxing has been in the shadow of the rise of MMA and the UFC. Whilst big events like Mayweather v Pacquiao still attract big pay-per-view audiences, those super fights are seldom.
A fight on the horizon, might just be a contest worth paying closer attention to.
Andre Ward is scheduled to fight Sergey Kovalev on November 19th.
Ward must defeat Alexander Brand on August 6th for the fight to go ahead as scheduled, but if it does occur, it will pit the 2 best light-heavyweights in the world; both undefeated, and 2 of the top 4 pound for pound boxers of today.
Ward was the 2004 light-heavyweight Olympic Champion, is undefeated in both amateur and professional bouts and has a 25-0 pro record. His ability to switch from orthodox to south-paw, his length, his long amateur career and his always-coming forward style make him an appealing fighter.
There is no guaranteed victory for Ward over Brand. Brand is 25-1 with 19 knockouts, but it is the prospect of the next fight that generates this article.
Kovalev, like Ward has a long amateur career.
From 1997-2008 he was 195-18 before turning pro. His pro record is 30-1-0, the single draw coming from an accidental head clash that stopped the fight.
Kovalev has killed a man in the ring. In 2011 his fight against Roman Simakov was a total mismatch that resulted in Simakov falling into a coma and not coming to. Kovalev is a powerful hitter. He defeated the great Bernard Hopkins in 2014 and currently holds the WBA, IBF and WPO championships.
What sort of a fight are we hoping for? Well the fight of the year so far this year was the Shawn Porter v Keith Thurman fight.
Boxing journalist and your writer’s brother was at the fight in New York last month and filmed the pst fight interviews which you can start watching here.
In Paul’s early assessment, he feels that Kovalev has the edge. As we get closer, and if Ward wins his last warm up vs Brand, then you heard it hear first that this is a fight on the horizon that is worth getting excited about.