Two unbeaten, high-intensity boxers are set to collide this Saturday night when Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward go head to head in what could be a hell of a fight. Andreas Hale provides us with his insight and a betting angle for this match.
Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward is just about everything you want a boxing match to be. It's a high-level affair between a pair of unbeaten fighters who are currently ranked in the top five of the fictional pound for pound rankings. There's a stark contrast in styles as Ward – the United States 2004 Olympic gold medal winner in men's boxing – is a ring tactician who uses defense to neutralize his opponents while Kovalev is a power punching monster who has severely underrated boxing skills.
Everything is right about this fight except finding a line worth betting for. If there were ever a 50-50 fight, this would be it. Considering both are 30-0 (Kovalev is actually 30-0-1) and haven't come close to losing a fight, the oddsmakers have made it virtually impossible to pick a winner. Ward is currently the favorite at -140 while Kovalev is the underdog at +120 despite being the unified light heavyweight champion.
But if you're going to bet on one of them, you'd have to take Kovalev considering that he's the champion daring Andre Ward to be great and climb up to his weight class from super middleweight. But it truly is splitting hairs when trying to decide.
But there is a prop bet worth watching.
Over at 5Dimes, you can find a line of +210 for the fight going under 9 ½ rounds. Why would you take this? Well, first off, you only touch this line if you plan on betting Kovalev because the Russian is a finisher of the highest degree. Of his 30 victories, 26 have come by knockout. He's torched his competition with his blunt punching power and ability to finish fights. This isn't to say that you should feel comfortable betting against a man who hasn't lost a boxing match since he was a teenager, but if you put a gun to my head, I'd find the most value in that bet.
The other reason is that Ward hasn't exactly fought top shelf competition in the years since he knocked out Chad Dawson in 2012. Fights with Alexander Brand, Sullivan Barrera, and Paul Smith don't exactly light the boxing world on fire. Nor are they elite competition to prepare Ward for what he will have to deal with against Kovalev. Not to mention that he hasn't looked spectacular in his past few fights. But, again, bet at your own risk. As great as Ward is, it's just too difficult to find value in betting him as the favorite. And with it being an odds-on favorite to go the distance at as much as -240, it's just not worth the bet. Ultimately, take a shot at Kovalev in under 9 ½ rounds if you want to make some money. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the fights.