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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Krusher could get his revenge in Ward rematch

Smith has his hands full in Germany

Sergey Kovalev is put through his paces in a public training session
1 of 1

Zeuge v Smith
Sky Sports 1, 10pm Saturday
Kovalev v Ward II
Sky Sports 1, 2am Sunday

Sergey Kovalev was denied victory by the slenderest of margins when he lost to Andre Ward in a November battle for the WBA, WBO & IBF world light-heavyweight titles, but Krusher can get his revenge in their Las Vegas rematch on Saturday.

Despite hitting the canvas in round two, Ward fought back to take the first fight 114-113 on all three of the judges' scorecards, sparking heated debate among fans and pundits alike.

HBO commentator Harold Lederman had it 116-111 for Kovalev, but his colleague at ringside Max Kellerman disagreed, and of 63 media polled 46 had it for Krusher, with 16 for Ward and one on the fence.

What most agreed on, however, is that Kovalev was in charge early and faded as the fight went on, with Ward able to claw back at his lead. 

With that experience and bitter disappointment still fresh in his mind, Kovalev can learn from his mistakes and put that right. 

Ward is regarded as one of the most talented boxers on the planet, and in terms of skill he has plenty of advantages over the Russian - who likes to press forward with his hands up in typical eastern-European style. 

Ward is also capable of making adjustments. Despite coming away with the win, he will have been stung that so many scored it the other way and he has the tools to make life tough for his opponent in a classic brains v brawn match.

Bookmakers think it could go either way, making Ward a marginal favourite, but Kovalev's higher workrate and aggression may give him the edge this time and may be a shade of value to square up the series. 

Earlier in Germany Liverpool's Paul Smith, who was beaten in nine rounds by Ward in 2015, challenges for the WBA super-middleweight title against Tyron Zeuge. 

Smith is a big underdog and already has two failed attempts to win a world title in Germany, losing both times to Arthur Abraham.  It could be another night of frustration for Smith, who hasn't beaten anyone of note for quite a few years. 

Zeuge is a solid, undefeated fighter and in his German homeland it's hard to see him unravelling. Expect Smith to put in a typically brave performance but lose a fairly wide decision.

S Kovalev
1pt 13-10 Betway, 188Bet
T Zeuge on points
2pts 6-4 Coral

Of 63 media polled 46 had it for Krusher and 16 for Ward with one on the fence
E.W. Terms
Sky bet