WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) and Two-Time World Champion Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) made their grand arrivals at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Nov. 15, ahead of their ultimate showdown on Saturday, Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Right here, we have a whole bunch of Kovalev vs. Ward fight week updates for you. This includes photos from the arrivals, as well as interviews with both men ahead of their clash on Saturday night.
Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound For Pound”, a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight title at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and is sponsored by MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Corona Extra, Monster Products, JetLux and Zappos. The championship event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Tickets are available on axs.com and the T-Mobile Arena box office.
Maurice Hooker, NABO Junior Welterweight Champion:
“Kovalev-Ward is a special event. I’m going to do what I do best and hopefully, steal the crowd. The crowd is going to love me…they love knockouts, and that is what I am ready to give them.
“Aaron Pryor is one of the best. He brought a lot of knockouts. He was a great fighter whom a lot of people dodged. Like him, I’m coming into this fight with people dodging me. They are afraid because they don’t know what I can do. This fight means a lot…an opportunity to show them who I am. I am going to bring the knockout just like ‘The Hawk’ would.”
“I want to stay busy. I want to fight Ricky Burns and Eduard Troyanovsky and win ‘em belts. Shout out to my big bro Terrance Crawford. He’s doing his thing. Hopefully, he gets a fight with Pacquiao, move up and let me take over.
“My prediction for Saturday is a knockout. I love knockouts. I am always going for the knockout. With every punch that I throw, even the jab, I am going to try to take Darleys Perez’s head off.”
Claressa Shields, Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist:
“I’ll have been in camp for seven weeks. I’m excited. I’m ready to take on this new task of being a professional fighter and ultimately, winning a belt.
“When deciding to go pro, I thought about my legacy—I didn’t want to disappear for four years, and win another gold medal but have people not know my name or what I look like or how I box.
“Expect to see a really good fight, a very skilled fight from me, this Saturday. The world is going to see a level of boxing that no woman boxer has ever showed before. I’m a smart fighter. I’m an entertaining fighter. I throw everything well and have great combinations.
“Franchon Crews and I have sparred and boxed before in huge tournaments. She’s coming into this fight fully prepared and I’ve been training for a KO. In the amateurs, my overall record was 77-1 but I’ve never KO’d anyone. Now, we have smaller gloves, no headgear and I’m way stronger than I’ve ever been. This is a different kind of pro debut. This should actually be a World Championship fight between me and Franchon Crews but somehow, she took it for a pro debut.
“I love boxing. That’s why I commit my time and body. I look forward to fighting in front of all the fight fans. I have friends, family, fans from all over flying into Vegas just to see me fight, so hopefully I can pack the house before the main event.”
Curtis “The Cerebral Assassin” Stevens
“King” James De La Rosa
28-5 (21 KOs)
23-4 (13 KOs)
Curtis is a power-puncher that can end the fight with any punch he throws. He has plenty of experience and has fought better opposition than his opponent.
James has quick hands and is fast on his feet. He is a brave fighter who has never turned down a fight. He also has faced a number of current and former ranked opposition in his young career.
Stevens has been somewhat inactive, his recent victory in May of this year was his first time in a boxing ring since 2014. He also has a tendency to not let his hands go, which could be costly when fighting De La Rosa who is in a must-win situation.
Similar to his opponent, James has been somewhat inactive with only one fight since 2014. He also has a suspect chin; he’s been stopped once in his career. He will have to tighten up his defense when facing a heavy-handed puncher in Curtis Stevens.
He is a young, but seasoned veteran. Curtis has been on the biggest stage of them all when he came up short in a title bout against GGG and he also holds a TKO come-from-behind win over current top-rated contender Tureano Johnson.
Other than his recent inactivity, James was an active fighter for the majority of his career. He earned a clear-cut decision win over former title-contender Alfredo Angulo in his most recent win.
Curtis has knockout power in both hands; if he connects clean with any punch it can be a game-changer at any time.
King James is more of a technical boxer who relies more on his speed than power.
Curtis turns it up a notch when he smells blood. He shows off his quick hands and savage-like combinations.
James is naturally lighter in weight and will be sure to use his quick feet and fast hands to attempt to take Stevens out of his rhythm.
Stevens is a young veteran who has proven his endurance; he has gone 10 rounds on four separate occasions and 12 rounds twice.
De La Rosa has proven that he can go the distance without an issue. He has gone a full 10 rounds on six different occasions.
If Curtis can work his way to the inside, then he may be able to utilize some accurate bodywork.
King is an accurate fighter with a sharp jab and solid left hook. If he can keep his composure and put his punches together, his accuracy can become a problem for anyone.
Curtis’s best defense has been his offense. He often finds himself in situations in which his opponents are running from him rather than running towards him.
James is quick on his feet and moves around well. He will need to double-up on his jab, as he has done in the past, in order to keep his opponent from breaking through his guard.
Although Curtis has been stopped in his career, he has a solid chin. He has been knocked down from some big shots by big punchers and has gotten back to his feet.
His chin has been an issue throughout the past couple of years. He has been stopped once in his career and has been knocked down multiple times.
Curtis is a no-nonsense, in-your-face power-puncher who is always looking to end the night early rather than to drag it out.
King James is a slick boxer who gets very busy with his jab. Although he is not a heavy puncher, he is a brave fighter who likes to engage.
Curtis is a fighter who, at one time, was written-off by critics of the sport. However, he continues to rise to the occasion and beat the odds. After a lengthy layoff, Curtis returned with a bang this past May when he defeated previously undefeated prospect Patrick Teixeira with a brutal second round TKO. He is willing to take on any top-rated middleweight but none are willing to accept his challenge. So he decided he would rather be in the ring than on the sideline waiting for someone to step up.
At one point in time King James was a highly regarded prospect. He experienced some minor bumps in the road but is eager to get his name back in the mix. After two consecutive losses to highly regarded prospect Hugo Centeno Jr and Jason Quigley, James would not even consider a tune-up fight. He believes in his abilities and has chosen an opponent who many other top middleweights are avoiding. He understands the challenge of facing a seasoned veteran and big puncher like Stevens, but he is focused on the possibilities that lie ahead if he wins.
Curtis is a fan-friendly fighter and does his best to provide fans with the knockouts they love to see.
De La Rosa has fought in Las Vegas on four separate occasions, including his recent bout.
1. Will Curtis look past this fight and look to bigger fights on the horizon?
2. Will James be able to pull the upset like he did with Angulo?
3. Will Curtis be able to cut off the ring and not fall into fighting Delarosa’s fight?
4. Will Delarosa be able to handle Curtis’ power?