by Malaika H Kambon
As I complete the requirements for my AFRAM 30 class, I’m keeping a People’s Eye Photography and SF Bay View newspaper eye on the events leading up to what promises to be one of the greatest rematch fights in boxing history.
Billed as Ward vs. Kovalev 2: No Excuses! this second fight will be every bit as historic as the heavyweight division’s Joe Louis vs Max Schmelling 2 rematch of June 22, 1938!
Recall that the first Ward vs. Kovalev fight occurred on Nov. 19, 2016, in Nevada’s T-Mobile Arena. It ended with the defeat of the Russian champion Sergei Kovalev and the loss of his WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight title belts to Andre Ward, in a unanimous 114-113 decision.
Now, 79 years after the 1938 Louis vs. Schmelling rematch, history will record the June 17, 2017, rematch between light heavyweights Andre “SOG” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) and Sergei “The Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs). The battleground will be the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nearly identical racially tense conditions exist: Pre-WWII 1938 much resembles the Donald Trump era of 2017. There are two boxers, one Afrikan, one European, and two camps in which there is no love lost. It is historic. And the Bay View has been documenting Andre Ward’s career since 2009.
Now 31-0, Mr. Ward is fighting an opponent who has proven himself to be bitterly angry at his first loss and is willing to express himself about it in the most racist terms.
Sergey Kovalev continues to show a distinct lack of class, walking out of major press conferences, accusing all of lying on him when his history of racism is both accurate and obvious. The world can see that he continues to disrespect the sport, Mr. Ward, the press, and the people of Afrika and of Afrikan descent.
Mr. Ward continues to respond with the class he has always shown both inside and outside the ring.
Will Kovalev show up for today’s weigh-in? Some speculate that he may not.
But whether he does or doesn’t, on June 17 it’s on, for the fight of the century; no excuses, straight no chaser.
Watch the weigh-in today at 2:30 p.m. PT live at https://youtu.be/63OZ14qxCtA. Watch the fight on June 17 on HBO Pay Per View.
Ward vs. Kovalev 2, “The Rematch,” a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO, IBF and WBA Light Heavyweight World Championships, is presented by Roc Nation Sports, Main Events, Andre Ward Promotions, Krusher Promotions and Corona Extra, sponsored by Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Jetlux, Life10 Electrolyte, Zappos, D’USSÉ Cognac, ProSupps and Powered by Monster.
The championship event takes place Saturday, June 17, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET, 6:00 p.m. PT.
Tickets for Ward-Kovalev 2 “The Rematch” are available on axs.com and at the Mandalay Bay Events Center Box Office.
Malaika H Kambon is a freelance, multi-award winning photojournalist, owner of People’s Eye Photography. She is also an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) state and national champion in Tae Kwon Do from 2007-2012. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.