Closing out the year in boxing is what could perhaps be the biggest fight of the year when Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward do battle in the ring in Las Vegas.
Adding to the excitement was the first ever "Trainer Debate", jointly created by ROC Nation and HBO, which gave fans another match to judge before the big showdown tomorrow night.
In one corner you have Coach Jackson, the former WBO and WBA World Champion at Super Welterweight and Middleweight. His roster of clients is a premier list of who's who, which includes names like Kovalev, Kimbo Slice, Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosely, Khabib Allakhverdiev, Chris Algieri and Curtis Stevens.
In the other corner you have Coach Virgil Hunter, who sports an equally impressive roster which includes names such as Ward, Amir Khan, Andre Berto and Abner Mares. Hunter began training fighters while working with troubled youths in the probation department. Feeling confident that he could build a fighter, Hunter worked as an apprentice for several years in Oakland with a number of trainers including Bobby Warren, Jimmie Simmons, Charlie Smith and Tiger Floyd. His career with Ward began when the eventual Olympic Gold Medalist was just nine years old.
The credentials of these two coaches set the table for boxing fans thirst for knowledge gained through years of experience and success. Kieran Mulvaney, the debate "referee", initiated the action by asking about Krusher's recent fight in Russia, to which Coach Jackson promised fans that they would not see the distracted fighter again tomorrow night, going so far as to say that once he touches Ward, he would KO him. "Listen when you get clipped, you get hit by a shot, its gonna throw your game plan off a little bit." If he brings the type of game plan and power that he did against Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins, it could be trouble for Ward.
In response, Coach Hunter gave Kovalev his props for being a power puncher. Not a Thomas Hearns type of power puncher, but one that lets it fly in waves where he tries to overwhelm his opponent. But that doesn't mean much to someone as talented as Andre Ward. "We have to take Sergey for what he is...a big powerful puncher, but have I ever seen him KO anybody with one shot...NO. A Thomas Hearns shot, NO! and he is NOT going to be able to accumulate punches on Andre"
Smack talk for sure, but also respect for the opposing fighter and their camp.
"Two of the best Boxers fighting each other and today in boxing it's a rare thing" said Coach Jackson.
"I just want the best Andre and the Best Sergey, because they can't be great unless they fight each other and sometimes two people come out of a situation like that great" said Coach Hunter.
And that's what every boxing fan wants. A fighters in a great fight. Expect that tomorrow night in Las Vegas.