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Ward vs Barrera: Sergey Kovalev to attend HBO fight

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Sergey Kovalev will be in Oakland on Saturday, giving Andre Ward a look.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

With Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward agreed to fight later this year on HBO pay-per-view, the WBA/WBO/IBF light heavyweight titleholder Kovalev plans to be ringside for Ward's fight on Saturday in Oakland, where the former super middleweight champion takes on Sullivan Barrera in an HBO main event.

Main Events promoter Kathy Duva tells Michael Woods that Kovalev may also fight sometime fairly soon in Russia, which they'll announce on Saturday if a deal is in place. Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KO) hasn't fought in his home country since 2011, and has only fought there twice in his pro career, basing it out of the U.S. since turning pro in 2009.

Ward (28-0, 15 KO) has fought just once since 2013, and Barrera (17-0, 12 KO) may be the toughest opponent he's had since Carl Froch in 2011. It's not certain if Ward plans to use this fight alone as a tune-up for Kovalev -- the Kovalev-Ward fight is tentatively slated for November -- or fight again in between this bout and Kovalev.

As for me, I'm not sure if I'm hoping for Kovalev to "storm the ring" with a big show after the fight, should Ward win as anticipated, or not. Maybe if he uses it as a subtle parody of Adonis Stevenson's completely unconvincing "storm the ring" act on Kovalev in January. If Ward and Kovalev have any interaction on Saturday, it's probably more likely to be a nice photo opportunity than anything.