After a contentious result in their November 2016 championship bout, Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) and Russian Sergey Kovalev (31-1-1, 26 KOs) meet again Saturday at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas with the WBA, IBF, WBO and The Ring light heavyweight titles on the line.

Ward won the first fight by a unanimous decision though many thought Kovalev deserved the victory after knocking down Ward in the second round and appearing to have the edge in some tight rounds. All three American judges scoring the fight 114-113, but the fight drew varying results from pundits. Howard Lederman of HBO, Dan Rafael of ESPN and the Associated Press were just a few that scored the fight clearly for Kovalev. 

“It’s the wrong decision,” Kovalev said after the fight. “I don't want to say my opinion, witnesses are here. They saw."

Ward also had his share of supporters, with USA Today, the New York Post and former boxer Paulie Malignaggi siding with the American.

"We were a little careless with that knockdown in the second round. But we landed the cleaner punches," said Ward's trainer Virgil Hunter. "Kovalev was aggressive but not effective. That’s why we won."

CompuBox figures confirmed that the 12-round bout may have been difficult to call, with Kovalev connecting on just 10 more punches than Ward, 126-116.

Fortunately, the upcoming bout can potentially provide a clear winner. According to Bovada, Ward is the -155 favorite with Kovalev listed at +125.

Kovalev has voiced his displeasure about Ward in April and in recent days. He previously told Ward, "I will finish your boxing career." At a recent press conference that he abruptly walked out of, Kovalev pointed his finger at Ward and said, "I already said enough and I will prove it June 17. And you get prepared."

Ward shot back: "Don't you point your finger at me." The Oakland native has also said that this is a "statement" fight in which he hopes to remove any doubt about the outcome.

Words won't matter when the two fighters step into the ring. They are among the best pound-for-pound fighters and have a lot in common. Both boxers are 6-feet tall and Ward is about 11 months younger than Kovalev. Their records are almost identical and both fight with a great deal of intelligence.

On the undercard, reigning WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) faces Moises Flores (25-0, 17 KOs) in a 12-round title fight for the WBA junior featherweight title.

Prediction: Kovalev has more power and will likely deliver the hard blows. But Ward has smart defensive skills and should be able to avoid Kovalev's punishing left hooks. This should be another competitive bout but Ward will probably prevail in a more convincing fashion.

Ward by decision