On Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, unified light heavyweight champion Andre Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) showed once again why he’s the best boxer pound for pound as he defeated Sergey Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) by 8th round TKO in their rematch.
If someone told you before the fight that the fight would end by TKO, you would have thought it would be Sergey Kovalev that would be victorious since he’s one of the hardest punchers in boxing, and had knocked Andre Ward down in their first fight in November.
But no it was Ward who was the more aggressive and stronger fighter on this night and he began to go to work on Kovalev’s body early in the fight and began to break him down.
The beginning of the end came with just over a minute left in round eight when Ward landed a vicious right hand to Kovalev’s chin that left him wobbly. Ward then back him up against the ropes and landed three left hooks to Kovalev’s body, one which was a low blow that was missed by referee Tony Weeks. The blow left Kovalev bent over in agony which resulted in Weeks calling a halt to the fight.
At the time of the stoppage, Ward was up on two out of the three judges scorecards. Judges Dave Moretti and Glenn Feldman both had Ward up 67-66, but Steve Weisfeld had Kovalev up 68-65. We at Elite Sports NY also had Ward up 67-66.
The final punch stats also show that this was a very close and competitive fight.
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Ward landed 80 of 238 punches (34 percent) and Kovalev landed 95 of 407 (23 percent).
After the fight, Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva was incensed that Kovalev lost when he was hit below the belt.
“I’m still having a hard time processing what I just witnessed,” Duva said. “I saw someone who should have been disqualified get his hand held up. [Kovalev] got hit with three low blows, four actually, in the last round. We asked the commission for an instant replay analysis, and they did not give it to us. We’ll file a protest on Monday.”
What might help Kovalev and his team’s protest is that after having a chance to watch the replay, Tony Weeks tweeted and admitted that he missed Ward’s low blow.
I am being criticised a lot unjustly. I have watched the replay and have to admit I was wrong I missed the lowblows from Ward #WardKovalev2
— Tony Weeks (@TonyWeeks_) June 18, 2017
We’ll have to wait and see what comes of the protest, but for right now it’s clear that after handing the only two losses of Kovalev’s career, Andre Ward is the best boxer pound for pound.
“Can I ask a question? Am I No. 1 now?” Ward said. “Of course, I hope so, but I don’t have a vote, and hopefully we top that pound-for-pound list.” Ward said after the fight.
Ward stated after the fight that he has no interest in a third fight with Kovalev, and hinted he may move up to Cruiserweight or even Heavyweight. Ward’s trainer Virgil Hunter said that he believes Ward can out box unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
Whoever Ward decides to fight next, they will have to fight the best fight of their lives if they’re going to beat Ward. After all Ward has not lost a fight since the age of 12 and is riding on a world of momentum after beating Kovalev for the second time.
HBO will replay the fight next Saturday, Jun. 24 beginning at 10 p.m. ET.