The rematch of the unified light-heavyweight championship bout between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev on June 17, 2017 could not end without yet another controversy as referee Tony weeks stops the fight at round 8 to give Ward a sweet TKO victory over the Krusher.
"I think it was plain to see that I broke him mentally and physically", Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) said afterward.
"Hopefully, against a great fighter like Sergey Kovalev, we'll get our credit tonight and get atop that pound-for-pound list". "I could tell he was reacting to my body shots, and I knew I had him then".
Ward (30-2-1, 26 KOs) was ahead on judges Glenn Feldman and Dave Moretti's scorecards, who each had it 67-66 for Ward, while Steve Weisfeld scored it 68-65 for Kovalev at the time referee Tony Weeks ended the fight, with Kovalev bent over in a corner and Ward chopping away at his tender midsection.
Kovalev's promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events said, "He got hit with three low blows. We're going to shut the door on this and, like I said, take all doubt and all questions off the table". He just happened to be so good that he could fight in an entirely different style and not just defeat, but stop the second best fighter in the world-a full-blown, big light heavyweight.
They weren't low blows.
In a boxing world where we're willing to suspend our disbelief and allow for the possibility that an MMA fighter could knock out the best fighter of his generation, can we not consider the idea that the best pound for pound fighter in the world could become heavyweight champion?
"I thought he started fading at about the same point he did last time", Ward said. It didn't hurt me. "I'm the pro. World champion should fight everywhere". But Kovalev was fading, just as he had in the first fight, and he picked up the pace. He suggested possibly fighting at cruiserweight or heavyweight if the right opportunity comes up.
Ward is among those people, and the fact that he rallied from a second-round knockdown to win makes him even more confident about the rematch. "I don't have another way accept to get a victory over him". I dont feel like it affects me.
That raw deal ensured a spiky prelude and most expected Kovalev to come out with bad intentions. "Ward fought an empty Kovalev".
Ward made $6.5 million, and Kovalev stood to earn a fraction of that because he was getting only a percentage of the pay-per-view and ticket sales. But as the time went by, Ward was adapting more and more, eventually turning this fight into his advantage. "I just have one goal - to beat all (expletive) from him because he doesn't deserve the belts and status of a champion".
"I can not explain", the 34-year-old said.
Ward not letting Kovalev get the big shots off. Kovalev connects to the face.
On the undercard, two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux defeated Moises Flores with a controversial fight-ending punch at the close of the first round to retain his WBA junior featherweight title.