Ward celebrates big win while Kovalev plans protest

Hope Soto
June 19, 2017

Andre Ward stopped Sergey Kovalev in the eighth round to retain the IBF, WBO, WBA belts in their light heavyweight fight early Sunday.

Last November's title fight between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev was one of the most controversial in boxing past year.

And after wobbling Kovalev midway through the eighth round with a straight right hand, Ward finished the job with a series of powerful body shots - albeit with a suspicion of low blows.

The 33-year-old Ward on June 17 improved his record to 32-0 (15 knockouts) by defeating the 34-year-old Kovalev (31-1-1, 26 KOs) in the 175-pound title rematch. You don't have to respect me and I don't demand anything, but at a certain point and time, you got to give a person their just do. "Again, another one. The first one was on the border, and the second one a low blow". "I could have continued to fight".

"Why stop the fight?" he said.

"If there are questions marks after this, that has nothing to do with me", he said. But as the time went by, Ward was adapting more and more, eventually turning this fight into his advantage.

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Ward is still the unified WBA/WBO/IBF light heavyweight champion, but said he would not be against moving up to cruiserweight or even heavyweight. Obviously, Kovalev is the more accomplished finisher of the two, and it will be interesting to see if he tries to get Ward down early again. From the promoters, through the trainers and all the way down to the boxers, the enmity was both authentic and palpable leading up to fight night at the Mandalay Bay.

When the fight began, Kovalev sneered at Ward and the men refused to touch gloves.

In the most important victory of his great career, Ward put the bad taste of his contested decision win last November behind him. Kovalev doubled over in an effort to sway Weeks into calling a halt for illegal punches, but the veteran third man deemed them legal and made a decision to waive off the fight, much to Kovalev's dismay.

'I don't think Kovalev complained about it, he was in a submissive position. Whether the punches that came right before the end of the fight were low or not can be discussed. I knew he was hurt.

There was at least one low blow in the eighth - the first that started the final sequence - and potentially two others.

Andre Ward and Roc Nation president Michael Yormark explain why?Sergey Kovalev hasn't done enough to promote their fight on Saturday after he skipped his media availability on Thursday. But if Kovalev got stopped only because of that - and he didn't, because, reminder, lots of legal blows, too, including one that rocked his ass - then maybe he was going to get stopped anyway.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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