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Ward Stops Kovalev to Retain Light Heavyweight Crown

19 June 2017, 12:30 | Sandy Nunez

Ward Stops Kovalev to Retain Light Heavyweight Crown

For this week's Ringside Rewind we look back at two of Ward and Kovalev's best stoppage wins

If there was any doubt about Andre Ward being the best light heavyweight, and possibly the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, Ward erased those doubts with a TKO win over Sergey Kovalev.

Either way, despite the lack of promotion, the rematch between Ward and Kovalev features one of the best bouts in boxing between two of the sport's best fighters and two of the sport's most bitter rivals.

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. With both men lumped up around the eyes in the eighth, Kovalev appeared to be coming on in the second half of the fight.

"He's really lucky, 'Son of Judges, '" Kovalev said of Ward, playing off Ward's nickname, "Son of God". Sometimes he doesn't. Saturday brought us a little of both as he beat Sergey Kovalev by stoppage. "When I hit him he was acting like I hit him low".

The unbeaten Ward hurt Kovalev with a right hand that buckled his knees and then finished him off on the ropes with a series of body shots around the mid-section at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino.

Kovalev contended the blows were fouls and demanded another immediate rematch, but his less-than-fearsome posture prior to the climax indicated the intangible tide had already turned and effectively took the teeth out of yet another "I'll kick his a- (next time)" post-fight promise.

Kovalev's promoter, Kathy Duva, said that she would be filing a protest to overturn the decision while also calling ward a "dirty fighter".

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"I knew that this fight was going to be different", Ward said. I didn't feel that hurt.

Speaking to HBO after the fight, he said: "Let me ask you the question: Can I get on the pound-for-pound list now? The fight should have continued". "Again, another one. The first one was on the border, and the second one a low blow". Ward said. "Am I No. 1 now?"

Ward, a 33-year-old native of Oakland California, began to wear Kovalev down in Round 5 with shots to the body.

"When I saw him react to the body shots that were borderline, I knew I had him", he said.

Kovalev outlanded Ward, 95 to 80, overall (according to CompuBox) but expended a great deal of energy in boxing with Ward on even terms.

Kovalev knocked down Ward and felt his pressure was enough to win, while Ward believes he adjusted and pushed the Russian slugger back and captured the majority of the later rounds to pull off the victory. "I dream big. Anything is possible when you have God".



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