Ward quickly returned fire with a series of stinging left hands but each round was still a toss up as they continued to battle back and forth throughout.
With Kovalev clearly hurt, Ward poured on the punishment with a heavy barrage of punches to the body as referee Tony Weeks kept a close eye on the action. I’d like to see him fight Anthony Joshua. “If you were to single out one thing that would make it a competitive fight for yourself, you take that chance – because that’s what he’s here for”, Hunter said (via Boxing Scene).
Andre Ward landed a clean counter right hand to the chin of Kovalev which had the boxer nicknamed “Krusher” visibly shaken. In round 7 Kovalev was showing small tell tale signs of fatigue by fighting with an open mouth.
“Facing great fighters, you’ve got to raise your game to the next level and I’m thankful we did that tonight”. Why did Tony Weeks stop the fight? “Cruiserweight, heavyweight, that’s always been a dream of mine It’s gotta be the right guy, but I dream big”, said Ward on Saturday following the bout. It’s an interesting development with the two power punching terrors of the sport in their last couple bouts: Opponents have proven that if you take the fight to Kovalev and Gennady Golovkin at tactical intervals, they suddenly aren’t quite so fearsome. I didn’t feel that hurt.
It wasn’t that nobody expected Ward to prevail, but he simply isn’t known for his firepower, and prior to Saturday had enjoyed only two early nights since 2009 – against Chad Dawson and Paul Smith Jr – and both were mercy stoppages.
‘Kovalev also was probably up in the fight, at least by a little bit.
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. The Star-Ledger had Kovalev ahead by point after seven. He knows Kovalev can fight, and he believes he knows how to beat him a second time. He had a good moment and he’s a really great fighter – I’m not taking anything away from him.
“I was breathing, he was breathing, but I’m used to working exhausted”, Ward said. Neither made any effort to touch gloves when given their final instructions, and once the bell rang, they both went after each other.
Kovalev fought well against Ward and deserves tremendous credit for doing so.
Promoter Kathy Duva, angrily facing a “press conference” that was populated with Ward fans, said it was “inconceivable” that Kovalev could lose on “all those low blows in a row”, and promised to appeal the decision to the Nevada state athletic commission.
The 33-year-old needed this victory to validate his first win as many felt Kovalev won that fight and that Ward had been given a gift decision by the three judges. “I can’t think that way”.
Andre Ward defeated Sergey Kovalev in the rematch, completely without deserving.
In another fight, two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux retained his super batamweight title on a first-round knockout over Moises Flores when he landed a punch after the bell.