Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Andre Ward stops Sergey Kovalev to win light heavy rematch

Drakulich ruled it a knockout, and state commission officials huddled before they supported the ref's decision, instead of giving Rigondeaux a no contest or even disqualifying him. "I could have continued to fight". The blow left Kovalev bent over in agony which resulted in Weeks calling a halt to the fight. The two had stood together after 12 rounds on November 19, standing on each side of referee Robert Byrd.

As for the belt line blows, they were fair - and obviously quite painful.

Flores (25-1), caught hard behind the right ear by the power punch, fell backward to the canvas, lay motionless with his arms sprawled upward for several seconds, then groggily moved toward his stool, raising suspicions that he exaggerated the effect of his condition to attempt to win a no-decision ruling. "I've never seen somebody knocked out on a low blow until tonight, and I hope I never have to see it again".

But make no mistake about it.

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"He was reacting to my body shots, and I knew I had him and I knew he was hurt", Ward said.

According to CompuBox punch statistics, Ward landed 80 of 238 punches (34 percent) and Kovalev landed 95 of 407 (23 percent).

Kovalev's promotional company, Main Events, plans to officially protest the verdict Monday. When I saw him put his arms on the ropes in between the rounds - I watch all that stuff - that's trouble for him.

Authoritative revenge Tony wicks did not notice violations of the ward, and the complete lack of resistance from Kovalev forced the judge to fix defeat by TKO. To Ward's credit, he bounced back in the seventh and, in a precursor to how the fight would end, went for the body. But no one can argue Andre found solid success in the last five rounds of their November bout. Ward and Kovalev (at least until recently on the latter) probably deserve to be ranked ahead of Stevenson based on their competition of late, but the champ is the champ until someone beats him. Kovalev said afterward that he wants an immediate rematch because the punches were low.

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"He's really lucky, 'Son of Judges, ' " Kovalev said of Ward, twisting Ward's "Son of God" nickname. He fought at a more measured pace, threw more punches and found success with those nasty, well-timed jabs. "Not every round, but I thought I was doing very good".

The AP had Kovalev ahead by a point going into the final round. Ward then connected with a sweet right in the chops, and Kovalev's legs were shaking. And given Sergey's presumed condition and the momentum of the fight, it's unlikely he would have held on to that lead if he managed to survive the distance.

Andre Ward has an Olympic gold medal, and Saturday night the Oakland fighter showed world-class professional mettle to claim a spirited eighth-round technical knockout victory over Russian rival Sergey Kovalev. "Again, another one. The first one was on the border, and the second one a low blow". In the seventh round Ward outlanded Kovalev in a close round.

Those wins had earned Ward a predictably high profile among the sport's list-making cognoscenti, but his prolonged bouts of inactivity-thanks to myriad physical zigs and endless promotional zags-threatened to become a lasting career legacy before a jump in weight became a new beginning.

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