Boxer Andre Ward Stops Russia's Sergei Kovalev In Eighth Round

Boxer Andre Ward Stops Russia's Sergei Kovalev In Eighth Round

Boxer Andre Ward Stops Russia's Sergei Kovalev In Eighth Round

The Cuban retains his World Boxing Association title and said afterward, as one of the sport's most avoided fighters, that he'd be willing to meet either former super-flyweight world champion Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez or super-featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko in a catch-weight bout. Referee Tony Weeks did separate Ward and Kovalev twice and advised Ward to keep his punches off Kovalev's trunks, but the shot that began Kovalev's demise in the 8th round landed right on the beltline. He did say he was hit below the belt numerous times by Ward and Ward was warned twice over low blows.

Having inflicted the 34-year-old Russian's first ever defeat in a close bout in November last year, 33-year-old Ward put the result beyond doubt this time. "You've got to raise your game to the next level and thankfully that's what we did tonight".

“I know I will get my belts back, ” Kovalev said.

On Saturday night he was on one knee as referee Tony Weeks waved his hands in adjournment, and Ward kept the three light-heavyweight championships he took from Kovalev last November.

Ward was leading by one point on two of three judges' scorecards when the fight ended, while Kovalev had a three-point bulge on one card thanks to an effective early start.

"We are boxers. I could still continue". Why stop the fight?

The rematch is as intriguing as the first fight, when the question was whether Kovalevs vaunted power would carry the day against a fighter who never really excites fans but always leaves the ring with his hand raised. But styles make fights. The fight at the Mandalay Bay resort is being held in a smaller arena than the first, and pay-per-view sales are expected to be tepid. It didn't hurt me. "He was hitting him low the whole fight".

Could be Ward's craftiness played a role, as well as all the holding, about which Kovalev's promoter Kathy Duva afterward said, "The ref (Robert Byrd) wasn't doing his job". Ward said after the fight. "I can't think that way". In the second round Kovalev used an effective jab. "I don't feel like it affects me".

Ward was paid $6.5 million for the rematch, while Kovalev got a percentage of the gate and the pay-per-view. Virgil Hunter, Ward's trainer who had a tart argument with Kovalev's trainer John David Jackson after the fight, was justifiably expansive. He suggested possibly fighting at cruiserweight or heavyweight if the right opportunity comes up.

As the sixth and seventh round got underway, Kovalev seemed to slow down just a bit, which was part of the problem he suffered in the first fight as well as his output and volume of punches landed diminished with each passing minute.

'I'm going to take it as I get it - it's a risky sport man, ' Ward told Sky Sports.

"They can talk about the low blows but there were rabbit punches that he threw, too", Ward said. Who he fights next?

Kovalev was known as the big puncher of the pair, so it was a satisfying conclusion for Ward, who unleashed some firepower on the "Krusher" in the final moments of the fight against an opponent who had promised to knock him out and end his career.

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