Sport

Ward stops Kovalev in eight to win rematch

Ward stops Kovalev in eight to win rematch

In the main event, America's Andre Ward (32-0) retained his unbeaten record (as well as his WBA, IBF and WBO World Light Heavyweight belts) with an 8th round TKO victory in his rematch with Russia's Sergey Kovalev (30-2-1). "Great fighters have to raise their game to the next level, and that's what I had to do tonight".

"Then I hurt him with a head shot and I just had to get the right shots in there to get it over with".

Kovalev was unable to gain revenge as he was stopped in round eight, although he claimed that Ward was guilty of administering several low blows. While that is up for debate, the current reality is that Andre Ward finished off a fighter who had been feared by much of the boxing world.

The 33-year-old Ward needed this victory to validate his first win as many felt the Russian won that fight and that Ward had been given a gift decision by the three judges. Kovalev faded in the first fight, and Ward plans to do everything he can to ensure that happens again.

According to CompuBox punch statistics, Ward landed 80 of 238 punches (34 percent) and Kovalev landed 95 of 407 (23 percent). He did say he was hit below the belt numerous times by Ward and Ward was warned twice over low blows. Bennett said it was a punch before the bell sounded though the replay showed it was after the round.

"We are boxers. I could still continue". It doesn't mean you stop a fight every time somebody gets hurt. Kovalev threw the greater volume of punches but after the early knockdown met with what has become an industry difficulty, finding it hard to land clean shots on a notoriously awkward target. "I've been boxing a long time and, sometimes, a lot of writers and reporters they don't take you at your word".

I hadn't seen a light heavyweight be that effective with the jab in years.

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"I knew this time it was going to be different", Ward said. "This is bullsh*t", Kovalev uttered after the fight. "It's inconceivable to have a fight stopped like that", Duva said. Probably not, and a win over any him or any other cruiserweight (many of whom are tied up in a tournament of their own at the moment) wouldn't garner the kind of public acclaim that would warrant the danger.

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

It had been a competitive fight until the eighth round, when Ward landed a ferocious right hand on the chin and Kovalev turned jelly-legged.

Boxing writer Mike Montero tweeted out the scorecard - mentioning that two of the judges were in his opinion on route to screwing Kovalev anyway.

From there, Kovalev - who grew more anxious over the course of the bout, no doubt contributing to his stamina fade - didn't seem to want to be in the fight anymore. Howard Lederman of HBO, Dan Rafael of ESPN and the Associated Press were just a few that scored the fight clearly for Kovalev. There were low blows. "Heavyweight? Hey, you have to be able to dream".

Guillermo Rigondeaux (18-0, 12 KO) kept hold of his WBA Junior Featherweight title in dubious circumstances - depending on your opinion - with Rigondeaux knocking out challenger Moises Flores (25-1, 17 KO) with a left hook on/after the bell to close the 1st round.


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