Ward vs Kovalev II: Andre Ward Stops Sergey Kovalev in 8

Ward vs Kovalev II: Andre Ward Stops Sergey Kovalev in 8”

Ah, but those low blows. But if Kovalev got stopped only because of that - and he didn't, because, reminder, lots of legal blows, too, including one that rocked his ass - then maybe he was going to get stopped anyway.

The American hurt Kovalev with a big right hand in the eighth round, but the Russian complained that a few of the final blows were below the belt line after referee Tony Weeks hastily waved off the fight.

If Ward is a master of the American school, Kovalev is straight outta the Soviet system, an orthodox, come forward, relentless puncher. "I'm glad I don't have to deal with their people anymore", she said.

The summer fireworks kick off this Saturday from Las Vegas when Andre Ward faces Sergey Kovalev in a rematch billed "No Excuses" for Ward's WBO, IBF & WBA light heavyweight titles, with it shown on HBO pay-per-view.

At the first Ward-Kovalev weigh-in, on November 18, 2016, the fighters had to be separated. He was trying to cover up his body. "And I will prove it June 17 in the ring", Kovalev announced, before pausing and then turning towards Ward, seated to his right. "He just didn't react, and the referee stopped it".

The defeat again raises questions about Kovalev's engine, with him looking spent after a big effort in the sixth round and his legs betraying him under a heavy attack in the eighth.

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"It was a low blow, again another one", he said as he watched a replay of the stoppage with an HBO interviewer.

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. "And I think you can't help but feel it, and it's what makes ... when you're a true fight fan, you don't mind hearing about the money and all that other stuff if it's a guy that loves to fight and is willing to challenge himself against anybody out there, you know, and fights all out". It doesn't mean you stop a fight every time somebody gets hurt. I wanted to continue fighting. Whether the punches that came right before the end of the fight were low or not can be discussed.

This was an event dripping in bad blood.

Kovalev was the much busier of the two from the opening bell of the entertaining fight.

Ward received a guaranteed $6.5 million payday for the fight. The challenger, Kovalev is a man from another time as well as another place. He was the aggressor backing up Ward who seemed content to wait for his opportunity to land a punch.

The sessions were tense, hard to score and at times ugly. Kovalev was accurate, landing with thudding jabs and enough right hands to mark up his man, but Ward, who had Kovalev dabbing at his right eye, began edging the action at BB from the 4th round onwards, leading at 68-65 going into the 8th. Kovalev by most accounts is looked at as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world and was thought to be the victor of the 1 event. What can not be questioned is the right hand that clearly sapped the fight out of Kovalev.

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