Ward completed the turnaround with a big right hand that wobbled Kovalev in the eighth, then swarmed all over him, landing shots to the body when Kovalev sat on the ring rope, forcing referee Tony Weeks to signal an end to the bout. "When I hit him with the last one he didn't react".
Now, 79 years after the 1938 Louis vs. Schmelling rematch, history will record the June 17, 2017, rematch between light heavyweights Andre "SOG" Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) and Sergei "The Krusher" Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs).
One judge had Kovalev up by four rounds, while the two others had Ward up by a round each.
It's a good thing that the fight is Saturday night, because Sergey Kovalev can't wait any longer for another shot at Andre Ward.
"I have never been the most talented, I have never been the biggest, I just keep knocking down giants one by one", said Ward. I do really well against big fighters because of my stamina, because I may not physically be the biggest but I'm strong. There a lot of people who are convinced I won it.. Ward's powerful forehand seriously shook Kovalev, who had a panicky step back in the hope to endure till the Gong at the break. That's the kind of stuff that I've been dealing with since I've been a kid.
After some debate, and viewing several replays, Drakulich ruled the final blow was on the bell and called the fight a KO for the WBA super-bantamweight champion. I see things with him in particular and he's the best.
Ward was up by a point on two scorecards and down three points on the third going into the eighth. Whether the punches that came right before the end of the fight were low or not can be discussed. It changed in a unusual fight, brilliantly planned by Ward and his camp, and brilliantly executed - occasionally with punches that lacked a Global Positioning System and wound up south of the border. I knew he was hurt.
With all of the comments that have been made since the boxers met previous year, Ward told TMZ that "He's culturally sound enough to know some of the things he's been doing are racially motivated".
Kovalev did a better job fighting on the inside and equaling Ward's physicality from the clinch during the rematch. "That one's probably borderline - he was hurt, I went right back there again, he wasn't reacting, right back there again and the referee stopped it". "These are two elite fighters in their prime, and I implore you to tell their story". We are boxers. Yes, he punched me, but I didn't feel it. "I give God glory for this victory".
"What's next? Cruiserweight? Heavyweight?"
Ward was paid $6.5 million for the rematch, while Kovalev got a percentage of the gate and the pay-per-view.
Ward could pursue lineal light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, who owns the fourth sanctioning body belt, but there are promotional and television network issues there, so don't count on seeing it.