I know it sounds insane when you're light-heavyweight and I'm not the biggest light-heavyweight. But while Kovalev was supposed to be the puncher it was a big right hand by Ward that landed midway through the eighth. "It takes something to do something". Kovalev had appeared to pull through and take control of the fight as he rocked Ward with a right hand.
The former super middleweight champ, Ward is unbeaten in 31 fights; Kovalev is 30-1-1.
Shaped by attitudes more readily associated with those Russian supremacists attached to the nation's football team, Kovalev has run into a wall of righteous anger over his clumsy publicity moves that look like downright racism to western cultural sensibilities. "I saw Sergey's (protective) cup going up from the back during that whole sequence". To Ward's credit, he bounced back in the seventh and, in a precursor to how the fight would end, went for the body. "Right now, I should've continued". "He was hurt and he wasn't reacting so the referee stopped it".
When I see his face I want to bash him, Kovalev said.
"It's a disgrace", his promoter Kathy Duva said.
The thrill of victory did not last too long as Ward was bombarded at the post-fight press conference with questions of the repeated low blows.
Ward's trainer, Virgil Hunter, hopes Kovalev is better. All the talking is good for the fans, it's good to build it up, it's all good but anybody that knows me, knows that I'm about the action. The first was Chad Dawson. And they laughed at me.
While Ward will make $6.5 million in the fight, Kovalev has agreed to fight for a percentage of the tickets and pay-per-view money instead of a purse. Ward just beat the will and heart out of Kovalev.
"We are boxers. I could still continue".
This time there was no early knockdown and no early dominance from either man, but there was a conclusive outcome. "Am I No. 1 [in pound-for-pound rankings] now?" "I was empty in the first fight. He landed incredible body punches and chopped Sergey down, literally chopped him down". 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.
"Can I get on the pound-for-pound list now at the top?" said Ward. The Ring magazine ranks these two as the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet.
"Low blow - and I felt this". But the people talking about him getting hit in the balls? No. "I give God glory for this victory". "I didn't feel the punch".
"This is fighting. We are boxers". Yes, he did punch me, but he didn't hurt me.
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. They clinjch again as Weeks has to work. Going into the 8th round two of the three judges had Ward ahead on the cards 67-66 while the third judge had Kovalev up 69-65.
Kovalev's manager Egis Klimas stated, "Basically what happened today, Ward got away with fighting dirty". 4-2 for Andre Ward as the fight hits the mid-point. "Am I No. 1 now?"
HBO will replay the fight next Saturday, Jun. 24 beginning at 10 p.m. ET.
Asked what he would do next, Ward said, "Cruiserweight?" As a result Ward retained the unified light heavyweight championship.
Many did think Kovalev won, however. "We're very proud of him". Ward wasn't talking that way Saturday night. He was so spectacular tonight.
"The mindset is you're the best in the world".
Anyone who watched the first fight would have to be intrigued by the rematch. Who knows? He will enjoy the moment.