Unified light heavyweight champion Andre ‘S.O.G.’ Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) scored an eighth round TKO stoppage victory of former champion Sergey Kovalev (30-2, 25 KOs) in their hotly anticipated rematch as seen moments ago on HBO, live from Las Vegas.
Kovalev started faster in this fight leading with a stiff jab and high work rate but as was the case in their first fight Ward made himself a difficult target with his movement and rhythm.
Ward started landing the cleaner shots in Round 4 and 5, rolling from his defensive position to hit Kovalev with counters and hard, digging body shots.
Kovalev continued throwing more punches but landed little of significance in the middle rounds and began to visibly tire.
In Round 8 a Ward right hand stunned Kovalev and the defending champion jumped all over him looking for the kill. Kovalev backed off for the first time in the fight. Ward pinned him on the ropes and did land several low and belt-line punches and a sagging Kovalev slumped to the canvass where the fight was waived off by referee Tony Weeks. At the time of the stoppage, Ward was up 67-66 on two cards with Kovalev ahead 68-65 on the third.
While the low shots immediately caused controversy, Kovalev appeared to be getting weaker by the round and was continuously looking to the referee for help any time a shot landed near his waistline, often turning away from Ward. The sustained body attack appeared to play dividends for Ward who looked strong and confident from the opening bell.
Another factor seemed to be that Kovalev had thrown a significantly higher percentage of punches than he did in the first fight but didn’t seem to have as much to show for it. The vastly increased activity rate seemed to hurt him more than it helped as he fatigued significantly in the middle rounds paving the way for Ward’s onslaught.
With the win, the Oakland charge defended his WBA, IBF and WBO 175-pound titles.
Stay tuned for more.
Powered by Facebook Comments