Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev clean up Mayweather v McGregor mess

Ward won the first fight between the two by a 114-113 margin on all three judges' scorecards, earning the USA boxer the IBF, WBA, and WBO championships.

During a heated post-press conference, Main Events CEO Kathy Duva said she will file a protest with the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday following Andre Ward's eighth round knockout victory over Sergey Kovalev.

The undefeated Ward turned the fight around with a big right hand that wobbled Kovalev, then swarmed all over him.

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.

"When I saw him react to the body shots that were borderline, I knew I had him", Ward said.

When they meet for a rematch, the WBA, WBO, IBF and The Ring light heavyweight titles will be on the line.

Kovalev said he hoped to have a third fight, but that is quite improbable, given the awful rancor between Roc Nation Sports and Kovalev promoter Main Events, not to mention that the first fight was not a commercial success and the rematch was not likely to be one either. "I know you've got a lot of people who say 'oh, that's suicide.' But there are some things about Anthony Joshua that I see, that makes me think he can outbox Anthony Joshua".

Rigondeaux improved to 18-0 with 12 knockouts, while Flores, of Mexico, dropped to 25-1, with 17 KOs.

"Facing great fighters, you've got to raise your game to the next level and I'm thankful we did that tonight". There were low blows. He suggested possibly fighting at cruiserweight or heavyweight if the right opportunity comes up. Ward earned the second victory against Kovalev, this time by TKO at 2 minutes 29 seconds of the eighth round.

Kovalev did the bulk of his damage to Ward's head in their first meeting, landing 89 percent (113 of his 126) of his total punches.

Kovalev complained after the fight that the referee made the wrong choice to step in, but Ward dismissed the growing criticism. Ward's powerful forehand seriously shook Kovalev, who had a panicky step back in the hope to endure till the Gong at the break. Kovalev did his best to hold on but was hit low for the third time without losing a point.

Ward and Kovalev have previously met, battling out on November 19 a year ago. I take nothing from him. You don't have to respect me and I don't demand anything, but at a certain point and time, you got to give a person their just do. And, if you choose to make a defense for Kovalev's plodding battle plan, there were definitely the low blows.

Said Ward, exhausted of all of the drama: "Whatever the excuses were this time, I just don't have the energy".

Kovalev contended the blows were fouls and demanded another immediate rematch, but his less-than-fearsome posture prior to the climax indicated the intangible tide had already turned and effectively took the teeth out of yet another "I'll kick his a- (next time)" post-fight promise. "I always do well against bigger fighters. The fight should have continued". "Sergey kept getting hit low and they didn't do anything about it". I didn't feel that hurt. Sure, Bellew is naturally much bigger than Ward, and that played a role in his successful ascension.

Ward, an articulate African American of obvious charm, is regarded by some as the best pound for pounder in the world, a classic defensive artist in the finest American tradition.

  • Julie Sanders