Sergey Kovalev will have his hands full in Andre Ward rematch

Ward threw and landed fewer punches than Kovalev but hit 37 percent of his power shots, according to Compubox.

Ward is still the unified WBA/WBO/IBF light heavyweight champion, but said he would not be against moving up to cruiserweight or even heavyweight.

"Then I hurt him with a head shot and I just had to get the right shots in there to get it over with". I didn't feel that hurt. "It takes something to do something". It was anyone's fight going into the eighth round, with the AP having Kovalev ahead by a point, until Ward landed the right hand that proved the difference.

The fight had been close, with Kovalev (30-2-1) winning the early rounds before Ward (32-0) began making adjustments and Kovalev began tiring.

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.

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 had a couple of missions in mind when I came to Las Vegas-to glorify God with my performance and the way I act outside the ring, to defend my belts that I won back in November, and to get home and kiss my wife and kids", he said. "I knew he was hurt, trying to cover up".

"Go back down there".

Kovalev claimed after the fight that it was the low blows that cost him the bout, but that it should not have been stopped.

"It's a disgrace", his promoter Kathy Duva said. "I saw someone who should have been disqualified get his hand held up".

Ah, but those low blows. We asked the commission for an instant replay and the commission refused.

Kovalev's promotional company, Main Events, plans to officially protest the verdict Monday.

I wasn't moving. Tonight, every time I stopped moving, Virg (trainer Virgil Hunter) kept telling me to move my feet. "I don't want to say my opinion, witnesses are here". The first was Chad Dawson. They laughed at me, but I knew what would happen because Andre was healthy.

"Now, we have quieted all those who were whining and didn't get it the first time", Hunter said.

Ward and his camp dismissed any idea that low blows were a factor, preferring instead to celebrate a win that put to rest any controversy over the judging in their first fight last November. "I believed and trusted Tony Weeks, but he did a wrong decision in stopping the fight". Ward's style frustrated "Krusher" early and often, reducing him to being able to land only single blows for much of the contest and slowly depleting his gas tank.

Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev 2 Saturday June 17 at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT on HBO Pay-Per-View.

As I complete the requirements for my AFRAM 30 class, I'm keeping a People's Eye Photography and SF Bay View newspaper eye on the events leading up to what promises to be one of the greatest rematch fights in boxing history.

  • Julie Sanders