Ward knocks out Kovalev in eighth round

The two first met last November, with Ward winning in a razor-thin 114-113 decision over Kovalev to remain unbeaten. Kovalev retreated to a corner, and Ward followed relentlessly whipping three left hooks.

"Then I hurt him with a head shot and I just had to get the right shots in there to get him all the way and we did that".

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

Kovalev's promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events said, "He got hit with three low blows".

"Fighting a bigger man, it doesn't have to do with size - it has to do with his attributes and their attributes", he said. I know you've got a lot of people who say 'oh, that's suicide'. Ward, was given the stoppage over Russian Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev, 30-2-1 (16), of Ft.

Though Ward's punches bounced off Kovalev, more often than not they caught him square on the target instead of the gloves, which obviously played against him in what was after all an American court.

Ward did mention after the fight that he would be open to one day attempting a fight at heavyweight - referencing Roy Jones Jr in the past completing such stellar accomplishments in terms of stepping up from lower weight categories to boxing's glamor division. Still, Kovalev was clearly rattled and hurt during that final sequence of punches that stopped the fight, which gave Ward the victory.

He added that he wants an "immediate" rematch because he felt he got hit with a series of low blows in the eighth round.

As CBS Sports noted, it is expected to be a very close bout again but Ward can again seize the advantage if he dictates the style of the fight. "I didn't feel like I was getting knocked down by the power of his punches".

Ward's trainer, Virgil Hunter, hopes Kovalev is better. 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. "I knew he was hurt".

Said Ward, exhausted of all of the drama: "Whatever the excuses were this time, I just don't have the energy". "He's a great fighter", Ward said.

Andre Ward vowed he would leave no doubt this time around. It's boxing. I could have continued fighting, but I don't understand what happened. He didn't let me continue to fight. I was better and he was better this fight. The Russian - and many ringside observers - were surprised that Kovalev lost the first fight.

On Saturday night he was on one knee as referee Tony Weeks waved his hands in adjournment, and Ward kept the three light-heavyweight championships he took from Kovalev last November. "Ward fought an empty Kovalev".

The 34-year-old also questioned the referee's decision to end the fight when he did, insisting he was still in a position to recover. HBO will replay the pay-per-view fight next Saturday beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Many did think Kovalev won, however. I dream big. Anything is possible when you have God. To Ward he just resembles a bigger dragon.

Anyone who watched the first fight would have to be intrigued by the rematch.

  • Julie Sanders