Kovalev calls for third Ward bout after controversial stoppage

Andre Ward, 33, went into the original meeting with Saturday's opponent late previous year with an unbeaten record, and by the final bell, S.O.G boasted the same pristine CV.

Olympic gold medal victor Andre Ward has stopped Russian puncher Sergey Kovalev in the eighth round to win their rematch and retain his unified light-heavyweight world championship. But although Ward earned the victory, it did not come without a cloud of controversy, with many scorers claiming that Kovalev should have in fact been the victor.

The bitter rivals had produced another evenly contested fight, with Ward sending out an early warning to Kovalev by landing his crisp right hand in the closing seconds of the opening round.

Controversy?Perhaps one could say the stoppage was premature but Kovalev was doubled over and not defending himself Fights have been stopped for lesser reasons. "A lot of people talk about his jab and the right hand", Ward said.

Referee Tony Weeks then stopped the fight with 31 seconds in the eighth with Kovalev, 34, kneeling down. He demanded another rematch.

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.

Kovalev, 34, a native of Russian Federation, didn't immediately protest the stoppage but later voiced his anger during a post fight interview. Yes, he punched me but I didn't feel it. Ward wanted to prove that his previous win over Sergey Kovalev was not a gift and Sergey wanted to show that he was a victim of poor scoring.

"I will finish [Ward's] boxing career because like, right now, I'm already in a corner and I don't have like another way except like get a victory over him, it's a necessary victory".

"It was a low blow", he said as he watched a replay of the stoppage. He suggested possibly fighting at cruiserweight or heavyweight if the right opportunity comes up.

Fighters both tiring a bit. I knew he was hurt. [Kovalev] got hit with three low blows, four actually, in the last round. "I can't think that way".

"I don't have a prediction", Kovalev said. It spilled over into an acrimonious buildup to the rematch, but Ward let it go after Saturday's fight. All three judges scored it 114-113 after a furious rally late by Ward.

Spill your opinions on Ward vs Kovalev II below, plus the rest of the night's busy card.

The fight served as a rematch to the bout that the two men had back on November 19, 2016 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Ward-Kovalev 2 should be an excellent fight.

In his post-fight interview, Kovalev questioned the intervention of Weeks and suggested that he had received an illegal punch. Ward said. "Of course, I hope so, but I don't have a vote, and hopefully we top that pound-for-pound list".

Ward could pursue lineal light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, who owns the fourth sanctioning body belt, but there are promotional and television network issues there, so don't count on seeing it.

  • Julie Sanders