Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Sport | By Ellis Neal

Ward, Kovalev do it again in light heavyweight title bout

Ward, Kovalev do it again in light heavyweight title bout

Ward defeated Kovalev by unanimous decision (114-113 on all three scorecards) to win his IBF, WBO and WBA light heavyweight titles.

And while Kovalev and his cadre of supporters may lament the way it ultimately arrived, it'll be much harder for them to argue the point the Californian proved at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Prior to referee Tony Weeks' final intervention, Kovalev had been troubled by a body shot/low blow, a knee-buckling straight right to the jaw, and finally another body shot/low blow, which, according to a post-fight replay, appeared to land about as close as can be to the groin region. "I could tell he was reacting to my body shots, and I knew I had him then. When I hit him with the last one he didn't react".

But by the sixth, Ward said he could sense Kovalev was fading. He knows Kovalev can fight, and he believes he knows how to beat him a second time.

But first Bivol (10-0, eight knockouts) needs to take care of business against Agnew (29-2, 15 KOs), who was knocked out by Kovalev in 2014.

The American boxer, 33, wanted to stamp his authority on rival Sergey Kovalev on Saturday night and said in the build up he wanted to stop him. Ward's powerful forehand seriously shook Kovalev, who had a panicky step back in the hope to endure till the Gong at the break. Are they trying to get better, or are they laying all their eggs in the basket that says they won the first fight, so they don't have to? "We're going to shut the door on this and, like I said, take all doubt and all questions off the table".

"I could have continued", Kovalev said.

When asked, in the aftermath of his victory over Kovalev, whether a bout with Joshua could be arranged, Ward replied: 'Anything is possible. He fought at a more measured pace, threw more punches and found success with those nasty, well-timed jabs. "I was empty in the first fight". Ward won by total knockout in the eighth round, but not without a controversial call of whether or not he went low with a shot on Kovalev.

During his career Jones climbed the ladder, testing himself with greater intensity each time he stepped in the ring. "But I don't really know what happened". The fight seemed to be going the way of Ward, the superior athlete, the better conditioned athlete, the unflappable presence.

We wish them well with their combat panto but let's not confuse it with a contest that taps into the best traditions of the fight game, a bout awash with animus, hubris and rage. As a result Ward retained the unified light heavyweight championship. Whether the punches that came right before the end of the fight were low or not can be discussed. "I thought I was doing very good. I wasn't hurt and I could continue".

With victory in hand, Ward turned his focus to boosting his case that he, not unbeaten three-belt middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin, is the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer.

It turned out, that's exactly what Andre Ward had in mind, too.

Guillermo Rigondeaux (18-0, 12 KO) kept hold of his WBA Junior Featherweight title in dubious circumstances - depending on your opinion - with Rigondeaux knocking out challenger Moises Flores (25-1, 17 KO) with a left hook on/after the bell to close the 1st round.

Like this: