In a highly entertaining bout between two top Light heavyweights in their prime in Las Vegas, any doubt on who the number one Light Heavyweight fighter is in the world was put to bed as Andre Ward stopped Sergey Kovalev of Russia in the eighth round. This was a Grudge rematch as many feel that Kovalev was robbed when he lost his IBF, WBO and WBF belts to Ward 7 months ago. Andre Ward came back from a 2nd round knock down to have all three judges scoring the fight unanimously in his favour in their first encounter. 

For someone who is known as a “Krusher” the only thing he crushed was the dreams of all his fans as he promised them that he would end Andre Wards career. This was taken very personal by Wards team as in one of the press conferences Virgil Hunter who has been training Andre Ward since he was 13 years said he has only trained Ward twice to knockout an opponent and that was when he faced Chad Dawson in 2012 and for this fight.  

Ward was visibly hurting Kovalev with some hard body shots and he said he noticed that and continued to go downstairs. “I’ve never been the best, but I’ve always worked the hardest,” Ward said. “I could tell he was reacting to my body shots, and I knew I had him then. I knew he was hurt. It takes something to do something.”

I didn’t envy the judges as the fight was very competitive until the eighth round when Ward landed a perfect right hand on the chin that turned Kovalev’s legs jelly. This was the turning point in the fight as Veteran referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight after Ward continued to go to the body. “I saw him reacting to body shots that were borderline, so I knew I had him,” Ward said. “I knew he was hurt, trying to cover up. I went back to the body. I went right back there again, and he wasn’t reacting. Then the referee stopped the fight.”

After the fight, Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, who promotes Kovalev, said she will file a protest with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, claiming Ward landed several low blows without being penalized. Because of the rancor between Roc Nation Sports and Main Events which promote Ward and Kovalev respectively we are unlikely to see a third fight. 

Ward who has improved his record to 32 fights, 32 wins, 16 wins by KO and 0 losses will make $6.5 million for this fight and he can now go and challenge Adonis Stevenson who owns the fourth belt in the division. I would not count on that happening anytime soon due to promotional and television network issues.  

Siphiwo Lindi