Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Ward celebrates big win while Kovalev plans protest

Ward celebrates big win while Kovalev plans protest

Ward improved to 32-0 with 16 knockouts as he held onto three of the four major boxing belts that he snatched from Kovalev by winning the first fight in November by a slim unanimous decision.

But on Saturday night, Ward was actually a better fighter that he had even been before - and even before, he was pretty good.

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.

As the fight progressed, body shots (and a couple of low/borderline blows) from Ward started taking a toll on the Russian.

"Ward won't be the bigger fighter against Kovalev, but he's both strong enough and intelligent enough to know that slowing down the pace of the fight - especially if things get hairy - and tying Kovalev up after landing a single punch is a default option he can lean on".

"He's getting paid by one guy, who for some reason is willing to put out extraordinary amounts of money to watch him fight", Kovalev's promoter, Kathy Duva, said.

Ward had received a hotly disputed points victory in their first fight and there will be fresh debate after he retained his WBA "super", IBF and WBO belts. "I think that would be a very interesting fight", Hunter said.

Ward not letting Kovalev get the big shots off. Kovalev connects to the face. After all Ward has not lost a fight since the age of 12 and is riding on a world of momentum after beating Kovalev for the second time.

"Hopefully, against a great fighter like Sergey Kovalev, we'll get our credit tonight and get atop that pound-for-pound list". Yes, he punched me but I didn't feel it. "Heavyweight? Hey, you have to be able to dream". Ward took the most damage in the fight early when Kovalev managed to score a knockdown in the second round. Both boxers are 6-feet tall and Ward is about 11 months younger than Kovalev. Weeks ignored motioned him back to fight and then with the Russian's back against the ropes, here came Ward to unleash three thunderous left uppercuts that motivated Weeks to end it before the fourth could be on its way.

At the time of the stoppage, Ward was up on two out of the three judges scorecards.

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.

But you can't have that conversation without him.

Kovalev was the much busier of the two from the opening bell of the entertaining fight.

Now 31-0, Mr. Ward is fighting an opponent who has proven himself to be bitterly angry at his first loss and is willing to express himself about it in the most racist terms.

"This is fighting. We are boxers".

"They can talk about the low blows but there were rabbit punches that he threw, too", Ward said. I went right back there again, and he wasn't reacting. To Ward he just resembles a bigger dragon. "I knew I had him hurt". "I was empty in the first fight".

Kovalev complains of another low blow by Weeks says to fight on.

Ward, an articulate African American of obvious charm, is regarded by some as the best pound for pounder in the world, a classic defensive artist in the finest American tradition.

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