Kovalev had the better of the opening rounds, but Ward took advantage as his opponent started to fatigue.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - After leaving no doubt who was the best light heavyweight around, Andre Ward talked about securing his place as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world and perhaps even one day moving up to heavyweight. Ward earned the second victory against Kovalev, this time by TKO at 2 minutes 29 seconds of the eighth round.
"Kovalev fought a good fight, but once I compute a fighter in my brain, I know what I had to do the next time around", said Ward.
Without any hesitations, we might say that Kovalev was robbed last night.
Magomedov hit the canvas following some pressure and referee Robert Byrd called the fight off.
Now 33 years old and seven months past an initial victory many considered debatable, Ward out-bullied the heretofore more menacing Kovalev with precise head shots and debilitating body blows on the way to an eighth-round stoppage that let him retain his three-belt hold on the 175-pound ranks.
Yet, while Kovalev added, "I want to get another fight", the rivalry seems over with no rematch clause in effect and Ward saying afterward he might want to move to cruiserweight.
Both Ward and Kovalev would open up with a hard-hitting intensity that channeled the weeks of verbal sparring the fighters went through leading up to the fight. "I believe he can outbox Anthony Joshua. I don't feel like it affects me one way or another honestly". "The fight should have continued". Ward landed a low blow on Kovalev's belt-line, which backed the Russian toward the ropes.
The Russian lost their first fight on points in November to relinquish the WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight titles to Ward, despite several pundits believing Kovalev was the victor. "Whatever the excuses were this time, I just don't have the energy". Kovalev tried to tie the American up, but Ward was relentless, slamming punches to the head and body. I had him up one going into the last round. "[Kovalev's] a great fighter". "You've got to raise your game to the next level and thankfully that's what we did tonight". Ward followed up by insinuating that he's going to make Kovalev pay for what he considers undeniably racist. I got exhausted, but I still wanted to fight.
'I know it sounds insane when you're light-heavyweight and I'm not the biggest light-heavyweight.
What did you think of the stoppage?