What a statement! Any doubts from the first fight were put to bed. Andre Ward, who many claimed was pound-for-pound the number one fighter prior to the first fight with Kovalev, made his claim and put his doubters in check.
Kovalev started off with a bang, winning the first half of the fight and on my score card leading 5-2. However, the same issue as before — he faded and gased out and Ward capitalized. A brutal ending which started with a clean shot and then ended up with a barrage of body shots causing referee Tony weeks to stop the fight.
Kovalev claimed low blows but the truth is that he was not complaining about the stoppage and was not hitting back but when interviewed said he was not hurt and was getting hit below the belt.
Ward started slow and it looked as if this would be redemption for Kovalev but this abrupt ending from Ward showed his class and put him in the bracket of the top pound -for-pound fighters.
A great victory for Ward and one which appeases any doubt people had of him from the first fight. As one of the best fighters of our era said, “a true champion can adapt to any challenge” and that’s what Ward did.
So what’s next for Ward and Kovalev. Ward continues to progress and his trainer Virgil Hunter even mentioned going up in weight and called out Anthony Joshua. Seems like a a big feat but seeing Ward move up in weight would be exciting to watch.
For Kovalev on the other hand, a third rematch seems unlikely and a tune up fight seems in order to get his career back on track. Adonis Stevenson remains lurking in this division as the other belt holder but one would have to question his desire to compete at the top level given his current strategy in facing opponents.
Onto the next chapter for these two fighters now and we hope we can see them both again this year.