Andre Ward finishes Sergey Kovalev in eighth round, retains titles

5:32 AM ET

LAS VEGAS — Whatever doubts there were after Andre Ward was handed a rarely argumentative unanimous preference and 3 light heavyweight universe pretension belts following his Nov showdown opposite Sergey Kovalev, there were zero remaining on Saturday night.

The pound-for-pound chosen fighters met again in a rematch before a throng of 10,592 during a Mandalay Bay Events Center, and Ward left no doubt this time, knocking Kovalev out in a eighth round, most to a pleasure of a pro-Ward crowd.

Rigondeaux stops Flores in argumentative ending

At slightest youth featherweight titlist Guillermo Rigondeaux wasn’t tedious this time, though a final call in his first-round knockout of Moises Flores on Saturday was questionable.

Kovalev was famous as a large puncher of a pair, so it was a really gratifying finish for Ward, who certain unleashed some firepower on a “Krusher” in a final moments of a quarrel opposite an competition who had betrothed to hit him out and finish his career.

Ward had landed several tough physique shots that Kovalev visibly reacted to. Ward pronounced he beheld that and continued to go downstairs.

“I’ve never been a best, though I’ve always worked a hardest,” Ward said. “I could tell he was reacting to my physique shots, and we knew we had him then. we knew he was hurt. It takes something to do something.”

It had been a rival quarrel until a eighth round, when Ward landed a inhuman right palm on a chin, and Kovalev incited jelly-legged. Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) was badly harm and Ward went right during him and began banishment away.

Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) corroborated him into a ropes and landed 3 some-more left hands to Kovalev’s gut, including a low blow that was not called by arbitrate Tony Weeks. But a shots forced Kovalev to hook over, and he looked spent, so Weeks jumped in and waved off a quarrel during 2 minutes, 29 seconds.

“I saw him reacting to physique shots that were equivocal so we knew we had him,” Ward said. “I new he was hurt, perplexing to cover up. we went behind to a body. we went right behind there again and he wasn’t reacting. Then a arbitrate stopped a fight.”

Virgil Hunter, Ward’s career-long trainer, was really confident with a outcome.

“I told [the media] this week we have usually lerned Andre for a knockout twice,” Hunter said. “The initial was Chad Dawson [in 2012], and a second was tonight. And they laughed during me. But we knew what was going to happen, since he was healthy. Now, we have quieted all those who were fussy and suspicion we didn’t get it a initial time.”

On Nov. 19, Ward won a heavily doubtful preference — 114-113 on all 3 scorecards — opposite Kovalev, who had a right to an evident rematch, an choice he fast exercised. Ward came on clever in a second half of that quarrel after Kovalev knocked him down in a second round.

It led to sour feelings on both sides — Kovalev feeling he was robbed, and Ward feeling he got no credit for a victory. It spilled over into an hostile rave to a rematch, though Ward let it go after Saturday’s fight.

“He’s a good fighter, and we have zero though honour for him,” he said. “First time around a male is universe champion, and he’s been on tip a prolonged time. we give him credit. He is a good fighter, and when we quarrel good fighters we have to lift your game.”

This time there was no early knockdown and no early prevalence from possibly man, though there was a decisive outcome rather than another sip of controversy.

“From Day 1 we expected a knockout,” pronounced Michael Yormark, Ward’s upholder from Roc Nation Sports. “I pronounced Andre was in a best figure of his life and that he was as encouraged as he has ever been for a quarrel in his life. He landed implausible physique punches and chopped Sergey down, literally chopped him down.”

Kovalev seemed in startle after a fight.

“I don’t know, we can’t explain it,” Kovalev pronounced about a finish of a fight. “Not each round, though we suspicion we was doing really good. we was better, and he was improved this fight. we didn’t feel like we was removing knocked down with his punches.”

He pronounced he suspicion Ward was attack him subsequent a belt though that he was OK.

“I could have continued,” he said. “I didn’t feel a punch. This is fighting. We are boxers. Yes, he did punch me though he didn’t harm me. The quarrel should have continued.”

In a second round, Ward usually missed with a large right palm and afterwards grazed Ward with a left-right multiple — usually before Ward landed a low blow and was warned by Weeks. Ward continued to go to a physique in a quarrel that featured a lot of severe stuff, some conduct butts and grappling. At one indicate in a fourth round, Weeks called a fighters together and warned them to hit off a fouling.

There were several tighten rounds, and going into a eighth round, Ward led 67-66 on dual scorecards and Kovalev, 34, who is from Russia and fights out of Los Angeles, was adult 68-65 on a third. But Ward, 33, of Oakland, California, done a cards irrelevant with his startling TKO in a eighth round, after that Hunter and Kovalev tutor John David Jackson got into a exhilarated contention in a ring.

According to CompuBox punch statistics, Ward landed usually 80 of 238 punches (34 percent) though done them count; Kovalev landed 95 of 407 (23 percent).

Many already perspective Ward as a No. 1 pound-for-pound warrior in a world, though it is nowhere nearby unanimous. Ward hopes he done his box this time.

“Can we ask a question? Am we No. 1 now?” Ward said. “Of course, we wish so, though we don’t have a vote, and hopefully we tip that pound-for-pound list.”

Kovalev pronounced he hoped to have a third fight, though that is utterly improbable, given a terrible malice between Roc Nation Sports and Kovalev upholder Main Events, not to discuss that a initial quarrel was not a blurb success and a rematch was not expected to be one either.

Ward done $6.5 million, and Kovalev stood to acquire a fragment of that since he was removing usually a commission of a pay-per-view and sheet sales. HBO will replay a pay-per-view quarrel subsequent Saturday commencement during 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Ward could pursue hereditary light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, who owns a fourth supporting physique belt, though there are promotional and radio network issues there, so don’t count on saying it.

Asked what he would do next, Ward said, “Cruiserweight? Heavyweight? we dream big, and all is probable when we have God.”

Yormark pronounced he would give Ward time to suffer a win and afterwards demeanour for a biggest quarrel available.

“This opening was spectacular, substantially one of a best we’ve seen in a long, prolonged time, and he finished [Kovalev],” Yormark said. “We’re really unapproachable of him. A good night for a Wards. He was so fantastic tonight. He realizes he is a best fighter, bruise for pound, in a world. Who he fights next? Who knows? He will suffer a moment. He deserves to suffer a moment.”

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