Ward ends close bout with flurry of blows

After defeating Kovalev to take his three light-heavyweight world-title belts in a controversial decision in November, Ward (32-0, 16 knockouts) hurt Kovalev with a massive right-handed punch earlier in the eighth.

On Nov. 19, Ward won a heavily disputed decision - 114-113 on all three scorecards - against Kovalev, who had the right to an immediate rematch, an option he quickly exercised.

The American hurt Kovalev with a big right hand in the eighth round, but the Russian complained that a few of the final blows were below the belt line after referee Tony Weeks hastily waved off the fight.

The reactions naturally ranged from "Ward cheated, Kovalev got screwed" to "There were no low blows, Kovalev is a pussy", because not many people in boxing are game for considering a world that's less than black and white. 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.

Ward vs Kovalev Pattern: In both fights, Sergey began well and then faded.

Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 knockouts) sent Ward to the canvas in the first fight, and, while he landed several big shots in the rematch, he once again failed to close the deal.

"I feel good, I should be continuing now", Kovalev said. It's an interesting development with the two power punching terrors of the sport in their last couple bouts: Opponents have proven that if you take the fight to Kovalev and Gennady Golovkin at tactical intervals, they suddenly aren't quite so fearsome. "I was winning the round, and he waited for after the bell to throw a punch when I dropped my hands down". Close round I give it to Kovalev. "I said Andre was in the best shape of his life and that he was as motivated as he has ever been for a fight in his life". I wanted to continue fighting.

Andre Ward defeated Sergey Kovalev in the rematch, completely without deserving. But as the time went by, Ward was adapting more and more, eventually turning this fight into his advantage. Ward, smelling blood, began to punish Kovalev's body and eventually earned the stoppage at 2:29 of Round 8. When I saw him starting to react to body shots that was borderline, I knew I had him and had to just keep going down.

He said of his future plans: "Maybe cruiserweight, I don't know".

"There's certain guys you don't mess with and those guys are too big", Ward said. "I was a lot better prepared this time".

The fight itself played out early somewhat like the first one, with Kovalev starting out aggressively and Ward trying to find his rhythm. In the second round Kovalev used an effective jab. The fight seemed to be going the way of Ward, the superior athlete, the better conditioned athlete, the unflappable presence. A great night for the Wards. It changed in a odd fight, brilliantly planned by Ward and his camp, and brilliantly executed - occasionally with punches that lacked a Global Positioning System and wound up south of the border. This makes this controversy even bigger, because who could have known what would happen.

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