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Ward TKOs Kovalev, but with controversy

Andre Ward earned a TKO stoppage over Sergey Kovalev, but again, it wasn’t a victory without controversy.

This time Andre Ward left no doubt in his victory over Sergey Kovalev as he successfully defended his WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight titles while making his claim as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. But there was still some controversy in how the eighth round TKO happened.

Kovalev felt he was hit with two low blows up against the ropes in the eighth round. He was buckled over, wasn’t defending himself and seemed like he had no interest in fighting. The shots Ward landed were borderline on his opponent’s high waistline. Referee Tony Weeks actually took to Twitter after watching the replay and apologized and admitted he missed the low blows.

However, the build up to that moment in at the end of the eighth round made it easy for Weeks to waive for the end of the fight. Ward hit Kovalev with a right hook to the chin that wobbled Kovalev. The 34-year-old Russian was scrambling after that, trying to get away but eventually got stuck up against the ropes. Ward, who isn’t known for his power or as a finisher, knew his opponent was weakening and went to the body. Kovalev was hunched over against the ropes. Ward was landing hard uppercuts to the body. Whether two of those shots were low or not will be up for debate, but it was also easy to see why Weeks felt Kovalev was finished.

Kovalev did not immediately protest the stoppage but did express his anger with the call during his post-fight interview.

The rest of the fight itself before that was in Kovalev’s control, but the tide indeed was turning toward Ward. Kovalev came out on a mission to avenge his controversial decision loss in November. He was the aggressor, taking the fight to Ward and consistently making the champion step back in all of their exchanges. He was throwing more punches and was landing some big ones.

But by the sixth round, he started to tire. It almost seemed as if Kovalev was trying to make a quick end to the rematch, but when that did not happen Ward turned it on. Ward was landing the harder and more flush counter punches early in the fight but picked up the pace in the sixth, seventh, and eighth rounds. The eighth round was all his after landing that right hook.

Kovalev was landing his jab, but Ward stuck to the body, a strategy that helped get him the victory last time. In the eighth round, Ward landed 20 body shots.

Still unbeaten, Ward teased that he may try to move up to cruiserweight or even heavyweight. Kovalev said he would try for another immediate rematch with Ward, though that seems very unlikely. If Kovalev does get Ward a third time, it would probably have to be after a few more big victories. Perhaps the long desired Kovalev vs. Adonis Stevenson title fight could be his road back to Ward in a potential unification fight.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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