They have reduced him.
A badly beaten Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) slouched over in pain and stopped defending himself, which left referee Tony Weeks no choice but to jump in and stop the fight without a count, with Kovalev still on his feet. He's not happy about what he said were racist overtones in videos sent out by Kovalev and his team, and unhappy Kovalev keeps questioning the legitimacy of his win in the first fight. The people around him did.
Complaints by Kovalev about another low blow were ignored by referee Weeks and Ward seized upon his pained opponent, uncorking a huge right that left him on unsteady legs.
Good luck with that.
Then, in Round 8, after a hard shot to the body that might have been low, Ward landed a hard right hand that wobbled Kovalev.
After some debate, and viewing several replays, Drakulich ruled the final blow was on the bell and called the fight a KO for the WBA super-bantamweight champion. He's a quality fighter. It happened. That's always been a dream of mine and that's something me and Virgil [Hunter, his trainer] talk about. "I just want to kick Ward's ass". After 12 rounds of fighting, Ward earned a narrow decision victory but it was immediately clear that these two would be going at it again in the near future.
"It's not fair", said Flores, who is 25-1.
Ive been through adversity in and out of the ring, Ward said. He didn't throw a punch the whole round. The early sessions did not mirror the Kovalev domination witnessed in their tango last November. He changed conditioning coaches for that goal.
"When I saw him react to the body shots that were borderline, I knew I had him", Ward said. He punched me with low blows.
What Kovalev didn't address was his mounting fatigue and the punch that started it all-a clean, crisp shot to the jaw that put him in trouble in the first place. Why get away from it?
And Ward emphasized that he was dealing with as much remorse as Kovalev was.
"It felt like I was up [on the scorecards], but a championship fight starts after the sixth round", Ward said.
We wish them well with their combat panto but let's not confuse it with a contest that taps into the best traditions of the fight game, a bout awash with animus, hubris and rage. "Sergey kept getting hit low and they didn't do anything about it". This time I will not be empty - Ward will be fighting Krusher. I see things with him in particular and he's the best. In his previous fight against Ward in November 2016, Kovalev received $2 million while Ward got $5 million. Some thought the swansong would begin immediately. A great night for the Wards.
"I knew that this fight was going to be different", Ward said. That meant Ward was the light heavyweight champion.Few moments in sports are more stark or dramatic. But he's ready to face the second-tier 175-pounders. Dmitry Bivol fought on this card and destroyed Cedric Agnew in three rounds.
There's nobody marketable at cruiserweight, and hardly anybody who doesn't come from behind the former Iron Curtain.
Would he be simply overpowered by say, Oleksandr Usyk? As Ward cuts some weight to make the light-heavyweight limit, however, the real disparity in weight is unlikely to be that dramatic.
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