Las Vegas, NV - In a battle for boxing pound for pound supremacy, Andre Ward pulled himself off the canvas and proved why he’s the best boxing technician in the world by scoring a unanimous decision victory over Sergey Kovalev to win the WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight titles in a thrilling nip and tuck affair.
The moment the fight was announced, Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward was a coin flip of a fight where it would be Ward’s boxing brilliance versus Kovalev’s mind warping power. But for the first few rounds, it was all Kovalev (30-1-1) who surprised Ward (31-0) with a wicked jab that had Ward shook up. Things only went downhill from there for Ward as he was sunk to the canvas by a hard counter right hand from Kovalev in the second round. But despite the clinic Kovalev put on, he refused to be denied on this night.
But things didn’t get much better for Ward as he tried to deal with Krusher’s power and a surprisingly slick jab that continuously split Ward’s guard. Something had to change and, eventually, it did.
Considering Ward hasn’t lost a fight since he was a pre-teen, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist dug deep and began to methodically claw his way back into the fight in the second half. Starting in round six, Ward’s jab and hold strategy began to pay off in dividends as it both scored and flustered the Russian. The in-fighting was frequent and referee Robert Byrd stayed out of it for the most part, which worked to Ward’s advantage as he sapped any momentum that Kovalev built up.
Before you knew it, Ward has closed the gap, shifted the momentum and had the 13,310 pro-Ward audience inside of T-Mobile Arena on their feet. It was a brilliant second half performance by Ward who managed to control the distance and wear down Kovalev with body punches. In the final third of the fight, Ward opened up more and landing hooks behind the jab as Kovalev stuck to the game plan and continued to land his jab. Unfortunately for the Russian, the right hand that he set up so well in the early rounds was completely taken away.
Nevertheless, it was extraordinarily close heading into the championship rounds and it could have gone the other way with a different set of judges but on this night the decision went to Ward with scores of 114-113 across the board.
With nowhere else to turn but to each other, this is destined for a rematch.