Andre Ward Survives Knockdown, Edges Sergey Kovalev Via Controversial Decision.
At one point in their eagerly-anticipated showdown at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Andre Ward was on the verge of being knocked out. It was in the second round when “S.O.G.” was drilled by a perfectly-timed straight right to the face from Sergey Kovalev and knocked down.
Ward climbed back to his feet and though he smiled to referee Robert Byrd, he was shaken to his core and in serious peril. The American was rocked by jabs and various other punches leading up to that moment and when he was felled, it seemed as though “Krusher” was going to earn himself yet another highlight reel knockout. But Ward is tougher than most and he was able to slowly creep back into the fight and when he did, it created the sort of drama only professional prizefighting can do.
Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) figured out the Russian’s timing and stole several of the middle rounds of their contest, which headlined the HBO Pay-Per-View event. Kovalev slowed down as the fight wore on and his slightly-dwindling punch output allowed the Oakland native to remain in contention for a decision in the championship rounds. Still, Kovalev was the busier man and landed the harder, more impactful punches throughout and when the final bell sounded, the fight was too close to call though most observers felt that Kovalev did enough to win.
In the end, Ward walked out of the arena the beneficiary of a controversial 114-113 score on all three ringside judges’ scorecards. The victory allowed Ward to walk away with Kovalev’s WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight titles, though boos filled the arena and social media exploded in debate.
Ward, the gold medal winner in Athens, remained unbeaten in 31 fights, while Kovalev suffered his first loss in dropping to 30-1-1. Expect a rematch. Kovalev thought he did enough to win, as did many in the arena.
“It’s the wrong decision,” a disenfranchised Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) said afterward. “The witnesses are here – they saw it. It was a fight of my life I am disappointed in the judges decision. He got maybe a few rounds I agree with that. I lost maybe three rounds the whole fight.”
Both combatants said they would gladly have a rematch.