Ward dropped, wins 114-113 decision on all cards
By David Robinett and Miguel Maravilla at ringside
Photos: Emily Harney –
In a terrific fight, former super middleweight champion Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) came back from a second round knockdown to edge unified world champion Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) by scores 114-113 on all three scorecards to capture the Russian’s WBA, WBO, and IBF light heavyweight belts on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Ward, (31-0, 15 KOs) was in all kinds of trouble early, wobbled by a hard Kovalev jab in round one, and sent down by a quick right hook in round two. Kovalev’s short right hand seemed to hurt Ward every time it landed. Ward held often in the early rounds, trying to blunt Kovalev’s power and reach advantages and buy some time to recover. By round five though, Kovalev drifted away from using his right hand and Ward began to outland the Russian as the rounds progressed. Ward rocked Kovalev with a straight left hand in round seven and outboxed Kovalev with confidence in most of the later rounds. The two fighters both displayed their quality in the championship rounds, each landing big punches but Ward was just a little faster and landed with a little more authority to shade the fight on the final scorecards. Ultimately, a defining win for Ward, Kovalev certainly did not diminish his stock in defeat, and a win for boxing that its latest big fight delivered on the hype.