Ward Scores Controversial TKO

After their first light heavyweight championship contest ended in a controversial decision, Andre Ward made sure this title bout with Sergey Kovalev didn’t go to the judges this time around. Ward picked up the TKO in the eighth round on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

A big turning point came during the seventh round, as Ward hit Kovalev on the belt line. Throughout the round, Kovalev could not hit Ward, and Kovalev looked tired. After staggering his opponent in the eighth, Ward finished it off for a TKO win.

"[Kovalev] is a great fighter…but you got to step up your game [facing a guy like him]…and that’s what I did," Ward said after the fight.

Scheduled for 12 rounds, the first six of the bout felt familiar in a few ways. Kovalev dominated with the jab, while Ward utilized the hook. The rounds were closely contested. Scorecards were all over the place among boxing community members on social media.

But after an accidental low blow from Ward early on, things began to get dirty. Ward aimed low, but not for direct low blows, but rather body shots. When Kovalev was hit with such, he swung a bit wild. During the fourth round, referee Tony Weeks had to warn both men to keep it clean.

Incidentally, the final shots before the fight was stopped may have been controversial in nature. Kovalev claims he was hit low, and some members of the boxing community at the very least wonder why there was no count, as Kovalev was in the ropes (technically a knockdown). Some, however, felt the ref’s call was right, as Kovalev wasn’t defending himself.

"I didn’t feel like I was getting knocked down by legal punches," Kovalev said.

But, with this fight in the rear-view mirror, Ward hopes this puts him in talks for the No. 1 pound-for-pound ranking. He also contemplated possibly moving to cruiserweight.

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