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Kovalev calls for third Ward bout after controversial stoppage

20 Juin 2017

Kovalev was unable to gain revenge as he was stopped in round eight, although he claimed that Ward was guilty of administering several low blows.

What do you think? There are two boxers, one Afrikan, one European, and two camps in which there is no love lost.

The undefeated interim WBA light-heavyweight champion showed speed and power in abundance until referee Russell Mora had seen enough. Ward thought he had, but he also knew his opinion didn't matter. The fighters exchange at a furious pace near the end of the round.

Well, nobody can be flawless. In the eighth, he landed a left on Kovalev's waistline that doubled him over.

During the 8th round /Ward made a superb right hook, hitting Kovalev in the chin. Two of the three judges had Ward ahead by a point.

But despite the point, it was clear that Ward was fighting a winning fight. The Russian was shaken, and the American wanted to finish him with body punches. Kovalev is knockout puncher.

"Championship fights start in second half, in the sixth round". In the second round Kovalev used an effective jab. That was fine if you were auditioning for an instructor's job at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio.

Regarding the match itself, as expected Kovalev started furiously, once again forcing Ward to defend himself.

"He hit with four low blows", Kovalev said.

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So they tested each other, and on Saturday, they'll do it again.

Kovalev's promoter, Kathy Duva, said she would protest to the Nevada Athletic Commission on Monday.

"We have to try", Duva said. "And it's a healthy respect but it's not a respect that's going to stop him from getting smashed June 17".

But for Ward, the big thing was the plan.

'I know it sounds insane when you're light-heavyweight and I'm not the biggest light-heavyweight.

Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center Ward left no room for discussion. Ward right to the body. Kovalev said he was gassed because he over-trained. Another left by Ward connects. near the bell. With his opponent reeling, Ward went on the assault and threw the kitchen sink at his foe. It drove Kovalev backward. Whether the punches that came right before the end of the fight were low or not can be discussed.

According to CompuBox punch statistics, Ward landed only 80 of 238 punches (34 percent); Kovalev landed 95 of 407 (23 percent). "I knew I had him hurt".

'I couldn't believe it, I could win, ' he said. "I was empty in the first fight. I had a couple of missions in mind when I came to Las Vegas-to glorify God with my performance and the way I act outside the ring, to defend my belts that I won back in November, and to get home and kiss my wife and kids", he said. Ward is a very smart fighter. His weight division has always been maligned but forget that right now. The Ring magazine ranks these two as the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. You could not say that before about any light heavyweight. When I saw him put his arms on the ropes in between the rounds - I watch all that stuff - that's trouble for him.

Jerry Izenberg is Columnist Emeritus for The Star-Ledger.