What did you think of the stoppage?
The Russian lost their first fight on points in November to relinquish the WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight titles to Ward, despite several pundits believing Kovalev was the victor. During the 1 six rounds, Kovalev outboxed, knocked down, and dominated Ward.
In the last two rounds, Ward unleashed monstrous body shots that forced Kovalev double over several times before the referee halted the action with Kovalev, having already been worked over, bent over against the ropes and not defending himself.
"(Andre's) IQ speaks for itself", his longtime trainer, Virgil Hunter, said.
But make no mistake about it.
"He's a good fighter, and I have nothing but respect for him", he said.
Bivol, who is just 26 years old, pushes to 11-0 and looks for all the world to be a future star at 175 pounds. The two promotional companies have taken shot at each other more than working together to get as much buzz about this fight as possible.
Ward quickly returned fire with a series of stinging left hands but each round was still a toss up as they continued to battle back and forth throughout. Referee Robert Byrd was criticized for allowing Ward to grab too much. Ward, of Oakland, is smart enough to believe it. However, as he has done in the past, Ward added that he would only make the ambitious leap for the "right fight". But I knew what was going to happen, because he was healthy. They want you at range. You get to a point where you don't run from the pressure, you embrace it.
In the second round, Ward just missed with a big right hand and then grazed Kovalev with a left-right combination - just before Ward landed a low blow and was warned by Weeks.
After the fight, Kovalev's promoter Kathy Duva was incensed that Kovalev lost when he was hit below the belt.
"It was a low blow, again another one", he said as he watched a replay of the stoppage with an HBO interviewer. We know how to deal with it. Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) knows how to better than most. And he's like right now, "oh yeah I beat the Kovalev, but he won with empty Kovalev". "He is a great fighter, and when you fight great fighters, you have to raise your game". The fight at the Mandalay Bay resort is being held in a smaller arena than the first, and pay-per-view sales are expected to be tepid. Kovalev was visibly exhausted and breathing from his both, which was caused by the sustained attack to the body from Ward. The contested meme, which has since been deleted, shows Ward saying both the f- and n-word in a parodied, fake conversation between the two boxers.
He said he thought Ward was hitting him below the belt but that he was OK. When he was asked for a prediction last week, that was clear.