The CBZ Newswire

Andre Ward TKO’s Sergey Kovalev in round 8 of a shocker!

by on Jun.21, 2017, under Boxing News

By Christopher Morgan

 

LAS VEGAS, NV, June, 17, 2017 – I couldn’t find a more apt word for what Andre Ward was able to accomplish on Saturday night over his most bitter rival Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev. Andre Ward isn’t known for stopping anyone –especially A level fighters.

When referee Tony Weeks stepped in and waived the fight over midway through the 8th round I jumped out of my seat in disbelief.  It was truly shocking to see.

Sergey Kovalev up until the last 2 rounds had acquitted himself quite well, being down only one point on all 3 official scorecards and most ringside media believed Kovalev deserved to be ahead. However, the scorecards only tell part of the story.  Kovalev’s body language in the last 2 rounds and especially in the final round revealed much more to anyone that was watching especially the referee who in my opinion made the right call. Yes, Andre Ward landed a few low blows in the final 2 rounds and yes a punch or two may have strayed low during the fight ending combination but Kovalev was clearly looking for a way out based on his body language long before the ultimate blow caused him to take a seat on the ropes.

Andre Ward came out and started quicker in the first with a more high energy early rounds attack than he is accustomed to. Sergey landed a heavy right hand blow to Ward’s body in the first frame and controlled the action with his jab. Both men were able to make the other man flinch badly with effective feinting.

Sergey had trouble landing his vaunted one-two in the second frame as Andre was just out of range in a mostly defensive round for the champ, slight edge to Kovalev although both men landed some hurtful blows. It appeared to me that Kovalev showed the slightest form of resignation in this round, like he knew that the task at hand, beating Andre Ward, was just too daunting.

Andre began to employ his lead right hand with success in the 3rd round eliciting a loud “whoa” from the crowd with every land, and even for some misses. The round featured some nice exchanges and Kovalev appeared to rock Andre in close with a sweeping left hook.

Round 4 was an ugly mauling, clinching affair with Sergey now throwing rabbit punches when Ward grabs him.

Round 5 was where the fight started to take a turn as the 5th was the first shut out round for Ward as he frustrated and made Kovalev miss repeatedly while countering with digging lefts and rights to Kovalevs body.

Sergey had a nice little comeback round in the 6th after getting wiped out in the 5th repeatedly disrupting the rhythm of Ward with a hard jab.

The ship eventually began to sink in the 7th when Sergey Kovalev inexplicably took a knee on the canvas after an apparent legal body shot indicating that he was unable to take the intense body blasting attack from Andre Ward.

In the 8th and final round, Andre stepped up the intensity and began landing hard lead right and lead left hooks at will as Sergey became increasingly wary of the body blows. A hard right hand to Sergey’s body dumped him on the canvas, Sergey once again claiming a low blow. When Sergey rose from the knockdown Andre smelled blood and was able to tee-off on Sergey’s head with full force haymakers as Sergey appeared to not be defending himself at all. A huge right hand landed flush on Sergey’s head buckling his knees and causing him to momentarily turn his back on Andre Ward! I never thought I would live to see the fearsome Krusher of all fighters turn his back. A fighter turning his back is an extremely rare site and 100% of the time means they are either consciously or subconsciously looking for a way out, to turn and run away. Andre trapped Kovalev on the ropes and threw a succession of borderline or slightly low shots causing Sergey to double over and that’s all she wrote folks.

Unfortunately this bout will be the target of controversy as the ending isn’t as clear cut as I am making it out to be and it will be interpreted differently by the many observers who witnessed it ringside as well as on TV. There will be accusations that Andre Ward is a dirty fighter, and those accusations won’t be 100% unfounded, Andre is an extremely crafty veteran who’s most egregious dirty tactics are his holding and clinches that he quickly turns into wrestling matches. Andre has made the wrestling a bread and butter part of his ring game and it is strange that he has never been warned or had points taken away for it.

Andre Ward continued his unbeaten run with the victory growing his record to 32-0, 16 Kos while Sergey Kovalev drops 2 in a row to tally a 30-2, 26 Kos record.

If you thought the main event would shoulder the burden of controversy for this fight card think again, the chief undercard support, the co-main was arguably more controversial than the main.

Guillermo Rigondeaux, the ring marvel, the surgeon, the genius. Yes all of those superlatives and more encapsulate this great little Cuban 122 pounder and a lot of fans made the journey just to see him fight. Sadly for them they only got to see the mastery of Rigondeaux for 3 minutes! Rigondeaux spent the first 2 minutes and 50 seconds of round one doing his best imitation of the great Willy Pep, dazzling the crowd with pure defensive moves that caused the 70 or so punches that Moises Flores threw in the first to land on gloves or air. Finally in the last 10 seconds of the round Rigondeaux connected with a flush southpaw straight left that coiled out with the spring of a snakes bite visibly stunning the interim champ Flores. Rigondeaux moved in quickly to the inside to press the advantage, placing his right glove over the head of Flores to hold it in place and throwing vicious uppercuts with the left hand, one, two 3 land before Flores can break away. The bell rang and a spit second later Rigondeaux threw a vicious southpaw uppercut that landed flush on the chin of Flores sending him falling back onto the canvas. It appeared to me viewing at ringside that Moises Flores paused for a second before deciding that he could possibly steal the fight on a foul. The referee Vic Drakulich kneeled over the fallen fighter and while counting wasn’t observed he waived the fight over after 20 seconds or so. After much deliberation, Drakulich talking with the Nevada State Athletic commission they finally ruled that the fight ending punch was thrown before the bell rang hence it was legal, the result, a KO victory for Rigondeaux who moves his record to 18-0, 12 Kos while Moises Flores drops to 25-1, 17 Kos.

Rounding out the undercard were impressive performances from undefeated Luis Arias (18-0, 9 Kos) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin as he displayed amazing punch variety and technique in dismantling and brutally knocking out once beaten and never previously stopped Arif Magomedov (18-1, 11 Kos) of Los Angeles California. The end came in round 5 after a double left hook dumped Arif on the canvas who barely beat the count and didn’t appear to know where he was when he ate the fight ending left hook sending him down a second time in the round, the referee waived it off without a count.

Undefeated Light Heavy Dmitri Bivol of St. Petersburg Russia (10-0, 8 Kos) had some trouble with the spoiling tactics of Cedric Agnew but was very aggressive whenever he was able to hurt his man, dropping Cedric hard in the 1st round and eventually forcing a merciful stoppage by the ref in the 4th. Cedric appeared to be clutching his eye sighting some type of injury just as the crowd was becoming restless and booing loudly.

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