Sergey Kovalev, for the first few rounds, looked like he had improved on some of the mistakes he claimed he made seven months ago against Andre Ward in their first fight. Kovalev was landing harder and better shots on Ward, even though he didn’t score a knockdown. The Russian, who said after the first fight he overtrained and ran out of gas, started to fade again in Round 6.
As the two continued to slug it out, Kovalev was noticeably slowing down. Both fighters were swinging hard and wild, boxing in the phone booth and in the clinch. Ward was doing a good job of landing body shots, but a couple of them were fairly questionable.
So when Ward landed one in Round 8 that looked like it hurt Kovalev, it was a little surprising to see referee Tony Weeks let it go. Ward pinned Kovalev in the corner of the ring and continued his body work, again appearing to land a shot below the belt. That’s when Kovalev fell in a heap on the ropes and Weeks called the fight off.
Immediately after the fight, Kovalev was seen talking to his corner claiming low blows.
“It was a low blow. It didn’t hurt like I could go down on the floor, but it was a low blow,” Kovalev said. “Right now, I should’ve continued. I didn’t feel it. This is [a] fight. We are boxers. Yes, he punched me, but I didn’t feel it. It didn’t hurt me. I wanted to continue fighting. Why stop the fight? I want to continue and kick his ass.”
He also said that he wants to get another chance against Ward, though that may take some time to put together if at all.
Kovalev looked gassed by the time Ward put him against the ropes. At one point in Round 7, Kovalev actually turned his back to Ward as if to gather himself and catch his breath.
If overtraining was the problem last time, what happened tonight? Plus, it’s not like Ward wasn’t doing any damage. Although he was fighting a defensive style and constantly backing away from Kovalev, Ward was doing plenty of damage to the body and utilized his counterpunches well.
Ward would not have much to gain from doing this a third time with Kovalev. It’s time for The Russian to go back to the drawing board and figure out what his next move will be.