24 November, 2016
It was a very, very close fight that Ward almost lost early on, but he fought back to earn the victory, earning the unified light heavyweight title.
While Sergey Krusher Kovalev may be feeling low after this weekend's result, there is no doubting that he will come back stronger in 2017.
Kovalev kept charging forward but Ward spun and slipped out of danger.
Andre Ward is most certainly "The Best Ever" today and boxing is better off because of it.
It was a fearless and admirable effort from both fighters, that should undoubtedly result in an immediate rematch, if not just the next chapter of a brilliant trilogy in the making. Ward however was more concerned with celebrating his victory and deferred that question to his manger, James Prince. Gvozdyk won via TKO to retain his North American Boxing Federation light heavyweight belt. It was his opponent's first defeat in 32 fights.
Sergey Kovalev connects with a left against Andre Ward.
Ward has not lost in the ring in 20 years and he has the self belief that is incredible, his nickname is Son of God.
"This is a attractive thing", Ward said.
"We did it, baby".
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Former two division world champion Paulie Malignaggi, who was watching from ringside, agreed with the judges and scored the fight for Ward. Many disagreed with the three cards that read 114-113 in the American's favour, and Duva promised that an immediate rematch will occur. His jab is keeping Kovalev off him but a left by Kovalev and a hard right move Ward back. Kovalev went 12 rounds against Isaac Chilemba, a marginal figure in the division, when they fought in July near Kovalev's hometown. He won the final round on two of the scorecards. Things only went downhill from there for Ward as he was sunk to the canvas by a hard counter right hand from Kovalev in the second round.
"I knew it was going to be a tough fight - it was the first time in my career I was dropped, " said Ward.
The 12-round match certainly lived up to the hype as both fighters made their debut on pay-per-view at Las Vegas' new T-Mobile Arena.
Ward tasted Kovalev's power early.
"We were a little careless with that knockdown in the second round", said Ward's trainer, Virgil Hunter. Both fighters still seem fairly fresh. Ward improved to 31-0 with 15 KOs.
It was a classic boxer versus puncher battle, and it looked like the puncher would prevail as Kovalev won the early rounds.
Kovalev, 33, clearly has more knockout power, and will nearly certainly look to catch Ward with a hard right hand as he usually does with his opponents. "I know I'm a great fighter". Ward maintained his calm, his battered face a bruised accompaniment to his low-key victory speech: "I had to get dirty to win and I did". Most unofficial scorers gave the fight to Kovalev, with a range of 114-113 to 115-112. When you think about it, Ward hasn't really been hit properly since I knocked him down [in November 2005].
"It was a great fight, and it was what boxing needed, but it was a bad decision, and that's what we got, too", said Duva, who claimed referee Robert Byrd's inaction to break up the clinches mitigated her fighter's effectiveness. He got up quickly and smiles as if not hurt but needed all of his supreme defensive skills to make it out of the round. Both seemed focused on winning a decision as the 10th round started.
Ward has fought only three times in the last three years because of an injured shoulder and a court dispute with his late promoter, Dan Goossen. Kovalev walking Ward down, then attacks. I won with my speed and power.