Andre Ward Knocks Out Sergey Kovalev in Eighth to Retain Belts

Undefeated pound-for-pound boxing titan Andre Ward has refused to rule out a possible blockbuster showdown with heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.Indeed, the win boosted Ward to 32-0 and marked his 16th stoppage in a career that’s now six months past its 12th birthday, stretching back to when he came out of the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, Greece, with the only US boxing gold medal.Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) backed him into the ropes and landed three more left hands to Kovalev’s gut, including a low blow that was not called by referee Tony Weeks.That win was the third points cheer for Ward, now up at light-heavyweight, on the bounce, following decisions over Sullivan Barrera and Alexander Brand.”I was empty one month before the November fight”, he said.Much like the first bout, Kovalev and Ward battled at a grueling pace through the first seven rounds in another razor close fight.The impressive performance from Ward was marred by the ending to the fight, with a succession of borderline low blows securing the stoppage after he had initially rocked the Russian with a powerful straight right to the head.LAS VEGAS – During a heated postfight news conference in which she was shouted down by Andre Ward supporters, Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, who promotes Sergey Kovalev, said she will file a protest with the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday following Ward’s eighth-round knockout victory Saturday night. “I don’t have another way accept to get a victory over him. I think that would be a very interesting fight”, Hunter said.After the controversy on the scorecards from their first fight, Sergey Kovalev vowed to keep his fortunes out of the three judges seated at ringside on Saturday. In fact, the last time Ward was able to get an opponent out of there before the end, he was looking down on Englishman Paul Smith in California, knocking Smigga into a ninth-round submission nearly exactly two years ago. “And I will prove it June 17 in the ring”, Kovalev announced, before pausing and then turning towards Ward, seated to his right.Fighters both tiring a bit.It was the first time Kovalev (30-2, 25 KOs) was finished in his career. “The first was Chad Dawson [in 2012], and the second was tonight”.Following his win, Ward mentioned the possibility of even testing higher weight divisions but for now he’ll celebrate his TKO over Kovalev while shutting the door on that rivalry for the time being. “Am I No. 1 now?””I am looking forward to making a statement in this fight and answering any questions that may be out there and removing any doubt that may be out there, so I’m excited”. Close round I give it to Kovalev. This time I will not be empty – Ward will be fighting Krusher. The blow left Kovalev bent over in agony which resulted in Weeks calling a halt to the fight. He earned a fixed $6.5 million (Dh23.8m), while Kovalev had no guaranteed purse and was forced to settle for a minority share of the TV revenue and the gate. He realizes he is the best fighter, pound for pound, in the world.