With all of the commotion surrounding Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor, Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev gave boxing fans a fight worthy of their pay-per-view money.
Their matchup in November of 2016 was one of the best of the year and many expected this fight to play out in a similar manner. The early rounds looked nearly identical with Sergey Kovalev pressuring Andre Ward and being the aggressor. He took an early lead on the scorecards, but Ward's adjustments came much earlier than their first bout and led to the eventual result.
Ward's body punches landed at a high clip. He eventually partnered his body work with clean hooks to the head, which broke the Krusher down over rounds 4, 5, and 6. The seventh round was close early but Kovalev's breathing became noticeably strained and Ward wasted no time taking advantage of the Kovalev's exhaustion.
In the 8th round, Ward let off a flurry of body punches, many of which Kovalev complained were low blows, and usurped what remained of Kovalev's energy. The finishing scene occurred in slow motion, a right hook to Kovalev's jaw wobbled his legs and caused an eruption from Ward's fan base. As the cheers grew louder and Ward's supporters rose to their feet, a body blow was landed. Then another hook to the body followed, and another one. Then referee Tony Weeks put an end to the inevitable.
Fans on social media called the stoppage premature, Kovalev echoed that sentiment in his post-fight comments, but with little energy left Ward would've found a way to stop him in the remaining rounds.
The immediate reactions will be to complain about the referee or the perceived low blows, but what shouldn't be lost is Andre Ward leaving no doubt about who's the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world by dismantling yet another world class opponent.