Scorecard revisited: Ward vs Kovalev 1
Luke G. Williams
With their eagerly awaited rematch approaching this weekend, here is how Boxing Monthly online's Luke G. Williams scored the first Kovalev vs Ward contest...
Round 1: Tight opening stanza. Kovalev hurts Ward with a mighty jab though and generally lands more. Noticeable how much bigger and broader the Russian looks compared to his American challenger. 10-9 Kovalev
Round 2: More success for Kovalev as he staggers an uncomfortable looking Ward and then floors him towards the end of the round with a left-right combination. Ward is up but unsteady, Kovalev goes for him and the American survives the round, but barely. 10-8 Kovalev
Round 3: Excellent recovery from Ward. His legs steady and he nicks the round for me courtesy of a couple of smart jabs that make Kovalev think again. 10-9 Ward
Round 4: Smart countering from Kovalev and continued pressure and smooth movement and use of the jab see the Russian pick up another round. 10-9 Kovalev
Round 5: Kovalev takes a slight breather and isn't quite as industrious as in previous rounds. Ward edges the round for me, with superior movement and a couple of sharp shots but it's a tight round. 10-9 Ward
Round 6: Kovalev back in his groove with a couple of stinging combinations. Ward is going to have to pull this out of the bag in the second half of the fight. I have him three points behind right now. 10-9 Kovalev
Round 7: Ward lands a heavy left and right that seem to slow Kovalev slightly. He needs more of that if he is to haul his way back into this. 10-9 Ward
Round 8: Ward tries to take the fight inside with more success than in previous rounds, scoring well to Kovalev's body. Is the Russian slowing down? 10-9 Ward
Round 9: A third straight round for Ward. Can he turn this around? He's giving it a great try. His most accurate round of the fight as he out-works Kovalev and lands a good right hand too. 10-9 Ward
Round 10: A tight exciting round, both men have some success but Kovalev, who had been tiring it seemed, finishes stronger to take it. 10-9 Kovalev
Round 11: Such a tight round, both men land some decent shots, but Kovalev is the one whose shots look like they have more impact. 10-9 Kovalev
Round 12: Both men rouse themselves for the final salvo, and try and leave it all in the ring. Both looking fatigued, Ward lands some nice lefts to edge it. 10-9 Ward
Verdict: A fascinating contest that was never less than absorbing. Ward started slowly and looked in real trouble in round two as Kovalev showed mastery of distance and a jolting jab. However, the American fought back bravely. On my scorecard it was 6 rounds each, with the second-round knockdown edging the fight in Kovalev's favour. The judges saw it a little differently, as did many others - bring on the rematch!
(Judges' scores 114-113, all to Ward. BM online had it 114-113 to Kovalev).