Scorecard: Kovalev vs Ward
Luke G. Williams
Andre Ward was anointed king of the light heavyweight division on Saturday night via unanimous points victory against Sergey Kovalev. However, the Russian and many others have been disputing the scorecards. Here is how Boxing Monthly online's Luke G. Williams saw the 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).