Kovalev vs Ward Fight – Judging Controversy Is Taking Away From What Was A Good Fight

After been in attendance at the fight in the T-Mobile Arena last night, I feel it is understandable that some fans are not happy with the decision last night in Las Vegas. Ultimately Andre Ward slightly overcame by razor’s edge a slow start versus Sergey Kovalev to win the Light-Heavyweight championship had a lot of people surprised, with some upset, and the large majority of Ward fans making up the crowd, a sense of delightful shock. 

Nevertheless, the Kovalev vs Ward fight was a phenomenal one I thought having watched it live in attendance, filled with action and suspense – in a sport that in recent years has been enduring a famine.

Both fighters had made their opponents look simultaneously the best and the worst we’ve ever seen seen them.

Russian Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1 26KO) had dominated early on making the American Olympic gold medalist struggle and even made the 32 year old undefeated champion look mediocre, having difficulty connecting early shots and knocking him down for the second time in his career in the second round.

Kovalev also displayed a boxing ability few admitted to him having, fighting well on the inside and making clinches work unfavorably to Ward (31-0 15KO), as he struggled in the first four rounds, looking confused and a bit hurt.

If Ward is to be celebrated as one of the greatest boxers and technicians fighting today, Kovalev’s including in such a list is mandatory.

kovalev vs ward fight
Punch stats from the fight

Ward, while starting uncharacteristically slow, and as mentioned coming back from a rare knockdown, fought valiantly and courageously later in the fight.

Ward, utilizing an excellent ranged jab, dominated the seventh round and the last three of the contest.

While Kovalev seemed to neutralize Ward’s inside game, the Oakland native fight Kovalev’s style of fight and seemingly won that way; staying directly in front and landing many ranged shots in the later rounds.

Kovalev was unable to crush the former super-middleweight champ and slowed down later.

Ward learned early on to avoid the menacing right hand of Kovalev but was caught with several punishing jabs. While Ward had overall been more accurate throughout the fight, it appeared that Kovalev’s punches overall landed more and had far more effect with Ward’s face looking bruised and battered by the fourth round.

Cosmetically, it looked like Kovalev had won the fight. The damage, the pace, the style all seemed to benefit Kovalev.

Yet Ward by late in the bout was landing more and making Kovalev miss more, taking advantage of the former champion who could not finish him off.

It was a tough night for Kovalev fans, with Ward and his many fans, making up the majority of the contest looked shocked with both relief and disbelief with Michael Buffer’s words:

“And new light heavyweight champion.”

The Kovalev vs Ward fight could’ve gone either way by the 114-113 official scorecards or by draw, in truth. A fight this electrifying and this close is always going to have a slight margin of error considering human judges.

Both boxers showed exactly why they’re the best in the world, but they didn’t show why one was better than the other.

Bring on Kovalev-Ward 2.