What did we learn in the Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev rematch? Well, that the best fighters like cream – tend to rise to the top.
Since last November’s close first fight between Ward and Kovalev we were left unfulfilled, unsatisfied, basically – wishing it was more.
There were questions and controversy that swarmed around the arena the moment the victor was announced.
For months there were debates and then Ward’s talks of retirement made us feel like the fight wouldn’t even happen again.
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Then finally a deal was signed.
On fight week of the rematch itself and in it’s run up, the announcement of GGG vs Canelo and Mayweather vs McGregor took a lot of the air out the balloon of the Ward-Kovalev rematch in truth.
You couldn’t help but feel both teams on fight week had a very public feeling of disdain for each other – and indeed in the aftermath.
On fight week Kovalev with his menacing ‘WAR’ cap was reminiscent of Marvin Hagler vs Thomas Hearns some noted.
Even Ward’s trainer Virgil Hunter and Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva exchanged words that maybe the fight really had something to give after all.
And my goodness, did it ever.
Take away the controversy for a minute, from the moment the bell sounded, both fighters started showing us why it was worth watching a second time round.
Kovalev was trying to establish space and distance while Ward was using his legs and inside fighting masterfully. The stiff pole like jab from Kovalev and the tremendous body shots by Ward had the crowd on edge throughout.
Then finally, in the 8th, it happened.
Ward landed a beautiful, perfectly placed right hand that started the downward spiral for Kovalev. The Russian then slumped on the ropes – not responding from those body shots.
Referee Tony Weeks was left with no choice but to call it off.
Ward raised his hands in triumph and the crowd went crazy as ‘SOG’ got what will be remembered as the biggest victory of his career.
When two good fighters meet they tend to bring out something special from one another but last Saturday, only one fighter rose to the challenge ultimately and moved into the status of top pound for pound number one or two (depending on who you speak to).
Holding all the major belts bar the WBC title at the moment, Andre Ward now well and truly has his name etched into the modern boxing star landscape.