Ward wins a controversial decision over Kovalev in a fight that exceeds expectations

Ward wins a controversial decision over Kovalev in a fight that exceeds expectations

By Hector Franco

November 20, 2016


Sergey Kovalev lands a right hand in the second round that knocks down Andre Ward. Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events

Sergey Kovalev lands a right hand in the second round that knocks down Andre Ward. Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events

LAS VEGAS – In what will be one of the most highly debated fights in years, Andre Ward got a controversial unanimous decision victory over Sergey Kovalev. The scorecards were 114-113 all for Andre Ward. With the victory, Ward is now the unified champion at light heavyweight and a two-division world champion. 

The fight itself had its ebbs and flows with many changes in momentum. The first two rounds of the fight showcased Kovalev’s jab and ability to gauge distance. The first round Kovalev’s jab made an immediate impression backing Ward up. In the second round, Kovalev scored a knockdown with a right hand that hurt Ward. It looked like Ward was going to be blown out in three rounds. The Oakland native was able to recuperate and have a better third round. Ward was doing better in some rounds but it may not have been enough to actually win the rounds. 

After six rounds, Kovalev was clearly ahead in the fight. In the second half, Ward began to land his jab and body shots. They were all one punch at a time but were some of the cleanest punches in the rounds. There were many close rounds that could have been scored either way. Kovalev was always the aggressor in every round, which could have led to many giving him rounds. The 9th round was the most exciting of the fight. Both men had their moments in a round that could have been scored either way. 

The last three rounds will be the most scrutinized of the fight. Most observers had Kovalev winning the 10th round but all three judges scored the round for Ward. The last two rounds were both close rounds. It came down to the last round for the judges. Two of the judges scored the 12th round for Ward. Before the decision was read many observers thought that Kovalev had won enough of the early rounds with scoring a knockdown to pull out a victory. 

With Ward getting the decision the drums will start for the eventual rematch. There is a rematch clause for this fight. With it being such a close fight, a rematch is warranted. 

What could be lost in the midst of the controversy of how the fight was scored is how exciting the fight turned out to be. The fight had so many changes in momentum. Fans were able to witness two of the best fighters in the world apply their craft in a tactical chess match with action.  Many feel that the wrong man got the decision but for once at least the fans got their money's worth. 

As far as who is the best fighter in the world pound-for-pound that will still be up for debate.  Many who were looking for closure on that question with this fight may have ended up with more questions than answers. 


(Featured Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)

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