Unified light heavyweight world titleholder Andre Ward and former titlist Sergey Kovalev did not come face-to-face following the final pre-fight news conference on Thursday because Kovalev, so irritated by Ward during the lead-up to their rematch, walked out along with trainer John David Jackson and manager Egis Klimas after Ward's team began to speak.
It had been a competitive fight until the eighth round, when Ward landed a ferocious right hand on the chin and Kovalev turned jelly-legged.
"I went over all my past mistakes and I'm very excited", Kovalev said.
Andre ward (USA): "When I watched the fight, I saw a situation in which he let him off the hook".
That win was the third points cheer for Ward, now up at light-heavyweight, on the bounce, following decisions over Sullivan Barrera and Alexander Brand.
An eighth-round win via a controversial technical knockout took Ward to 32 wins from 32 in his career and the 33-year-old then set his sights on climbing the weight classes.
The fight itself played out early somewhat like the first one, with Kovalev starting out aggressively and Ward trying to find his rhythm.
"The question I've gotten most often is, 'Do you think this fight should be bigger?'" Kovalev promoter Kathy Duva told the Times. Instead of complaining, sit back, relax and enjoy the fight, isn't that the reason you love the sport? "Now what he needs to do is be more aggressive and effective in the second half of the fight the way he did in the first half of the fight". "I want to prove I belong here". Many, however, don't feel as if Ward did enough to win, which is why a more convincing victory is needed for the American.
When he cant get you out of there he fades, Ward said.
Ive been through adversity in and out of the ring, Ward said. "But I'm not going to put my head out there on a platter". Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and a number of other Golden State Warriors are expected to be in the house to cheer on Ward, their Bay Area cohort. Dave Moretti and Glenn Feldman had Ward winning by a point.
"Is it possible for me to get on the Pound for Pound list now (at number one)?"
Ward was paid $6.5 million for the rematch, while Kovalev got a percentage of the gate and the pay-per-view.
The only problem, however, was that Kovalev exhausted as the fight dragged on.
Now 31-0, Mr. Ward is fighting an opponent who has proven himself to be bitterly angry at his first loss and is willing to express himself about it in the most racist terms.
Followers of the trends will find Andre Ward to win over the judges again priced up as the most likely outcome, with Betfair's traders giving 5/6, while there's now even money available on the exchange.