Ward Stops Kovalev in Eight: Controversy as Ward Lands Low
WBA, WBO, and IBF Light Heavyweight champion Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) of Oakland scored an eighth round stoppage over Russia's Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-2, 25 KOs) Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Referee Tony Weeks halted the fight at 2:29 after Ward hit a badly hurt Kovalev with three successive punches on or below the belt line, causing him to slump against the ropes.
Kovalev was hurt by a powerful straight right hand by Ward moments earlier, replays showed the final punch was clearly below the belt. The controversial nature of the ending was further exacerbated by the fact that at the time of the stoppage, Kovalev was winning 68-65 on one scorecard and only one point behind on the other two, 66-67.