Feb. 13, 2014
Andre Ward Unseats Sergey Kovalev With Razor Thin Decision
by Danny Howard
The most anticipated fights of the year did not disappoint and left us with a new champion and an open ending for an inevitable rematch as Andre Ward defeated Sergey Kovalev in a tit-for-tat battle where no fighter could make a clear claim for victory.
In the opening rounds, Kovalev asserted his vaunted power early by stunning Ward with a stiff jab and manhandling him in close quarters to take away Ward’s primary offense of inside fighting. Things only went downhill for Ward in the second when he was dropped for the second time in his career by Kovalev and trotted back to his corner extremely frustrated with his poor start.
Ward ultimately regrouped and began slowly working his way back into the fight, but was unable to land anything meaningful yet beginning to slow Kovalev’s pace to his advantage. Everything from the third round to the final round was a judges nightmare with neither man landing anything cleanly on the other, plenty of inside fighting and no absolute seizure of momentum.
However, Kovalev was never able to truly capitalize on his strong start and became more subdued as the fight went on. While Kovalev still had a distinct advantage in power, he found himself playing Ward’s game of punch and clutch, though he kept stalking Ward until the end of the fight.
Neither fighter stood out as a clear and convincing winner, with many favoring Kovalev’s aggression and the early knockdown as a factor while others saw Ward drawing Kovalev into his fight and controlled the second half of the fight.
Ultimately, all three judges scored the fight 114-113 for Ward in a decision that could very easily have gone to Kovalev. Both men expressed interest in a rematch, particularly Kovalev who was none too pleased with the decision. With a rematch clause in place, there’s no doubt that we’ll be seeing these two at least one more time.
With the win, Ward moves to 31-0 and picks up the WBA, IBF and WBO Light Heavyweight titles and will no doubt have his hands full when the eventual rematch comes along. Kovalev not only loses his titles, but tastes defeat for the first time in his career falling to 30-1-1
Danny Howard has been all over the place, writing for FightHype, the Yahoo Contributor Network and the Examiner. He also became a legend in his own mind by writing “And Stay Down! Boxing's Worst Comebacks, which you can either buy on Amazon or email him for a free copy. Howard doesn't have time to drown in the nega-verse that is social media, but you can find him on Facebook or breathe life into his long dead Twitter @dbbox625 or let him have it directly at Daniel.Howard6@att.net