This is how it went in the light heavyweight match-up of arguably the two best men in the sport, who ascended to those spots by facing each other in a close fight past year that Ward won controversially: Kovalev started better.
The undefeated Ward turned the fight around with a big right hand that wobbled Kovalev, then swarmed all over him.
"He was reacting to my body shots and I knew I had him. When I hit him with the last one he didn't react". Kovalev doubled over in an effort to sway Weeks into calling a halt for illegal punches, but the veteran third man deemed them legal and chose to waive off the fight, much to Kovalev's dismay. I thought Kovalev had won their first fight by a single point because he had scored the only knockdown giving him what could have been a decisive 10-8 round. Ward, was given the stoppage over Russian Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev, 30-2-1 (16), of Ft. Ward hopes he made his case this time. And, if you choose to make a defense for Kovalev's plodding battle plan, there were definitely the low blows. "I'm the pro. World champion should fight everywhere". "I'm not into taking two (punches) to get one". When Kovalev backed into the ropes, Ward landed a left uppercut that appeared low.
Recall that the first Ward vs. Kovalev fight occurred on November 19, 2016, in Nevada's T-Mobile Arena.
"Once I compute a fighter in my brain, I know what to do the next time around", he told Kellerman.
"I can not explain", the 34-year-old said.
Had he survived the round, a hurt and faded Kovalev would have entered Round 9 down by three points on two scorecards against an opponent who was getting stronger and starting to land bombs - to the body AND head. I didn't feel that hurt. I knew tonight was going to be different. I'm 13 years in and I've been doing it against the best. But the question remains, how far can Ward's exemplary ability take him?
Kovalev said he believed he could've continued even as he dropped forward tiredly into the perilous position.
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In the second round, Ward just missed with a big right hand and then grazed Kovalev with a left-right combination - just before Ward landed a low blow and was warned by Weeks. They are among the best pound-for-pound fighters and have a lot in common.
There were several close rounds, and going into the eighth round, Ward led 67-66 on two scorecards and Kovalev, 34, who is from Russian Federation and fights out of Los Angeles, was up 68-65 on the third.
In terms of his future, Ward teased about a possible move to cruiserweight or even heavyweight.
While Ward will make $6.5 million in the fight, Kovalev has agreed to fight for a percentage of the tickets and pay-per-view money instead of a purse. Watch the fight on June 17 on HBO Pay Per View.
Ward was more interested in looking ahead, arguing that he has a better case than unbeaten three-belt middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin for being the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer. He promised he would have more stamina this time, but he seemed just as gassed at the same juncture, maybe because Ward was holding religiously, exchanging in the clinches, and raising the tempo to devastating effect.
Sekulow again repeated that he can not read minds. "You're asking me now questions about what people are thinking in their minds", Sekulow told Wallace . "No, he's not being investigated", Sekulow interjected.
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The one thing that didn't materialize was a large number of trades happening involving players teams didn't want to expose. Vatanen, a fifth-year player, won't be ready for the start of next season after having surgery to fix a shoulder injury.
Of course, that's what the president said last week. "I'll tell you about it over a very short period of time", Trump said. Asked on NBC whether Trump's social-media commentary may be created to intimidate Rosenstein or Mueller, Sen.
Nashville Predators forward James Neal and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen also were left unprotected. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights must spend at least to the salary floor in their first season.
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He celebrated with an extravagant twirl of his bat and kissed the turf as the Pakistan supporters sensed an unlikely win. His transformation into a hero was complete as his final tally was six overs, two maidens, 16 runs and three wickets.