Tonight is a big boxing event - the kind of fight fans want in boxing, but too rarely actually get. In Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev, you have two of the top pound for pound fighters in the world, meeting in a fight to determine divisional dominance. Both men are at their very best, both men bring unique styles to the table. It’s a true pick ‘em fight featuring the best in the sport. Hopefully fans reward this match-making with a solid PPV buyrate - we’ll have to see how that side of things plays out.
On the undercard is a nice Light Heavyweight co-feature. Oleksandr Gvozdyk has shown that he’s an interesting prospect worth watching, but here he has a nice step up against Isaac Chilemba, a talented and crafty boxer who has spoiled the rise of this kind of fighter before. Also seeing action here is former GGG victim Curtis Stevens (forever immortalized in GIF form thanks to GGG). Stevens looked great last time out and is positioned for another good performance here.
Ward vs. Kovalev airs live on HBO PPV today Saturday, November 19 with a fight time of 9:00 p.m. ET/ 6:00 p.m. PT. For more on the card, check out our Bloody Elbow fight breakdown, and also follow our colleagues at Bad Left Hook.
WARD VS. KOVALEV MAIN CARD RESULTS
(PPV, 9:00 p.m. ET)
Andre Ward def. Sergey Kovalev, UD (114-113, 114-113, 114-113)
Darleys Perez vs. Maurice Hooker, Split Draw (97-93, 93-97, 95-95)
Oleksandr Gvozdyk def. Isaac Chilemba, KO, Round 8, 3:00
Curtis Stevens def. James de la Rosa, UD (98-90, 96-92, 96-92)
ANDRE WARD VS. SERGEY KOVALEV ROUND BY ROUND:
Round 1: Tactical start to the fight, with Ward having success until Kovalev pops him with a stiff jab that hurts him. Ward has to clinch. The same thing happens later, with Andre feeling the power and clinching to slow things down. Looks like Ward will be trying to work the body in the clinch, but Kovalev is not letting him yet. 10-9 Kovalev
Round 2: Ward’s defenses at range are not working for him, as Kovalev is getting his punches through and connecting, and almost everytime he connects, it has an impact. In the final minute, Kovalev stuns Ward and drops him in a shocker. Ward stumbles through the end of the round, but he’s badly hurt. 10-8 Kovalev
Round 3: Ward starts the round Bernard Hopkins style with a lot of clinching and rough inside work on Kovalev. It works, as Kovalev doesn’t manage to get much off here, while Ward gets in his best punch of the fight - a clean short hook on Kovalev that seems to have no impact. Tough round to score. 10-9 Kovalev
Round 4: Another close round here with Ward looking to make some adjustments and figure out Kovalev. He has some successes here, with a few punches landing clean, though as we saw last round, they still aren’t impacting Kovalev. Best punch of the round was a Kovalev left early - enough to win the round, but Ward is in it. 10-9 Kovalev
Round 5: Ward lands his best punches of the fight here, including a nice body shot from the inside and a few good jabs outside. He seems to knock Kovalev’s head back twice with those shots, and though Kovalev continues to come forward, this was Ward’s best round. 10-9 Ward
Round 6: Things getting more sloppy inside now, with Ward trying to make it an inside war where he works the body, but Kovalev keeps holding him and not allowing it for the most part. In the second half of the round, Kovalev lands some nice outside punches, while Ward manages to connect to the body a few times inside - but not with as much force. 10-9 Kovalev, 59-54 Kovalev through 6
Round 7: Pace slows and the round starts off looking like it’s going to be something of a placeholder round. But Ward then lands a nice jab, gets inside, and manages some very nice body work. Kovalev comes back with a stiff shot late, but it’s not enough to win him the round. Momentum is with Ward now. 10-9 Ward
Round 8: Kovalev picks up the pace here a bit, but Ward’s defense is working for him and Kovalev doesn’t manage to land any of those heavy, high-impact shots we saw from him earlier. Instead, it’s Ward working the body from the clinch, while also landing nice single shots from outside. This is the fight Ward wanted. 10-9 Ward
Round 9: Kovalev seems to be slowing, as he is no longer coming forward the way he was previously. Ward gets him more toe to toe, and from there, it’s Ward landing the punches and expertly bobbing and weaving to avoid Kovalev’s shots. Kovalev is clearly tired here - the question is how many rounds he has in the bank? 10-9 Ward, 86-84 Kovalev after 9
Round 10: Tremendous tit-for-tat round with both men digging deep. Lots of even exchanges this round, but it seemed Kovalev landed the greater number of shots, and the harder ones here. 10-9 Kovalev
Round 11: Kovalev very aggressive this round, but it costs him, as Ward catches him with his hands down after a break from the inside and hits him with a 100% clean left hook. Kovalev just takes it though. Still, it’s Ward landing the heavy shots, whether they hurt Kovalev or not. 10-9 Ward
Round 12: Kovalev turns the table here, using body punches throughout the round to keep Ward at bay. They both are digging in, but it’s Kovalev who is landing more and throwing more in this final round, ending the fight with power. 10-9 Kovalev
Final BE scorecard: 115-112 Kovalev