Ward celebrates big win while Kovalev plans protest

The best fighter

Andre Ward has spoken before about his desire to some day make the move up to heavyweight and challenge for gold. He seized the moment, and with the Russian ducking on the ropes and not throwing back, referee Tony Weeks stepped in and put a stop to the contest.

Kovalev's promoter, Kathy Duva, said she would protest to the Nevada Athletic Commission on Monday to try and erase the second straight loss Kovalev suffered at the hands of Ward.

The 33-year-old Ward on June 17 improved his record to 32-0 (15 knockouts) by defeating the 34-year-old Kovalev (31-1-1, 26 KOs) in the 175-pound title rematch.

Kovalev was aggrieved at losing the pair's first meeting last November having knocked Ward down in round two, and again he was frustrated at the stoppage.

Ward is scheduled to fight Sergey Kovalev in a light heavyweight championship boxing match Saturday in Las Vegas.

After the controversy on the scorecards from their first fight, Sergey Kovalev vowed to keep his fortunes out of the three judges seated at ringside on Saturday.

The momentum began to shift the American's way as the fight reached halfway, though, with both fighters landing some fierce shots in a more open and aggressive encounter than their first bout. "You've got to raise your game to the next level and thankfully that's what we did tonight". It doesn't mean you stop a fight every time somebody gets hurt.

"I'd like to see him fight Anthony Joshua".

"The right hand is really what got it started", Ward said. You don't have to respect me and I don't demand anything, but at a certain point and time, you got to give a person their just do. I didn't feel that hurt.

'Kovalev also was probably up in the fight, at least by a little bit. Ward and Kovalev (at least until recently on the latter) probably deserve to be ranked ahead of Stevenson based on their competition of late, but the champ is the champ until someone beats him. Ward won by total knockout in the eighth round, but not without a controversial call of whether or not he went low with a shot on Kovalev. "I'm 13 years in and I've been doing it against the best".

"I want to get another fight".

Kovalev had the better of the opening rounds, but Ward took advantage as his opponent started to fatigue. The crowd at Mandalay Bay thought otherwise, roaring at every punch landed by Ward and chanting his nickname.

If the matchup isn't attractive enough, the two fighters have a genuine dislike for each other they were not afraid to voice this week.

"It didn't hurt like I could go down on the floor, but it was a low blow", said Kovalev. He earned a fixed $6.5 million (Dh23.8m), while Kovalev had no guaranteed purse and was forced to settle for a minority share of the TV revenue and the gate.

The victory was disputed as television replays showed Rigondeaux landed a left hand after the round-ending bell had rang.

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