In front of a packed house at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and live on HBO Pay-Per-View, Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs)* won a close unanimous decision victory over Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) to steal the WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Titles in a decision that most ringside media thought went the wrong way.
Both fighters were feeling each other out in the first two rounds. The Krusher continued his come-forward attack and knocked Andre down in the second. Ward managed to get up quickly and took several hard shots from Sergey before the bell rang to end the second round. The next several rounds included heavy shots from both fighters and some wrestling-style moments. The majority of the rounds were hard-fought and close. Many writers had the decision going to the other way but all three judges scored the bout 114-113 in favor of Ward.
After the fight, Andre Ward said, “I was not surprised when I heard the decision I don’t know where you got that from. I know it was a close fight. The crowd you can hear they thought I won. I have been a champ before. I knew it was going to be a tough fight. It was the first time in my career I was dropped. He did everything I expected him to do. He started to show up as I expected. My coach did a great job. It’s hard for me to call myself great. At the end of the day I am a two-weight division champion. Of course I would do a rematch. I am not going to negotiate a fight right now. I will go home and relax and see what’s next.”
Sergey Kovalev replied, “It’s the wrong decision. I don’t want to say my opinion. The witnesses are here; they saw it. It’s my job. It was a fight of my life. I am disappointed in the judges’ decision. He got maybe a few rounds; I agree with that. I kept control. I lost maybe three rounds the whole fight. Of course I want a rematch and I will kick his ass. I want to show good boxing. I am against here, it is the USA, and all the judges were from the USA. He is a boxer. It’s a sport. Don’t make it politics; it is a sport and I won the fight.”
The second fight of the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast was a battle for the NABF Light Heavyweight Title between undefeated prospect Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk (12-0, 10 KOs) and Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba (24-5-2, 10 KOs). Gvozdyk and Chilemba traded some heavy shots for eight full rounds. After the eighth round Chilemba’s trainer, Roy Jones, Jr. stopped the fight because Chilemba had suffered a broken right hand. Gvozdyk retained his title and remains undefeated.
After the fight Gvozdyk said, “I’m very excited and happy. What more can I say? This is the best feeling!”
Chilemba had little to say after the fight because he was in tremendous pain and could barely speak. However, he did manager to add, “I am devastated. If I hadn’t hurt my right arm in the third round it would have been a completely different outcome. I was in an incredible amount of pain from the third round through the rest of the fight.”