Light heavyweight unified world champion Andre Ward (32-0) stopped Sergey Kovalev in dramatic fashion after landing several body shots and stopping him in round eight.
Their last bout which was held in November 2016 ended in a controversial way 12 round decision as many spectators had mixed views on who had won the fight despite Ward winning 114-113 on all three judges’ scorecards.
But Ward, also known as S.O.G, would soon repay the favour.
Just like in the first bout, both fighters remained cautious with their punches and played a tight chess match.
However in the next couple of rounds, Kovalev (30-2-1), 34, started being the main aggressor with his jab and Ward would suddenly comeback with little counter shots of his own to the body.
In the third round, Kovalev, also known as The Krusher, started landing more and more of his jabs that gave him the edge.
Within the next couple of rounds Ward, 33, slowly started edging his way back in the fight and on the scores.
But the fight still remained competitive and tactical at the same time.
In the seventh round, both fighters were clinching each other excessively and struggling to land a shot at each other.
However moments later Kovalev was hit with an accidental to under the belt line by Ward. Kovalev was given time to recover and managed to win the round with his use of the jab.
Everything changed in round eight.
Both fighters laid shots to each other in the middle of the ring when all of a sudden, Ward appeared to have landed a shot at Kovalev that appeared to be below the belt.
Kovalev protested but no response came from referee Tony Weeks. Ward then shot a huge right hand that staggered the Russian boxer and moving all around the ring.
The Olympic Gold medallist continued pounding him with lethal and juicy right and left hands.
Eventually, Ward landed three massive body blows that stopped the fight.
Kovalev certainly thought the bout should’ve continued and was not happy with the stoppage.
“I cannot explain it,” said Kovalev.
“A low blow and I felt this punch. Again, another one. “It didn’t hurt like I could go down on the floor, but it was a low blow.
“Right now, I could have continued. I didn’t feel that hurt. Why stop the fight? it’s crazy. I want to get again a fight with him.”
Ward, the current number one pound for pound fighter in the world (courtesy of Ring Magazine) grasped the vision of the second early on and fought well for the victory.
“I knew that this fight was going to be different,” said Ward.
“We had a good camp. Last time we had some physical issues.
“Kovalev fought a good fight, but once I compute a fighter in my brain, I know what I had to do the next time around.
“Facing great fighters, you’ve got to raise your game to the next level and I’m thankful we did that tonight.”
Total punch stats statistics had Kovalev landing 95 of 407 whereas Ward landed 80 of 238.
By Waqas Ali. You can follow him on @Waqaas95