Posts Tagged ‘Andre Ward’

Andre Ward Ends Career with Surprise Retirement

Posted: September 21, 2017 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Fight News
Tags: , ,

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After cementing his place as the Pound 4 Pound best fighter in world with a decisive June stoppage over Sergey Kovalev, Andre Ward is now walking away from the sport. The veteran made the shocking announcement today that he will be retiring after a 13-year, undefeated career.

Ward, who has dealt with shoulder and knee injuries for the last five years of his career, confirmed those issues played heavily into his decision.

“I want to be clear – I am leaving because my body can no longer put up with the rigors of the sport and therefore my desire to fight is no longer there,” said Ward in a statement. “If I cannot give my family, my team, and the fans everything that I have, then I should no longer be fighting. Above all, I give God the Glory, for allowing me to do what I’ve done, for as long as I have.”

Ward won the last Olympic gold medal for the American men’s team in 2004. He turned pro to much fanfare and made his mark as an elite fighter by dominating the super middleweight Super Six tournament with dominant wins over Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch.

From late 2013 through early 2015, Ward would see his career sidelined by contract issues with promoter Goosen Tutor. After signing with Roc Nation in January 2015, Ward would jump to light-heavyweight and an eventual showdown with feared unified champion Sergey Kovalev. Ward would climb off the canvas to win their November 2016 encounter by split decision. In the rematch last June, Ward silenced critics by stopping Kovalev in the eighth off a series body shots.

Andre Ward leaves the sport with a record of 32-0 (16 KOs).

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Photo Credit: Hogan Photos

Sergey Kovalev promised to end Andre Ward’s career. He vowed that the man he renamed “Son of Judges” wouldn’t get the chance to be saved by favorable scorecards. Today, it is the Krusher’s future that is in doubt following a dramatic and controversial eighth round stoppage loss at the Mandalay Bay. The tagline going into the fight was “no excuses,” and yet less than 24 hours removed, Kovalev and his promoter Main Events are preparing to protest the verdict and prolong the war of words between the camps. Unfortunately for Kovalev, the narrative that played out last night in the ring coupled with historical precedent does not bode well for his hopes of a reversal.

The rounds preceding the knockout showed both men were well-prepared. Ward did not repeat the sluggish start of the first bout; he looked for left hook counters upstairs to stifle Kovalev’s rushes and body work within clinches. Kovalev, now respectful of Ward’s ability, emphasized a higher work rate to counter Ward’s accuracy and inside work.

The fight was a nip-tuck affair with neither man jumping out to significant advantages. If Ward landed a good body shot, Kovalev was right back with several hard, clean jabs. If Kovalev got in a sneaky right, Ward returned the favor by getting right in his chest to maul and work the body.

As with any Ward fight, this wasn’t a clean affair. The clinching resulted in headlocks and rabbit punches from Kovalev, and borderline to clearly low blow shots from Ward. However, Ward was the more comfortable man in this domain — Kovalev’s complaints were more demonstrative and with expectations that he’d be given time to recover.

After seven rounds, my scorecard reflected an even fight (67-67), but not my eyes. Kovalev had noticeably become more labored in his breathing. His punches lacked its usual snap while Ward, never a huge puncher even at his prime weight of 168, looked more powerful and determined.

A right cross in the eighth badly hurt Kovalev. His attempts to hold were shrugged off with additional body shots. Kovalev sagged into the ropes, where Ward pounced on his doubled over opponent with shots that ranged from borderline to low. Assessing Kovalev’s body meek body language and no return punches, referee Tony Weeks opted to stop the contest. There was no protest from the former champion. 

This brings us to the big controversy of the night. Was Kovalev robbed by the non-call on the low-blow? His promoter, Kathy Duva, seems to think so. In the post-fight circus of a press conference, she was absolutely livid.

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Here’s the big problem that Duva and Kovalev will run into on Monday. There isn’t boxing commission in the world that would have the balls to reverse a decision in a fight of this magnitude. Look no further than the undercard bout against Rigondeaux and Flores (where referee Vic Drakulich and the commissioner look absolutely terrified to make the call between a DQ, No Contest or KO).

Even more daunting is the last time Main Events filed a low blow protest. In 2011, the company was promoting Zab Judah, in the midst of one of his many comebacks, this time against Amir Khan. Judah was thoroughly dominated in every round. In the fifth, a bloody Zab was grappling with Khan in a clinch and bent forward, much like Kovalev last night. Khan fired a borderline shot that resulted in the KO. Main Events filed a protest with Nevada, the WBA and IBF that went on deaf ears to the point we never heard another word about it.

Like any sport, boxing is predicated on momentum. In basketball, teams that go on runs seem to get all the calls while the losing team’s complaints are often ignored. If your getting hands placed on you in the ring, your complaints will come off as looking for a way out, leading to a referee making a quick call like we saw last night. It’s also important to note that unintentional fouls caused by the fighters movements are usually not acknowledged. Case in point — if I’m constantly bending down and away from an opponent, resulting in boderline rabbit shots to the top/side of the head, I’m going to be the one the ref will admonish for causing the “illegal” blow. Check out the KO years back of Glen Johnson on a crouching Allan Green who complains of a rabbit punch.

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There are certain realities you need to accept when you face certain fighters. Against Bernard Hopkins, be prepared for a night of mauling, sneaky low blows and butts. Evander Holyfield? Again, watch the butts. After 12 rounds against Andre Ward last November, Sergey Kovalev said he was prepared for the rematch, going as far as to say Ward was overrated and he had trained too hard. But last night showed that the Krusher had neither the mental nor physical ability to handle a rough and tumble fight where he couldn’t be the frontrunner.

“I was breathing, he was breathing, but I’m used to working tired,” said Ward. “I’m comfortable being uncomfortable; that’s how we work, that’s how we train. When I saw him put his arms on the ropes in between the rounds – I watch all that stuff – that’s trouble for him. I just needed to keep being smart… I think it was plain to see that I broke him mentally and physically.”

Consider the Ward-Kovalev rivalry closed.

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Today, BeatsBoxingMayhem will live stream for the official weigh-in between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. Yesterday, Kovalev brazenly abandoned the final press conference. Will he have words with Ward in their final face to face? The live stream kicks off at 5:30 p.m. ET. The grudge rematch airs tomorrow on HBO pay-per-view at 9 p.m. ET.

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We’re now in the final stretch of fight week for Ward vs. Kovalev 2. Today, the rivals will give their last media quotes at the final presser. The event kicks off at 4 p.m. ET. The pay-per-view battle goes down this Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.

 

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Two weeks out from the big rematch, HBO’s 24/7 revisits the first encounter between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. The fighters and trainers add their commentary, and we get some never before seen footage of the immediate locker room aftermath. Their camps also detail the strategies for victory on June 17. The fight will air on HBO pay-per-view.

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LAS VEGAS — It was dubbed a fight to crown the Pound 4 Pound best and it delivered. Andre Ward was hurt in the first round and dropped in the second, but mounted a gradual comeback behind a strong body attack to take a narrow 114-113 win on all scorecards.

Ward was stunned by a jab in the opening round and forced to hold. In the second, Kovalev floored the challenger with a perfect right hand. Kovalev continued his aggression behind the stiff jab and right hand, but Ward responded strong in the third by countering to the body and working the left hook.

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The remaining rounds were a seesaw of momentum on both sides. Ward got more moments for inside mauling where he slowed Kovalev with hard body shots. Although Kovalev was not able to replicate the clean shots landed in the opening rounds, he still manged to back Ward up with counter jabs and right hands.

The fight would come down to the 12th, where Kovalev landed the harder head shots, but Ward continued his solid work downstairs. Ultimately, the judges preferred Ward’s offense, and he won the round on all the judge’s scorecards.

The win gives Ward the WBA, WBO and IBF light-heavyweight titles and sets the stage for a lucrative rematch.


What a fight! On my scorecard, I had 115-112 for Kovalev, believing the knockdown pushed him ahead in a close bout. I had Kovalev taking rounds 1, 2 (w/ knockdown), 4, 6, 9, 10, and 12. Ward took rounds 3, 5, 7, 8, and 11. However, there were at least two close rounds on my card where I had some doubt before I tallied the final score. In Vegas, judges prefer aggression and for whatever it’s worth, Ward was the one who looked fresher and landed the most consistent punches on the second half — the body shots. And while the crowd should not influence judges, we know it does and there were wild cheers for Ward’s comeback likely played a part in the favorable scoring.

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Photo Credit: Tom Hogan

We have a fight Saturday night. Light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev and challenger Andre Ward were on target and in phenomenal shape at today’s weigh-in. Each fighter tipped the scales exactly at the light-heavyweight limit of 175 pounds.

PREDICTION: Hyperbole aside, this is truly a fight that deserves the 50/50 moniker. It’s easy to envision scenarios where both men are victorious. Kovalev, the natural light-heavyweight, might prove to be too strong and wear Ward down in a grind-out fight. Or Ward’s technical skill might be too difficult a puzzle for Kovalev to solve, who falls behind hopelessly and loses much like Carl Froch did in 2011.

Since coming to 175, Ward has relied more on his timing and finesse to beat guys over the physical bullying he displayed at 168. I see that trend continuing tomorrow night as Kovalev stays competitive but struggles to land hard leather. However, Kovalev’s pressure begins to take its toll on an older Ward who isn’t as mobile as he was five years ago. Despite a strong finish where Kovalev looks to be the fresher fighter, I expect a bruised Ward to hang on for a split/majority decision win.

OTHER RESULTS

Curtis Stevens: 157.5

James De La Rosa: 159.75

 

Maurice Hooker: 139

Darleys Perez: 137.5