The former super-middleweight king started badly, losing the first four rounds on my card and was dropped for only the second time in his life in the second session. To his considerable credit, Ward figured Kovalev out by the fifth and began to take over the fight in the second half.
Superior boxing skills won the day as Ward landed the cleaner blows down the stretch and had much more success to take the all-important final rounds. Winning the last six on my card, Ward’s intelligence saw him edge a 114-113 victory on the cards, something all three ringside judges agreed with.
Ward can claim light-heavyweight honours to add to the super-middleweight belts he already won in his previous reign at 168 pounds.
The ‘S.O.G’ also overhauls Manny Pacquiao as the best fighter on the planet, just two weeks on from the Filipino Senator regaining his place at the helm.
Pacquiao drops to two, with Roman Gonzalez and Gennady Golovkin at three and four respectively. Kovalev retains his position at six behind super-lightweight king Terence Crawford.
A possible rematch between Ward and Kovalev would still be fought under the same premise as the first, with the winner then gaining the label of boxing’s number one star.