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 picks up the WBO, IBF and WBA light-heavyweight titles to add to the WBA and WBC 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, whilst calls for a rematch with Kovalev could see both fighters make a much bigger purse if they get it on again.
Kovalev can count himself unlucky in the end as he was just beaten by the better boxing brain due to Ward putting together all the adjustments needed to nick the points and take home the titles.
Should Ward and Kovalev agree a second helping in the late spring or early summer of 2017, I don’t think anybody would be disappointed.