Ward demands pound-for-pound recognition after Kovalev stoppage

For this week's Ringside Rewind we look back at two of Ward and Kovalev's best stoppage wins

After a contentious result in their November 2016 championship bout, Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) and Russian Sergey Kovalev (31-1-1, 26 KOs) meet again Saturday at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas with the WBA, IBF, WBO and The Ring light heavyweight titles on the line.

Though Ward's punches bounced off Kovalev, more often than not they caught him square on the target instead of the gloves, which obviously played against him in what was after all an American court. That doesn't mean, however, that this victory was without controversy. What can not be questioned is the right hand that clearly sapped the fight out of Kovalev. Ward followed up by digging to the body with a trio of left hooks, some of which appeared borderline in terms of being low. The fighters clinch. Another clinch as referee Tony Weeks breaks it up.

The first fight wasn't controversial so much as it was razor thin, but the controversy was definitely there. And the criticisms - I can't get too low with those.

Promoter Kathy Duva, angrily facing a "press conference" that was populated with Ward fans, said it was "inconceivable" that Kovalev could lose on "all those low blows in a row", and promised to appeal the decision to the Nevada state athletic commission. He didn't let me continue to fight. This is fight. We are boxers. “Some of you think I lost the fight, but youve got to look at the other side of that coin. It didn't hurt me. That's why I want to face the best, to be the best. "He was hurt and he wasn't reacting so the referee stopped it". "Championship fights don't start until after the sixth round". But there were a couple of times when I was crying, because I thought we'd have to postpone the fight.

Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev 2 Saturday June 17 at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT on HBO Pay-Per-View.

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He went after Kovalev, finally finishing him off in a neutral corner with the disputed body shots.

"I could tell he was reacting to my body shots and I knew I had him then", Ward said.

Spill your opinions on Ward vs Kovalev II below, plus the rest of the night's busy card.

Kovalev was known as the big puncher of the pair, so it was a satisfying conclusion for Ward, who unleashed some firepower on the "Krusher" in the final moments of the fight against an opponent who had promised to knock him out and end his career. "We had a good camp last time, we had some physical issues. But I don't really know what happened". He also had a plea for his critics. "I dream big and anything is possible".

"Virg and I have been talking about moving up for a long time", Ward said. "Just leapfrog it and go for it all". "I keep my head down and keep working". Ward, meanwhile, didn't rule out a third bout with his rival, but intimated that he is thinking about moving up to cruiserweight and possibly heavyweight. Ward said that will play in his favor in the rematch. I wasn't moving. Tonight, every time I stopped moving, Virg (trainer Virgil Hunter) kept telling me to move my feet.

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