Kovalev was unable to gain revenge as he was stopped in round eight, although he claimed that Ward was guilty of administering several low blows.
"He's really lucky, 'Son of Judges, '" Kovalev said of Ward, playing off Ward's nickname, "Son of God". Kovalev now picks up his second back-to-back loss, dropping to 30 wins, 2 defeats, 1 draw, 26 knockouts. Both fighters had their moments. Kovalev had success with his jab and the occasional right hand, while Ward looked to slip underneath his lead and attack the body at every opportunity. In his previous fight against Ward in November 2016, Kovalev received $2 million while Ward got $5 million.
Which is what Kovalev was in the second half of their fight seven months ago at T-Mobile Arena, when Ward rallied. But there were a couple of times when I was crying, because I thought we'd have to postpone the fight.
Kovalev now moved like a man in a trance, and late in the round, Ward was hammering out what little strength was left in Kovalev's body. I didn't feel it.
After the controversy on the scorecards from their first fight, Sergey Kovalev vowed to keep his fortunes out of the three judges seated at ringside on Saturday. Joe Smith Jr. and Sullivan Barrera fight in The Forum next month and the victor will be an attractive match for someone.
Ten of Ward's 20 punches landed in Round 8 were to the body as he continued the trend that got him out of trouble last November, when Ward got up off the canvas early and rallied back by weakening Kovalev and wearing him down.
Kovalev said he doesn't know what happened and can't explain why he was stopped by the referee.
"I think it was plain to see that I broke him mentally and physically".
Still, for a fighter who spent most of his career at super-middleweight, Parker would provide a tough test.
Two of the top five pound for pound boxers in the world met again after a controversial decision in their first meeting. Neither made any effort to touch gloves when given their final instructions, and once the bell rang, they both went after each other. The difference this time around may have been Andre's ability to effectively counter the aggressive Kovalev as he pressed the action. Ward hit Kovalev low and referee Tony Weeks gave him a minute rest.
"I'm still having a hard time processing what I just witnessed", Main Events CEO Kathy Duva said (via ESPN) in a raucous postfight news conference in which she was shouted down by Ward's supporters.
Kovalev, a Russian who lives in Los Angeles, had complained bitterly about the scoring in the first fight, though he appeared to run out of gas as the fight went on.
Kovalev fought well against Ward and deserves tremendous credit for doing so.
Duva was also suspicious of Guillermo Rigondeaux's first-round knockout of Moises Torres, which preceded Ward-Kovalev.
As the official did so, Rigondeaux threw what was judged a legal blow on the bell, which Flores proceeded to make the most of and stay down for the full count and more. [Kovalev] got hit with three low blows, four actually, in the last round.
Simona Halep back from brink to reach semi-finals
Fifth seed Svitolina twice served for the match at 5-2 and 5-4 in the second set and then had match point at 6/5 in the tie-break. Ostapenko will now try to win the first senior title of her career, and history might just be on her side.
No comeback this time for Kristina Mladenovic
She added: "I think the magic has always been happening for me here, even the first time I came here as a little kid". Instead of rolling over though, she fought back to book her place in the quarter-finals with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory.
Penguins, Predators each look to seize momentum in Game 5
Pekka Rinne was bad through the first two games and was certainly a big reason that Pittsburgh took an early series lead. After the third goal went by him to end the period, his night was over after allowing three goals on nine shots.