Chapter two of Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev vs. Andre “S.O.G.” Ward drama ended in another controversial loss for Kovalev. The referee waived off Kovalev after he struggled to recover from several consecutive low blows from Ward that the official failed to call. Sergey remained on his feet throughout the exchange but nevertheless the referee called a halt to the action at 2:29 of the eighth round.
The first round began with both fighters feeling each other out. Kovalev landed several hard shots and Ward continued to hold and attempt to work the inside. Ward landed a low blow in the second and received a warning from the referee. Kovalev, however, quickly recovered with a slew of combinations. The next several rounds were so close scorecards varied widely. After several low blows that the referee failed to call against Ward the fight was stopped.
A frustrated Kovalev was brief in his remarks saying only, “He hit with four low blows. The ref didn’t call them. I felt I could have continued. This is bullshit.”
Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux (18-0, 12 KOs) remains undefeated as he knocked Moises “Chucky” Flores (25-1, 17 KOs) flat on the canvas at 2:59 of round one. Many believed the blow was late but the punch was declared legal and Rigondeaux was declared the winner and retains his WBA Super World super bantamweight title.
“The Mexican was a brave kid,” said Rigondeaux. “I commend him for getting in the ring with me. He has more guts than a lot of these other guys. We both threw combinations at the same time at the end of the first round. But mine was quicker and more accurate. It was only a matter of time. I fight to give the best performance to the public and all the fans. I am making everyone disappear at 122. I am always available. Tell me who is next. I want all of them, and will take them out one by one. I hope the whole world sees what it is like to get in the ring with me. I am tired of the press and everyone saying I am boring. You see what happens when someone brings the fight to me.”
Flores, who believed the punch was after the bell replied, “It’s not fair. It’s clear that the bell rang. He didn’t throw a punch the whole round. I was winning the round and he waited for after the bell to throw punch when I dropped my hands down.”
WBA Interim Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol from Russia remains undefeated as he made quick work of Cedric “L.O.W.” Agnew. Despite being only 26 years old Bivol demonstrated why he is quickly making a name for himself in the red-hot light heavyweight division. From the first bell, Bivol torpedoed Agnew with a nasty set of combinations in the corner and sent the veteran into a head first knockdown. Agnew quickly recovered and the round continued but so did Bivol’s come-forward attack. The next two rounds were offensive clinics for Bivol as he continued to dominate Agnew. At 1:27 of the fourth round the referee had seen enough and declared Bivol the winner by TKO.
“I’m very glad the fight went this way,” said Biovl. “I found my ways that I practiced and I used them and you saw the results. I didn’t think he was going to work more as right-handed, as orthodox, but I was ready for everything so the fight ran smooth for me. I tried to open him up but for some reason, he didn’t want to go. He was close, he was very defensive and going back. But anyways I won the fight!”
The HBO Pay Per View telecast kicked off with an exciting middleweight on-sided contest between Russian Arif “The Predator” Magomedov (18-2, 11 KOs) and Luis “Cuba” Arias (18-0, 9 KOs). Magomedov could not handle the vicious attack from Arias and the contest was called to a halt at 1:16 of the fifth round.
Humbled by his second career loss Arif simply said, “There’s really not a lot I can say about this. He caught me with a really good shot and I couldn’t do anything about it.”
Arias replied with, “Finally! Your just heard my name. Top 10 all around. Easy work.”
Hungary’s Zoltan Sera could not survive the first round against Junior “The Young God” Younan. The referee stopped the contest at 1:39 of round one. After the fight Younan said, “I wanted to come out and make a statement and I did just that! I knew I could get it done in one round. I did all I could. I worked my ass off! The love that I have gotten since I arrived in Las Vegas has been tremendous. Thank you! And thank you to my promoter, Roc Nation Sports, for getting me to the greatest stage in boxing!”
Middleweights Vaughn “The Animal” Alexander (10-0, 7 KOs) of St. Louis, Missouri and Fabiano Pena (16-8-1, 13 KOs) of Chiapas, Mexico were scheduled to face each other is an eight-round bout. However, the fight was stopped at the end of the fourth round due to a rib injury Alexander inflicted on Pena granting Vaughn another TKO victory.
After the contest Vaughn said, “It was a good a good fight for me, another good win. another step to get me closer to where I want to be, amongst the top middleweights. You know soon maybe next year sometime I can be considered for a World title. I just went in there and worked on my defense, what me and my brother been working on in the gym, throwing more combinations and just taking my time.”
The first bout of the free-view ended early with a second round TKO for Tramaine Williams (11-0, 4 KOs) of New Haven, Connecticut at 1:44 against Christopher Martin (30-9-3, 10 KOs) of San Diego, California.
When asked about the stoppage, Williams said, “He was going to take a beating if they let it go for all eight rounds. He has a family he has to get back to. It’s a good thing the ref stopped the fight. If there were 10 more seconds in the first round I would have had him. It would have been over! I’m pretty happy with my performance but I am always going to work to be better. Thank you to everyone for tuning in. I hope to be back in the ring next month. In the meantime, I plan on staying in shape and ready to fight. Thank you to Roc Nation Sports for the opportunity to be on this great card.”
The referee had to stop the third fight of the evening between John Bauza (7-0, 4 KOs) of North Bergen, New Jersey and Brando “Bam” Sanudo (5-5, 2 KOs) of San Felipe, Mexico at 1:14 of the second round. Bauza dropped Sanudo in the first round as well shortly before the bell and Sanudo was able to finish the round.
According to Bauza, “That knock down felt great! It was an easy win because I worked hard. I felt strong in the first round. Thanks to all my followers and supporters. I will keep up great work. Whatever my promoters tell me next, will be next.”
Middleweight Bakhram Murtazaliev (9-0, 7 KOs) made quick work of Alex Sandro Duarte (6-1, 4 KOs) stopping him after at 1:33 of the first round. Murtazaliev dropped Duarte once before the stoppage and the Brazilian quickly recovered but shortly after the referee resumed the action the contest was over.
Murtazaliev had this to say after the fight, “I’m very happy. The fight went so quickly that I didn’t have time to even think about how I felt. I didn’t intend to knock him out, it just happened.”
This was the first career knockout suffered by Duarte who took the fight on short notice after the original opponent Gerald Sherrell had to drop out last week. He added, “He was taller and stronger than me. I was fighting in a weight class that was above my normal weight class. I am disappointed.”
In the first bout of the evening Georgian Enriko Gogokhia (5-0, 2 KOs) faced Dallas native Jonathan Steele (7-1, 5 KOs) in a six-round welterweight match-up. In an exciting back-and-forth battle, both fighters landed some tough shots. This exciting battle went the distance and the judges scored the bout 59-55, 59-55, 60-54 all in favor of Enriko Gogokhia who remains undefeated.
After the fight Gogokhia said, “I thought it was a good fight. I really wanted to knock him out but I also wanted to play with him and make him go a little harder. He was just the fighter I thought he would be and I was prepared for him. I am happy with my performance.”
This was the first professional loss for Steele who responded, “Hopefully I will get back in there, I want revenge so hopefully I will be looking forward to a rematch. It was a great fight. I really enjoyed my first time in Vegas, it’s a beautiful thing. It was a very humbling experience. I will go harder in the gym and I’ll come back out here and continue on my path to become the world champion.”
*Note: All records have been updated to reflect tonight’s results.