Tony Weeks made a mistake on Saturday night, during the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev rematch. He should not have stopped the fight with 2:29 remaining in Round 8, in order to hand Ward a TKO victory. Instead, he should have halted the action to caution Ward over throwing low blows, while giving Kovalev the mandatory five minutes to recover.
But it was an understandable mistake. Kovalev was in desperate trouble backed against the ropes. He was bent over and covering up, doing nothing in the way of intelligently defending himself. This is what Weeks was paying attention to and it is what he should have been paying attention to. But with his focus on that, he missed a pair of inadvertent low blows Ward connected with, while digging hard for Kovalev’s body, in an attempt to end the fight.
It was an unfortunate way for the fight to end, but expect the decision to stand. Kovalev’s promoter, Main Events, immediately announced they would file a protest to have the decision overturned, but that would be unreasonable. Weeks may have made a mistake, but the reason for that mistake was because he was paying attention to Kovalev’s level of awareness and willingness to fight back.
And he was paying attention to that because Kovalev was in true danger.
The first half of the fight was another version of the first fight–two great fighters, strategically working away at each other. But once more, Ward seemed to gather control over the fight as it went along.
But unlike the last time, Ward managed to put Kovalev in serious trouble. And I have to think he would have finished Kovalev even without Weeks making the mistake.
Somewhere down the line, Kovalev might get a rematch. The first fight was hotly contested and this one had enough controversy to make a third fight compelling. But for now, expect Ward to look for other challenges.