Kovalev now picks up his second back-to-back loss, dropping to 30 wins, 2 defeats, 1 draw, 26 knockouts.
Prediction: Kovalev has more power and will likely deliver the hard blows.
Weeks who is supposed to see everything and to provide fair play inside the ring was mute. But the fight is going to happen, so it's time to report on what we are hopeful doesn't turn out to be the ridiculously one-sided bout most are predicting. Kovalev gave him the edge he needed.
Kovalev starts out jabbing and they fall into a clinch.
The 2004 Olympic gold medalist is now undefeated in 32 fights as a pro and has won titles at both 168 and 175 pounds.
Kovalev said he believed he could've continued even as he dropped forward tiredly into the perilous position.
The action is heating up.
The turning point arrived in the next as Ward pivoted at the waist and put his full weight into a right hand, catching Kovalev on the point of the chin and rocking him to his core.
But for Ward, the big thing was the plan. Weeks talks to the fighters.
Neither fighter was allowing their opponent to gain a foothold as Ward landed a lightning left hand in the fourth round, while Kovalev was caught with a crisp left hook in the fifth.
But by the end of the first fight, both boxers were clearly fighting for a decision win and neither was looking for the finish. Another round for Ward. 2-2.
With another close round taking place in the 8th round, Ward uncorked a hellacious right hand that clearly took Kovalev's legs from underneath him. There is no discussion, the right hand is what got it started.
Shaped by attitudes more readily associated with those Russian supremacists attached to the nation's football team, Kovalev has run into a wall of righteous anger over his clumsy publicity moves that look like downright racism to western cultural sensibilities. Ward a right then a left.
Oakland's Ward, meanwhile, just wants to keep the party going. Ward's style frustrated "Krusher" early and often, reducing him to being able to land only single blows for much of the contest and slowly depleting his gas tank.
As CBS Sports noted, it is expected to be a very close bout again but Ward can again seize the advantage if he dictates the style of the fight.
Ive been through adversity in and out of the ring, Ward said. Another round for Ward. "It is insane. I want another fight with him".
Ward's trainer, Virgil Hunter, hopes Kovalev is better.
The fact is Kovalev was fading again as he did the first time when these two met (CBS Philly had it for Ward 67-66 at the time of the stoppage). Ward is scheduled to fight Sergey Kovalev in a light heavyweight championship boxing match Saturday in Las Vegas. He's got Kovalev on the ropes.
Referee Tony Weeks then stopped the fight with 31 seconds in the eighth with Kovalev, 34, kneeling down. TKO win for the Ward, shame for boxing.