By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Andre Ward impressed Gennady Golovkin on Saturday night.
Golovkin noticed improvement and intelligence from Ward during his light heavyweight championship rematch against Sergey Kovalev. The IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion also appreciated the exciting, back-and-forth fight Ward and Kovalev produced before Ward won by eighth-round technical knockout at Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) was asked about the Ward-Kovalev rematch Tuesday night prior to a press conference in Theater at Madison Square Garden to promote his September 16th showdown with Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs). The Kazakh knockout artist is very familiar with Ward (32-0, 16 KOs), who he had hoped to eventually box before Ward moved up to the light heavyweight division, and Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs), against whom he has sparred.
“It was a beautiful war,” Golovkin said. “Sergey is Sergey. I don’t see big progress. Kovalev is Kovalev. Andre, he bring more boxing. He’s a smart guy.”
When asked about the low blows Ward landed, Golovkin said, “What do you mean?” Golovkin did, however, think referee Tony Weeks stopped their fight “a little bit early, yeah.”
Weeks halted the action at 2:29 of the eighth round, after Ward landed three consecutive punches below Kovalev’s belt line. Ward previously hurt Kovalev with a flush right hand to the jaw with 1:14 to go in the eighth round, which buckled Kovalev’s knees and left the former champion holding and moving away from Ward.
Main Events, Kovalev’s promoter, has since filed a protest with the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Kovalev’s behalf.
“I’m not a referee,” Golovkin said. “I’m a fighter. Seriously. For me, maybe [the stoppage was] a little bit early because body is not head. I think Tony maybe [could’ve allowed a] first knockdown, once. If Kovalev looked bad, OK, stop. Not like one punch, ‘Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop!’ No.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.