Promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport was getting flashbacks last weekend, while he was watching the rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev.
At the Mandalay bay in Las Vegas, Ward stopped Kovalev in the eight round after hurting him with a right hand and then landing numerous shots to the body, which promoted referee Tony Weeks to jump in there and stop the fight. Ward retained his WBA, WBO, IBF light heavyweight titles.
There was controversy after the fight, because some observers felt Weeks stopped the fight early and should have issued a count because Kovalev sat on the ropes, while others felt Kovalev should have been given time to recover - because Ward landed some punches that strayed low.
Hearn agrees with the critics who felt the contest was stopped early, and he agrees that some of Ward's punches strayed low - but he also believes Kovalev was a finished fighter and Ward was well on his way to a stoppage win.
The ending reminded Hearn of Carl Froch vs. George Groves 1 - where Groves was in serious trouble and had very little left in the tank, but the referee stepped in way too early to wave off the contest as Froch was attempting to close the show.
"Yeah, you probably have to say [Ward-Kovalev] was [stopped early]. But it was one of those, where in my opinion, the fight was over. [Kovalev] was done, he didn't want to know. Ward was actually beating him up, which really surprised me. But you cant deny that Ward hit him low and [Kovalev] should have either had a count or time. Put it this way, if the ref didn't think it was a low blow then he should have had a count. And if the ref thought it was a low blow then he should have been given time to recover. Those are the two things that should have happened. A stoppage it shouldn't have been - but, Kovalev was done," Hearn told IFL TV.
"It was like Froch-Groves 1. In my opinion, Froch was fifteen seconds away from stopping him brutally, but it was stopped too early. [Kovalev] should been given a count or time to recover. But for me, Kovalev was done and he didn't want to know - which surprised me about Kovalev. As Marvin Hagler said, its hard to get up for your morning runs when you're wearing silk pajamas. Does Kovalev have the same mindset, the animal Krusher mindset when he first laced up the gloves."