By Edward Chaykovsky
While many in the United States saw a robbery last Saturday night, there seems to be a lot of experts in the UK who disagree. Promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport and Sky Sports' Adam Smith had Andre Ward (31-0, 15KOs) winning a twelve round decision over Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1, 26KOs).
WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew and Sky Sport's Johnny Nelson - both had it scored a draw.
The three official judges, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, had Ward winning by one point, 114-113, which give him Kovalev's WBO, WBA, IBF light heavyweight world titles. Ward was down in the second round.
Also watching the fight, on behalf of Sky Sports, where Paul Smith and Matthew Macklin.
Macklin, who competes in the middleweight division, saw Ward win a close decision by two points. He felt Ward did just enough to nick many of the rounds in the second half.
"It was a razor-thin decision, but then again every round was razor-thin. I don't really see how anyone dominated the fight. Every round was close but I thought Andre was landing the better jabs. If someone said they'd given it to Kovalev by one or two rounds I wouldn't really have argued, I just thought Ward won the fight. I had it 115-113 and it was a very, very close fight," Macklin told Sky Sports.
"You know sometimes early on in a fight - when Kovalev scored the knockdown - what happens is a lot of people can only look at what he's doing and see what punches he lands but Andre Ward came back, won the third, won the fourth, then the fifth - not big - but he won the rounds and got back into the game."
Smith, who Ward actually fought and stopped last June, had the Olympic gold medal winner even further up - winning the titles by three points.
"I had Ward by three. It was a very close fight and thankfully all three judges scored it that way and you can't call it robbery. It was just a very close fight and could've gone either way, depending on how you scored those rounds. You couldn't have argued by two rounds either way, but for me, I though Ward did the better work and landed the better shots throughout the fight," Smith said.
"Kovalev was always going to land big, eye-catching shots and shots that would grab the attention of people because of the power he has and when a fighter has a knockdown, you lean towards him. But Ward did great to come back from that and win the next three rounds. It was very subjective scoring but from where I saw it, Ward just did enough."