Contributor: Nolan Howell
Welcome to another installment of UndercarDVR, where we review what you need to see from this week in boxing and whether it needs to be watched, deleted, or put in fast forward.
Andre Ward defeated Sergey Kovalev by unanimous decision to win the WBA/IBF/WBO Light Heavyweight Championships.
- We will get to the particulars of this fight later in the week here on Undercard Superstar, but this fight more than delivered and showcased the best of the best in the sport of boxing. Ward edged out a close decision despite a slow start that saw him hit the mat in the second round. After that knockdown, Ward took control and went into wear-down mode as he stifled Kovalev with body work that slowed the Russian down as the fight went into deeper waters. However, for every string of rounds Ward would get back, Kovalev would find a round or two to eek out here and there.The decision came out unanimously for Ward, which sparked a lot of debate over the winner and whether or not this was a robbery. That word gets thrown around too much and this was a fight defensible either way.
- Both men should be on track to a rematch with one another and capitalize off the conversation this fight brought in and created more of. Simply put, this is a win-win-win for boxing, the fighters, and the fans.
- This wasn’t a firefight, but a masterpiece of gameplanning and technique. It also managed to tell a story that you could see during, which puts it in an elite category.
- Verdict: Watch this, then watch it again, and maybe a third time for good measure.
To save us some time, you are probably going to want to delete all of the undercard, save for one fight.
Delete these three:
Darleys Perez draws with Maurice Hooker.
- For all those crying “robbery,” look no further than this fight. An impressive showing from Perez was snatched away from him. While it wasn’t a master class worth a tape study, any watchable was taken away by the result.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk defeated Issac Chilemba by eighth-round TKO to retain the NABF Light Heavyweight Championship.
- Impressive enough outing by Gvozdyk in stopping a tough fighter like Chilemba, but the result pretty much tells all the story you need to know.
Curtis Stevens defeated James de la Rosa by unanimous decision.
- Stevens underwhelmed here due to a broken hand and it feels like he couldn’t leave it all out there like he usually does. A fine win, but not worth looking back at.
Finally, a must-watch:
Claressa Shields defeated Franchon Crews by unanimous decision.
- Crews was brought in to lose, but showed some fight as Shields shook off two shove-downs to get the win in an aggressive fight. This fight should be watched not only for face value on the quality of performance by Shields, but to give women’s boxing a chance to deliver on a platform it needs to have in a sport that is woefully behind promoting women’s talent compared to its combat sports cousin in MMA. Shields IS the woman to get behind for the growth of women’s boxing.
-Nolan can be reached at @undercardnolan or at firstname.lastname@example.org