Ward connects with a right. Image: Ezra Shaw/ Getty Images
Ending a nine-month layoff while fighting for merely the fourth time in four years, Ward( 29 -0) knocked down Barrera in the second round with a sharp-worded left. The 34 -year-old Cuban ricochetted up immediately before Ward property another duo of stinging lefts to the head.
About the only thing to go wrong for the Oakland fighter came late in the eighth when adjudicator Raul Caiz withheld a time from Ward for the low blow that communicated Barrera( 17 -1) down to one knee. All three judges had Ward winning easily. The ratings were 117 -1 09, 119 -1 09 and 117 -1 08.
The win paves the method for Ward to fight Kovalev, the Russian slugger who has defended his claim three times since overpowering Bernard Hopkins in a unification competitor in 2014. While the negotiations between both camps is currently under way, things are expected to hot up now.
Sergey Kovalev is a great champion, Ward said. I fight the best, I ever fight the best and hes just another name.
Fighting in front of his hometown mob, Ward was the quicker fighter most of the nighttime and used his poking to tally often, mingling it with a powerful left rob that territory to the top regularly. He likewise ducked away from the majority of members of Barreras punches and at one point in the sixth smiled after Barrera swung and missed twice.
Ward continued to score with his big turn left in all regions of the bout and reaped loud encourages from an insinuate but raucous bunch of 8, 532 at Oracle Arena.
We testified great boxing ability coming off this layoff, said Virgil Hunter, Wards longtime teach and mentor. He demo good boxing ability, great defense and rhythm. Now its about get rounds in.
Barrera, the IBFs No1 contender going into the night, property his own jab with some success but couldnt threw much together and lost for the first time in his career.
NBA MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Fighters watched the fight from ringside not far from Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis.
Kovalev, who announced Ward a gentleman, a neat follower, before the fight, was in the crowd as well. The 32 -year-old Russian predicted an easy Ward win before the fight and said a matchup against the former Olympic gold medalist would be the biggest challenge of his career.
November is a great time, Kovalev said. Lets do it, me and him, a done deal. Kovalev and Ward could each have another warm-up before their eventual contest which is expected to be on pay-per-view.
Had Barrera prevailed, the picture would have been a lot more ambiguous. Although the posts were statute as being for the expected title fire with Kovalev, Ward had a agreement added to the contract guaranteeing him a rematch with Barrera first.
It didnt happen, adjusting the stage for what many are already billing as a potential push of its first year even if they are no transaction has been finalized.
Its going to be the opposite from Mayweather-Pacquiao in every mode, said Main Affairs promoter Kathy Duva, whose stable includes Kovalev.