Boxing Pound for Pound Rankings: Andre Ward cements standing as best in the world

If there was any doubt regarding Andre Ward's status as the world's top pound-for-pound fighter, the unified light heavyweight champion's resounding victory over Sergey Kovalev in Saturday's rematch likely put that to rest. 

As with their first meeting last November, when Ward won a wildly contested decision, the theme of controversy returned in their second meeting, albeit in a different form when body shots from Ward teased low. But the eighth-round stoppage victory by Ward of a fading Kovalev instantly became the most impressive of his increasingly great career. 

Ward, 33, remains the sport's most adaptable fighter outside of Floyd Mayweather, and showcased his ability to disarm a big puncher in Kovalev and wear him out by boxing evenly over the first half of the fight. It was high-speed chess at its finest as each fighter traded stiff jabs, mauled on the inside and fought to control distance. 

In the end, Ward not only outlasted Kovalev, he showed a tremendous instinct to finish him off after winning the strategic and mental battle. After the fight, he talked up a desire to challenge for a cruiserweight or even heavyweight title against the right fighter in the perfect situation. 

Kovalev, 34, just barely falls out of the top 10 after his second straight defeat, this time by knockout. It's back to the drawing board for the dangerous puncher, who could see a return to the P4P fold with a strong return. 

Missed the cut: Sergey Kovalev, Naoya Inoue, Guillermo Rigondeaux, James DeGale, Leo Santa Cruz 

Dropped out: Sergey Kovalev

CBS Sports Insider

Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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