Fight Pick & Preview: Klitschko vs. Povetkin –
It’s been a long time in coming, but 33 year old Alexander Povetkin will finally meet Wladimir Klitschko for the World Heavyweight Championship on October 5 in Moscow. The first time Povetkin appeared on Klistschko’s dance card, it was after winning mandatory challenger status in an eliminator with Eddie Chambers back in 2008. Povetkin soon ducked out of that fight by claiming a foot injury in what is now known as a certain ruse, as trainer Teddy Atlas has since admitted that Povetkin was pulled back because he wasn’t ready.
Povetkin’s world title challenge comes in the wake of a major earthquake in his team. Povetkin’s manager Vlad Hrunov won the purse bid for the fight, anteing up a staggering $23.3 million, only to see Povetkin dump him. Also, the Russian Vityaz was supposed to be preparing for Klitschko under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, but that plan fell through.
Meanwhile, over at Dr. Steelhammer’s camp, things are reportedly as stable as ever, despite the passing of veteran trainer Emmanuel Steward.
Wladimir Klitschko should be facing his sternest title defense in years when he meets Povetkin in the Russian’s backyard, but Povetkin clearly has severe distractions going into what is unquestionably the biggest challenge of his career. Will Povetkin pull past his problems and give Klitschko a real fight, or will Klitschko put on another boxing clinic?
Alexander Povetkin (26-0, 18 KOs)
6’2″ tall, 75″ reach, 33 years old
Current (Fake) WBA Heavyweight Champion
The world class stage of Povetkin’s long career can be neatly divided into two phases by the first, aborted date with Klitschko. The Russian Vityaz made his way up the ladder in the usual fashion, beating trial horses before taking on an older Chris Byrd and then-hot prospect Eddie Chambers in the IBF tournament.
Povetkin’s duck of Klitschko the Younger began the second phase of his career, which saw him mark time by defeating Ruslan Chagaev for the fake WBA strap, taking on cruiserweight titleholder Marco Huck, and escaping with a close and disputed decision, and participating in ridiculous matches such as his fight against Hasim Rahman.
Although certainly among the heavyweight division’s most credible contenders, that says little as the statement plus his record merely proves how anemic the division is. Chagaev is the only real name on it (Eddie Chambers wisely moved down to cruiserweight recently, where he always belonged), a damning thing for a supposedly veteran “champion.”
In terms of what Povetkin brings to the ring, he is a boxer-puncher in the stand-up European style with good, but not great assets. If Povetkin has any weaknesses, it is his rigid, Continental boxing style. He puts his punches together well and has good point defense, but moves his feet only a little and his upper body barely at all.
Wladimir Klitschko (60-3, 51 KOs)
6’6″ tall, 81″ reach, 37 years old
Current IBF-WBA-WBO Heavyweight Champion
Klitschko’s mastery of using his height and reach to keep opponents at arm’s reach and batter them into submission has ensured that Dr. Steelhammer hasn’t been in a real fight in eight years, and therein lies perhaps the only chink in his armor. Klitschko the Younger isn’t so young anymore, and while he takes excellent care of himself and shows no signs of wearing down, if someone were to test Klitschko I doubt even the man himself knows how well he would perform.
That said, Big Wlad’s athletic ability, power, size, experience, and confidence have held back all comers for years, and made doing it look easy. Tony Thompson, who just demolished David Price twice, was himself crushed by Klitschko twice. The guy is the boss of the big men for a reason.
Klitschko vs. Povetkin Preview & Fight Analysis
I’ll cut to the chase here: I simply do not see how anyone can beat Klitschko unless they have an answer for his jab. For a guy like Povetkin, who isn’t a speedster, suffers a height and reach deficit, and isn’t a brawler, that means using foot and head movement to at least partially offset Klitschko’s jab as the foundation for stepping into range. If Povetkin could do that, maybe he could also keep doing it, putting his punches together with the polished technique at his disposal, and then steadily up the pressure on the champion.
Unfortunately, Povetkin isn’t that mobile either at the feet or the waist. Worse, Klitschko is probably the more mobile of the two. If Povetkin were as big as he is and as slick as say, Eddie Chambers, then he would have a good shot at giving Klitschko are real test. He isn’t that slick, so he won’t.
Klitschko vs. Povetkin Prediction
The only question here is how long Povetkin’s durability and good point defense will keep him in the game, which will directly translate into whether Povetkin sees the final bell. In my mind, that is the only real variable in the fight. The rest is quite predictable: another Klitschko boxing clinic.
Prediction: Wladimir Klitschko TKO10 Alexander Povetkin