Alexander Povetkin vs Deontay Wilder
The way the heavyweight stars are currently aligning, things might just be about to get very interesting for Russian heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin.
To hardcore boxing fans the world over, Alexander Povetkin, 29 – 1 with 21 knockouts, is well known and widely considered to be one of the best and most exciting fighters in the heavyweight division. However, outside of his native Russia and to an extent Germany, not many casual fans would be too excited or even aware of Povetkin’s standing within the sport.
This could all be about to change in a big way if the WBC mandated fight between Povetkin and current WBC heavyweight champion, the American knockout artist Deontay Wilder, goes ahead. This bout between the ferocious pair is subject to Wilder coming through his first defence of the belt this Saturday against fringe contender Eric Molina.
Povetkin is currently on a three fight knockout streak against three world level opponents in Mike Perez, Carlos Takam and Manuel Charr. His most recent bout last month, a 1 round blowout of the highly regarded Mike Perez, went a long way to to prove Povetkin’s standing as one of the hardest punchers in the division.
Although many believe Mike Perez is not the same fighter as he was before his subsequently tragic victory over Magomed Abdusalamov, nobody could have predicted both the quick and devastating manner of Povetkin’s victory.
Prior the recent run of knockouts, Povetkin suffered the first loss of his career in a lopsided unanimous decision to long reigning heavyweight king, Wladimir Klitschko.
This was Povetkin’s first attempt at winning the heavyweight title and prior to the bout he was looked upon as a challenger that could finally cause Klitschko some problems.
However, it wasn’t to be as Klitschko scored multiple knockdowns as well as frustrating Povetkin with his long jab and repeated holding, not allowing Povetkin any opportunity to go to work on him.
There is no shame in losing to Klitschko, he has been the dominant force in the heavyweight division for what seems an eternity and it has been many years since anyone has even remotely tested him. How Povetkin has come back from the defeat is also to be admired.
Euro Success Stateside
At 35, Povetkin is at a stage where it is make or break for him in terms of becoming heavyweight champion and a crossover star.
The recent success of European knockout artists Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev in capturing the American boxing public’s imagination means there is now a market for Povetkin to break in to. A big performance against Deontay Wilder would do just that.
Earlier this year, Wilder became the first U.S. fighter in ten years to become heavyweight champion of the world. He is being heavily promoted as so and a long reign as champion is what his handlers are aiming for.
Povetkin is now Wilder’s mandatory challenger which means if he wants to remain champion, he has to fight Povetkin. With Wilder being advised by the powerful Al Haymon, there is the chance that Povetkin will be offered step aside money to allow Wilder to defend his belt against an opponent of his choice, thus delaying Povetkin’s shot at the title.
In my opinion, considering Povetkin’s age, and the rewards to be gained from a victory over Wilder, the much better option would be to force the title shot rather than take a step aside fee. Povetkin and Wilder are both huge punchers and a victory for either would make it the biggest win of their career.
A victory for Povetkin, especially in an exciting fight, would see his stock rise significantly and would gave American TV networks a reason to show his fights again.
With the heavyweight division opening up again, there are plenty of big fights out there for Povetkin, who could see the latter stage of his career to be the most fruitful and rewarding.
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