World heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (left) and unbeaten Russian contender Alexander Povetkin pose for a photo during their press conference in Moscow, on Aug. 12, 2013. Klitschko will defend his RING, WBA, IBF and WBO titles against Povetkin in Moscow this Saturday.
The two Olympic gold medalists say they were rooting for each other when each was last in the ring in May.
Wladimir Klitschko was scoring his 18th consecutive victory and his 13th stoppage during that run with a sixth-round knockout of the previously undefeated Francesco Pianeta in a May 4 defense of his RING, IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight championships.
On Saturday, they will be in opposite corners when Klitschko (60-3, 51 knockouts) puts his titles on the line against Povetkin (26-0, 18 KOs) at Moscow’s indoor Olympic stadium.
The venue may well be partisan to Povetkin, a 34-year-old winner of Olympic gold for Russia in 2004. It remains to be seen whether the location will be a factor for Klitschko, a 37-year-old Olympic gold medalist for Ukraine 1996.
“Only the location is reason to think Wladimir Klitschko’s heavyweight reign might be in jeopardy,” states Norm Frauenheim, of THE RING magazine and 15rounds.com. “That said, it’s fair to assume that Klitschko knows he’s in Moscow against Russian challenger Alexander Povetkin.”
Povetkin, who stopped faded former champ Hasim Rahman in two rounds last September, is two bouts removed from a disputed majority decision victory over cruiserweight tiitleholder Marco Huck last February.
“Wladimir Klitschko will enter the ring with his usual advantages in height and reach,” states John J. Raspanti, of Doghouseboxing.com, KO Monthly Magazine and Examiner.com of Klitschko, who stands 6-foot-6 to Povetkin’s 6-foot-2. “He’s also the more powerful boxer. Alexander Povetkin is tough and durable, but limited. His cause wasn’t helped by his struggles with Marco Huck last year.”
Russian promoter Andrey Ryabinsky bid $23,333,330 for the right to handle Klitschko-Povetkin. As the WBA’s “super champion,” Klitschko stands to receive a favorable 75-to-25 percent split of the purse, or $17,499,997.50 compared to $5,833,332.50. Both amounts are career-highs for Klitschko and Povetkin.
RingTV.com sought the opinion of 18 boxing insiders regarding their thoughts on Klitschko-Povetkin.
Wladimir Klitschko Late TKO Alexander Povetkin: On paper, Alexander Povetkin is the best heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko has faced since David Haye in 2011. But in reality, like Haye, Povetkin will pose little challenge to THE RING’s heavyweight champ.
Povetkin is known to enter fights in poor condition, and if he didn’t train hard for this contest, he’ll be in serious trouble. Povetkin will give Klitschko some problems early with his jab and boxing ability.
But it won’t be long until Wlad is dialing in with power shots set up by his superior jab. Klitschko will likely wear Povetkin down and score the stoppage late in the battle of Olympic gold medalists.
Record: 8-5 [Last pick: Arreola KO 5 Mitchell]
I know, I know. Given the recent run of controversial scorecards, that’s a foolish assumption. That said, it’s fair to assume that Klitschko knows he’s in Moscow against Russian challenger Alexander Povetkin.
Klitschko hasn’t gone unbeaten for nine years because he’s stupid. He knows not to let this one go to the cards. Klitschko’s jab, precise and punishing, will do its work.
Povetkin is tough, but Povetkin’s not quick enough to elude the jab that will break him down and leave him open to a right hand that will end it before the judges can get in the way of another Klitschko victory.
Record: 17-7 [Chavez Jr. TKO 9 Vera]
Wladimir Klitschko TKO4 Alexander Povetkin: Alexander Povetkin is too small and too inexperienced at the elite world championship level to deal with the problems that Wladimir Klitschko brings to bear on challengers of his world heavyweight title.
If, as some claim, Povetkin tried to avoid this fight, he didn’t try hard enough, and what he can’t avoid now is the beating he’ll take. The giant-sized Klitschko brings a hammer and sickle to Moscow for his first-ever fight in the Russian capital.
Povetkin brings a reputation for holding a bogus belt and for struggling with a blown up cruiserweight. Wlad will have no problem impaling the stationary Povetkin early and often with the best jab in boxing.
When a glancing right hand stuns Povetkin in the fourth round, Dr. Steelhammer will pound his wobbly opponent and score a knockdown. Badly hurt, Povetkin will stumble to his feet, unfit to continue, and the fight will be stopped.
Record: 13-8 [Chavez Jr. TKO 8 Vera]
Wladimir Klitschko TKO 10 Alexander Povetkin: The competitive part of this fight has already happened, and that was the Povetkin team out-bidding Klitschko during the purse bids.
The Russian challenger — that’s what he is — has a lot going for him; brilliant amateur credentials, an undefeated record, solid opposition, and an impressive skill set.
But there is the habitual downside. The man has never faced an opponent of Klitschko’s quality who also happens to possess significant advantages in weight, height and reach.
Normal service resumes here, and the champion cautiously bashes up Povetkin until he is so exhausted that he cannot defend himself.
Record: 8-5 [Chavez Jr. TKO 6 Vera]
Wladimir Klitschko UD 12 Alexander Povetkin: Though they are of completely different body types, Wladimir Klitschko and Floyd Mayweather Jr. share one crucial trait: No matter how dominant they are over their competition, they never, ever let complacency set in.
Both of them work with 100 percent fervor, whether they are fighting an extreme underdog or someone who is perceived to be a mortal threat. Therefore, I believe that the 37-year-old Klitschko will be at the top of his game in terms of conditioning and execution.
That will seal Alexander Povetkin’s doom. Povetkin hasn’t yet faced the extreme experience and superlative technique “Dr. Steelhammer” brings and though he’ll try his best it won’t be nearly enough. Klitschko by lopsided decision.
Record: 14-7 [Chavez Jr. UD 10 Vera]
Wladimir Klitschko TKO 7 Alexander Povetkin: This isn’t fair nor fun anymore. Wladimir Klitschko will waltz into this fight with a distinct height advantage (four inches) and reach (six inches) over Alexander Povetkin.
Not to mention that Povetkin hasn’t seen anything like Klitschko, nor does he have the game-changing power to put the younger of the Klitschko brothers off his game. Not like it matters though.
The formula will be the same as it always has been for Klitschko, as he will put Povetkin on the end of his telephone pole jab and anchor it with the right hand once he finds his range.
Unless Povetkin is allowed to bring the hammer of Thor with him into the ring, I don’t expect this to be very competitive at all. It’s really a matter of whether Klitschko wants to go home early or not.
Record: 2-0 [Chavez Jr. TKO 6 Vera]
Wladimir Klitschko TKO 8 Alexander Povetkin: The unbeaten Alexander Povetkin avoided this fight for a long time. Wladimir Klitschko will remind us Saturday why Povetkin wanted no part of him by producing a dominant performance in Moscow. Klitschko is simply too big, too strong, too skilled and too disciplined defensively to lose this fight.
Record: 13-4 [Chavez Jr. TKO 8 Vera]
Wladimir Klitschko TKO 10 Alexander Povetkin: Wladimir Klitschko is traveling to Alexander Povetkin’s home turf in Moscow, and given the downright scandalous scorecards we’ve seen lately, no one is impervious to the judges.
However, I think their pencils will be rendered useless this weekend. Yes, we could see an energized, motivated Povetkin pump his jab and use his speed to give Klitschko some early trouble in front of a partisan crowd.
However, I like the reigning champ to figure Povetkin out by the middle rounds, blunt his offense and ability to string together combinations, and land his own power jab and right cross with increasing effectiveness toward a late stoppage.
Record: 11-7 [Chavez Jr. W 10 Vera]
Wladimir Klitschko KO 6 Alexander Povetkin: Usually before each of these fights, I try to visualize a pathway to victory for each of the combatants. Try as I might, I cannot visualize a scenario that leads to victory for Alexander Povetkin. I believe he is out-gunned in every conceivable category by Klitschko.
Unlike most of his previous fights, Povetkin will not be in there against a guy who is washed up, or fat, or a blown-up cruiserweight, or loser of 15 fights. Povetkin was given a gift against Marco Huck, and was gasping for breath the last four rounds of that fight.
He then fought Hasim Rahman, who was about 75 years old, and then knocked out whoever that last nobody was.
I don’t see any weapon Povetkin has to threaten Klitschko unless he lands a wild one in an exchange. Klitschko domiantes, breaks down Povetkin and knocks him out.
Record: 15-7 [Chavez Jr. TKO 10 Vera]
Wladimir Klitschko W 12 Alexander Povetkin: This should be easy enough, right? Alexander Povetkin the best of a sorry lot.
Even if it’s the “other” Wladimir Klitschko, this will be a by-the-number routine affair, with the K-Boy in command behind the jab. I see little excitement– lots of wrestling, etc.
Record: 11-9 [Chavez Jr. W 10 Vera]
Wladimir Klitschko TKO 10 Alexander Povetkin: I can’t see this fight going the distance. Wladimir Klitschko will enter the ring with his usual advantages in height and reach.
He’s also the more powerful boxer. Alexander Povetkin is tough and durable, but limited. His cause wasn’t helped by his struggles with Marco Huck last year.
Klitschko will methodically work his jab and heavy right hand. He’ll break the Russian challenger down and stop him.
Record: 5-3 [Chavez Jr. W 10 Vera]
Wladimir Klitschko KO Alexander Povetkin: How can you not like Wladimir Klitschko in this fight? Yes, Alexander Povetkin has the proverbial “punchers chance” — who doesn’t against Wladimir’s notoriously bad chin?
But there’s a reason Teddy Atlas kept Povetkin away from Klitschko for so long. That’s because he wasn’t ready then, and he’s not ready now.
Povetkin is too slow, too fat and too hittable for me to think he can do much more than maybe win a round or two en route to a comprehensive beat down. Let’s say the champ keeps his belt by late KO in another dominant, but ultimately dull, victory.
Record: 16-7 [Chavez Jr. TKO Vera]
Wladimir Klitschko KO Alexander Povetkin: Three things really stand out in this fight: 1) Referee Luis Pabon can sometimes forget that no one paid to see him and can be way over officious; 2) the fight is on Alexander Pvetkin’s turf in Moscow; and, 3) the styles of the fighters could mesh quite well.
Assuming neither 1 or 2 is any sort of factor, Povetkin’s underrated hand and foot speed and combination punchers, could make for some entertaining rounds. In the end, the challenger lacks the firepower to keep the champion down, and will fall to the big power of Wlad.
Record: 15-8 [Chavez Jr. KO Vera]
Wladimir Klitschko KO 9 Alexander Povetkin: Alexander Povetkin could barely get past cruiserweight Marco Huck last year. How is he supposed to beat Wladimir Klitschko?
Record: 12-6 [Chave Jr. KO 9 Vera]
Wladimir Klitschko KO 10 Alexander Povetkin: I think Wladimir Klitschko is as close to unbeatable as it gets. I don’t see Alexander Povetkin giving him any problems either.
Klitschko will continue what he does well, and that’s pound away with his jab and open up late when he feels comfortable.
Wladimir Klitschko W 12 Alexander Povetkin: I believe this fight won’t be much different than any other Wladimir Klitschko fight from the past five or six years.
Klitschkko will be too strong, too long, too disciplined for Alexander Povetkin to deal with in almost any way. I think it will end up as just another one sided win for the Klitschko brother.
Record: 15-5 [Chavez Jr. W 10 Vera]
Wladimir Klitschko UD 12 Alexander Povetkin: This is an interesting fight because Alexander Povetkin is undefeated, has some power, and the fight is on his home turf.
The Wladimir Klitschko that we have seen the last four years or so shouldn’t have much of a problem beating Povetkin.
However, if he shows any signs of slowing down, an upset could happen in Moscow. I think Klitschko is going to try to win this fight behind his jab and an occasional right hand.
Povetkin just doesn’t have enough big fight experience at this point to pose a serious threat, unless Wlad’s skills have diminished overnight. I look for Povetkin to have a few moments, but Klitschko will win this fight fairly easily.
Wladimir Klitschko TKO over Alexander Povetkin: Wladimir Klitschko will use his four-inch height and six-inch reach advantage to do what he does best – use that heavy jab to keep Alexander Povetkin at bay, and set up his power shots.
Povetkin has some power, and Klitschko’s chin has always been a little suspect. But Wlad will not let the undefeated Povetkin get inside and will pick him apart the entire fight. I see Klitschko winning by ninth or 10th-round TKO.
Record: 12-5 [Garcia SD 12 Matthysse]
By a shutout, 18-0, the experts select Wladimir to dominate his RING, IBF WBA and WBO heavyweight championship defense against Alexander Povetkin.
[Note: Martinez-Burgos was a draw, meaning all who selected otherwise received a loss]
Photo / Vasily Maximov-AFP
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com