Povetkin Byrd: Is This Fight A Mistake For Byrd?

By Boxing News - 10/26/2007 - Comments

Former two-time heavyweight champion (40-3-1, 21 KOs) Chris Byrd takes on Alexander Povetkin tomorrow night in Germany as part of the four-man elimination tournament for the rights to take on International Boxing Federation heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2008. However, why Byrd has opted to fight in the elimination tournament is a looming question, because he’s already been beaten twice by Wladimir Klitschko, both bouts being one-sided beat downs. Clearly, Byrd is bright enough to see that he would stand a much better chance, albeit with less financial reward, by facing one of the other three heavyweight champions – Sultan Ibragimov, Oleg Maskaev/Samuel Peter or Ruslan Chagaev – all of which are much easier opponents than Wladimir and Povetkin.

From a logical standpoint, Byrd would be in a much better position to capture a third title by facing one of these stiffs and boxing circles around them like he’s done to countless opponents in his career. The reason I can think of for Byrd taking such a hard row is that he would potentially get much more money by fighting Wladimir for a third time, not to mention to acclaim that he would win if he were to defeat Povetkin. However, it’s a huge gamble for Byrd, because at 37, he’s not as quick as he used to be and much easier to hit. Povetkin may not be a big puncher like someone such as Wladimir, Peter or Rahman, but he puts his punches together well and is very active.

If Byrd can stay on the outside, using a hit and run style of fighting, he may be able to win by a close decision over Povetkin, who has faced much lesser opposition than Byrd in his still young career. Byrd will no doubt have to throw a lot of punches, the type that are thrown just to make contact. He’s done it in the past like, for instance, in his bouts with Evander Holyfield and David Tua, bouts in which Byrd landed frequent machine gun like punches, frustrating both of them and winning a lopsided decision. However, I still think that Byrd is making a huge gamble, one that he will likely lose on and end up either being knocked out or badly embarrassed by a one-sided decision.