By Eric Thomas: WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin (26-0, 18 KO’s) will have a tremendous amount of motivation to beat IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (60-3, 51 KO’s) when he faces him in the ring tonight in their fight at the Olimpiyskiy, in Moscow, Russia. Povetkin wants to defeat the 6’6″ Wladimir for his father, who died in 2010.
Povtkin said “It was a dream of my rather [for him to beat Wladimir]. He is gone now. I promised him to bring the belts. I must do it.”
If Povetkin has that kind of motivation behind him then he could be a very dangerous opponent Wladimir because it means he won’t go down easy or end up as a punching bag like Wladimir’s other recent opponents have. A lot of Wladimir’s opponents have seemed beaten even before they get into the ring, and they generally don’t do a whole lot before getting stopped or seeming go give up.
Povetkin has to figure out how to get close to Wladimir without being grabbed and stopped from throwing his punches. Samuel Peter was able to keep hitting Wladimir while being held in their first fight in 2005, and he did a good job of fighting through his clinches. Peter was a much stronger fighter than Povetkin is now, so it might not be an easy task for him once Wladimir starts with his usual holding in close.
Povetkin might not be able to do much to stop Wladimir’s clinches, but he can improve his chances of winning if he constantly gets in close and keeps the pressure on the big Ukrainian fighter. Povetkin can’t let Wladimir keep the fight on the outside because he doesn’t have the same reach as him, and he’ll end up getting hit with a lot of jabs and hard right hands.
Wladimir is a much better puncher when he’s able to extend all the way with his right hands, but he’s not a particularly powerful puncher when throwing in close. Wladimir tries to throw uppercuts from time to time, but he’s unable to get leverage on his punches the way that former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis did.
Povetkin, 34, has looked good recently in beating Andrzej Wawrzyk and Hasim Rahman by quick stoppages in his last 2 fights. He stopped the 6’5″ Wawrzyk in the 3rd round last May and Rahman in the 2nd round last year in September. Povetkin looked very powerful in post fights, and showed good form in throwing combinations.
Rahman folded quick once Povetkin got inside on him and started nailing him with combinations. Wawrzyk, who has similar size to Wladimir, was knocked down 3 times by Povetkin in the fight. Povetkin put him down with a thunderous right hand in the 2nd, and in the 3rd he knocked him down twice before before the fight was stopped.
Wladimir doesn’t have much in the way of stamina, and if Povetkin gets him into a real dog fight he could wear him down. We saw how tired Wladimir was in his recent win over Mariusz Wach when he attempted to take the big Polish fighter out in the 8th round. Wladimir couldn’t do it and he looked exhausted from that point on, but Wach didn’t have the skills or the sense to push the fight to try and take advantage of the situation.