Alexander Povetkin vs. Mike Perez to be shown on WatchESPN/ESPN2 this Friday, May 22nd
By Allan Fox: This Friday, May 22nd, #1 WBC Alexander Povetkin (28-1, 20 KOs) will be facing #2 WBC Mike Perez (21-1-1, 13 KOs) in a WBC heavyweight eliminator in a fight that will be streamed on WatchESPN and televised on ESPN2 on tape delay.
The Povetkin-Perez fight will be staged at the Luzhniki, in Moscow, Russia. The winner of the fight will become the WBC mandatory challenger for WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (33-0, 32 KOs). It’ll give Wilder by far his toughest test of his career because he didn’t get much of a fight last January against a dehydrated Bermane Stiverne.
The card is a great one with WBC cruiserweight champion Grigory Drozd (39-1, 27 KOs) defending his title against Lukas Janik (28-2, 15 KOs), cruiserweight Rakhim Chakhkiev facing Junior Anthony Wright, heavyweight Alex Leapai battling Manuel Charr, and cruiserweight knockout artist Dmitry Kudryashov battling Vikapita Meroro.
The 29-year-old Perez was beaten last year in July by Bryant Jennings by a 12 round split decision. Perez fought well for six rounds, but then faded in the second half of the fight and was unable to match the stamina from Jennings.
Perez rebounded from the loss last February in beating journeyman Darnell Wilson by a 2nd round knockout. Perez is now being trained by Robert Garcia. Whether he can make any difference with the stamina with Perez is unclear. But if Perez can’t fight hard for 12 rounds, he’s going to surely lose to the better skilled Povetkin.
Povetkin has looked good lately with his stoppage wins over Manuel Charr and Carlos Takam. He had too many skills for both of those fighters. In 2013, Povetkin was beaten by the much larger 6’6” IBF/IBO/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision.
Povetkin didn’t have the size to do anything when Wladimir was on the outside, and he was tied up frequently when he attempted to get close enough to the big Ukrainian to land his shots. The fight ended up being a one-sided affair. The chances are that Povetkin could have the same problems with Wilder if he decides to keep the fight on the outside and tie Povetkin up each time he comes in too close to try and land his power shots.
Perez is going to need to come up with some kind of game plan to deal with Povetkin’s boxing skills, because he’s facing a better fighter than he’s fought in the past. Perez was held to a controversial 10 round draw against Takam in January last year, and before that, Perez beat Magomed Abdusalamov by a 10 round decision in their tragic fight in 2013. Perez took a lot of punishment in both the Takam and Abdusalamov fights.
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