By Scott Gilfoid: The WBC ordered negotiations have begun between the promoters for WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) and #1 WBC challenger Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs) for a fight that is expected to take place between May and July of this year.
Deontay. 6’7”, is ready to get the aging 36-year-old Povetkin out of the way by beating him so that he can take on the bigger names in the division. Povetkin was already easily beaten by Wladimir Klitschko in 2013, but since then, Povetkin has beaten four softer opponents to get himself into the No.1 spot for another crack at the title.
If Povetkin loses this fight, then he’ll find it much more difficult to climb his way back to another title shot, because he’ll likely need to beat someone good next time around to earn the No.1 spot.
Wilder’s promoter Lou Dibella is in negotiations with Povetkin’s promoter Andrei Ryabinsky, and there’s a good chance that the fight could take place in the United States rather than Russia.
The 6’2” Povetkin will be giving up five inches in height and an incredible eight inches in reach to the taller Wilder. It’s going to make things very, very difficult for Povetkin to deal with. It was bad enough how much smaller Povetkin looked in his fight against the 6’6” Wladimir Klitschko in 2013.
Povetkin was simply too short to do anything in that fight. If he was the same height as Wladimir, then he would have probably done well, but Wladimir had an easy time keeping Povetkin helpless on the outside all night long.
When Povetkin did crowd Wladimir, he would grab him in a clinch to keep him from getting his shots off. The clinching did lead to Wladimir losing one point later in the fight in round 11, when referee Luis Pabon docked Wladimir a point for his excessive holding, it was too late by that point in the fight for Povetkin to win.
The referee would have needed to take points away from Wladimir in every round for Povetkin to have to chance to win, because he did a great job of nullifying the Russian fighter’s offense with his strategic clinching.
— Deontay Wilder (@BronzeBomber) January 19, 2016
“It’s going to be very difficult and uncomfortable, but we will use the right tactics and will get inside,” Povetkin said via ESPN.com. “He is a good strong fighter with a very strong punch. I’m focused on the fight happening and getting ready for it.”
Povetkin is kind of slow of hand and foot, and he might not even be the best guy that Wilder has fought. You can make an argument that Bermane Stiverne is a better fighter than Povetkin. Stiverne is certainly a stronger puncher with either hand, and has a far better jab than Povetkin. Stiverne has better hand speed too.
Stiverne and Povetkin are both 6’2”. Wilder looked like a giant in the ring against the 6’2” Stiverne last year in January 2015, and it was just too easy for Wilder because of his huge height and reach advantage. The thing is, Stiverne has a longer reach than Povetkin by two inches. You can only imagine the kinds of problems that Povetkin is going to have in trying to land his short punches against the taller and much more mobile Wilder in this fight. As such, I don’t see Povetkin as being the best fighter that Wilder has faced. I rate Stiverne and Johann Duhaupas as being tougher fighters than the aging Povetkin.
“I look very positively on this,” Povetkin said. “It’s interesting. Secondly, Wilder is a world champion. Thirdly, the United States of America is the center of global boxing. I always want to box the best, and it doesn’t matter which country, Russia or USA. It doesn’t matter to me.”
It’s good that Povetkin is open to fighting Wilder in the United States. However, my guess is his promoter will look to try hard to get the fight to be staged in Russia. I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes to a purse bid. It could wind up being staged in Russia. I don’t think it will help Povetkin any in fighting in front of his own fans, because it’s not like they can come into the ring and let Povetkin sit on their shoulders and throw punches to make him a taller fighter.
Povetkin earned the No.1 spot with the World Boxing Council by beating Manuel Charr, Mike Perez, and Carlos Takam. After Povetkin cemented himself in as the WBC mandatory, he took a stay busy fight against the 6’7” Mariusz Wach last November and beat him by a 12th round knockout. Povetkin did not look good in that fight, as he struggled with Wach’s height and reach. Fortunately for Povetkin, Wach didn’t have a jab to speak of, and didn’t throw a lot of huge shots. If that had been Wilder in the ring with Povetkin in that fight, I think it would have been an easy win for Wilder.
I just don’t see Povetkin as being any threat whatsoever to beating Wilder. Povetkin is just an aging short guy that should have been fighting in the cruiserweight division all these years instead of at heavyweight. The money is obviously is obviously better at heavyweight, so it was a smart thing for Povetkin to be fighting in this division. But if he fought at cruiserweight, he would have had a better career in my view in terms of being able to hold onto a title for a longer amount of time.
“I’ve been to Russia [to fight as an amateur]. It’s time to bring him to the United States,” Wilder said to ESPN.com. “We all know to have that big name you must get the American fans on your side. I’m looking forward to getting him out of his zone and to have him come to America. It’s too cold in Russia.”
If the fight can get made for the U.S, then it’s going to be nice for Wilder, because he’ll have a ton of fan support. There’s talk of bringing it back to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, the same venue for Wilder’s title defense last Saturday night against Poland’s Artur Szpilka. If the fight does take place in Brooklyn, then there will likely be a lot of Russian fans coming to see Povetkin fight.