By Eric Baldwin: Former WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs) will be fighting former WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Siverne (25-2-1, 21 Kos) on December 17 for the World Boxing Council interim heavyweight title in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
The winner of the Povetkin vs. Stiverne right will face WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder (37-0, 36 KOs) in 2017, as soon as Wilder’s injured right arm and hand have healed.
There’s likely going to be a lot of ring rust for the 37-year-old Povetkin and 38-year-old Stiverne, because both guys have been outside of the ring for an entire year now since last November. That’s obviously not a good thing. When you get a couple of older heavyweights like Povetkin and Stiverne, it’s not a good thing to have them sit outside of the ring for a long period of time.
Povetkin last fought against the 6’8” Mariusz Wach in stopping him in the 12th round last year. Povetkin did not look good in that fight despite winning the contest.
Stiverne saw action against Derric Rossy last November in beating him by a 10 round unanimous decision in Las Vegas, Nevada. Compared to some of Stiverne’s past efforts, it was not what you would call a great fight for him. Rossy knocked Stiverne down in round one and continued to give him problems all throughout the fight.
Stiverne wound up winning the fight by the narrow scores of 96-93, 96-93 and 95-94. In looking at the fight, Stiverne looked rusty and perhaps even ring worn. He hadn’t fought in 10 months since his loss to Wilder in January 2015, and he had taken a great deal of punishment in that fight.
Stiverne showed a good chin of taking some tremendous right hand shots from Wilder in the fight. Never the less, it was a real pounding that Stiverne took. It doesn’t matter that he wasn’t knocked out in the fight. He still took a lot of very hard right hands from Wilder to the head. It’s not surprising that Stiverne didn’t look great in his next fight against Rossy after taking that kind of punishment.
Povetkin was supposed to fight Wilder for his WBC title, but the fight was canceled after Povetkin tested positive for the banned drug melonium. Povetkin wasn’t suspended by the WBC, but he still wound up missing the fight.
Povetkin is the favorite to beat Stiverne, especially with him fighting in his home country of Russia. However, you can’t count Stiverne out, because he’s got the punching power, the jab and the chin to give Povetkin a lot of problems. If Povetkin can’t get Stiverne out of there early, it’s going to be a grueling fight for him, because he’s not going to be able to avoid his big power shots.
Wladimir Kltischko was able to drop Povetkin repeatedly in their fight in 2013. Stiverne can probably punch with nearly the same amount of power that Wladimir can. This means that Povetkin could be in for a difficult fight. Povetkin sometimes looks winded in his fights when he’s forced to fight hard for the full 12 rounds. If he gets winded against Stiverne, he might get knocked out.