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Alexander Povetkin vs. Bermane Stiverne – Official weights

Image: Alexander Povetkin vs. Bermane Stiverne - Official weights

By Eric Baldwin: Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) will be enjoying a 26 pound weight advantage over former WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs) when the two fighters battle for the interim WBC heavyweight title on Saturday night at the Ekaterinburg Expo Center in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

The 38-year-old Stiverne weighed in at 249lbs during Friday’s weigh-in. Povetkin, 37, weighed in at a slim 223.7lbs. Stiverne’s weight is slightly down from the 254lbs he weighed for his last bout against Derric Rossy last year in November 2015.

(Photo: World of Boxing)

Stiverne won that fight by a 10 round unanimous decision, but it was a close figt. Stiverne was at 239 for his fights against Deontay Wilder in 2015 and in his rematch against Chris Arreola in 2014. Stiverne was a powerful 248lbs for his first fight against Arreola in 2013. It’s quite possible that Stiverne is stronger when he’s close to 250lbs than when he boils down to 239lbs for his fights.

At this point in Stiverne’s career, he seems to be a better fighter with more punching power when he’s heavier. Povetkin’s weight is the lowest he’s been since his fight against Javier Mora in 2010. Povetkin weighed in at 223lbs for that fight as well. However, Povetkin’s weight isn’t far off from what he usually weighs. In Povetkin’s last 10 fights, he’s weighed as follows:

Mariusz Wach – 227lbs.

Mike Perez – 232 1/4lbs.

Carlos Takam – 229 3/4lbs.

Manuel Charr – 224 3/4lbs.

Wladimir Klitschko – 225 ¾lbs.

Andrzej Wawrzyk – 228 1/2lbs.

Hasim Rahman – 229lbs.

Marco Huck – 229 1/4lbs.

Cedric Boswell – 227 3/4lbs.

Ruslan Chagaev – 231 1/2lbs.

In eight of those ten fights, Povetkin was outweighed by his opponents. In six of those fights, Povetkin was outweighed by dramatic proportions, and yet he still able to win on almost every occasion. The only fighter of those five to beat Povetkin was Wladimir Klitschko. What this means is that Stiverne’s tremendous 26 pound weight advantage over Povetkin might not help him on Saturday night if history is any guide. But this is a difficult fight to predict, considering that Stiverne is a lot stronger than most of the guys that were heavier than Povetkin in the past. Yes, Povetkin beat four fighters that were considerably heavier than him, but they weren’t what you would call super talented fighters. Povetkin beat Wach, Charr, Rahman, Wawrzyk and Takam.

The winner of Saturday’s Povetkin-Stiverne fight will get a title shot against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. Stiverne has been interested in a rematch against Wilder since losing to him last year. Povetkin was supposed to get a title shot against Wilder in 2016, but the fight was canceled after Povetkin tested positive for a banned substance.

Stiverne is ranked #2 with the World Boxing Council and Povetkin #1. It’s a toss-up fight between two aging and rusty heavyweights that lack the height and reach of the top heavyweights that dominate the division today. Stiverne weighs as much as the super heavyweights, but he lacks the height at 6’2” and the reach of the taller guys like Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury and Kubrat Pulev.

Povetkin, 6’2”, not only lacks the height, but also the weight for him to compete against the bigger heavyweights in the division. Povetkin lack of weight might not keep him from beating Stiverne, but we’ll have to see. Povetkin’s lack of size was a real problem for him in his one-sided 12 round decision loss to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013. That was the telling factor in him losing that fight.

Wladimir was simply too big for Povetkin to deal with. That’s why it’s hard to imagine Povetkin being able to go far in the division. Even if he beats Stiverne on Saturday, he’s going to have a lot of problems trying to land his punches against the much taller, longer-armed and more powerful Deontay Wilder when that fight takes place.

Povetkin doesn’t possess one-punch power. He needs to have his opponents stand in front of him so that he can pound them into submission over the course of a fight. If Povetkin can’t reach his taller opponents, then he struggles. Povetkin couldn’t land anything against the 6’6” Klitschko, and the result saw Povetkin get dropped three times in the fight in losing a one-sided 12 round decision. In Povetkin’s last fight against the 6’7” Mariusz Wach, he had a hard time landing his power shots against him too, and Wach isn’t known for being a hard guy to hit.

“I do plan to win by KO. I have to,” said Stiverne. “I can’t come all the way here and let the judge make my decision – I got to have make my own decision. When I say I’m going to knock him out, it’s not any disrespect thing or I’m trying to trash talk, this is what I believe and this is what I trained for. Anybody who would come here and try and get a decision in his backyard would be a fool to believe that.”

If Stiverne does score a knockout over Povetkin, he would be making it very simple by taking the judges out of the fight. Stiverne would be smart to make sure he gets a knockout, because he could find himself on the wrong side of a decision. The boxing fans are going to be cheering for Povetkin the entire fight, and the judges might be influenced by the crowd noise. It would be good news for Stiverne’s fans if he could get a knockout, because he struggled in his last fight against high level journeyman Rossy. Stiverne was knocked down in the 1st round of that fight and had to come back to get a close 10 round decision win.

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