By Jeff Aranow: Former WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs) will be facing former world title challenger Johann “Reptile” Duhaupas (34-3, 21 KOs) in a scheduled 10 round fight tonight, as the Bermane Stiverne has decided not to face Povetkin after he tested positive for a banned substance.
The 6’5” Duhaupas has reportedly agreed to step in and replace the 38-year-old Stiverne to face Povetkin at the Ekaterinburg Expo in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
The reason for Stiverne bowing out of the fight was the World Boxing Council choosing not to sanction the Povetkin-Stviverne fight for their vacant WBC interim heavyweight title due to Povetkin’s positive drug test. Stiverne wants to fight a rematch against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, but he needed the interim WBC title to force that fight.
Povetkin, 37, may end up being sorry he picked the 35-year-old Duhaupas as a last minute replacement opponent, because he’s a much different fighter than the 6’2” Stiverne. Povetkin is not going to be prepared at all for this fight. All he can hope for is his past experience enabling him to deal with the height and long reach of Duhaupas.
Povetkin has beaten some tall heavyweights in the past like 6’7 ½” Mariusz Wach, 6’5” Andrzej Wwrzyk, 6’6” Nicolai Firtha and the 6’5” David Bostice. None of those fighters are in the same class as Duhaupas, so it’s going to be a lot tougher task for the aging 37-year-old Povetkin to win this fight. You have to realize that Povetkin hasn’t fought in over a year since his difficult fight against Wach in November 2015.
Povetkin won the fight by a 12th round knockout, but it was far from an easy match for him. Wach gave him a lot of problems with his height, reach and punching power. It’s been a couple of years since Povetkin fought a good heavyweight in Carlos Takam in 2014, and he gave him all he could handle before Povetkin stopped him in the 10th round. If that same fight were to be made today, Povetkin might have his hands full trying to deal with the ring sharp Takam.
#4 IBF, #4 WBC Duhaupas looked very good earlier this year in halting the 6’6” Robert Helenius in the 6th round in April in Helsinki, Finland. Duhaupas was obviously brought in as the B-side opponent for Helelnius, and it was thought that he would make quick work of him. Instead, Duhaupas used his size, boxing skills and power to dominate and stop Helenius.
That was a big surprise to a lot of fans. If Duhaupas can do the same thing tonight against Povetkin, it would be even worse news for the Russian fighter. He’s already lost the chance to fight for the interim WBC heavyweight title after his positive test for ostarine. Povetkin has lost his opponent that he prepared hard for in Stiverne, and now he’s facing a tall guy, who is arguably the second most talented big guy he’s faced behind Wladimir Klitschko.
Povetkin lost to Wladimir by a 12 round unanimous decision three years ago. Povetkin couldn’t get to Wladimir due to his long reach, power and constantly clinching style.
A year ago, Duhaupas was stopped in the 11th round by Wilder in September 2015. Duhaupas gave Wilder a tough fight before getting stopped in the 11th. In March of 2015, Duhaupas lost a 12 round unanimous decision to Erkan Teper in Germany. If you saw that fight, you’ll know that Duhaupas fought well enough to deserve a draw if not a victory. He used his boxing skills, long reach and movement to give Teper fits. In the end, it was the German fighter who won the fight, but Duhaupas gave him a lot of problems.
Duhaupas has never been beaten by a shorter fighter like Povetkin. The only fighters that have beaten Duhaupas were taller guys in 6’7” Wilder, 6’5” Teper and 6’5” Francesco Pianeta.
If Povetkin loses to Duhaupas tonight, it’s going to be hard for him to come back from this loss. It’s already taken Povetkin three years since his last title shot. If it takes him another three years to get a crack at a title, he’ll be 40-years-old. With the heavyweights being so tall and heavy nowadays, it’s hard to imagine a small 6’2″, 225lb guy like Povetkin being able to claw his way back to the top and compete against the giants that dominate the division in this day and age. This would have been the perfect time for Povetkin to fight for a title aainst a vulnerable heavyweight like Wilder. But with the way things are looking, Povetkin may not get a title shot for some time. By the time he does, Anthony Joshua will very likely have all of the titles in his possession. Povetkin is probably too small to compete against the huge 6’6″ Joshua. If Povetkin cane get quickly ranked in the future, he might be able to go after WBO champion Joseph Parker. That would be a good fight for him if Joshua doesn’t get to him first.