Alexander Povetkin vs. Andriy Rudenko – Results
By Jim Dower: Former WBA World heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin (32-1, 23 KOs) won his 7th straight fight in defeating #11 WBO, #13 IBF Andriy Rudenko (31-3, 19 KOs) by an impressive 12 round unanimous decision on Saturday night in front of a large crowd at the Luzhniki Concert Hall in Moscow, Russia.
The fight got a little scare in round 1 when the 33-year-old Rudenko was hurt by a right hand from Povetkin that clipped him in the back of the head, injuring his neck. I looked more like Rudenko was hurt from a headlock that Povetkin had put on him than from the rabbit punch, which he definitely landed.
It’s a good thing the fight wasn’t stopped in the 1st round, because it would have been disappointing if Povetkin was disqualified for his rabbit punch. It didn’t look like Rudenko was hurt after getting hit in the back of the head. It looked more like Povetkin had injured his neck in putting him in a headlock. That’s where the injury seemed to occur to Rudenko’s neck.
The ringside doctor examined Rudenko for a long period of time before the fight was allowed to continue. It was Rudenko’s neck that was being worked during the doctor’s examination. After the action resumed, Rudenko positioned his head in a crooked way, as if his neck was injured and hurting. For the remainder of the fight, Rudenko would clutch at the back of his neck to show that he was pain. Povetkin avoided grabbing Rudenko around the neck after the 1st round. Povetkin clearly didn’t want the fight to be stopped on an injury.
The official judges’ scores were 120-109, 120-108 and 120-108. Povetkin dominated every round of the fight. Rudenko was unable to land enough punches in any given round for him to have a chance of winning. It was really one-sided.
Povetkin didn’t go after Rudenko in round 2. It looked like Povetkin wanted to coast and not get an injury stoppage. A lot of heavyweights would have gone after Rudenko and looked to finish him if they were in the same position as Povetkin. I got the impression that Povetkin was thinking more in terms of the boxing fans that had come to see him perform.
I don’t think Povetkin wanted to stop Rudenko quickly and have the fans upset, especially if it ended up as an injury stoppage. We’ll never know for sure if Povetkin took it easy on Rudenko, but it sure looked that way to me. In the 12th, Povetkin suddenly turned it on and was hammering Rudenko with shots from every angle in shooting for a knockout. That told me that Povetkin was taking it easy on Rudenko in rounds 2 through 11. I think he didn’t want to end the fight early and upset the large crowd that showed up to see him fight.
Rudenko showed occasional flashes of power and talent in landing some surprisingly good single right hands to the head of Povetkin. Rudenko would throw mostly weaker shots that would do nothing to stop the forward progress of Povetkin. But occasionally, Rudenko would load up and catch Povetkin to the head and to the body that would cause him to stop moving forward. Povetkin definitely knew he was getting at times. Rudenko lacked the massive power that we see in some of the harder punchers in the division, but he wasn’t a bad puncher. Rudenko would be a good fighter for the cruiserweight division, but he’s not really well suited for heavyweight due to his small frame.
Povetkin connected with some big shots in the 7th and 12th rounds that caused Rudenko to stumble and lose his balance. Rudenko immediately grabbed Povetkin in a clinch to keep him from continuing to hammer him with punches. There was nothing that Povetkin could do with Rudenko when he was grabbing. Povetkin would patiently wait for the referee to peel Rudenko off before he would restart his offense. That was another thing I noticed about Povetkin. He wasn’t trying to fight out of the clinch the way some heavyweights do. Heavyweights like David Haye and Deontay Wilder won’t allow their opponents to hold them without getting hit hard with fast power shots. It makes it really hard to clinch those heavyweights without getting hammered. Povetkin wasn’t doing that tonight with Rudenko. Povetkin would wait each time for the referee to separate him and Rudenko before he would resume throwing punches.
Povetkin landed some shots in the fight that would have knocked out many of the heavyweights in the division. It was surprising how good of a chin that Rudenko showed. In rounds 2 through 6, Povetkin was connecting with hard uppercuts to the head of Rudenko that snapped his head back. Those were brutal looking punches that had the boxing fans cheering loudly. Rudenko took the shots each time and would tie Povetkin up to keep him from continuing to land.
One advantage that Rudenko had in the fight was his familiarity with Povetkin’s Eastern European fighting style. Rudenko seemed to be ready for Povetkin’s repeated left hooks that he would throw one after another in rapid fashion. This is a trademark of a lot of the Eastern European fighters. They like to throw left hooks in a jack hammer way that hurts their opponent. Rudenko always had his guard up and was blocking most of the left hooks that Povetkin was throwing. Povetkin would usually land the first left hook, but then his left hooks that would quickly follow would be blocked easily by Rudenko. The Ukrainian fighter was very comfortable with the style that Povetkin used tonight. In contrast, Povetkin’s recent opponent Johann Duhaupas from France seemed to have understanding of how to block Povetkin’s left hooks, and he ended up getting knocked quickly.
Povetkin seemed to fade a little bit in the second half of the fight. His face turned red, and he appeared to be laboring at times. Rudenko wasn’t putting Povetkin under any kind of pressure though, so it wasn’t that bad for him. A pressure fighter like Anthony Joshua would have been a real terror if he’d been in the ring with Povetkin tonight. He would have forced Povetkin to fight hard for the full 12 rounds. I’m not sure that Povetkin would have been able to handle that kind of pace against a puncher like Joshua. That’s the fight that Povetkin really wants. He probably won’t get a shot at Joshua for a while, but I think he’ll eventually face him if he can keep winning. Povetkin looked good tonight. He’s a lot younger looking than his 37-years. Povetkin looked and fought like someone 28 rather than 37. He’s not aging.
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