By Allan Fox: Former WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin (32-1, 23 KOs) will be fighting on December 15 against an opponent still to be determined at the DIVS in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
#8 WBO Povetkin could be facing #2 WBO Christian Hammer (22-4, 12 KOs) in a World Boxing Organization heavyweight title eliminator match.
The winner of the Povetkin vs. Hammer fight would then be the mandatory challenger for WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker. This still has to be confirmed by the WBO, but that fight could play out. #4 WBO Tom Schwrtz is also a possibility for Povetkin. A win over Hammer will place Povetkin at No.1 with the WBO, and likely give him a high ranking with the IBF and WBA as well.
You must favor Povetkin over Hammer by a wide margin. The difference in pedigree between the two fighters is wide. Povetkin is a former WBA heavyweight world champion with just 1 loss on his record to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. Povetkin also captured an Olympic gold medal in 2004 for Russia. If Povetkin can fight Hammer in the eliminator, the WBO might as well make him the mandatory challenger for Parker right now.
Hammer would be out of his league against Povetkin unless the Russian fighter has gotten old overnight since his last fight against Andriy Rudenko on July 1. Povetkin just turned 38 last month on September 2. He’s not showing signs of age yet, but he’s likely lost some part of his game. It’s just that Povetkin hasn’t faced anyone good enough to expose his age in the last 3 years.
Povetkin’s last quality opponent was against Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, and he lost that fight by a one-sided 12 round decision. Wladimir knocked Povetkin down 4 times in the fight. If Wladimir had pressed the issue, he likely would have knocked Povetkin out. Wladimir played it safe and won an easy decision. Since that fight, Povetkin has won his last 6 fights, beating Manuel Charr, Carlos Takam, Mike Perez, Mariusz Wach, Johann Duhaupas and Andriy Rudenko.
The guys that Povetkin would likely have problems with in the heavyweight division is Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte, Dereck Chisora, Jarrell Miller, Luis Ortiz and Dominic Breazeale. It’s hard to imagine Povetkin beating all those guys. He might even lose to all. Those are big guys with a lot of power.
Povetkin, 38, will be defending his WBO International heavyweight title that he won recently in defeating Andriy Rudenko by a 12 round unanimous decision last summer on July 1 in Moscow, Russia,
Hammer, 30, has won his last 5 fights since being stopped by Tyson Fury in the 8th round on February 28, 2015. Hammer was badly over-matched by a prime Fury in that fight. Since then, Hammer has beaten these fighters:
– Sherman Williams
– Michael Sprott
– Erkan Teper
– David Price
– Zine Eddine Benmakhlouf
Hammer’s 7th round knockout win over David Price earlier this year on February 4 was a real war with both fighters getting hurt. Hammer was knocked down in round 5 and on the verge of being stopped. The only reason the 6’8” Price couldn’t stop him is because he gassed out; otherwise he would have knocked him out easily. That was not an exceptional performance from Hammer, but he did what he had to do to beat a flawed Price.
Povetkin was supposed to challenge WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder last year in Moscow, Russia in May 2016. However, Povetkin failed a drug test for that fight after testing positive for the substance meldonium. Povetkin was then going to face Bermane Stiverne for the interim WBC heavyweight title. However, that fight failed to happen as well. Povetkin eventually got back in the ring last December in stopping former heavyweight world title challenger Johann Duhaupas in the 6th round of a one-sided fight in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
Povetkin did a better job defeating Duhaupas than Wilder did in the previous year in stopping him in the 11th round on September 26, 2015. Povetkin didn’t play around with Duhaupas. He went right after him in unloading with his heavy artillery to get him out of there in the 6th.
Povetkin is in a position where he would likely need to become a mandatory challenger for him to get a world title shot against champions Parker, Wilder and Joshua. Povetkin is too good for him to be given a title shot in a voluntary defense. It would be fun for boxing fans to see Povetkin get a quick title shot, but that’s unlikely to happen.
Even if Povetkin becomes the mandatory for Parker, he’ll likely need to wait until 2019 before he gets a shot against him or whoever the WBO champion is at that point. If Joshua gets his hands on the WBO title, Povetkin will have a ton of problems trying to beat him. It’ll be a good paying fight for Povetkin though.
Parker is coming off a successful mandatory defense against Hughie Fury last month. The win for Parker means he can make a couple of voluntary defenses of his WBO title before he’s expected to fight his next mandatory. Parker will almost surely face Joshua in a unification fight in the first half of 2018. Joshua will have a great chance of winning that fight.
So, Povetkin could have a showdown with Joshua in 2019 if he British heavyweight keeps the WBO belt and doesn’t vacate it. Joshua seems like he wants to win all the heavyweight titles and defend them against all comers.
A short heavyweight like the 6’2” Povetkin will have a tough time trying to get to the 6’5” Joshua’s chin. It would take some heavy pressure by Povetkin to get near enough to Joshua to hurt him with one of his hooks. Povetkin will get hit hard by Joshua. The way that Povetkin was getting knocked down repeatedly by Wladimir, it’s difficult to picture him being able to take Joshua’s power shots without hitting the deck repeatedly.
Povetkin is one of the better heavyweight contenders in the division right now. Povetkin would have had an excellent chance of beating Wilder last year if that fight had gone though. With Wilder fighting in Russia, it would have been an ideal fight for Povetkin.