David Price faces Alexander Povetkin on March.31

Image: David Price faces Alexander Povetkin on March.31

By Marcus Richardson: David Price and former WBA heavyweight world champion Alexander Povetkin has officially been added to the March 31 card headed by Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

Price (22-4, 18 KOs) has almost no chance of pulling off an upset of the Russian Povetkin (33-1, 23 KOs) in their scheduled 12 round fight on the card.

Price will have that punchers chance when he gets inside the ring with Povetkin. If Price can land one of his big right hands on the chin of Povetkin, he could knock him out early like he did in stopping Audley Harrison in the 1st round in October 2013. Price made that look effortless in stopping Harrison. Likewise, Price’s fast knockouts of Sam Sexton and Matt Skelton showed the kind of power that he possesses when he’s able to land his punches cleanly. Unfortunately, those knockouts occurred 6 years ago when Price was at the top of his game, and he seems to have deteriorated in terms of his conditioning and hand speed since then.

Povetkin, 38, needs a win over the 6’8” Price for him to possibly challenge the winner of the Joshua-Parker later this year. Povetkin is currently the #1 WBA mandatory challenger to Joshua. However, Povetkin will lose his mandatory status to Joshua if he’s beaten by the 34-year-old Price on March 31. As old as Povetkin is now, you can’t rule out a victory for Price.

It’s still unclear what position Matchoom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn will be placing the Povetkin vs. Price fight on the card. It would be a risky move for Hearn to stick the Povetkin-Price fight in the co-feature bout, as it could end badly for Price with him getting knocked out quickly. Since most of the boxing fans that will be in attendance on the night will be from the UK, it could put a damper on the card if the Price vs. Povetkin fight takes place right ahead of the main event between Joshua and Parker.

“I am coming to win. I have to win this fight. There is plenty to gain and too much upside for me not to win this fight – it could be life changing. I am desperate to win this fight and I will do everything in my power to do so,” Price said via skysports.com.

Price, 6’8”, has the size and the punching power to beat the 6’2” Povetkin. We’ve seen the Russian struggle badly against taller fighters like 6’6” Wladimir Klitschko, 6’4” Christian Hammer and 6’7” Mariusz Wach. Povetkin has problems with heavyweights that lean backwards and pick him off with punches. Since Povetkin’s best weapon is his left hook, he struggles against taller fighters in trying to land that punch. It’s difficult for short fighters to get a lot of power on their left hooks when they’re punching upwards at a high angle. Those shots lose a lot of the power on them when they’re throwing upwards at a high angle. If Price can neutralize Povetkin’s left hook, he’ll have a better than average chance of winning as long as he doesn’t gas out like he did against Hammer.

Price’s stamina has gotten so bad lately, but he’s never had good conditioning. Who can forget how the 40-year-old Tony Thompson beat Price by walking him down and pressuring him had in their rematch in July 2013. The 6’5” Thompson didn’t do anything special. He just slowly walked Price down for 5 rounds, throwing lots of punches and making him fight hard. Price faded quickly and was totally exhausted by round 5. Povetkin is capable of applying the same kind of pressure when he wants to. Wladimir Klitschko was able to negate Povetkin’s pressure in their fight in 2013 by grabbing him in frequent clinches each time he got close to him. Price has never used tactics like that in a fight, and I’m not sure that he could employ that tactic without gassing out quickly. Price is the type that would fade if he’s forced to hold his opponents.

Povetkin can make himself look good if he knocks Price out early in the fight. I’m not sure that it’ll do much to scare Joshua or Parker, as Price has been knocked out recently by Hammer and Erkan Teper. Those guys are not in the same league as Joshua and Parker. Realistically, the only thing Povetkin can accomplish in destroying Price early in the fight is getting the attention of the casual boxing fans, many of which aren’t aware that the 6’8” heavyweight has seen better days in his career. Povetkin can get those types of boxing fans excited about Joshua facing him, but that’s about it. The hardcore fans of the sport are well aware of Price’s bleak career situation right now with him having lost to Hammer, Teper Thompson in the past.

“I’m very excited to be fighting on this huge show,” said Povetkin to Sky Sports. “I expect to put on a great performance and then go on to fight the Joshua-Parker winner later this year.”

Povetkin has not looked like the same fighter he used to be in his recent fights with Hammer and Andriy Rudenko. Povetkin’s power doesn’t look as good, and his conditioning isn’t as good as it once was either. Povetkin is starting to slip due to age or perhaps his training regimen has changed. Povevtkin is not looking invincible anymore. Price might be catching Povetkin at the right time in his career with him getting old and not looking good.