Povetkin vs Hammer odds, prediction & preview

Lee Cleveland Updated
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On December 15, surging heavyweight Christian Hammer (22-4, 12 KO) looks to face Russian tank Alexander Povetkin (32-1, 23 KO), a longtime powerbroker in the division.

And while Povetkin vs Hammer is not yet 100 percent confirmed (as of October 30), it's believed the winner will be the mandatory challenger for WBO champion Joseph Parker who will likely exercise one or two voluntary options before facing Povetkin or Hammer.

So, who is Christian Hammer?
The 2004 Romanian Amateur Boxing champion, the 30-year-old Hammer is the WBO's top ranked heavyweight contender despite the fact he's not as accomplished as Povetkin and a slew of other heavyweights. Nevertheless, he's reeled off a string of wins against formidable opposition. Since being stopped inside the distance by Tyson Fury in early 2015, he's won 5 straight:

UD - Zine Eddine Benmakhlouf
TKO - David Price
SD - Erkan Teper
TKO - Michael Sprott
UD - Sherman Williams

Teper, prior to losing to Hammer last October, was 16-0 and fresh off wins over Derric Rossy, David Price and Johann Duhaupas.

It's no wonder Hammer is getting a lot of press lately, but oddsmakers are still not convinced he has a satisfactory shot at beating the presumably stronger, more skilled Povetkin.

Povetkin vs Hammer odds
As of October 30, Povetkin is a whopping 33 to 1 favorite and has an advantage in nearly every conceivable category. Moreover, winning a decision in Russia over one of its favorite sons is probably not in the cards for Hammer so he'll likely have to knockout Alex or floor him multiple times to emerge victorious.

Alex is the goods
The 38-year Russian Olympic Gold medal winner is one of the most accomplished amateur heavyweights ever. After winning the gold at the 2004 Summer Olympics, he finished his amateur career with a record of 125–7, with all losses avenged, and was touted by some experts as a future force in the division.

In his extended amateur career and long stint as a pro, he's defeated everyone he's faced sans Wladimir Klitschko. Since that decision tilt defeat in a messy, mauling affair in 2013, he's 6-0, 5 KO and has unleashed highlight reel-quality knockouts over Johann Duhaupas, Mariusz Wach, Mike Perez, Carlos Takam and Manuel Charr.

We saw how tough Takam was against Anthony Joshua last weekend...

Alex would be a red-level threat to the division's recognized champions, Deontay Wilder (WBC) and Anthony Joshua (WBA/IBF), and would likely be favored against WBO belt-holder Joseph Parker.

...But Christian isn't chopped liver.

Hammer - Better than his record?
Hammer's 22-4 record is a bit deceptive. He was stopped inside the distance in his pro debut and endured back-to-back losses in 2010 to Mariusz Wach and Taras Bidenko in his ninth and tenth fights, respectively, as a pro. Over the last 7 years, he's won 15 of 16 bouts, only losing to Tyson Fury in 2015 who would become the lineal champion 8 months later.

Povetkin vs Hammer
December 15, 2017
Ekaterinburg, Russia
WBO International Heavyweight Title
Favorite: Povetkin (1/33)

True grit?
Hammer got off the canvas in the fifth round to subsequently knockout hard-punching David Price in February.

The knock on Hammer
Despite has fabulous run of late, he's been KO'd 3 times and has only 12 KOs in 22 wins.

Povetkin vs Hammer prediction
Once sporting a 7-3 record, Hammer has rebounded to become a legitimate heavyweight contender. However, at this moment, he doesn't have the top-level experience, speed, power or skill to defeat an elite top 5 heavyweight. 

Look for a fresh Hammer to make a good account of himself early, possibly winning a round or two. However, during the middle stanzas when some fatigue has set in, Povetkin's experience and superior sense of range and timing will rise to the fore. And once Alex starts seperating himself from his opponent, he'll work his way to a stoppage.

Povetkin TKO 8 Hammer

Sidenote: Much imporoved since facing Fury, Christian will offer a grittier effort than the odds suggest.

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