Alexander Povetkin: 'Most dangerous man in Russia' is a colossal threat to any heavyweightWritten by Leroy Cleveland
Heavyweight boxing is hot again.
The division ripe with talent such as Anthony Joshua, Wladimir Klitschko, Deontay Wilder, Joseph Parker, Luis Ortiz and a presumably soon-to-be comebacking Tyson Fury.
But, are fans and the media overlooking someone?
On July 2, 37-year-old former heavyweight belt-holder Alexander Povetkin returns to face Ukrainian Andriy Rudenko.
Povetkin, of course, was supposed to face WBC Champ Deontay Wilder om May 2016 but the fight was cancelled because the latter failed a drug test, testing positive for the banned substance meldonium.
Povetkin's handlers insisted only "leftover traces of meldonium at a very low concentration" were found in his blood because he'd stopped taking it even before the drug ban was imposed. Moreover, on May 31, 2016, a week after the Wilder fight had been postponed, Povetkin tested clean, according to his handlers. Nevertheless, the title shot was lost and Povetkin was handed a fine of $250,000 and banned indefinitely by the World Boxing Council (WBC) for failing drugs tests.
The WBC's ban meant they would no longer sanction his fights. However, it was also noted on the documents presented by the WBC that Povetkin would be allowed to apply in March 2018 to be included in the rankings
It was a heavy verdict considering Povetkin's presumed abrasion of the rules. Meldonium had been banned only recently and there are still lingering questions about whether it should be considered a performance enhancing drug (PED).
Now enrolled in the combat sports’ most stern drug testing program, VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association), it was recently announced Povetkin's May 15 and May 16 tests came back clean.
“I look forward to being tested by VADA and competing at a world class level, I want to prove to everybody that I am a clean fighter and that I can become a world champion again,” said Povetkin via Boxingcene.com.
But, in all fairness, Alex, with or without PEDs, is a dangerous force to be reckoned with.
Message to top heavyweights: Don't fight this guy unless you have to.
The 37-year Russian Olympic Gold medal winner is one of the most accomplished amateur heavyweights ever. And after winning the gold at the 2004 Summer Olympics, he finished his amateur career with a record of 125–7, with all losses avenged.
Hence, in his extended amateur career and long stint as a pro, he's defeated everyone he's faced sans Wladimir Klitschko.He lost a decision tilt to Wladimir in a messy, mauling affair in 2013.
Due to his strong amateur pedigree, as well as his early pro accomplishments, Povetkin has been touted by some experts for years as a future force in the division. His resume includes a knockout victory over former two-time heavyweight champion Chris Byrd and unanimous decision victories over one-time heavyweight title challenger Eddie Chambers and former U.S. Olympians Jason Estrada and Larry Donald.
Is he a heavyweight version of Gennady Golovkin?
Povetkin has solid power in both hands and underrated hand-speed. He's also quite durable, has a great sense of awareness in the ring, closes the distance well, applies intelligent pressure, and is a fine combination puncher.
And, yes, his timing and sense of range and ability to fight at angles are simply awesome.
Povetkin's understanding of timing and range, and ability to fight proficiently at angles where his opponent cannot land effectively that make him one of the most complete fighters in boxing today.
“I believe I have the right approach with a good team and I am sure I am better now than I was at 27,” Povetkin told WorldBoxingNews.net earlier this week.
I'd favor Povetkin over the Joseph Parker and the version of Tyson Fury that defeated Wlad. I also see Wilder vs Povetkin as a toss-up and would lean for Joshua over Alex by the narrowest of margins.
Don't sleep on Alexander Povetkin... He's a threat to any heavyweight and will be avoided by the other powerbrokers in the division for as long as they can get away with it.