Another Roll of the Heavyweight Doldrum Dice
A RUMBLING REFORMATION? - Here in an old college town with much religious history involving both worthwhile spirituality and the seemingly timeless saga of evil and greed, four of the top rated heavyweights will throw down in a pair of contests that could be another spark in the also now seemingly timeless saga of crappy heavyweight championship bouts.
Some would say it will take some serious prayers to be blessed with a decent scrap in the land of the somewhat giants these days, but both contests could turn out very well.
Too bad it isn't a one night, winners meet mini-tournament.
There won't be anybody like local schoolboy Martin Luther nailing a doctrine of heavyweight rankings on the doors of Erfurt Exhibition Hall, but there is a good chance that at least one fighter will get nailed flat. At least one should see a date with Wladimir Klitschko not too far in the future.
Any blabber about the main event, Alexander Povetkin- Ruslan Chagaev, being for a real heavyweight title should be jeered then ignored.
Still, including co-featured Robert Helenius, three of the four should be in anyone's top ten, and Sergi Liakhovich deserves a spot on the next tier (top 25), though he's actually more proven than Helenius at this point.
You can't blame the fighters for the farce here, but the ridiculous billing tarnishes a decent pairing of mauling mastodons in the headliner. Povetkin has the boxing skills, Chagaev is billed as having the power. The German crowd will applaud the fighters and ignore the title.
Povetkin previously stated he didn't feel ready for Klitschko before, but the truth is he still hasn't earned it. A win over Chagaev changes that equation. Povetkin has the exact style to trouble Vitali Klitschko, but less so Wladimir.
There are murmurs Povetkin wasn't in the best shape when Teddy Atlas reconnected with him in Russia that Atlas seemed to verify. Some in the media assumed Atlas may be looking for an alibi. Povetkin looked pretty good weighing in, as did Chagaev, both 231.
Maybe Atlas was just always doing his job, which was to get Povetkin ready to win a real title. Atlas was just being honest about Povetkin not being ready. Some boxers are great for an Olympic tournament but a pro campaign.
Povetkin will start strong and move well. How Chagaev holds up or counter attacks will be the story of the fight. Povetkin will score points, but maybe after eating K-bro Vlad’s leather, Chagaev will have no reluctance going inside.
Liakhovich represents a decent opponent for streaking Helenius, coming off a stoppage of faded but still stubborn Samuel Peter. Liakhovich, 231, looked in better shape than ever way back on the undercard of David Haye-Nicolai Valuev, but he showed up looking soft. Helenius, 243 1/2, showed up looking like he wanted to prove he was the best heavyweight in town. He could be.
The winners, probably Povetkin and Helenius, should meet before New Year's to determine who gets a springtime shot at scaling K2. Not before. Leave that to Tomasz Adamek, the real top contender, for now. Tonight's main event winner deserves the number two contender spot for what might as well be called the International Klitschko Belt.
The reality of the heavyweight division these days is that any of the four featured fighters tonight might be able to beat Adamek.
That isn't the worst news, if it finally leads to the heavyweight brawls that made the division great.
If just one of the big boys comes through big time in Erfurt, it could be more than enough.