Well, that experiment didn't work. Without Teddy Atlas, Alexander Povetkin looked like a mediocre heavyweight who doesn't do road work, as he was fatigued from round four on, and was very nearly dropped and stopped in round twelve of a sloppy but entertaining fight against cruiser champ Marco Huck at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart, Germany on Saturday night. The judges weighed in after 12, and saw it 114-114, 116-113, 116-112, for Povetkin, who should think about heading to the locker room for his cell phone, and placing an "I'm sorry, please take me back" call to Atlas.
Atlas, via text, said that Povetkin looked "horrible." Without ref interference, he said that Huck would have stopped Povetkin.
After, Povetkin spoke to Chris Mannix. He said that maybe he underestimated Huck. "I expected this to be easier," he said. Asked about his conditioning, he said, he said he didn't know why he got tired so quickly. He said his sparring and training went well. Rematch? Maybe so, he said.
"Of course I thought I won this fight," Huck said after. He noted that Povetkin could barely stand at the end. He had nicks under both eyes, but seemed less beat than Povetkin, who won gold at the 2004 Olympics. "I dominated him, I showed my class today," he said. Asked about a rematch, he said he hoped to get one.
The WBA heavyweight champ Povetkin (23-0 entering; born in Russia; age 32) weighed 229 pounds, while the WBC cruiser champ Huck (34-1 entering; from Serbia, lives in Germany; age 27) a winner of 15 straight, was 209 pounds. Huck has held the WBO cruiser since August 2009.
This was the first time in seven fights that Povetkin was without Teddy Atlas in his corner. After two and a half years, the split, acrimoniously, after Povetkin said he didn't want to come to the US to train.
Povetkin told Chris Mannix before the bout that Atlas had agreed to come to Russia to train him, and that it came as a surprise when he was told that Atlas wouldn't be coming. He said new trainer Alex Zimin had added in more conditioning work, and he is happy with him. He still holds Atlas in high regard, he said.
John Coyne, Stan Christodoulou and Phil Verbeke judged, while Luis Pabon was the ref.
In the first, both men started slow, throwing thirty punches each.
In the second, Povetkin had a solid round. He was busy, up and down, threw combos, and Huck looked passive.
In the third, Huck landed one power punch in this round, another poor one for the cruiser.
In the fourth, Huck landed a right hand to the back of the head and Povetkin felt it in his legs. Huck woke up, throwing 50 to Povetkin's 48. The ref warned Huck for clutching. Povetkin looked a bit tired, perhaps.
In the fifth, Huck's stiff jab snapped the Russian's head back a few times. Huck by this time had turned the fight around.
In the sixth, Povetkin still looked unlike the man who dominated the second. He was falling in, bending over, ducking, letting Huck lay on him. He didn't look all that energized.
In the seventh, Povetkin started out coming forward. When he plowed ahead, his strength and combos spoke loudly. He still ducked when he saw rights coming, and they flew over his head, for the most part. Then Huck came on at the end, and buzzed the champ.
In the eighth, it was a tight one. Povetkin's mouth hung open, and we wondered about his stamina.
In the ninth, Huck scored with a few uppercuts. Povetkin looked close to being on E, but still threw.
In the tenth, it was a rumble, with a bunch of clinchy stuff, as Povetkin ducked his head and Huck laid his forearm on his neck. Ref Pabon broke them ASAP as he did the whole way through.
In the 11th, it was another tight, sloppy but fun round. They traded after the bell. Povetkin looked almost totally out of gas.
In the 12th, Huck almost had him out, a few times.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV