Watching the WBA heavyweight title bout between title-holder Alexander Povetkin 24-0 (17) and WBO cruiserweight title holder Marco Huck 34-2 (25) this past weekend, several observations stand out. Firstly, professional boxing is alive and well in Germany and England. When fans talk about boxing being dead, they're only talking about in the US. The fans are involved in these fights, it's not like how in the states only mainstream fighters draw any attention. On top of that the Porsche Arena was packed for Povetkin-Huck. By making the fights seem important (and by using great, knowledgeable announcers for Box Nation), the promoters and television people make believers out of the fans.
As for the fight itself, it was about as good as could be expected and did provide some action-packed moments, especially when you consider who the participants were. In Povetkin you have an overrated heavyweight who was given a title. He's not a big puncher and doesn't do one single thing as a fighter that stands out. The best thing that can be said about Povetkin's showing against Huck is that he's a consistent grinder that lets his hands go in three punch multiples to the head and body, enabling him to usually land the first and last punch during most exchanges, which is the exact reason he pulled out a majority decision win over Huck. I scored it 116-114 Povetkin.
In regards to Huck, you have a limited cruiserweight. The only thing Huck did that anyone will remember is he threw an unorthodox over hand right, in spurts mind you, that Povetkin couldn't get out of the way of. The problem for Marco was he didn't throw nearly enough of them and when he did, he didn't set them up or throw anything behind them because he was so off balance and out of position. Which is too bad because when he did connect, it was obvious Povetkin was bothered by the punch and even shook a few times. Yet, somehow Povetkin remained a sitting duck for the most telegraphed punch a boxer can throw.
After watching Povetkin-Huck and Klitschko-Chisora last weekend, is there any guess work involved as to why both Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko have final say over the heavyweight division? None that I can see. And is there a morsel of a chance that former cruiserweight title holder Jean-Marc Mormeck will even get Wladmir Klitschko's attention next week, let alone beat him? Obviously, Wladimir is the less durable of the two brothers, but if I was forced to bet the fight, I know which line I'd be in...That long one that wraps around the block that has the name Wladimir Klitschko at the beginning of it.
In order for one of today's top heavyweight contenders to take down one of the Klitschkos, he's going to have to bring something to the ring that concerns them enough that they must address it. No, they don't have to be great or complete fighters, but they must have at least one weapon in their holster that if they manage to draw it, Wladimir or Vitali have to acknowledge it and try to disarm it. And I just don't see that fighter in the division.
There's not one great puncher, boxer, greatly conditioned or legitimate tough guy in the top-10 to make them fight with any urgency. The closest we've seen to a fighter like that was Dereck Chisora last week when he really turned up the pressure on Vitali Klitschko and forced him to fight in retreat for major gaps of the bout.
Then again, I'm afraid to totally give Chisora all the credit he may rightfully deserve because Vitali injured his shoulder during the first third of the bout. However, at least Chisora pushed the fight once he sensed there wasn't much danger presented by Vitali on that particular night.
Having said that, based on what's around today in the heavyweight division, it's easy to see why the Klitschkos are the top of the food chain. First of all they're in great condition and take professional boxing seriously. They're first rate professionals. Both Wladimir and Vitali are big and strong and know how to use their size. In other words they can fight. Couple that with a pedestrian era of contenders, they may be around longer than we think.
Lastly, Teddy Atlas isn't the great guy genius that an intimidated boxing media by him thinks he is. Atlas is a good tactician, but he's not beyond reproach. Because he acts as if only he knows boxing, no one questions him on any decisions he makes pertaining to his fighters or his commentary on ESPN2. The only thing he's ever called on are his incorrect fight picks, which I couldn't care less about.
Remember, he stopped Povetkin from taking a fight that would have earned him millions and millions of dollars because he felt the fighter "wasn't ready" for either Klitschko. If Teddy had eyes in his head, he would have known that Povetkin would never be ready for them. Alexander turned pro with a lot of notoriety, so there was a lot of early interest in him. The more he fights, and the more obvious it becomes that he's not really improving and that he's not a special fighter, all the glitter that was attached to him in the beginning has dropped off and he's been exposed. Povetkin is 32 years old and hasn't improved that much. Actually, what you see today is who he really is as a fighter and his only shot to beat either Klitschko is to wait for them to age and be in the right place at the right time.
Based on his showing against Huck, the question isn't if he's ready for either Klitschko, it's more does anyone care enough to see them fight Povetkin? Is Povetkin closer in 2012 to being able to beat the Klitschkos than he was in 2009? Of course not. The only difference is that now everybody knows it.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
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