Do Svidaniya Sasha

By Robert Ecksel on January 21, 2012
Do Svidaniya Sasha
"Who knows what they’re telling him?" asked Teddy Atlas. "All I know is I can’t go to Russia."

They’ll dump Povetkin by the side of the road from a bulletproof Mercedes when he’s outlived his usefulness…

There’s not much that Teddy Atlas hasn’t seen, done and experienced in the fight game. From his beginnings as a budding pugilist in the Catskills, to becoming a protégé of Cus D’Amato, he’s seen the good, bad and ugly in the sweet science, up close and personal, and knows that the science can be as bitter as it can be sweet.

Anyone with an ounce of sense who watched Alexander Povetkin eke out a victory over Ruslan Chagaev to become the WBA “regular” heavyweight champion knows that having Teddy Atlas in his corner was indispensible. Although he had only three and half weeks to train Povetkin, due to his responsibilities to ESPN and Team Povetkin’s unwillingness to train in the U.S., despite an agreement, he intelligently guided the would-be diamond in the rough to his first and presumably last title.

The progress that Povetkin has made since he joined forces with Atlas two and half years ago has been steady, sure, and pronounced. Whoever wants to take credit for Povetkin’s success will take credit for his success. But mobsters and oligarchs, often synonymous in Russia, know about crime and oligarchy. Unlike Teddy Atlas, they know nothing whatsoever about boxing.

While Povetkin ought to be training for what might be the fight of his life against former cruiserweight champion Marco Huck on Feb. 25, Povetkin—or his team, assuming that Povetkin’s destiny isn’t his own—have once again decided that coming to the States to train with Atlas is a waste of time, money, or god knows what else, and that the recently crowned champion will continue his winning ways, with or without Teddy in his corner.

I don’t know how to say delusional in Russian, but delusional is what it is.

“ESPN is my main job,” Atlas clarified to Ron Borges. “I have an obligation to ESPN that I have to fulfill. Povetkin has an obligation to fulfill too, but I’m being told he doesn’t want to come to the U.S. Who knows what they’re telling him? All I know is I can’t go to Russia. ESPN is how I feed my family. Vlad [Khrunov, Povetkin’s manager] knows that. The fighter knows that. This kind of stuff is why I stopped training fighters.”

It has been written that unless Povetkin changes his mind, his relationship with Atlas is at an end. But there’s one problem with that statement. Povetkin doesn’t have a mind of his own to change. He’s a property, owned by people who already have more property than they know what do to with. They’ll use Povetkin, squeeze what money and life they can out of him before dumping him by the side of the road from a bulletproof Mercedes when he’s outlived his usefulness.

Khrunov, who travels with an armed convoy whenever he leaves his estate, is manipulating the media by saying that Atlas is expected to arrive in Moscow momentarily, which Atlas has flatly denied.

“It is Teddy Atlas’ opinion and Teddy Atlas’ choice,” Khrunov told BoxRec News. “We are awaiting him in Russia. We have a possibility to make an agreement because we are ready to pay a concession because he lose the ESPN money. He knows very well this possibility but he wants to make decision that he wants. But my priority is a good situation for the fighter.”

I don’t know how to say doubletalk in Russian, but doubletalk is what it is.

“Tell me your opinion,” continued Khrunov. “[Povetkin] is based in Europe. He must move to the United States, change time, he must move back, change time again—it is no good for a fighter. It is a problem between us. I still await Teddy here.

“We have a possibility to this agreement too. Full possibility to reject time with ESPN to come to Russia. If he wants ESPN money we are ready to pay him compensation money.”

Atlas is no fool. He knows on which side his bread is buttered. Khrunov said he understands the situation, but he still wants what he wants.

“I am gentleman,” he said. “I have respect to Teddy’s family because I know very well his wife, his sons, his daughter. But for me it’s possible to work with Teddy.”

Khrunov said that what happening now is no different than what was happening in July 2011: “We paid him compensation. But he came here to train Povetkin before he fight against Chagaev. Now we have the same situation. I think Teddy is a gentleman and Teddy coming here. Teddy is not only our trainer but is our best friend. He has to be in our corner.”

I may not know how to say delusional and doubletalk in Russian, but I do know how to say goodbye, both to Povetkin and his title.

Do svidaniya, Sasha.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Alexander Povetkin vs Ruslan Chagaev - Part 1 of 4

Alexander Povetkin vs Ruslan Chagaev - Part 2 of 4

Alexander Povetkin vs Ruslan Chagaev - Part 3 of 4

Alexander Povetkin vs Ruslan Chagaev - Part 4 of 4

Marco Huck vs Hugo Hernan Garay - Part 1 of 3

Marco Huck vs Hugo Hernan Garay - Part 2 of 3

Marco Huck vs Hugo Hernan Garay - Part 3 of 3

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  1. the thresher 10:30am, 01/24/2012

    “Our agreement from the beginning has been that I would go to Russia to train Sasha [Povetkin] when ‘Friday Night Fights’ was off season, and he would come to the United States to train when I was committed to being here for my ESPN duties. ... I’m being told he doesn’t want to come to the U.S. I had expected him to live up to his obligation and am very disappointed in Sasha.”

  2. "Old Yank" Schneider 07:32am, 01/23/2012

    I lack the “brass ones” (and personal security force) to cross swords with Russian “businessmen”. The sport is desperately in need of a global Ali Act, but who would enforce it?

  3. David Matthew 06:16pm, 01/22/2012


  4. the thresher 07:06am, 01/22/2012

    “Two American sparring partners are already in Chekhov, while two more are coming to replace them very soon. Teddy Atlas knows this but he is still in the States ... There’s an item in Teddy’s contract which addresses [the ESPN situation] and clarifies it with sufficient details. The situation can be compared with the flow of events in summer, when Atlas visited Russia and was financially indemnified for his activities. This time Atlas was offered to come to Russia on Monday (Jan. 16) and he was offered compensation for any possible conflicts with ESPN in regards to any missed dates.”

  5. the thresher 07:44pm, 01/21/2012

    Excellent piece.

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