Is Povetkin Between The Rock and a Hard Place?

By Robert Ecksel on September 28, 2012
Is Povetkin Between The Rock and a Hard Place?
Having lost faith in Hasim "The Rock" Rahman has almost become a blood sport unto itself.

“Alexander has been training hard,” said Tszyu. “There is no reason why he should not be able to present himself in top shape…”

Saturday at the Sporthalle in Hamburg, Germany, Alexander Povetkin (24-0, 16 KOs) will defend his version of the WBA heavyweight title against former WBC/IBF heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman (50-7-2, 41 KOs). This fight is receiving the attention it deserves, which is little as the 39-year-old Rahman, the mandatory’s mandatory, looks to defy the oddsmakers, common sense, and Father Time in one fell swoop and walk away with the crown.

It has been a long time since Rahman ruled the roost. He shocked the world and shocked Lennox Lewis by KO’ing the champ in South Africa in 2001. The Rock’s reign was, however, short-lived. It lasted all of seven months. Lennox starched Rahman in their rematch and went on to consolidate his reputation. Rahman, by contrast, became the sort of capable contender one could depend on to knock off the pretenders, but who fell short when the Big Kahuna was within sight.

Not having faith in Rahman has almost become a sport unto itself. The last time he fought a significant opponent was in 2008 when he was stopped by Wladimir Klitschko. Since that time Rahman has won all his fights, but they were against Clinton Boldridge (9-15-1), Shannon Miller (16-4), Damon Reed (46-13), Marcus McGee (22-17), and Galen Brown (35-16-1).

He has not fought since June 2011.

“They’ve been basically writing Hasim off since the start of the promotion,” Rahman’s promoter Greg Cohen said. “Hasim isn’t even on the posters for this event. They’ve been making jokes and having fun. But while they were doing that, Hasim has been getting himself into fantastic shape.”

Speaking of fantastic shape, coming into Saturday’s fight, Rahman weighed a flabby 256 lbs. to Povetkin’s soft 229 lbs.

That extra weight will slow Rahman down. But he no more relied on speed than he did on skill. Rahman’s trump card is that he is rugged and he can punch, and a little extra weight (Rahman weighed 238 when he defeated Lewis) won’t affect those splendid qualities.

“Hasim is going to shock the world again,” insisted Cohen. “This is the exact situation you don’t put Rahman in. Disrespected. Overlooked. An overconfident champion thinking he can just show up and win. But in the gym with Hasim, and seeing how focused he is, you know something’s about to happen.”

Povetkin is no Lennox Lewis, not by a long shot, and therein lays the rub. Can Rahman muster one last hurrah against a flawed fighter who looked awful in his last outing against Marco Huck?

“I know what I have to do,” Rahman said, “and that is to knock him out. I know that when I’m at my best, no one can take my power and I will knock him or anyone else out, period.

“No fight at this level is easy, but I know that I am 100 percent prepared and so I am supremely confident. The fight will not go the distance. I will KO Povetkin on September 29.”

Povetkin has new trainer in his corner, the hard hitting, soft-spoken, and universally respected Hall-of-Famer Kostya Tszyu.

“I am not a fan of big announcements,” Tszyu said at the final pre-fight presser, “but Alexander has been training hard. There is no reason why he should not be able to present himself in top shape.”

Povetkin will need to be in top shape. Stamina issues have plagued him in the past and may plague him again in Hamburg.

“We have been building up my strong points and trying to eradicate the weaker parts to make me a more complete boxer,” the champ said. “I am looking forward to a great fight on Saturday night.

“I don’t expect this bout to be easy.”

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. FrankinDallas 02:05pm, 09/29/2012

    I thought Pulev looked pretty decent. His amateur experience shows with his combinations and doubling up on the jab, and has reasonable defence. Of course, his “competition” tonight was a little easy, but still it’s obvious he has skills.

  2. Robert Ecksel 01:56pm, 09/29/2012

    What an appalling excuse for a fight. A stiff wind would have wobbled Rahman. Stopped in the second round. But it’s more over than over for The Rock.

  3. FrankinDallas 09:15am, 09/29/2012

    Peter Ustinov is dead, Ted.

  4. the thresher 09:13am, 09/29/2012

    I could do some good work in Hollywood with Ustinov.

  5. the thresher 09:10am, 09/29/2012

    I like Pov now that Kostya has him. I want to see him, ZOOO, do what Teddy could not make him do.

  6. Mike Casey 07:20am, 09/29/2012

    The fact that this match is being made - and taken seriously - is one of the things that really depresses me about heavyweight boxing in its current state. My goodness, how many times has Rahman come around already? And I’m sure he still won’t be finished after Pov the Plod beats him.

  7. the thresher 06:19pm, 09/28/2012

    Last time I saw the Rock, he was being manhandled by Toney in a slabfest.

  8. the thresher 06:18pm, 09/28/2012

    Easy win for Pov.

  9. FrankinDallas 05:58pm, 09/28/2012

    A “soft” 239? Povetkin would be soft at 180. Guy is simply pudgy and pasty; nothing he can do about it. We’ll never see abs on him, ever.

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