By Johnny Walker
Alexander Zimin, the coach of WBA “regular” heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin, has given an explosive interview to the Russian web site sports.ru in which he accuses Povetkin’s last opponent, cruiserweight champion Marco “Captain” Huck, of using a malodorous foreign substance that disoriented his fighter during their heavyweight title bout last February 25.
Zimin also lays into Povetkin’s previous trainer, ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas, calling him a blowhard interested in self-promotion.
Many observers, including this boxing scribe, felt that Huck defeated Povetkin–who appeared to be soft and out of shape–during their entertaining title bout.
After the fight, Teddy Atlas was highly critical of his former pupil’s form, saying Povetkin “looked horrible.”
Zimin, however, claims that to the contrary, his pupil was in fine shape before the fight.
“Two days before his fight with Marco Huck, we conducted a [stress] test exercise on the electrocardiogram, heart rate recovery–Alex had a very good pulse rate and recovered in a minute,” Zimin contends. “We had no reason to worry.”
Zimin says that at the final presser for the fight, he became concerned because of the extreme confidence, bordering on arrogance, Huck exhibited. Rather than the usual “simulated bravado” fighters often exhibit in such situations, Zimin says, “it seemed as if Marco had full confidence in the outcome of the forthcoming battle.”
Huck appeared to many to dominate the second half of the fight over the tiring Povetkin, but Zimin claims foul play: “As of today I have no legal evidence that can tell you now, but you cannot hide these facts. In the fifth round, I saw Sasha’s blurred vision. When I asked, ‘What’s going on?’ Povetkin said that the odor from Huck made him feel ‘sick and dizzy.'”
Zimin says he now blames himself for the “fact that these words are not given due importance.”
“I do not think that it all happened by accident,” says Zimin, who goes on to speak of an unnamed boxer who was poisoned from a fruit basket sent by “imaginary relatives” before a title fight.
“In our case, the victory gave the opportunity to go straight to the multi-million dollar fight with Klitschko, so one would expect anything,” says Zimin.
Not ready to stop with that explosive allegation, Zimin goes on in the interview to rip Povetkin’s previous trainer, Teddy Atlas, who he claims was disloyal to Povetkin with his remarks after the Huck fight.
Atlas, Zimin says, is more interested in publicity than in professionalism.
“I think the coach should not criticize a boxer, with whom he worked. If he has visible flaws and you have something to say, you have to do it individually, not in public.
“It’s ugly,” Zimin says of Atlas’ critical remarks. “Especially when for a long time, he said that [Povetkin] was a superstar.”
According to Zimin, the American Atlas spent too much time in training camp making grand speeches to his Russian pupil Povetkin, speeches that then had to be translated. “To this he spent one and a half or two minutes, after which the floor is given to the translator, and a few more minutes. As a result, the boxer stands idle for about five minutes.
“This is unacceptable.”
Atlas, Zimin contends in the interview, is a “steam” filled windbag interested in “self-promotion, not [in] working properly.” He also claims that Atlas’ famous bluster is actually a cover for his own lack of confidence in his abilities as a trainer.
“A requirement of the Atlas to train with Povetkin in absolute isolation suggests that he is very afraid of what we can see all of his shortcomings as a coach,” Zimin snipes.
Atlas, he says, is not taken seriously as a boxing trainer in the United States, but instead “is perceived solely as a TV commentator.”