Updated: WBA Orders Wladimir Klitschko vs Alexander Povetkin For February; Boente Balks


by Johnny Walker

The WBA is apparently eager to settle matters between its “regular” (i.e. fake) heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin and its “super” heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.

Various reports indicate that the organization is pushing for a fight between the two men by February 26, 2013.

How eager Povetkin (25-0, 17 KOs) might be to step into the ring with Klitschko, however, remains to be seen. The Russian has avoided fights with Wladimir twice in the past, once leaving a peeved Klitschko standing at the altar when he no-showed the initial press conference for their scheduled bout.

Cedric Boswell, Alexander Povetkin
WBA “regular” champion Alexander Povetkin

The Russian’s shaky confidence was also rocked earlier this year when cruiserweight king Marco Huck moved up to heavyweight and came very close to lifting Povetkin’s fictional crown. Only some questionable scoring from two of the judges saved Povetkin from defeat. Since then, Povetkin easily beat the beyond shot American veteran Hasim Rahman, who was limping around on rubbery legs before the “fight” even began.

All of this, plus the fact that Povetkin’s paper title was constructed out of thin air after Wladimir Klitschko relieved David Haye of the actual WBA crown and was bumped up to “super champion” status, has given the Russian the unfortunate air of an illegitimate fighter. From an Olympic gold medallist to a clown is an improbable road to travel, yet Povetkin has somehow managed it, a state of affairs not helped by his period spent wasting time fighting inferior opposition under the aegis of former trainer Teddy Atlas.

Povetkin’s promotional associates, at least, are making the right noises regarding Klitschko (59-3, 50 KOs) this time around.

“We are very excited that Povetkin will be Wladimir Klitschko´s next opponent,” says a hopeful Kalle Sauerland of Sauerland Event.

“We consider Wladimir Klitschko to be a great champion but we also consider Alexander Povetkin to be a very serious challenger. A fight between two Olympic Heavyweight Champions is always something special and one that will turn out to be a real treat for boxing fans all over the world.”

“We have a four week period to negotiate terms on the fight and will be in contact with the Klitschko management later on today,” Sauerland Event’s Chris Meyer adds.

“We worked together for many fights as co-promoters of the Klitschkos. Therefore I am convinced that we will have a professional dialogue. However, if we should not be able to reach a voluntary agreement, we are prepared to enter a purse bid.”

According to a blog post by Dan Rafael at ESPN.com, Klitschko business impressario Bernd Boente is not convinced re the timing of the Povetkin fight. Boente says that to “the WBA has told Tom (Loeffler), Shelly (Finkel) and myself that we have 24 months from the Wladimir-Haye fight (held in early July of 2011), so we will ask them.”

Boente has Wladimir’s next fight penned in for April, 2013, and would not commit himself to a Povetkin fight.

“We will ask the WBA about this issue and then see,” Boente said.

Should the fight take place, expect Povetkin, who does possess some quality boxing skills, to be hampered by his biggest drawback as a heavyweight: his short, stubby arms. Povetkin’s reach is listed at 75 inches, compared to 81 for Klitschko, a difference which will make it very difficult for the Russian to get close enough to score on the real heavyweight champion of the world without getting repeatedly tattooed by the left jab.

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