Povetkin-Klitschko: A fight 5 years in the making

For Klitschko, this will be the second time he enters the boxing ring in 2013. The last fight for the Russian boxer was in May. Source: ITAR-TASS.

For Klitschko, this will be the second time he enters the boxing ring in 2013. The last fight for the Russian boxer was in May. Source: ITAR-TASS.

On Oct. 5, a very important event for boxing fans will be held in Russia's capital. Two outstanding champions—Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko and Russia's Alexander Povetkin—will enter the ring. This will be only the fifth time that boxers from the former Soviet Union fight against each other for the world title in the heavyweight division.

It took nearly five years to negotiate a fight between the 2004 Olympic champion, Alexander Povetkin, and the most decorated fighter in the heavyweight division of the last decade, Wladimir Klitschko. In the beginning, the parties could not find a compromise and the fight kept being postponed. Finally, high-ranking boxing officials had to intervene and force both parties to sign a contractual agreement. The resulting match will be worth $23 million.

For 37-year-old Wladimir Klitschko, this will be the second time he enters the boxing ring in 2013. In his last fight, which took place in May, he beat the Italian Francesco Pianeta by technical knockout in the sixth round. The fight with Povetkin will be Klitschko's 24th defense of his World Champion title.

Alexander Povetkin, 34, is approaching the most important event of his boxing career in excellent shape. The last fight for the Russian boxer was also in May. Voluntarily defending his title against little-known Polish boxer Andrzej Vavzhikom with 27 professional wins to his name, Povetkin took only three rounds to knock out his competitor.

Povetkin is considered a rather contradictory figure in the world of boxing. On the one hand, he is an Olympic champion and a professional with an impeccable record (26 wins in 26 fights) and inflexible character; on the other hand, he has not yet been seriously tested. Povetkin has not met any boxers that throw truly dangerous punches, and how he will fare in a fight with a top-ranked boxer remains to be seen.

Povetkin is not Klitschko's typical opponent. He is not intimidated, is in his prime, and has not been giving high-profile interviews promising to knock out Klitschko. One thing is clear: Povetkin is not fighting for the purse. This fight is a principle one for him and a great chance to become the best in his division. According to experts, Povetkin may prove to be a real opponent for Klitschko, and, among the others who have fought the Ukrainian, he has the greatest chance of succeeding.

Sydney Olympic champion Aleksandr Lebziak believes that a Povetkin victory would influence the further development of boxing in the heavyweight category.  

"Povetkin has a chance to win this fight due to his nature and his fighting spirit.  At this point, he's the only one who could win in the heavyweight division and set the course for further development," Lebziak told RBTH. "Sasha [Povetkin] can win on points, if he doesn't miss too much. If he could boost his defensive skills and improve his movement, then victory would be realistic. If he is still at the level of fighting that we saw against the German Marco Huck and the American Hasim Rahman, then, most likely, Klitschko will decisively win the rounds," said Lebziak.

Odds-makers believe the Ukrainian boxer is the clear favorite. The odds of him beating Povetkin have been given as 6-to-1. Bookies have ample reason to make such predictions: Klitschko has vast experience, perfected defense and many years of domination over all his competitors. None of his rivals in recent years have been able to handle the Ukrainian's jabs. However, Povetkin is a dark horse and a very dangerous contender capable of creating a sensation.

Former world champion of the World Boxing Council (WBC), Yuri Arbachakov, shared his prediction about how the fight will go. "Klitschko is unlikely to take risks or to get involved in a tight battle. He will keep Povetkin at long and middle ranges, picking up points. It is unlikely that the fight will end by knockout," Arbachakov said.

"I do not think Klitschko will make any serious mistakes that will allow Povetkin to knock him out. Also, the fact that Povetkin changed his coach and manager speaks in favor of Klitschko. I have the impression that Povetkin and his team do not have a clear plan of action to cover all situations that may occur in the ring, and character alone will not win the fight against Klitschko,” said the former champion. “It is possible the fight may end in a draw, where both fighters retain their titles and plan another large-scale fight. Every year, boxing becomes more commercialized, and so I would not rule out such an outcome." 

Whoever wins on Oct. 5, it will be a great show. The ring announcer will be the famous entertainer Michael Buffer, who is known for his catchphrase, "Let's get ready to rumble!" The hall will be packed to capacity, and white, blue, red and yellow colors will surround the ring. Tickets for the championship match, which ranged in price from €30 ($40) to €3,800 ($5,130), are already completely sold out.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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