Television: BoxNation (UK), TV1 (Russia), Main Event PPV (Australia), Sport1 (Hungary), PolSat Sport (Poland), RTL (Germany) – live ; HBO (USA) - on tape delay
Time: 7:00PM GMT / 3:00PM ET / 12:00PM PT
IBF heavyweight title
WBO heavyweight title
WBA Super World heavyweight title
IBO heavyweight title
Wladimir Klitschko 60(51)-3 vs. Alexander Povetkin 26(18)-0
Klitschko is the best heavyweight in the world. He’s cleared out the heavyweight division. Those who remain are pretty much cannon fodder.
With the exception of the WBC title held by his brother, Wladimir holds all the heavyweight titles. Because Vitali has one foot in the door to retirement, Wladimir is the closest we’ve seen to an undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.
Now a lot of naysayers say Klitschko should be the legit champion since – at 6’7″ – he’s bigger than everyone else. This is false. There is no fighter of Klitschko’s size that is comparable. By itself, being tall is no guarantee of heavyweight success. Most tall heavyweights fail spectacularly.
Indeed, Wladimir has failed spectacularly. By conventional wisdom, he should be a washout. All three of his losses have come by KO, two of them occurring in slightly more than a year. At one time, Wladimir was a byword for “glass chin”.
But then something extraordinary happened. Wladimir gained skill. Using a jab that can stop a train, nobody has been able to touch his chin because Wladimir won’t let them. He’s become a paramount defensive boxer who can finish things with his concussive right hand.
As a result, nobody has been able to defeat him in nearly a decade. Many good boxers have tried. All of them have failed. It’s skill, not height, that has given him this success.
In today’s heavyweight division, Povetkin should be regarded as the best fight who’s not a Klitschko. However, Povetkin got the scare of his life last year when he faced off against Marco Huck.
In that tense toe-to-toe battle, Povetkin went life and death against Huck. Having spent his entire career as a cruiserweight, this was Huck’s first fight as a heavyweight. And boy what a splash this made. Both fighters were throwing hellacious shots at each other.
We found out a lot about Povetkin in this fight. He is not short of heart. He’s altogether willing to take punishment.
But we also found out that Povetkin has issues with stamina. In the second half of Povetkin-Huck, it looked like Povetkin was clear out of gas, and it was only desperation and skill that was keeping him there.
There is no question that Povetkin is comparable to Klitschko in skill, but is he comparable in stamina? Not by a long shot.
Prediction: Klitschko by KO7.
EBU (European) cruiserweight title
Mateusz Masternak 30(22)-0 vs. Grigory Drozd 36(25)-1
Fact: Masternak is on the precipice of stardom.
He’s on his way to becoming the next Krysztof Wlodarczyk. If he keeps up his winning ways, he’ll be selling out stadiums in Poland – and if you can sell out Poland, you can sell out the eastern seaboard of the USA too.
Masternak has passed every test thrown at him with flying colours. He’s maintained a 73% KO ratio with 2 of his last 3 fights won by KO. When a fight has gone to decision, he’s won by wide margins. When Masternak wins, there’s never an argument.
His opponents have been credible too. Masternak has wins against Sean Corbin, Juho Haapoja, Felipe Romero, and the previously undefeated David Quinonero.
Now as the main support for Klitschko-Haye, Masternak has more visibility than ever.
Drozd is no gimme for Masternak. Though he has one loss, that was in 2006 to Firat Arslan. Since then, he’s rattled off 11 straight wins. Drozd has a 68% KO ratio with 2 of his last 3 fights won by KO.
Having said that, Drozd’s competition hasn’t been comparable to Masternak’s. His most high profile wins have come against career journeymen and fading veteran: Jean Marc Monrose, Fabio Garrido, Richard Hall, Rob Calloway, and Darnell Wilson. He’s performed well, but now he must step it up.
There’s one advantage Drozd has that Masternak doesn’t. He’s Russian. That makes him the hometown hero. If the fight is close, Drozd may receive the nod.
Prediction: Masternak by KO6.
Ruslan Chagaev 31(20)-2-1 vs. Jovo Pudar 30(17)-3
Since Chagaev’s defeat to Wladimir Klitschko, the former WBA titlist has faded badly. He’s no longer the crisp puncher he once was. He’s lumbering, sluggish, and no longer a threat in the heavyweight division.
Don’t get me wrong, in his last 3 fights he’s had 3 straight KOs, but almost all of them have come against tomato cans. Even against journeymen like Kertson Manswell, Chagaev has not looked great.
Does Chagaev have anything left?
Pudar is 42-years-old, but he’s had a long 6 year hiatus between 2004-10. Previous to that, he took Samuel Peter and Taurus Sykes to the distance. Since his hiatus, Pudar has been undefeated in 8 fights.
Most impressively, he’s had wide UDs against decent journeymen in Raphael Zumbano Love and Marcelo Luiz Nascimento.
This may not be a top shelf heavyweight fight, but it’s still good.
Prediction: Pudar by UD.
Rakhim Chakhkiev 16(12)-1 vs. Giulian Ilie 20(6)-6-2
If you get the chance, watch Chakhiev vs. Wlodarczyk. It was a great fight.
In Round 3, Chakhiev blasted Wlodarczyk to the canvas and almost came away with the upset. But then Wlodarczyk dusted him off, then blitzed Chakhiev – sending Chakhiev to the canvas 3 times in rounds 6,7, and 8. Eventually, the fight was stopped.
Though Chakhiev is coming off a loss, he’s accounted well for himself. But as with everyone who’s come off a loss, Chakhiev has to start from square one.
Ilie is a threat, and shouldn’t be underestimated. Even so, he’s 36-years-old and has quite a few losses under his belt. With those losses, he’s proven durable. Ilie has gone the distance each time save for a disqualification.
As for wins? Ilie has handed three undefeated prospects their first loss. Former Italian prospect Christian Dolzanelli has also fallen victim to Ilie.
In short, if Chakhiev wants another title shot, he has to impress against Ilie.
Prediction: Chakhiev by UD.