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Wladimir Klitschko vs. Alexander Povetkin: Preview, Prediction for Title Fight

Kevin McRaeFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2013

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Alexander Povetkin: Preview, Prediction for Title Fight

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    Can anyone challenge—much less beat—Wlad?
    Can anyone challenge—much less beat—Wlad?Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

    Wladimir Klitschko vs. Alexander Povetkin will finally happen this Saturday night in Moscow, Russia, and the biggest prize in all of boxing will be on the line. Klitschko will defend his IBF/WBO/WBA and The Ring Magazine Heavyweight Championship's against Povetkin, who will be fighting in his home nation.

    Klitschko has not lost a fight since a stunning 2004 stoppage at the hands of Lamon Brewster. He's held at least a share of the heavyweight crown since 2006, and he'll be looking to make his 15th straight successful defense as he inches ever closer to Joe Louis' record of 25 title defenses.

    Povetkin himself holds a trinket heavyweight belt, but his WBA "regular" Title is absolutely meaningless. The real heavyweight championship belongs to Wlad, and has for some time. The Russian has been on this collision course for a while now, and he'll have a lot to prove to convince people he belongs.

    Here we break down the fight, and the fighters in our complete preview and prediction for this Saturday's big heavyweight title fight.

Tale of the Tape

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    Povetkin has some big wins, but most were against fighters past their prime. Photo Credit: Associated Press.
    Povetkin has some big wins, but most were against fighters past their prime. Photo Credit: Associated Press.

    Where do we begin in describing the obvious physical advantages the champion will bring into this fight?

    Wlad has a huge six-inch reach advantage over Povetkin, which will allow him to fight at distance and use his jab to setup his power punches. That's the style he's used to establish his dominance, and given these numbers, there's little reason to believe he won't be successful doing it in this fight. 

    Klitschko is clearly the more powerful fighter, but Povetkin has shown some decent pop on his punches. So it's not inconceivable that if the Russian can get on the inside at some point, he could test Wlad's chin. But getting inside will come at a very heavy price, and we don't have anything that says he'll be able to pay it.

     

     

    Record:

    Wladimir Klitschko

    60-3, 51 KO

    Alexander Povetkin

    26-0, 18 KO

    Height:

    6'6"

    6'2"

    Reach:

    81"

    75"

    Weight:

    249 (last fight)

    228.5 (last fight)

    Stance:

    Orthodox

    Orthodox

    Hometown:

    Solnechnoye, Kazakhstan

    Kursk, Russia

    Rounds:

    313

    147

    *Profiles via BoxRec.

     

Main Storylines

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    Line em up, knock em down. That's been the story of Wlad's dominance.
    Line em up, knock em down. That's been the story of Wlad's dominance.Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

    Wladimir Klitschko has been so good over the last decade that many people have lost interest in the heavyweight division. Now that isn't his fault—it's a testament to how great he's been and the lack of compelling challengers—but it's been a while since we've seen him in a truly challenging fight. 

    The 37-year-old has not lost since 2004, and he's successfully defended his heavyweight crown in 14 consecutive bouts. Joe Louis holds the record for title defenses at 25, and it's not out of the question that Wlad could catch or surpass that number. He's hoping to make Povetkin No. 15 on that quest.

     

    Alexander Povetkin is the WBA "regular" Heavyweight Champion, but that means nothing. It's a belt the sanctioning organizations give out in order to earn more fees from fighters, and that's about it. The Russian is a solid fighter, but he's never faced anything remotely close to what he'll see on Saturday night in Moscow. 

    This will be his stepping-up moment, and he'll need to prove he belongs. This fight has been discussed for quite a while now, and this is his big moment to show the world that he isn't just the owner of a trinket belt.

Strengths

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    Povetkin is a strong, boxer-puncher in the European mold. Photo Credit: Joe Harrison
    Povetkin is a strong, boxer-puncher in the European mold. Photo Credit: Joe Harrison

    Wladimir Klitschko is pretty much the perfect physical specimen for a heavyweight fighter. He's tall, long and has tremendous punching power. It's extraordinarily difficult to get close enough to him to land punches, and he uses a heavy jab to keep his opponent at bay and set up his power shots. 

    He's a tremendous athlete, and he has good movement and ring smarts. If you're fortunate enough to survive his hellacious incoming and get on the inside, you're likely to get tied up. Wlad makes it extremely difficult to get in scoring range, and if you do, it's even harder to land anything big.

     

    Alexander Povetkin is a boxer-puncher in the prototypical European mold. He does everything pretty well, but he does nothing great. He's an average-sized heavyweight—in an era of super-heavies—and he does have some notable wins on his ledger. 

    He has solid boxing ability and has demonstrated a solid chin, but it's been against opposition nowhere near what he'll face in Wlad. He likes to fight pretty conservatively and banks rounds with an economical—some say dull—approach.  It's hard to see how that'll work in this fight against a bigger, superior boxer.

Weaknesses

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    Wlad's chin has been his undoing in the past.
    Wlad's chin has been his undoing in the past.Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

    Wladimir Klitschko has been so good, for so long, that you don't hear much about his weaknesses anymore. That's mainly because he's been the textbook case of the old adage that the best defense is a good offense. 

    In his career—though it seems forever ago—Wlad was known for having conditioning and chin issues. Nobody in recent memory has been good enough to call either of those two into question, but they say you can't train a chin. You can train a fighter to get quicker, stronger and more defensively aware. But you can't give him a chin.

     

    Alexander Povetkin isn't terribly fast, he's a medium-sized heavyweight and he's going to have a very hard time neutralizing Wlad's massive physical advantages. 

    The Russian has beaten some decent names, but it'd be very hard to argue that every single one of them wasn't well past their prime when they stepped into the ring. He's also never faced anyone in the orbit of Wlad when it comes to punching power, so it's easy to see how he'll have his chin tested in all sorts of different ways in this fight.

Wladimir Klitschko Will Win If...

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    Is just showing up enough?
    Is just showing up enough?Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

    Wladimir Klitschko is the overwhelming favorite in this fight, and for good reason. 

    He's fought with pretty much the same game plan for his entire title reign, and there's no reason to see why that'd change at this point, since it allows him to exploit his physical advantages. 

    Klitschko will look to fight at a distance and utilize his precision left jab in order to setup his massive right hand power. He'll keep the left in Povetkin's face all night long, both in order to find range and disrupt his offensive rhythm. 

    And when he starts connecting with that big right hand, it should spell doom for Alexander Povetkin.

Alexander Povetkin

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    Povetkin will hope to prolong the contest. Photo Credit: AFP.
    Povetkin will hope to prolong the contest. Photo Credit: AFP.

    It's hard to make a case for Alexander Povetkin winning this fight unless something completely unexpected happens. 

    Wladimir Klitschko is so physically strong, so precise and so much better, that it's difficult to see where Povetkin finds openings.

    The Russian likes to box, but he'll be giving up four inches in height and six in reach when he steps into the ring. He doesn't have huge power—the type of which could make Wlad weary—and he'll need to step through hell in order to get into landing range. 

    The best chance he has is to try to utilize his footwork and movement to keep away from the worst of Klitschko's offensive assault and draw him into the later rounds. That could bring the champion's conditioning into play, and possibly give Povetkin some opportunities. 

And the Winner Will Be...

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    Wlad will dominate Povetkin.
    Wlad will dominate Povetkin.Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

    Alexander Povetkin is a good enough fighter, but he's just not on this level.

    Wladimir Klitschko will put on another in a long series of boxing clinics this Saturday night in Moscow. He's just too sharp, too big and too good for Povetkin. 

    The Russian will prove to be pretty durable, and his defense and movement will allow him to stay away from some of Wlad's bigger shots in the early rounds. But by around the fourth or fifth round, the cream will rise to the top.

    Wlad will begin peppering him with jabs and straight rights that will do increasingly more damage as the fight goes along. It'll start getting ugly around the eighth, and that's when Povetkin will finally fold to the punishment.

    Wladimir Klitschko TKO 8 Alexander Povetkin

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