Povetkin Stops Byrd in 11th round TKO

alexander povetkin28.10.07 - By Ron Hansen: In the International Boxing Federation eliminator tournament, Alexander Povetkin (14-0, 11 KOs) struggled last night in Germany with 37 year-old Chris Byrd (40-4, 21 KOs) before the fight was stopped in the 11th round when Byrd's father threw in the towel.

At the time of the stoppage, however, Byrd was still fighting effectively and landing counter shots against Povetkin. Though considered by many to be a future star in the heavyweight division, Povetkin looked mediocre against Byrd, showing very little power, speed or foot movement and only looked marginally better than the veteran Byrd.

The first couple of rounds were fought cautiously with neither fighter doing much. Povetkin's right eye was already showing signs of swelling by the 2nd round which was made worse by a head butt in the next round, opening a cut over the eye. Povetkin was the more active puncher, throwing many more punches although many of them missed the mark or were picked off by Byrd. Unlike some of the larger heavyweights, like Wladimir Klitschko, who preferred to fight Byrd on the outside, Povetkin stayed in close quarters with Byrd most of the fight.

That was more out of necessity than a real choice due to Povetkin's limited reach and lack of any kind of jab. In many of the exchanges, Byrd would retreat to the ropes where he would attempt to counter the slower Povetkin with fast combinations. It worked at times, but for the most part it allowed Povetkin to have a stationary target to pound away at. In between rounds, Byrd's young son advised for him to stay off the ropes. However, for whatever reason, Chris failed to follow his advice because he would go back to the ropes again and again in every round, trying to counter Povetkin.

In the 6th round, Byrd sustained a small cut on the bridge of his nose. It was nothing serious but it would bleed the rest of the way, staining his trunks. It looked much worse than it really was. By the end of the 7th round, Byrd was beginning to look tired as Povetkin's constant pressure seemed to have a negative effect on him. However, he continued to land speedy shots and an occasional powerful left hand. In round eight, Povetkin landed a large number of shots as Byrd chose to stand and trade with him in the opening round. However, Byrd connected with a perfect left hand late in the rope, which knocked out Povetkin's mouthpiece and surprising him.

In the 9th round, Povetkin stayed in close, smothering Byrd's punches and keeping him pinned against the ropes for most of the round. However, Byrd landed a large number of nasty-looking head shots, showing how poor Povetkin's defense is. The 10th round was very close with fighters trading shot for shot. Byrd was more effective in the first half of the round, landing a large number of powerful left hand head shots. However, Povetkin came on strong at the end of the round with combinations and made it close. In the 11th round, Povetkin hurt Byrd with a three punch combination.

Byrd continued fighting back, however, as Povetkin was unable to follow-up with anything substantial. Still fighting back, Byrd backed up to his corner and ducked under a wild flurry of shots by Povetkin, who appeared to miss all of them. At that point, Byrd's father threw in the towel. Not sure what he was seeing because Byrd was fighting back and Povetkin was mostly missing and had nothing on his slow punches. Whatever the case, the fight was stopped at 1:52 of the 11th round.

Povetkin looked in no way ready for someone like Wladimir Klitschko, who would easily pulverize the slow moving, weak punching fighter I saw last night against Byrd. Povetkin should perhaps pull out of the tournament because he's not ready for Wladimir at this stage in his career.

Article posted on 28.10.2007

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