Chagaev, Valuev, Peter, Povetkin, Klitschko – Three months of uninspiring duels

By Cesar Pancorvo: The last five important fights the heavyweight division had left me with a sour taste in the mouth and some decadent thoughts that could be taken as conclusions. Ruslan Chagaev has practically smashed all the momentum he built in 2006 and early 2007 with his very dull performance against Matt Skelton; Ruslan looked very beatable against this fringe contender and bored us, however, he has the “I had been inactive for 9 nine months” excuse and some people might forgive him.. Nine months is more than two thirds of a year and it is unacceptable that a top contender in his prime does not use that time. Well, now Chagaev has won his tune-up/return bout and next time there are no excuses.

Nikolay Valuev gave his best performance against Sergei Liakhovich. He, as I have said before, gained the respect he never had in an undefeated career with his fight (and first loss) against Chagaev, last April, and then had a regular comeback fight, nothing special or noteworthy, but now he has performed much better against the White Wolf (a toothless wolf, by the way) and most fans think he is going to defeat Chagaev in their May 31 rematch. If Valuev regains the WBA title…Why not think about a fight against Vitali Klitschko? Evidently, this is only if Klitschko beats Peter. (I also think Valuev should reestablish the usage of his old nickname, The Beast from the East, instead of his new one, The Russian Giant. The new one is too boring.)

I have already commented my thoughts on Peter-Maskaev in a past article, but right now it’s more important to mention the pathetic decision of the WBC of removing Oleg Maskaev from their rankings for only one loss. The April 3 rankings exclude him from the Top15, and have fighters like Carl Davis Drummond or Kali Meehan ranked. Maskaev has not retired officially. He was the champion and the fight was competitive, he wasn’t demolished by Peter, so I think he should have stayed in the Top10. Even Peter Okhello was ranked #12 some months ago (coincidentally, Maskaev’s only successful defense was against him), but Maskaev has been kicked away from the Top15 by the WBC authorities? If they didn’t like him and thought he was so weak, they should have stripped him due to his one-year inactivity in 2007.

Alexander Povetkin defeated Eddie Chambers, but I think both will be players in the division for the immediate future. Povetkin said recently that he was in bad condition for that fight, he was sick and will not fight again in that circumstance. No risk, no reward. Sasha made the right decision –a brave decision also– and didn’t cancel the fight, and now he has secured a mandatory position. If he had cancelled the fight, who knows when he could have been again the mandatory challenger…Two years? Good for Povetkin, he must now wait and then fight Klitschko, probably at the end of the year.

I don’t criticize Klitschko’s choice of facing Tony “The Tiger” Thompson, who deserves the fight after a row of very decent wins (not against one big name, but against three good fighters) and proving that, currently, he is the most accomplished American heavyweight (the next one if Ruiz, who I rank second because of his last loss. I am obviously not counting Holyfield). The other option for Klitschko would be Sasha Povetkin, but one has to be fair and show respect to the fact that Thompson has been mandatory for much more time and also one has to consider this as some kind of “Welcome, Champ” title defense after unifying titles, like, for example, Riddick Bowe’s defense against 36-years old Michael Dokes in 1993 (Bowe had not unified titles but he had just won the Championship). A new episode in the heavyweight division is starting –and I think the lack of emotion will prevail–, but don’t expect more titles to be unified in 2008.

Article posted on 08.04.2008

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