Alexander Povetkin-Now it's time to step up and fight Wladimir Klitschko

Alexander Povetkinby Paul McCreath - If you look back a few years to say about late 2006 the best heavyweight prospect in the world was young Alex Povetkin. He had won Olympic gold in 2004 and the world amateur title the year before. By December of 2006 he had won his first 10 bouts as a pro and seemed headed straight for the top. He didn't waste much time. By late 2007 he had 4 more wins including a 10 round decision over fringe contender Larry Donald and a 12 round win over former champ Chris Byrd in an IBF eliminator. The following January he earned his shot at champion Wlad Klitschko by outpointing unbeaten Eddie Chambers over 12 rounds in a final eliminator. He was now the number one contender on just about every list.

That was close to 2 and 1/2 years ago and we are still waiting for the big title fight. Both fighters signed to meet but Alex got injured and the fight was postponed and never rescheduled. Between stepping aside for Tony Thompson to meet Wlad for the WBO belt and four tune-up fights we have seen one delay after another. The latest has been the addition of a new trainer, Teddy Atlas that required Alex to take more time to get ready for Wlad. Meanwhile Wlad has defended his title four times since Povetkin became the mandatory. It should be obvious by now that somewhere along the line Alex decided that he was not likely to defeat Wlad so he has been in no hurry to get on with the fight..

But enough is enough! Alex cannot remain the mandatory challenger indefinitely. Surely he has to sign for the fight now or relinquish his standing as first in line. Reports have it that Teddy Atlas wants still more time. He thinks Povetkin is still not ready and maybe he is right. Alex may never be ready for Wlad Klitschko. Perhaps rather than taking a likely defeat now against Wlad that could ruin him permanently Alex would be better off taking another approach. His career might be better served by being patient, passing up the Wlad fight but staying busy otherwise while he waits for Vitali Klitschko to retire and leave the WBC title vacant.

While waiting for Vitali to go away there are several options open to Alex. He could go for the European title. Audley Harrison holds it right now but may give it up to fight David Haye. If he does relinquish then his challenger Alex Dimitrenko could be matched with Povetkin in a lucrative fight for all concerned. If Harrison keeps the belt and meets Dimitrenko then Alex could fight the winner. Either fight would be winnable and financially rewarding as well as leaving Povetkin in the ideal position in the ratings to qualify for an elimination tournament to decide a successor to Vitali. This would look to be a much easier route to a title than trying to go through Wlad. He could also just take two or three "keep busy" fights and wait his turn which would still be sure to come.

I don't know which way Povetkin will decide to go but he needs to make up his mind now. Wlad needs a fight soon and Sam Peter and perhaps others are in waiting. Maybe Sam Peter could be matched with another top rated fighter to determine a legitimate and new mandatory challenger. The IBF have given Wlad and Alex a deadline to reach agreement for a fight or face purse offers. It is time now for Povetkin to step up and sign or step aside. Come on Alex. Which will it be?

Article posted on 01.06.2010

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