Former Champ Nicolai Valuev Says Teddy Atlas’ Withdrawal From Training Povetkin Ahead Of Saturday’s Clash With Huck Could Hurt Povetkin’s Chances

By James Slater: Former World Boxing Association (WBA) heavyweight champ Nicolai Valuev has given his take on the split Russian heavyweight titlist Alexander Povetkin and his former trainer Teddy Atlas have just undergone. Speaking with RIA Novosti today, the retired giant had things to say that, if he reads them, will likely annoy Atlas.

Valuev says Atlas’ actions of “casting aside” Povetkin so close to the big fight may “undermine” the Regular WBA champ’s chances of winning on Saturday night.

“Teddy Atlas, of course, undermined him by not taking part in the preparation for the fight,” said Valuev, now a politician. “We don’t put money above all else. It’s important but not so important that you take your trainee and cast him aside in such a trivial manner before a crucial fight.”

I for one feel Valuev is being too hard on Atlas. According to the ESPN commentator, the deal with Povetkin was and always was that he would only go to Russia to train the unbeaten former Olympian when ESPN Friday Night Fights was not in season. Teddy, as he has made clear, is only honouring his contract with the station. Atlas simply cannot be in two places at the same time.

In any case, the RIA Novosti article reports that Alexander Zimm will now work with Povetkin, having replaced Atlas - for this Saturday’s fight at least. And despite his criticism of Atlas, Valuev still feels Povetkin will win against Huck.

“Huck is a quick boxer, he’s a cruiser. I myself fought a similar type of boxer in David Haye and I know what the deal is,” Valuev said. “ Huck has good hand speed but the weight difference will come into play in Alex’s favour.”

Valuev predicted a torrid start from Huck, during which Povetkin will have to take some shots, before the naturally bigger man takes over in the late rounds. I hate to disagree with the one-time “Beast From The East” for a second time, but I think Huck will pull out a close points win on Saturday. If this is the case, I sure hope nobody blames Teddy Atlas for the defeat of Povetkin. Somehow I think some people will do just that.

Article posted on 22.02.2012

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