Alexander Povetkin might be fighting at home in Russia when he challenges WBC heavyweight ruler Deontay Wilder on May 21st, but the former Olympian who captured gold will likely be the underdog in the eyes of many fans – maybe by a margin of something like 60/40 or 70/30, with the edge going to Wilder. The biggest reason Povetkin will not be favoured to win is his height, or lack of. Wilder is 6’7” and Povetkin stands a little under 6’1.” That’s quite a disadvantage for the Russian.
When we factor in Wilder’s reach and one-punch power, the job Povetkin faces looks even more like a tough one. Povetkin is an aggressive puncher, but coming in against the long arms of Wilder will surely prove dangerous. Is it all that hard to imagine Povetkin walking onto the kind of bomb Wilder can detonate at any time, and being taken out? Wilder, if he’s smart, will use his advantages and look to keep Povetkin in his place all night. Maybe Wilder can even make the fight an easy night’s work?
That’s what then-champion Wladimir Klitschko did when he scored a wide and dominant points win over Povetkin back in 2013. Povetkin simply could not get near the champion’s chin. Fans want to see Wilder’s chin tested and some see the May fight as one where this will happen. But if Wilder keeps his man at arm’s length and ties him up on the inside whenever Povetkin gets there, will the challenger be able to score effectively upstairs? And Wilder, in speaking with Premier Boxing Champions, said he plans to pretty much do what Klitschko did to the dangerous Povetkin.
“Basically what [Wladimir] Klitschko did to [Povetkin] is that he stayed tall and he was the more aggressive guy,” Wilder said. “That’s what I’m planning to do, is to stay tall and be aggressive.”
What will Povetkin be able to do to counter such an approach by the champion? A body attack is an obvious possible approach that Povetkin might use, but he will likely have to come through a hail of shots each and every time he tries to work his way in. Wilder is taking a risk, some say, by going to Russia, but unless he gets dragged into a wild slugfest or gets tagged early with a shot while he’s still cold, it’s tough to predict a Wilder loss.
Klitschko has given tall fighters, good tall fighters, the blueprint on how to defeat Povetkin. Wilder now needs to follow it next month. Wilder by wide UD looks a good bet.