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AJ Needs to Look Good Against Povetkin, but the Russian Won’t be a Free Ride

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  • AJ Needs to Look Good Against Povetkin, but the Russian Won’t be a Free Ride

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    By Frank Lotierzo

    During the Canelo-Golovkin broadcast last weekend, it was mentioned that the two biggest star fighters in boxing were Canelo Alvarez and WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua. Canelo, the newly crowned middleweight champion, was in need of a signature win over a marque opponent to strengthen his claim and Joshua is in the same position heading into his title defense against former WBA title holder Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium Saturday night.

    This time last year, being roughly two months out from his title defense against Carlos Takam, Joshua, 28, was the perceived alpha fighter in the heavyweight division. AJ had won all his fights by knockout and, other than a Wladimir Klitschko right hand that dropped him in the sixth round, looked as if he were a sure thing to be the future of the division. But then he looked average stopping Takam, a late replacement for Kubrat Pulev. Joshua cut Takam, dropped him in the fourth round and stopped him in the 10th, but the stoppage was a little bit of a quick hook in the eyes of most observers and it dulled the win.

    Five months later Joshua fought undefeated WBO titlist Joseph Parker. Three weeks prior to this fight, Joshua rival and WBC title-holder Deontay Wilder, after nearly being stopped in the seventh round, knocked out the most avoided fighter in the division in Luis Ortiz to score the signature win of his career. So the pressure was on Joshua to win impressively.

    Unknown to anyone, Parker showed up only interested in becoming the first fighter Joshua couldn't stop. And AJ didn't endear himself to any newly conformed fans when he fought with little urgency, content to win a lopsided decision. Relying almost exclusively on his jab, he made no real attempt to get Parker out of there. Compounding the shrinking perception of AJ, Takam, in his next bout, was beaten more definitively by Dereck Chisora than he was by Joshua.

    When you take into account that Wilder scored an impressive KO in his last fight over the most formidable opponent he's fought and Joshua only scored one knockdown in his last two fights combined, it's easy to glean why Wilder has narrowed the gap regarding the public perception of them. What's been missed about Joshua's last two bouts, however, is that he was utterly dominant. It's hard to find three rounds he lost of the 22 he was in the ring. But yet, the thing that is most remembered is that AJ didn't look like the doctor of destruction that his physicality and ring record projected him as being.

    When an elite fighter like Anthony Joshua is seen as being a knockout artist and then goes a few fights in a row without delivering a memorable KO, critics and fans begin to find things about their game that are suddenly alarming. And that's why it's imperative for Joshua not just to beat Povetkin; he must become the first fighter to stop him. That will get the attention of the right people and at the same time gain back some of the cachet he ceded to Wilder since March of this year.

    According to The Ring magazine's latest ratings...the top six heavyweights, in order, are Joshua, Wilder, Povetkin, Ortiz, Whyte and Parker. So of those ranked 3-6, Povetkin is the only one who hasn’t yet faced Joshua or Wilder. Many well-known observers who cover boxing also see Povetkin 34-1 (24) as the third best fighter in the division. In fact, the new narrative regarding this fight is that Povetkin is really dangerous. With his power, extensive experience and toughness, he's not an automatic win or free ride for AJ this weekend.

    Yes, that's what they're saying before they get into the ring - so let’s remember that after the bout, because if Joshua 21-0 (20) looks impressive and stops Povetkin, we'll more than likely hear how Povetkin was washed up, having turned 39 earlier this month and having lost to the best fighter he ever touched gloves with in Wladimir Klitschko. In one night, Povetkin will go from being a real test for Joshua to an old man who couldn't beat anybody in the top 10. Conversely, if Povetkin goes the distance and is competitive with Joshua, then, in a knee-jerk reaction and overstatement, many will label AJ a fraud and a sure loser when he faces Wilder.

    The reality is a stoppage win by Joshua will be impressive because Povetkin has never been close to being stopped. Even after going down four times against Klitschko he never looked as if he wanted out and Wladimir was a single shot bigger banger than Joshua is with either hand (with the difference being Joshua gets off more freely and puts his punches together in combination, opposed to Klitschko who force-fed his opponents one-twos. Also, Joshua is quicker handed than Klitschko and that should enable him to land some big shots in succession on the presumably attacking Povetkin).

    Povetkin most likely needs to be inside against Joshua. There's only two ways to do it, either by pressing AJ or moving away and timing him, and the method he chooses will illustrate just how much AJ's power is or isn't too much for him to chance moving in on. If Povetkin pulls a Parker and the fight goes the distance, Joshua shouldn't be excoriated because it's hard to stop a fighter who is only looking to survive. At the same time Joshua will have to let his hands go and fight with more urgency and passion than he showed against Parker, because if he doesn't that will raise my red flag.

    When Joshua crashed the top-10 heavyweight rankings I thought, having watched him closely, that he had the potential of former champ Lennox Lewis. That hasn't changed, but I'm beginning to see Lewis as being more of a natural fighter and AJ as the better athlete. On paper it's close when comparing them, but Lewis, especially under the late Emanuel Steward, kept improving whereas Joshua, after looking so good and well-rounded stopping Klitschko, seems to have plateaued.

    Alexander Povetkin is AJ's twenty-second bout. In Lennox Lewis’s twenty-second bout, he fought Donovan "Razor" Ruddock.

    Ruddock (27-3-1) was a 6’3”, 231-pound, well-built fighter with power in his left hand but limited skills. Povetkin is 6’2” and weighed in at 229 for his last bout. Ruddock's left-hook/uppercut was probably a bigger single shot than anything in Povetkin's arsenal but that's about the only check Razor gets in his column over Povetkin. The Russian fighter has a much higher boxing IQ than Ruddock and is the more technically sound fighter with better structure and form.

    Lewis destroyed Ruddock in two rounds in what was the signature performance of his career at the time. Joshua has already delivered a signature performance, his stoppage of Klitschko after knocking him down three times, but critics and fans have short memories so Joshua needs to deliver another eye opening performance. As was the case for Ruddock when he fought Lewis, Povetkin looks made to order for AJ to look good against. However, Povetkin, unlike Ruddock before he confronted Lewis, has never been stopped and is known for his durability and ruggedness.

    Joshua says he is motivated for Povetkin and isn't looking past him. He says he fears losing, and I don't need him to confirm he has a gigantic ego and cannot be happy about some of the pageantry and attention that Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury have stolen from him. As for Povetkin, this is no doubt his last title shot and he certainly knows this is the fight he needs to put everything together…which should translate into him coming to win which means he's going to fight instead of hoping for pats on the back for showing up. And if Povetkin comes to fight, Joshua should get some great opportunities to shine and post another signature win.

    This is the ideal fight and opponent for AJ to show just what he has and to stay on the same trajectory that Lennox Lewis did after stopping Razor Ruddock.

    Between 1977 and 1982, Frank Lotierzo had over 50 fights in the middleweight division. He trained at Joe Frazier's gym in Philadelphia under the tutelage of the legendary George Benton. Before joining The Sweet Science his work appeared in several prominent newsstand and digital boxing magazines and he hosted "Toe-to-Toe" on ESPN Radio. Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@gmail.com

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel



  • #2
    One guy has elongated muscles (AJ) that are more natural. The other guy has bunched muscles that tend to be the result of weight training blended with--how shall we say--supplements. Wlad Klit has elongated muscles.Holyfield had bunched ones. Not sure what this means because both generate a lot of power but elongated ones tend to have more torque.

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    • #3
      Not a sure win for Joshua, not even close. I actually expect him to emerge the victor, but you won't be able to knock me over with a feather if he doesn't.

      Comment


      • #4

        Very interested to (with non emotional, relaxed, calm and concise language) hear;
        .
        A) Firstly, what the comparative definition of an elongated muscle is.

        B) How, whatever the definition of point “A” becomes, any muscle can itself be defined in terms of torque.



        Torque is a (special kind of) force associated with an object that rotates or spins.

        Muscles don’t usually rotate or spin.

        Muscles connect across bones and perform the function of a lever; whereby force can be applied.



        Whilst I like Alexander, as he is a real solid pro/veteran . . . .

        I don’t like Povetkin’s chances in his upcoming fight with AJ.



        AP has had difficulty previously with tall/long fighters.

        And, I think this will be the case with AJ; even though Joshua is for the most part still quite a big/cumbersome heavyweight.


        Cheers,

        Storm.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by New York Tony View Post
          Not a sure win for Joshua, not even close. I actually expect him to emerge the victor, but you won't be able to knock me over with a feather if he doesn't.
          Agreed

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          • #6
            Joshua 245 ... up 3 pounds from Parker fight and 5 less than for Klitscjo
            Povetkin 222 ... lightest since 2009

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            • Kid Blast
              Kid Blast commented
              Editing a comment
              Bodes poorly for Pov.

          • #7
            Originally posted by GlovedFist View Post
            Joshua 245 ... up 3 pounds from Parker fight and 5 less than for Klitscjo
            Povetkin 222 ... lightest since 2009
            This indicates that Povetkin will probably try to box and move. Not sure about the strategy but he could go rounds. I think we may see a replay of the Parker fight.

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            • #8
              Originally posted by oubobcat View Post

              This indicates that Povetkin will probably try to box and move. Not sure about the strategy but he could go rounds. I think we may see a replay of the Parker fight.
              Agree Matt!

              And that's a mistake. Povetkin isn't winning a decision in Wembley.

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              • #9
                Originally posted by GlovedFist View Post

                Agree Matt!

                And that's a mistake. Povetkin isn't winning a decision in Wembley.
                Pov blends a lot of skills and he does them subtly (or as they say these days---with nuances), He destroyed a lot of guys doing this. I don't see AJ being the better all-around boxer as much as I see him being stronger. But boy, Pro is a very live dog IMO. His KO's of Duhaupas, Perez, and Takem were concussive and violent and his level of opposition has been very stiff all the way back to 2006. He is idolized in Russia and is Putin's favorite male fighter.

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                • #10
                  Povetkin is unique among the "smaller" heavyweights in that he excells against the current breed of giant heavies who dominate recent times. With the exception Klitscho ...who literally wrestled Povetkin more than he boxed was able to contain and defeat him. Only Luis King Kong Ortiz and Deontay Wilder may be more formidable. Povetkin has perfected a giant killer strategy where he gets in close and throws crooked ... looping punches over the guard of the big heavies. None of the other "little" guys can utilize the technique as proficiently. Review his fights with Wach Takam, Price, Charr, and Klits (who held and grappled to nuetralize the looping punch). However AJ who physically looks like the Marvel Comics book version of "Luke Cage" without the afro or if you put him in a loin cloth he's a doppleganger for one the "ForeRunner" Engineers from the classic Sci-Fi flick "Prometheus" probably has the most robust and complete workout regimine of any heavyweight alive....but is lagging behind in the twitch department but is capable of dispatching anyone. If Josh can survive Povetkin's tactics of feignting and leaping his way in to land the over the guard bolo punch he will succeed. AJ is like the Juggernaut if he is allowed to gain momentum with his blungeoning combinations....he becomes unstoppable. The fact that AJ has been so quiet before the fight leads me to believe he is aware of the gargantuan challenge and has prepared well. This will be a great fight. I'm leaning toward Josh but would not be suprised of an upset by Povetkin or a blowout early if AJ can get his motor started before Povetkin gets warmed up.
                  Last edited by brownsugar1; 09-22-2018, 03:11 PM.

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                  • #11
                    Wow...AJ stopped AP before I even finished my prediction in round 7...nice

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                    • Kid Blast
                      Kid Blast commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Great call

                  • #12
                    I think we all knew Povetkin was a live dog...he's the same guy he was when he came from behind and beat Fast Eddie Chambers ... His PED history is not a good look and I'll save that discussion for another topic. But AP is intense when it comes to winning ....some would he wants it too much.

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