Former WBA World heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin (31-1, 23 KOs) will be fighting this Saturday night on July 1 against fringe contender Andriy Rudenko (31-2, 19 KOs) in a 12 round fight for the vacant WBO International title at the Luzhniki in Moscow, Russia. Rudenko is rated #11 WBO, #13 IBF. This is a big step down for Povetkin from his previous fight against Johann Duhaupas, who would likely make easy work of a small heavyweight like the 6-foot Rudenko.
A victory for Povetkin will move him up the World Boxing Organization’s top 15 rankings. Just how far it will push Povetkin up the rankings is the big question. He might need to achieve a No. 1 ranking for him to get a title shot, because it’s unlikely that he’ll be given a title shot without becoming the mandatory challenger to WBO champion Joseph Parker.
Povetkin, 37, will be turning 38 in September. He’s going to need to really make a major push for him to get a title shot before he hits his 40s. It would be very surprising if Povetkin is able to get a title shot in the next 2 years. I think it’s going to take him a long time, especially if Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua gets their hands on Parker’s WBO title. I don’t see either of those guys being in a major rush to fight Povetkin. It’s likely going to require the WBO to make Povetkin the mandatory challenger for the WBO belt or him to get a title shot anytime soon.
This fight is being called, ‘Battle of Russia vs. Ukraine.’ Rudenko, 33, has lost twice in the last 3 years to Hughie Fury and Lucas Browne. Both guys were able to use their superior size to get the better of the smaller 6’0” Rudenko, who would probably be better off fighting at cruiserweight where his lack of size wouldn’t be such a hindrance to his success. Hughie had a fairly easy time beating Rudenko. Povetkin needs to show that he can do a better job of beating Rudenko than Hughie Fury. it might be hard because the 6’2” Povetkin is on the small side for a heavyweight.
Povetkin looked good in defeating Johann Duhaupas by a 6th round knockout in his last fight on December 17. Povetkin wasn’t getting much in the way of resistance from the 6’5” Duhaupas, who wasn’t letting his hands go nearly enough to give himself a chance of winning the fight.
Povetkin didn’t look nearly as good in his previously fight in beating the 6’7” Mariusz Wach by a 12th round knockout in November 2015. Povetkin struggled with the huge size of Wach, who had a 5 inch height advantage over him. Povetkin lost to Wladimir Klitschko 4 years ago in a 12 round decision. Povetkin was dropped 4 times in the fight, and that was with Wladimir fighting in a conservative manner.
If Wladimir had stepped it up a notch, he probably would have easily knocked Povetkin out, because he was just way too big and strong for him. It was a mismatch on size, power and talent for Wladimir. Povetkin looked like a cruiserweight fighting a heavyweight. That’s the division Povetkin should arguably be fighting in. He’s very small for a heavyweight. Povetkin has only lost once during his 12-year pro career but he’s only fought one good heavyweight during all that time in Wladimir.
These are the best fighters Povetkin has fought as a pro:
– Wladimir Klitschko
– Mike Perez
– Mariusz Wach
– Carlos Takam
– Manuel Charr
– Mariusz Wach
– Marco Huck
– Ruslan Chagaev
– Andrzej Wawrzyk
– Chris Byrd
– Jason Estrada
– Larry Donald
– Eddie Chambers
– Javier Mora
As you can see, Povetkin has fought a lot of heavyweights from the previous era. Some of those guys are no longer fighting. Povetkin is still fighting, but he hasn’t fought anyone dangerous since his loss to Wladimir.
Povetkin has had fights against Wilder and Bermane Stiverne wiped out in the last year due to problems with drug testing. Povetkin is now trying to get back to fighting on a regular basis, as he’s missed a lot of time. Povetkin only fought once in 2016, and thus far he’s not fought yet in 2017. For an aging heavyweight, Povetkin needs to increase his ring activity if he wants to get a title shot soon.
Fighting once a year probably won’t get him a quick title shot. It’s going to be hard enough for the smallish Povetkin to beat any of the current heavyweight champions due to their huge size advantage over him. But if Povetkin winds up in his 40s before he gets a crack at a world title, it’s difficult to picture him doing well at all. Just the age factor alone will make it difficult for Povetkin to beat the likes of Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua.
I don’t mention Parker’s name, because he seems more like a temporary champion than a long term one. I don’t believe that Parker will still be a heavyweight champion by the time Povetkin gets locked in as the WBO’s mandatory challenger. It’s likely toing to take Povetkin too long for him to pick up the No.1 spot. Parker will probably be a distant memory by the time Povetkin gets in position to fight for a title.
Rudenko’s best wins of his boxing career has come against these journeyman level fighters:
– Konstantin Airch
– Mike Molla
– Jason Bergman
– Marcelo Luiz Nasciemento
– Raymond Ochieng
– Shalva Jomardashvili
Rudenko lost his only 2 fights against contenders during his career. It’s a mystery why the WBO has Rudenko ranked at all in the top 15. He doesn’t have wins against good opposition for him to be rated in the top 15. The WBO sees something in Rudenko for them to put him in their top 15. But if you’re going on the level of opposition that Rudenko has fought, he shouldn’t be ranked in the top 15. When you lose against the only two quality fighters you’ve faced during your career, then you shouldn’t be rated in the top 15. Rudenko is more of a bottom 50 type heavyweight in my book. You can argue that Rudenko’s true ring record is 0-2 due to his 31 victories in his career being against poor opposition in record-padding fights.