We keep being told not to underestimate 39-year-old Russian Alexander Povetkin and that Saturday’s fight is not gimme for Anthony Joshua. For once this isn’t just an attempt at hype by Eddie Hearn and the sky crew. Povetkin has only been beaten once in his career and is a former Olympic champion. He has a lot of miles on the clock but in his last fight he survived a scare and felled ‘big ‘orrible heavyweight’ David Price in devastating fashion. Although that’s not the first time that’s happened to the big hitting Liverpudlian. Price figths on the undercard at Wembley and attempts to reignite his career once more against undefeated Russian Sergey Kuzmin.
Povetkin is a tough fighter and hits very hard. His Olympic background shows that he is also a competent technical fighter too and the betting markets are almost certainly not giving him enough credit pricing him at a current best price of 8/1.
In his last two fights Joshua has not shone in the same way he did pre-Klitschko. Knowing that he can be beaten (he was so close to that against the Ukrainian) and that his unbeaten record as well as a few million from his next fight could vanish just like that, seems to have made him more cautious. It took him 10 rounds to stop a spirited Carlos Takam who was later knocked out more conclusively by Derek Chisora and Joshua was happy to go the distance with Joseph Parker who was almost knocked about by Dillian Whyte.
Joshua claims to want to bring the entertainment factor back to his fighting game for this one but could this just be the spiel to put bum on seats and keep pay per view buy ins high? He is well aware how dangerous Povetkin is and the masssive reach advantage he has over him and so is unlikely to risk a shootout with him, potentially putting pay to an ‘O must go’ fight with Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury.
Indeed, as tough as he might be, the 6ft 2 Russian is the shortest opponent in height and reach (and the lightest) that Joshua’s has faced to date.
|Joshua||6’6’’||82”||17st 4lbs (last fight)|
|Povetkin||6’2’’||75”||16st 5lbs (last fight)|
Even if Joshua does put in on Povetkin and goes looking for the knockout it’s far from guaranteed it will happen. Povetkin hit the canvas 4 times against Vladimir Klitschko and still saw the end of the 12th round. Joshua almost gassed by going for the knockout against Klitschko too and he’ll be mindful of keeping some energy in reserve if Povetkin does catch him.
All things considered, backing Joshua to win by decision at 7/2 makes the most sense to me. It is possible that these two styles could make for a very entertaining fight and a stylish finish but I think there’s too much at stake for Joshua. He will likely keep Povetkin at range using the jab and the roar of the Wembley crowd should edge it for the British man if it gets remotely close on the scorecards.
It’s a case of hedging my bets too. If we do see a knockout by either man, the pay-per-view will have been worth it and I’m less bothered about losing my bet. Should it ‘stink the place out’ though, I want a refund and being on Joshua to win by points will be the best way of achieving it.