HAMBURG - Alexander Povetkin stands 6-foot-2 and tips the scales at around 230 pounds. He is a former amateur world champion (2003) and Olympic gold medalist (2004) with a perfect record (24-0) as a professional.
And that’s about all anyone really knows about him.
Is Povetkin an elite heavyweight? Some evidence says yes. The skills are there, obviously. And Povetkin has a handful of quality wins on his resume, including over Chris Byrd, Eddie Chambers and Ruslan Chagaev, the last of which came with a fringe version of the WBA title.
Is Povetkin a pretender? There is evidence of that, too. Recently, when his competition should have been better, it has gotten worse.
His first title defense was a knockout of 42-year old Cedric Boswell, who stepped into the ring with a jiggly belly and a torn up shoulder. Up next was Marco Huck, a credible cruiserweight who nearly put Povetkin down before losing a narrow majority decision.
On Saturday, Povetkin will defend his alphabet title against 39-year-old former champion Hasim Rahman, who fights in the 270s -- he was 238 pounds when he knocked out Lennox Lewis as a 15-to-1 underdog in 2001 -- has a bad right wrist and after taking a beating from Wladimir Klitschko in 2008 “earned” this title shot by knocking out five straight club fighters and, presumably, signing over one of his children to the WBA.
There’s a simple solution, of course: Put Povetkin in with the best. Povetkin’s promoter, Sauerland Event, doesn’t seem interested; he’s protected better than the President. Wladimir Klitschko has twice tried to make a deal to face Povetkin, only to be rebuffed.
Tomasz Adamek’s promoter, Kathy Duva, offered Povetkin the slot against Adamek on Dec. 22, a fight that would have zapped Povetkin into 115 million homes in the U.S. that would have enabled Sauerland to collect European money. Duva never heard back.
On Wednesday, Povetkin was asked if he wanted that career-defining fight. “Of course,” Povetkin said. “A fight against Klitschko would be great.”