Povetkin beats Chambers, Chambers beats self

Photo © Miguel Villagran/AP

Alexander Povetkin improved to 15-0 with a runaway unanimous decision win over previously-unbeaten American "Fast" Eddie Chambers yesterday in Berlin, coming away victorious on scores of 117-111, 116-112, and 119-109. HBO's Harold Lederman had it 117-111 for Povetkin, and my card here for the SBN Fight Night at Bad Left Hook was also for the Russian, 115-113.

Usually when I have a card like 115-113 and an official card reads 119-109, I will go ahead and elaborate as to why I think that scoring was unfair, and potentially just outright shitty. But this isn't one of those cases. Watching Eddie Chambers over the second half of this fight was absolutely frustrating.

Now, I'm not a big Eddie Chambers fan. I like the guy, I like watching him fight because he's one of the few heavyweights out there with real boxing skills -- frankly, he may be the best pure boxer in the division, even counting this loss. And I can feel confident in saying that because when he boxed, he kicked Povetkin's ass. He really did. I thuoght he won five rounds, though a couple of them were very debatable, and I thought he won the early portion of the fight convincingly.

Povetkin is not a big, lumbering guy. He weighed in at 227, Chambers at 219. Povetkin has respectable hand speed, is well-balanced if not exactly quick on his feet, and he comes to fight.

But Chambers' hand speed -- unrivaled in the division -- was too much for Povetkin. Povetkin wasn't overwhelmed by it, but he clearly didn't have any way to answer back on Chambers.

But the usual chinks in the armor were there again on "Fast" Eddie's side. When he landed his lead right, which he was doing extremely well, he didn't follow. When he would land a three-punch combo, he didn't follow it up. He stood there, admiring his work, seemingly unsure of where to go next. You can't do that if you're not a big puncher, and Eddie Chambers is anything but.

Over the second half of the bout, Povetkin flat-out outworked Chambers. On the night, he threw 929 punches, compraed to Chambers 398. That is a massive gulf in activity. And it was all because Eddie Chambers stopped fighting. Yes, he's a counter-puncher, and yes, Povetkin was staying so busy that it's tough to counter.

But at some point, to beat a guy like that, you kind of just have to let the hands go. He never got to that point. In fact, the more the fight wore on, the less Eddie fought. By the final two rounds, he was done. He was finished. He wasn't even trying anymore.

After the fight, Max Kellerman suggested that Chambers should go down to cruiserweight, where he would be a top-notch fighter. I fundamentally agree, and so do most people. But as good as the cruiserweight division really is (it slams the hell out of the heavyweight division), the money is at heavyweight. Arguably the top two cruiserweights in the world will square off on March 8, and we as Americans feel lucky that Showtime picked it up. Meanwhile, a heavyweight eliminator bout between two top ten contenders -- neither of them stars in America -- was eagerly picked up by HBO months in advance.

The heavyweights are the heavyweights, and Eddie Chambers is in the division for a reason, same as Chris Byrd was. He won't move to cruiserweight. He just won't.

And I don't even think there's any need to. From what I can gather in his career, he's got a good enough beard to be fighting in the division. His boxing skills set him apart from most of his potential opponents. While nobody fears his power, did anybody fear Byrd's? Byrd was a champion, and a good one. There's really no reason that Eddie Chambers can't be, too.

Except...

Except for the fact that Eddie Chambers doesn't appear to have the balls as a fighter to go that far. Chris Byrd fought with a willingness to get hurt in order to win. You all saw the second fight with Klitschko; dumb or not, Byrd thought his course of action was go toe-to-toe with Wladimir. He got demolished. But it's that sort willingness to engage -- which also got Byrd knocked out against Povetkin -- that made him the fighter he was. It's a given that you're going to lose fights. The No. 1 heavyweight in the world has lost three.

If Eddie Chambers is going to be a champion-level fighter in the heavyweight division, he has to risk losing in order to win against top guys. Otherwise, they're going to beat him on the cards, just like Povetkin did.

Photo © Jan Sanders/HBO

Stealing the Show

I don't know how many people watched this fight, and I don't know how many of you paid much attention to the between-rounds corner segments on Chambers' side, but in what was a pretty good fight, I found myself most entertained by the dynamic between Eddie Chambers, Sr., and Buddy McGirt.

McGirt was working as a second for Chambers, as Eddie and his father went down to Florida to work with Buddy for this fight. All in all, a good decision. Buddy's a great trainer, and frankly, Eddie could use someone besides his father helping him for fights. I think this is true of most father-son, trainer-fighter relationships. It's never helped Tito Trinidad.

Eddie Chambers, Sr., is not against foul language, but he says it softly. He's not a yeller. He doesn't get in his son's face and raise hell, no matter what's going on. And then you have Buddy McGirt out on the apron. "You bullshittin'!" in his familiar Buddy shout.

"You wanna win this fight? You wanna win this fight? Then stop fuckin' around! You bullshittin'!"

"Sounds like me, doesn't it?" asked Eddie, Sr., directly following McGirt's verbal assault. And he said it in his regular speaking tone. Calm as pond water on a clear day in June.

You could hear Buddy all night. You never heard Eddie, Sr., unless the camera was in the corner.

The best moment of the whole thing was Buddy taking over in the ring after the eighth round, getting into Chambers' face in his gruff tone. Then, Eddie's dad -- and the lead trainer -- meekly peeks his head through two people on the apron, and mumbles, "Hey, Eddie..." before the camera leaves the corner.

Absolutely brilliant. These two should get a TV show.

Saturday's Other Results

On the Povetkin-Chambers undercard, European middleweight champion Sebastian Sylvester beat unproven, veteran Frenchman Francois Bastient on unanimous decision scores of 120-108, 119-108 and 118-109. Sylvester is now 28-2, and has won seven straight since a 2006 loss to Amin Asikainen, which he avenged last year.

WBA featherweight champion Chris John retained his title when unfit challenger Roinet Caballero decided not to continue after seven rounds. It was the fourth straight horseshit title defense for John, who really hasn't fought anyone of note since a controversial decision win against Juan Manuel Marquez in 2006. As of today, Marquez is considered one of the five or so best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and John is a celebrity in Indonesia, and mostly considered the best 126-pounder in the game, but at this point, you have to start questioning it. Steven Luevano, Robert Guerrero and Jorge Linares are all deserving of consideration, and do more than the bare minimum to get by. I think John's a really good fighter, and that we'll never find out if he's great.

In China, Derrick Rossy (whose lone career loss was to Chambers last year) beat Ray Mercer -- yes, that Ray Mercer -- on scores of 117-111, 117-111 and 115-113 to win the following three meaningless trinkets: the WBO NABO heavyweight title, the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council heavyweight title, and the WBF International heavyweight title. Good thing those two guys paid the WBO, the WBC and the WBF to have a fight with each other that no one relevant could give a shit about. Beating up a 46-year old Papa Ray Mercer does not make me think that Derrick Rossy is back on the map, sorry.

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