Ruslan Chagaev and Alexander Povetkin are involved in negotiations for a fight later this year, which would most likely wind up being for the WBA's "regular" heavyweight title after Wladimir Klitschko lifted their belt from David Haye this past weekend. The WBA's hilarious rules state that unified titleholders are turned into "super" "champions," meaning that Klitschko -- who holds the WBO, IBF, WBA and fringe IBO belts -- will be a "super champion," leaving the WBA open to throw another trinket into the fold and get some more "sanctioning" fees from other fighters. They must be so thrilled.
Chagaev (27-1-1, 17 KO) has been involved with the WBA's belt for years now, as he was previously part of the big circle jerk the organization held between Chagaev, Nikolai Valuev and John Ruiz. His only career loss came to Wladimir Klitschko in 2009, but really the 32-year-old from Uzbekistan hasn't looked particularly good in years, and most recently has sort of sleep-walked through fights with Kali Meehan and Travis Walker.
Povetkin (21-0, 15 KO) was a Russian amateur standout who turned pro in 2005 after winning gold at the 2004 Olympics, and now is 31 with an odd career pattern. After "tuning up" for a while, he beat former titlist Chris Byrd and Eddie Chambers in late 2007/early 2008 to win a four-man tournament the IBF held to determine a No. 1 contender. He then signed for fight Wladimir Klitschko in December 2008, but pulled out due to injury. After that, he hooked up with Teddy Atlas as trainer, and his career has been in a holding pattern as Atlas him beating guys the level he was beating in 2006. Povetkin also pulled out of a signed fight with Klitschko for a second time, and then lost his mandatory challenger status with the IBF.
Currently, Chagaev is the mandatory challenger for the WBA, but a deal could not be reached with David Haye, as the fight would have taken place in the UK, where Chagaev cannot get cleared to fight due to having previously tested positive for hepatitis B. Povetkin is the No. 2 ranked challenger by the WBA. The rest of their top five is Denis Boytsov, Alexander Ustinov, and Hasim Rahman. Tomasz Adamek was at last glance the No. 13-ranked challenger, while Jean Marc Mormeck was No. 7. You betcha.
But in all sincerity, if you ignore the idiotic title stuff around the fight, Povetkin vs Chagaev is a good heavyweight fight, and one that makes sense for both. Povetkin desperately needs to stop fighting D-level heavyweights, and Chagaev would be a step back toward real contention.