Alexander Povetkin picked up his first major title today by defeating Ruslan Chagaev. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Alexander Povetkin stayed undefeated and picked up the "regular" WBA heavyweight title today in Erfurt, Germany, defeating Ruslan Chagaev on unanimous decision scores of 116-112, 117-113, and 117-113. Bad Left Hook scored the fight 117-111 for Poevtkin.
Povetkin (22-0, 15 KO) has had a longer-than-anticipated road to a major title, a road filled with surprising detours away from the title scene after pairing with American trainer Teddy Atlas, who pulled back Povetkin's career momentum in a big way and had him fighting unworthy opponents for the lats couple of years.
And today, he did look a little out of shape, with his stamina being pressed hard pretty early in the bout. Chagaev (27-2-1, 17 KO) had some success in the middle rounds with a heavy left hand that at one point seemed to really hurt the Russian, but he just didn't have any rhythm throughout the fight. He seemed intent on winning the fight with just that left hand, and did little to establish it. Once Povetkin got it figured out, Chagaev was pretty empty as far as ideas for winning the fight.
Povetkin, 31, is a titlist now and won this fight convincingly, but in many ways the 32-year-old Chagaev just didn't make it tough for him today. Many expected that by now, Povetkin would be much further along in his career, but he's still without a doubt well behind the Klitschko brothers, and I wouldn't pick him over David Haye after this performance, because I don't think his style would serve him well against Haye. Tomasz Adamek or Chris Arreola are better style matchups for him, in my view, but chances look "good" that Poevtkin will next face Evander Holyfield, who turns 49 years old in October. Holyfield was at yesterday's weigh-in and was in the crowd today, featured often on camera. It's a terrible fight that shouldn't happen because Holyfield doesn't deserve it, but that never stops anyone in boxing.
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