Alexander Povetkin is having trouble getting Teddy Atlas over to Russia for his training camp. (Photo by Thomas Niedermueller/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Though Alexander Povetkin himself isn't making any comments on the matter, his manager Vladimir Hryunov is making clear that he's grown more than a little impatient with the fighter's American trainer, and that they have a replacement lined up if Teddy Atlas doesn't soon join camp for Povetkin's February 25 fight against Marco Huck.
"Two American sparring partners are already in Chekhov, while two more are coming to replace them very soon. Teddy Atlas knows this but he is still in the States ... There’s an item in Teddy’s contract which addresses [the ESPN situation] and clarifies it with sufficient details. The situation can be compared with the flow of events in summer, when Atlas visited Russia and was financially indemnified for his activities. This time Atlas was offered to come to Russia on Monday (Jan. 16) and he was offered compensation for any possible conflicts with ESPN in regards to any missed dates."
Once again, the hold-up appears to be as it was last summer, before Povetkin fought Ruslan Chagaev, when Atlas chose to favor his commitments to ESPN Friday Night Fights over the fighter.
Povetkin (23-0, 16 KO) and Huck (34-1, 25 KO) are lined up for what could be a very good, very competitive fight, and though Povetkin is the naturally bigger man and the favorite, Huck is not the sort of guy he can afford to take lightly. If Atlas doesn't join the team, Bild says that Russian trainer Alexander Zimin will take over officially. Zimin is currently leading the camp.
Sauerland Event, Povetkin's promoter, have offered no real opinion on the matter, though they have confirmed hearing about the Zimin rumors.
I don't understand the Atlas-Povetkin partnership, really -- it seems like this sort of thing comes up far too often, and despite winning that paper title, Atlas has not made Povetkin any better a fighter than he already was years ago. It just seems like more headache than it's really worth, and one would be forgiven for believing that Povetkin's Russian team would like to edge Atlas out the door.