Alexander Povetkin won't have to push himself so hard in his next fight. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
After a grueling contest today in Stuggart, Germany, which saw Alexander Povetkin retain his WBA "regular" heavyweight title against Marco Huck in a very competitive, very entertaining fight, the still-reigning "champ" can rest easy knowing his next fight won't be as much of a problem.
In case you forgot, the WBA ruled about a month ago that Hasim Rahman, a totally shot former world champion, was mandated to face the winner of Povetkin vs Huck within 120 days of today's fight. Kalle Sauerland announced this evening that Rahman will indeed be next for Povetkin.
So just in case you were having some good vibes about heavyweight boxing right now, I wanted to come along and shoot your balloon with a rocket launcher.
Povetkin (24-0, 16 KO) survived by the skin of his teeth today against Huck (34-2, 25 KO), who proved he can hang in the heavyweight division against the best of the best who are not named Klitschko, and now gets to go back to fighting old men and guys who haven't been good in years, because he hasn't done enough of that in his career to date.
Since I don't feel like typing this out again, I'll copy and paste myself from January 23:
This is bogus on top of bogus, as Rahman (50-7-2, 41 KO) hasn't been a legitimate top heavyweight in seven years, and in his last fight came in at a grotesque 284 pounds on the scales (or about 50 pounds over his peak weight) to defeat Galen Brown last June, and just looked physically shot to all hell in the sixth round TKO win.
I guess a string of wins over the likes of Brown, Marcus McGee, Damon Reed, Shannon Miller and Clinton Boldridge is good enough to "earn a world title shot" these days.
The last time Rahman was on the major stage, he was a replacement opponent against Wladimir Klitschko in December 2008, when Povetkin ducked Klitschko for the first time. Rahman was throttled and mercifully stopped in seven, not even remotely competitive in the fight.
Rahman, 39, hasn't been a legitimate contender in the division since 2006, really, when he lost his WBC belt to Oleg Maskaev via TKO-12. I mean, obviously he was still a highly-ranked fighter for a bit after, but with the benefit of valuable hindsight, we see that Rahman's career essentially fell off a cliff with the loss to Maskaev. His most notable fight since then, besides his pasting at the hands of Klitschko, was a no-contest against James Toney in July 2008.
He's not a serious fighter anymore, and for the WBA to force him into a title shot is some kind of bizarre. It's not even like he's promoted by some powerful broker -- he's promoted by Greg Cohen, who has trouble getting good fights for Austin Trout and came out of that utter failure of boxing promotion called "The Empire."
Here are Rahman's own comments about himself last June, following his lousy win over Galen Brown, which he admitted was lousy:
"I don't really feel like that was me in there. There's no way -- in all due respect to Galen Brown, but I done knocked guys out in two rounds that knocked him out in three, four rounds. There's no way on God's green earth that I think that this man should go five, six rounds with me. I just can't see it. I'm still in shock. I feel like I lost the fight. ... Basically, it all boils down to me not listening to my corner. ... I just wanted to electrify the crowd, hit him with a big right hand, but I kept missing. ... I let this man go six rounds with me, that's like a loss, man. I can't be taken seriously as a legitimate title threat coming off of this fight. I need a fight as soon as possible."
So there you have it, straight from the man himself: He cannot be taken seriously as a legitimate title threat coming off of the win over Galen Brown, where Rahman weighed 284 pounds on the scales. That was his last fight. So you're free to not take him remotely seriously when he faces Povetkin.