Alexander Povetkin didn't have the hottest start today in Moscow, but he dug down deep and fought with serious determination, eventually overpowering Carlos Takam with a knockdown in round nine, and a knockout in round 10.
Povetkin (28-1, 20 KO) had a tough go of it in the first four rounds, as Takam (30-2-1, 23 KO) was able to outbox the former amateur superstar, working behind a jab and landing good power shots that kept Povetkin's own offense largely neutralized. But Povetkin made some adjustments in the middle rounds, and by the end of round eight, had evened it up on the judges' scorecards. The WBC open scores were read at 76-76 for all three judges, and this was a case where the open scoring arguably made a fight better. That's a rare case, but after four rounds, Povetkin knew he was behind and having problems, and he turned up the heat.
Even looking a bit gassed -- nothing new for the Russian -- Povetkin made a nice charge as the fight wore on, dropping Takam pretty hard in the ninth. It wasn't long into the 10th round that he landed a beautiful couple of shits that put Takam flat on his back and out, with referee Kenny Bayless jumping in to stop the fight. It was a clean knockout, and a pretty one at that.
For Povetkin, 35, this is something of a statement fight. Any lingering doubts remaining from the loss to Wladimir Klitschko are probably gone now, insofar as he's still among the best of the rest in the division. And the 33-year-old Takam certainly didn't look like some chump pushover here, either, as he was even with Povetkin before getting caught and knocked out, which happens. It was a good fight with a nice, crisp pace, and both guys look better for it, I think.