Alexander Povetkin vs Bermane Stiverne
Record: 30-1 (22 KO) ... Streak: W4 ... Last 5: 4-1 ... Last 10: 9-1 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 6’2" / 75" ... Age: 37
Notes: Most recently famous for failed drug tests that scrapped a fight with Deontay Wilder earlier this year, Povetkin is a former titleholder who also unsuccessfully challenged Wladimir Klitschko back in 2013 in one of the worst world heavyweight title fights of all time.
One thing I wonder about Povetkin sometimes: has his career been a disappointment? He’s only got the one loss, but he also has largely avoided significant competition. What are his best wins? A disputed decision over cruiserweight Marco Huck? Carlos Takam? Mike Perez? Ruslan Chagaev, a washed up Chris Byrd, Eddie Chambers? Mariusz Wach?
It’s just not that impressive a run. As a titleholder — which was a paper belt, as he held the WBA "world" title while Klitschko was "super world" champion — he defended against Cedric Boswell, Huck, a totally shot Hasim Rahman, and Andrzej Wawrzyk. That is a pitiful reign.
Given the hype with which he came into the pros as a celebrated amateur and 2004 Olympic gold medalist, more was really expected of Povetkin, wasn’t it? You can fault the era all you want, but even within the era he hasn’t stood out other than he was always considered a contender. But when he fought the best guy, he was borderline useless.
This matchup is obviously a better one for him than that one. Not only is Stiverne not as good as Klitschko, but his dimensions and style should give Povetkin a pretty solid edge.
Record: 25-2-1 (21 KO) ... Streak: W1 ... Last 5: 4-1 ... Last 10: 8-1-1 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 6’2" / 77" ... Age: 38
Notes: Another former paper titleholder, Stiverne beat Chris Arreola for the vacant WBC belt in 2014, then promptly lost it in his first defense to Deontay Wilder. He is the only man Wilder has faced who went the distance, which is a moral victory, I suppose.
Stiverne is, like, an OK fighter, at his best. His last time out, he looked shaky against veteran Derric Rossy, dropped in the first round and winning a fairly narrow decision on scores of 95-94, 96-93, and 96-93. It was a fight he did deserve to win, but not one where he was impressive.
Physically, he matches up fine with Povetkin. They’re both big men, but kind of small for today’s heavyweight division. Conditioning will be big for Stiverne. At his best, he weighs around 240 pounds. Against Rossy, he checked in at 254½, and it did him no favors whatsoever. He’s best when he’s aggressive, but so is Povetkin, and if either of them is going to be a counter puncher effectively, it’s probably the Russian.
Matchup Grade: C+. They both last fought in November 2015, so they’re equally rusty if anything. I don’t dislike this fight. For what it is, it could be pretty fun if they’re both in shape and come to fight. Like I said, they’re both best when they’re aggressive. If they have that mindset, we could get some fireworks.