Tomorrow on ESPN+ from London, Vasiliy Lomachenko will headline against Luke Campbell in the lightweight title main event. But there’s an intriguing heavyweight clash on the bill, too, with twice-beaten Hughie Fury looking to establish himself as a serious heavyweight player against longtime contender Alexander Povetkin.
Our staffers make their picks.
I’m not personally, as a fight fan, high on Hughie Fury. He’s not fun to watch, he doesn’t have a big personality, he’s not a puncher, and he’s not absurd in any way, really. Those are the potential reasons I like the heavyweights, and he ticks none of the boxes. In the ring, it’s my belief that nothing about his skill set is really special other than he’s tall and can jab a bit when he wants to do so. But he’s a capable and smart enough boxer to hang around for 12 rounds with good fighters, as we’ve seen in his losses to Joseph Parker and Kubrat Pulev.
Povetkin is 39 years old and surely nearing the end of a career that never got a chance to reach the heights it might have thanks to the Klitschkos ruling his prime and then giving way to Fury/Wilder/Joshua (and now Andy Ruiz, of course) for a few more years, but he can still fight. Worryingly, he’s been out of the ring for 11 months following a stoppage loss to Anthony Joshua, but if he’s still what he was going into that fight, he deserves to be at least a slight favorite here.
I think Fury will get the win on Saturday. Please note I’m very purposely not saying I think Fury will beat Povetkin. I don’t think he will beat Povetkin. I think he’ll be declared the winner against Povetkin. Fury MD-12
I could go into a whole spiel about this style matchup, but the short version is Fury could be all sorts of wrong for Povetkin at this stage of his career. And it’s not even that I rate Hughie Fury very highly, but the dimensions of this fight should favor Fury even if he is the slight underdog on the betting lines. Povetkin is 39 years old, hasn’t fought since getting stopped by Anthony Joshua a year ago, and has always fought better against stationary targets. And because Fury, 24, is taller, longer, fresher, and much better on his feet than Povetkin, I think he could use his mobility to continually force Povetkin to lunge at him from the outside.
In all honesty, I think there is a strong chance this fight ends up being a relative stinker because I think Fury will mostly look to pot shot on the move, then smother on the inside making for some sloppy and intermittent action, but that’s just the sort of fight Fury can take on the cards. Fury UD-12
Patrick L. Stumberg
It’s been nearly a year since Alexander Povetkin last fought and he turns 40 in a few days; if he’s going to fall off a metaphorical cliff at some point, now’s the time. Alas, Father Time’s deadlines are beyond my ken, so I have to work off of the assumption that the last Povetkin I saw will be stepping into the ring.
That Povetkin beats Fury pretty comfortably.
The only standout weakness Povetkin has shown besides a proclivity for destroying big-name fights via PEDs is an inability to handle top-tier power. He was doing quite well against Anthony Joshua before eating a shot he couldn’t withstand, and as much as people like to diminish AJ’s accomplishments after the Ruiz debacle, that’s still a praiseworthy feat. “Sasha” has the technical skills to recreate Kubrat Pulev’s successful efforts against Fury, who lacks the oomph to keep Povetkin honest. A strong jab and consistent power punches earn Povetkin a decently wide decision. Povetkin UD-12
A bit of a cross-roads fight, this one. Povetkin is taking his third fight in a row on UK soil after exhausting the list of B & C-level heavyweights he could drag to Russia. Fury has come up short in his two big step-ups against Pulev and Parker, however, he could be catching the ageing ‘Sasha’ at an opportunist time. Povetkin hasn’t looked great in his most recent outings — causing Joshua a couple of problems in the opening rounds of their September fight now looks less noteworthy — and will be relying on his amateur schooling to negate the movement of Hughie.
Povetkin is clearly on a mission to milk as much cash out of his last few fights as possible, with Dave Allen the expected opponent before this fell through after he was outclassed by David Price. Hughie is a much sterner test than Allen, and if he lets his right hand go in the fight, the Russian could find himself in deep water. I’ve got this down as a real 50/50, and even though the bookies are siding with Povetkin, the value comes in the upset. Hughie has been bold in his choice of opposition — it’s about time he got one right. Fury SD-12