Undefeated heavyweights Alexander Povetkin (22-0, 15 KOs) and Robert Helenius (16-0, 11 KOs) hope to make the afternoon go by a little faster for fight fans Saturday, December 3rd. As the boxing world eagerly anticipates the passing of time leading up to Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito 2, the two talented heavyweights will try to separate themselves from the rest of the pack of contenders in a division clearly dominated by Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko.
Povetkin will face Cedric Boswell (35-1, 26 KOs) while Helenius will square off against Dereck Chisora (15-1, 9 KOs). The fight will air live on EPIX at 2 p.m. EST.
Povetkin currently holds the WBA heavyweight title belt which was needlessly stripped from Wladimir Klitschko in an obvious attempt to garner more sanctioning fees. Still, the strap holds a modicum of legitimacy because in recent years it has recognized the clear line of demarcation between the Klitschko brothers and everyone else in the division.
True to form, Povetkin ranks 3rd among heavyweights in The Boxing Tribune’s unbiased rankings system behind only the top two fighters and legitimate champions in the division, the Klitschkos.
The problem for Povetkin, if there is a problem, is that many fight fans have labeled him the 3rd best heavyweight in the world for a while now. And while he was able to recently defeat former titlist Ruslan Chagaev to show that he’s ready for the next step in a hopefully inevitable showdown with a Klitschko brother, once again he’s chosen to take the path of least resistance by fighting a less threatening foe.
The good thing about boxing, of course, is that a good enough fight on fight night can make up for the bunkest of matchmaking. If you don’t believe me, ask people how much they enjoyed last week’s heavyweight showdown between aging warriors Michael Grant and Francois Botha.
So while the fight with Boswell itself isn’t exactly what most fight fans would have in mind for Povetkin’s career at this point, it may very well end up being worth more in reality than its perceived value. Case in point, Boswell isn’t listed on anyone’s list of heavyweight top contenders, but his lone loss did come way back in 2003 against Jameel McCline. Since that fight, he’s won 14 fights in a row.
But that’s the best fight fans can hope for.
Meanwhile, Robert Helenius seems to be taking the more direct approach to his career. With only 16 fights under his belt thus far, Helenius has done enough against good enough competition to be ranked #8 in the world at heavyweight. He’s already scored sensational knockout wins over former contenders Sam Peter and Siarhei Liakhovich, and now he’s taking on talented contender Dereck Chisora.
This fight will be entertaining.
Moreover, at 6’6”, Helnius represents something the sport hasn’t seen in a while – a tall, talented prospect with real knockout power who (if anything) could pose a threat to the division if only because he’s that. Add to it that he’s displayed tangible skill thus far, and you have a bona fide heavyweight contender.
Helenius fights tall and he uses his jab, but he stands in the pocket to trade shots, too. And that’s exactly the kind of fighter who could make either of the Klitschko brothers fight an exciting fight. To many, that trait may even be more important than his actual potential to beat one.
There’s no real clue as to what happens if both fighters win as expected. Hopefully, an outcome like that would lead to a Povetkin vs. Helenius card early next year with the winner set to fight for a legit world championship soon after.
But this is boxing, people. Rumors are already swirling that Povetkin’s next mandatory per the WBA is none other than former world champion Hasim Rahman.
So there’s that.
Nonetheless, heavyweight boxing serves the sport better by minimally keeping its fighters active and on television which is exactly why this heavyweight doubleheader is worth watching.
Povetkin and Helenius are two of the best heavyweight prospects out there. So, if you’re one of those people who are ready for someone (anyone) to dethrone the Klitschko brothers, you’d be best served by watching the careers of these two fighters first and foremost. Sooner or later, one or both of them will be fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world.
Let’s just hope its sooner.
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