The Sporthalle, Alsterdorf, in Hamburg, Germany, is the venue on Saturday September 29th for the WBA World heavyweight title bout between the unbeaten champion Alexander Povetkin, and former WBC heavyweight champion Hasim ‘The Rock’ Raham of the United States.
The fight was originally due to take place in July, but Rahman suffered a hand injury, so with over two months to recover, it is hoped that he is fully recovered, and he will need to be if he is to entertain any hope of defeating the Russian, who boasts a perfect record of 24-0 with 16 k.o’s.
For Povetkin it will be a third defence of the crown he himself captured from Ruslan Chagaev in August 2011. Since then, the 2004 super-heavyweight Olympic gold medallist has not really proved himself, beating 42-year-old Cedric Boswell before gaining a points verdict over WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck. It was only a two to one majority on the night, and many reckoned it could have easily gone the other way, but it appeared as though Povetkin, looking slow and unconditioned, had not been overworking in the gym.
We would assume that the 32-year-old has since upped his training regime as he bids to see off an opponent seven years older, and with a lifetime record of 50-7-2. Significantly though, 41 of those victories were knockouts, and Rahman, who has won his last five bouts inside the distance, does have a superior reach advantage.
The American’s last defeat in fact was four years ago to none other than Wladimir Klitschko in a unification bout for the WBO, IBF and IBO World titles, and granted since then he has been put in against some truly inferior opponents such as Marcus McGee and Galen Brown. He only beat the latter on a TKO last year, and has been out of the ring since then to prepare for this fight.
It is asking a lot for the Baltimore boxer to end Povetkin’s unbeaten record, but he does possess a big punch as Lennox Lewis will testify. Back in 2001 he took the WBC, IBF and IBO titles off Lewis, catching him cold in the 5th round, although Lewis gained revenge later that year, dishing out the same treatment to Rahman in the 4th.
Time catches up with everyone though, and it is hard to see this going the full 12 rounds, with the superior technique of Povetkin likely to tell by the eighth at the latest.