Byrd, Povetkin, Chambers And Brock - Who Will Win Their Heavyweight Tourney And Challenge Wladimir Klitschko?
(Alexander Povetkin in photo) 10.10.07 - By James Slater: The first fight in a series of heavyweight elimination bouts which will give us a worthy challenger for International Boxing Federation king Wladimir Klitschko is soon to be upon us.
Article posted on 10.10.2007
On October 27th, in Erfurt, Germany, former world champion Chris Byrd and the unbeaten Russian, Alexander Povetkin, will meet in fight number one. Then, on November 2nd, in Tacoma, Washington, the unbeaten Eddie chambers will box the once-beaten Calvin Brock in fight number two. And finally, some time in early spring next year, the two winners will meet to decide who gets a crack at Wladimir himself.
The tournament is a good idea and all four boxers are worthy of inclusion in said tournament. The question is, who will win both of his fights and thus emerge as Klitschko's challenger?
Fight one: Povetkin vs. Byrd.
Chris Byrd, 40-3-1(21) is a talented, quick and slippery southpaw. The problem here, however, against the man many see as the heavyweight division's new star in the 13-0(10) Povetkin, is Byrd's age. Now 37, and after already having had a quite illustrious career, Byrd cannot possibly be the same force he was when he was defeating the likes of David Tua and Evander Holyfield back in 2001/2002. Recent inactivity could be a problem for Byrd too. Since his 7th round TKO loss to Wladimir in April of last year Byrd has had just one fight - the retirement win over 40 year old Paul Marinaccio this past April. As such "Rapid Fire" is almost certainly going to be affected by ring-rust when he meets the much younger(28 years old) and aggressive-minded Povetkin. Motivation could be a problem also. With the ultimate prize for the winner of the tourney being a fight with Wladimir Klitschko - a man who has already badly beaten Byrd twice before - how much will Chris really want to win?
Prediction: Povetkin, a man with a superb amateur record behind him - one to even match Byrd's at that - will simply be too powerful, too aggressive and too hungry for the older man to handle. Chris retains the ability to make any fighter look foolish, however. With his still quick hands and his subtle defensive moves, southpaw Byrd may very well make Povetkin miss and look bad doing so. For a few rounds that is. After solving out Byrd's style, though, look for Povetkin to score a hurtful knockdown around the seventh or eighth round. Chris will bravely get up, only to be pinned against the ropes and under heavy pressure. Pressure that will see him lose via a TKO stoppage. Povetkin TKO 8.
Fight two: Chambers Vs. Brock.
As with Chris Byrd, Calvin Brock,31-1(23) is a fighter who has already both met and lost to Wladimir Klitschko. Brock was stopped in seven rounds in November of last year, of course. Again as with Byrd, the factor of really wanting to meet Klitschko once more has to be addressed. Brock has had two, fairly meaningless, wins since his TKO loss at the hands of the world's number one heavyweight, but up against the undefeated and much younger Eddie Chambers (Brock is 32, Chambers 25) the man who calls himself "The Boxing Banker" may lack the necessary desire to match wits with the man known as "Fast." A chess-match affair is what I feel we will see on November 2nd, and with Brock not as ambitious as he was pre-Klitschko you can expect to see him one stop behind the massively motivated Chambers all night long. Brock has had his shot, Chambers hasn't. It's that simple.
Prediction: Chambers has a jab to match Brock's, he has much greater speed and is also big enough in size at six foot one to more than cope with the approx 20 pounds heavier man. Throw in the fact that the two men have sparred quite a bit before, and what surprises can Brock possibly have for Chambers? Look for the younger and more focused man to box his way to a comprehensive unanimous decision victory in a fight that will, unfortunately, more than likely lack fire. Chambers WU12 Brock.
Fight three: The two winners meet; Povetkin Vs. Chambers.
This fight, to be held in the first quarter of 2008, will have two proven fighters meeting in a collision to determine the International Boxing Federation's next heavyweight challenger. With the stakes as high as can be both guys will give it their all in an interesting pairing of styles - the boxer versus the Puncher. For while Povetkin has his share of skills too, he will be the harder hitter in this one. Chambers has only 16 KO's to his name in 29 fights. Povetkin has 10 KO's already ( he will have 11 if my prediction of his fight with Byrd holds up) in only 13 pro fights. There is no question who the more powerful punchers is. Also, Chambers, by his own admission, didn't have much of an a amateur career, winning just one state title. In comparison, Povetkin won almost everything an amateur boxer can - including Olympic gold. So although Chambers has over twice as many pro fights as his rival, his overall experience will be no greater than Povetkin's.
Prediction: Though it's hard trying to pick the winner of a fight when we don't even know for sure yet who'll be boxing in it - Byrd may tear up my script and beat Povetkin, while Brock may do likewise against chambers - I do feel it will be these two that meet in the final of the tourney next year. Also, making a prediction as to the winner is difficult in that we don't know how tough the previous fight will be for either man. If either guy comes through their first bout, but only after having shifted a ton of punishment in it, for example, his chances in the final would possibly be compromised. All that said, however, I have to go with Povetkin in the end.
Both strong as well as gifted - Povetkin is in possession of great balance, timing, accuracy, punching power and versatility - the latest in a long line of heavyweights hailing from the East is one hell of a promising fighter. Chambers will match him in the first half of the fight, but Povetkin's strength and aggression will take over thereafter. There will be no knockdowns, but the action will be good to watch. Povetkin WU12 Chambers.
Get ready for a Klitschko-Povetkin showdown some time in the summer of 2008!
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