Will Povetkin Meet Dimitrenko For The EBU Title... Or Possibly The IBF World Titile?
14.04.09 - By Paul McCreath - Things are getting complicated again in the heavyweight division. Remember the mess with Vitali Klitschko, Sam Peter and Oleg Maskaev over the WBC belt?Well this might get even worse. A few weeks ago the European Boxing Union heavyweight champion Matt Skelton decided to make a defense of his British Commonwealth title against Martin Rogan. Rogan was not considered a valid challenger for the EBU crown so the situation was that in this fight Skelton could lose his Euro title but Rogan could only win the Commonwealth belt.
That is exactly what happened. Rogan stopped Skelton in the 11th round to win the Commonwealth belt and the Euro title became vacant. That left Alex Dimitrenko the nominated challenger for the title looking for a new opponent. He was to have met Skelton after the Rogan fight.
Shortly after the Rogan fight the EBU named Alex Povetkin as the other challenger to meet Dimitrenko for the vacant crown. It seemed at first that Povetkin would be unlikely to take the fight because he was already established as the mandatory against Wlad Klitschko in the fall for his IBF title and he had the Estrada bout scheduled for April 4 as well. Then things began to get a bit fuzzy. First of all Wlad finally completed negotiations to meet David Haye in a voluntary defense in June. Part of the agreement is that if Haye wins he has to give Wlad a rematch and if he wins that one he has to give brother Vitali a shot. Whoops! What does this do to Povetkin's mandatory in the fall? The problem is that if David Haye wins against Wlad he will be faced with a set of two conflicting obligations. On the one hand will be his contracted rematches with the Klitschkos and on the other would be the IBF obligation to give Povetkin his mandatory shot by this fall. Will the IBF allow those rematches with the Klitschkos and keep Povetkin waiting even longer or will they strip Haye if he does not meet Povetkin? Can't you just see all the lawsuits?
To complicate things even further what about the WBO title that Wlad also holds? They currently have not named a mandatory but they have said if you can believe the reports that they will recognize the winner of a Dimitrenko-Povetkin bout as the challenger. In other words this fight would become a WBO eliminator..The IBF are apparently willing to go along with this. Now that is fine for Wlad who could then take care of both his mandatories at once but what if Haye beats Wlad in June? What happens then? All of this of course would be rather unfair to Povetkin unless he willingly agrees to it. Alex is already the IBF mandatory so why risk that status in what could be a dangerous bout with Dimitrenko? Some rankings have Dimitrenko rated higher than Povetkin.
You could even argue that there would be no advantage to Povetkin in becoming the WBO mandatory.. He is already set to make $3.5 million for meeting Wlad. A Dimitrenko bout would pay well but not nearly that much and defeating Dimitrenko would not mean much more money for the Wlad fight if there was any difference at all. A loss would mean kissing $3.5 million goodbye. If he winds up holding two belts he would also have the obligation of keeping two organizations happy by making their mandatory defenses. It remains to be seen if there is any benefit to that situation.
I have predicted all along that Povetkin would turn down the Euro title fight and that eventually Rogan would be named to meet Dimitrenko. He did after all beat the reigning Euro champ Matt Skelton. Now I am not so sure because who knows what will happen in the Haye-Klitschko fight and after. The IBF title could wind up vacant again if Haye wins and then refuses to meet Povetkin because of the rematch clauses in his contract with the Klitschkos. The Dimitrenko-Povetkin fight could wind up being for the vacant IBF title. At any rate purse offers are due for the EBU title bout on April 21 at noon. We may have to wait until then or even longer to find out what is going to happen.
Povetkin is certainly entitled to an IBF title match by this fall. He has earned it in the ring and he wants it. It will be a gamble no matter which way he chooses to go. What would you do? It may take a Philadelphia lawyer to figure a way out of all this. One thing is for sure. It is going to be interesting.