Saturday, 29 September 2012 18:42

Povetkin vs Rahman: Time, Analysis and Prediction

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**** UPDATE: Povetkin KOs chubby, woefully-prepared Rahman in 2 ****

Today WBA "regular" Heavyweight Champion will face former lineal heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman from Hamburg, Germany.

Povetkin vs Rahman Fight time:
4:30 p.m. EDT/9:30 p.m. London

Location: Sporthalle - Hamburg, Germany

TV channel: BoxNation and Livesport.TV (UK) / Epix (US) / ARD (Germany)

Everyone remembers what happened on April 22, 2001...

A 15 to 1 underdog named Hasim Rahman would shock the world by knocking out the dominant, universally-recognized heavyweight champion at the time, Lennox Lewis.

Can Hasim Rahman, who turns 40 in November, shock the world again? Not unlike his first bout against Lewis, Rahman is a heavy underdog.

Weighing a deceptive 256.6, the big-boned Hasim Rahman is apparently in the best shape he's been in for a very long time.

Alexander Povetkin (24-0, 16 KOs)

Alexander Povetkin is making his fourth consecutive appearance on the network following his razor-thin points win over cruiserweight champion Marco Huck in February.

The 33 year old Gold medal winner has a very strong amateur pedigree, one of the strongest in recent memory. As a result, his technical proficiencies should serve him well. Fighting out of an orthodox stance, the 6'2" Russian-born heavyweight has formidable, but not spectacular, power in both fists.

Povetkin also has an excellent understanding of range and is brilliant in creating opportunities for himself by fighting at advantageous angles. He likes to whack his opponents when they are in no position to fire back.

What might bedevil Hasim Rahman most, aside from the Russian's technical expertise, is Povetkin's underrated speed and timing. He's not David Haye but he can be quick and nimble, and given his "formidable" power and honed skills, can give Rahman fits.

To win this bout, Povetkin, whose reach is seven inches shorter than Rahman's, must box Rahman from mid-range and use his speed, timing and superior footwoork to create angles to score. Most importantly, he must be leary of the one big punch Rahman has and not get over-confident or lazy when well ahead on the scorecards. 

Povetkin must establish himself early and destroy the former champ's confidence a la Wladimir Klitschko vs Rahman four years ago. Get Rahman in "survival" mode early but never get over-confident because the man can punch! If Povetkin makes a big statement early on and takes Rahman's heart, this fight is over.

Hasim Rahman (50-7-2, 41 KO)
The wiley veteran doesn't have the technical capacity and overall skills his Russian foe possesses but he has loads of experience against top caliber fighters. David Tua, Oleg Maskaev, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Wladimir Klitschko, James Toney, Corrie Sanders and John Ruiz...  Rahman's been in there with the best.

Who cares if Rahman gets behind on points early? This grizzled pro needs needs a knockout - or at least a few knockdowns - to win this bout and must rely on his experience and reassured sense of security. If down by 7 points in as many rounds, don't expect this big guy to get frazzled.

Simply put, Hasim Rahman needs two things to win:
1) Land some bombs and
2) A referee who can count to 10

Rahman possesses the one intangible that separates boxing from most sports - One punch knockout power. More specifically, the Rahman right hand. No matter how bad he'd losing, he can end the fight at any time.

The former champ is always deadlly, whether Round 1 or Round 12.

The Baltimore native must disrupt Povetkin's timing and rhythm and force the Russian into a street fight or brawl. He must test Povetkin's ability to take a punch. We know Rahman takes a solid shot, but what about Povetkin? He appeared to have trouble absorbing the cruiserweight Huck's shots.

Also, Rahman has a seven inch reach advantage and a sweet left jab. He'll need to work off that good, hard left jab to discombomulate Poevetkin and set up bigger shots.

Povetkin has a habit of leaning away from punches so Hasim will need to lull Povetkin into thinking he's far away enough to lean away from his shots and then fire away.

When Rahman gets the opportunities, and there may be only a few, he must let his hands go.

For Rahman, he'll need to establish that good jab early, cover up well and, over time, disrupt Povetkin's rhythm. Also, Rahman must not show 'all his cards' early. Let Povetkin win a few rounds BUT don't get busted up. Rahman must use the first several rounds to measure Povetkin , always thinking about setting up that trap that will enable him to unleash that one punch or combination to end matters.

Can Rahman force Povetkin to expend a lot energy and lull him into thinking he can be bold and sit on his punches and trade?

If so, he must capitalize in the mid to late rounds when Povetkin is tiring and a more stationary target.  Rahman must land mind-numbing shots and go for broke.

It can be done - Marco Huck did it but failed to close the deal.

Unlike most brawlers who must get inside to do damage, Rahman - as he proved against Lennox Lewis - can punch effectively from the outside, and will have a 7 inch reach advantage tonight.

Timing is important and one man will have it!

Povetkin's had 5 fights in two years while we've only seen Rahman twice in that time period, and against questionable opposition no less. Moreover, Alex has fought three times since Rahman fought last. As a result expect Povetkin's timing to be superior to the "rusty" American's. 

The Russian has simply been too active against more stellar competition lately.  

Look for a cautious, better-prepared Povetkin to defeat Rahman via a one-sided decision. "The Rock," who hasn't fought in over a year, hasn't beaten a 'name' fighter in ages and should have had at least a tune-up or two prior to this bout.

Although neither fighter looked great in his last outing, Alexander Povetkin fought world cruiserweight champion Marco Huck while Rahman defeated a fella named Galen Brown who as 35-16-1.

Povetkin vs Rahman will be broadcast on EPIX in the US.

Povetkin vs Rahman Undercard:
Top 10 heavyweight Kubrat Pulev (16-0, 8 KO) will defend his European heavyweight title against Alexander Ustinov (27-0, 21 KO) in an IBF eliminator for the No. 1 position in that organization. The winner will likely face the winner of Adamek vs Solis with the victor challenging heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2013.