Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Roach says Atlas will help Povetkin
By Michael Woods
It is hoped, among folks who don't care for the risk-averse style of the Klitschkos, especially younger brother Wladimir, that someone, anyone, will emerge soon to at least inject some drama into the mix when a Klitschko fights.
I'm not sure Alexander Povetkin (22-0, with 15 KOs) is the man to do that, but I am that much more curious about him because his trainer is the intense guru Teddy Atlas.
Atlas will be in Povetkin's corner Saturday in Finland, and I figure he won't have to employ much rhetorical magic to spur his guy on against Cedric Boswell, who is 42 and has fought only sporadically for the most part, and when he's been busier, his opponents haven't been a who's who of heavies. I asked Freddie Roach, who trains Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan, among others, how much an Atlas helps a Povetkin.
"Atlas has experience, he's been in with big heavies," said Roach, who will help analyze the Povetkin-Boswell bout, which will run on EPIX Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET; Robert Helenius-Dereck Chisora will precede the main event). "He's definitely a good trainer, he adds a plus to Povetkin's game. But when the bell rings, as the coach we sit down, and it's the fighter's job to win the fight. Teddy can't fight for him. He's a good motivator. I think he'll get the most out of him."
Roach said he doesn't see anyone, not even on the near horizon in the amateurs, who can likely test Wlad or Vitali Klitschko. But he acknowledges that the brothers bear some blame at the lack of buzz on the heavyweight scene, because they don't press the issue offensively.
"They won't knock you out till you're already dead," Roach said.
"When I had Wladimir, he knocked everyone out. Every fight of theirs should end in a KO if it's attainable. They don't take risk; that's part of the problem."
Speaking of problems, I told Roach I am no fan of David Haye getting another shot at a Klitschko, and another Goldman Sachs-y payday, after he committed fraud with a pathetic outing against Wlad this summer. Haye talked a huge game, and then fought with none of the courage or aggression he promised to display en route to a UD12 loss in July.
"I liked the young Haye; he was coming to fight, was aggressive, and I think if he did that with Klitschko, he could throw off them off their game," Roach told me. "If you can punch, put pressure on Wladimir, he's not the most strong mentally in the world. That would be the best bet. Going the distance means nothing; trying to win the fight means everything."
Roach finished off by asking all to tune in to Khan's next bout, against Lamont Peterson on Dec. 10. "Amir is the next star," Roach said.