Boxing: Alexander Povetkin

Atlas likes Povetkin to knock out Klitschko

October, 2, 2013
Teddy Atlas -- the ESPN analyst and on-again, off-again trainer who helmed Michael Moorer to a heavyweight title in 1994 -- worked with Russia's Alexander Povetkin for more than two years with a singular purpose in mind:

Get Klitschko.

A Cus D'Amato protégé, Atlas, from day one, had Povetkin thinking Klitschko, thinking of ways to take down little brother Wladimir. Atlas drilled into Povetkin, now 34, the holes in Klitschko's game.

"I made it clear to Alex that Wladimir is vulnerable, that when he's not standing tall, controlling space and keeping you at the end of his jab, he doesn't know how to fight," Staten Island resident Atlas told me Wednesday, three days out from Povetkin's challenge of the unified heavyweight champion Klitschko in Moscow.

Atlas and Team Povetkin parted ways before Povetkin was to face cruiserweight Marco Huck in February 2012, because Povetkin became unwilling to travel to the U.S. to train so that Atlas could accommodate his schedule with ESPN.

I put it straight to Atlas: Does Povetkin have a chance to beat Wlad?

"I think he's going to knock out Klitschko," Atlas said.

Nobody has bettered Wlad since 2004, when Lamon Brewster stopped him in Round 5. But Atlas believes Povetkin can bring the 37-year-old Ukrainian back to a dark place and make him recall what it's like to be drowning in the ring.

"I worked with Povetkin on ways to do that," Atlas said. "He pulls straight back, he's vulnerable to rights and left hooks, and sometimes he gets to a place where he loses control, he looks to grab, and there are a lot of things you can do with that. Inside is not his territory."

Atlas said that when pushed to do what he doesn't want to do, Klitschko can resemble a Golden Glover in the squared circle.

"He gets discombobulated," Atlas said, noting that Klitschko has been stopped in each of his three losses. "He unravels, and he can be brought to those places again."

I do wonder: Can Povetkin activate that plan without Atlas to push him? I'm frankly guessing no, that his chances are less with trainer Alexander Zimin helming him. Atlas said he thinks Povetkin can do just as well without him there, indicating that he believes building blocks put in place during their time together will stand.

"I see Povetkin really having a good chance to knock out Wladimir, expose some areas of vulnerability," Atlas said.

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Vitali hasn't decided if he will keep fighting

January, 16, 2013
Tom Loeffler of K2, the promotional outfit named for the fighting Klitschko brothers, the heavyweight standouts Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, spoke to today about what’s next for the Brothers K.

Loeffler was at Kingsway Gym with his middleweight sniper Gennady Golovkin, who meets Gabriel Rosado at the Madison Square Garden Theater on Saturday night.

Loeffler said it’s likely that little brother Wlad will fight in April, foe TBD. Germany will be the location for the tussle. One potential foe, Alexander Povetkin, holds the WBA “regular” belt while Wlad holds their “super” title. The WBA would like to see Povetkin meet Wlad, but it has seemed like Povetkin isn’t as keen to do the same. Loeffler says that sanctioning body is working to hash the matter out. The 36-year-old Wlad holds the IBF crown, and Tomasz Adamek and Kubrat Pulev are supposed to duke it out with the winner to be crowned the No. 1 rated challenger. And he holds the WBO belt, with that body asking No. 1 rated Robert Helenius to fight an eliminator to meet the WBO champ, Loeffler told us.

The 41 year-old Vitali has been busy doing the politics thing in Ukraine, where he is a member of parliament. He has not decided, Loeffler said, if he will glove up again, or concentrate fully on the political arena. “We should know within a month,” he said. “If he did fight, it would be before May.”

A Vitali fight against David Haye, the Brit who talked himself into a fight with Wladimir in July 2011, and then fought scared, losing a unanimous decision, is the most desired potential bout out there, from a fan's perspective. It's not at the top of Vitali's to do list, though, according to Loeffler. If it ever came to pass, “Vitali would want to knock Haye out,” Loeffler said. “Vitali I think would take more chances to go for the knockout.”

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Atlas predicts Povetkin KO of Rahman

September, 28, 2012
Boxing can be the theater of the unexpected, sport's finest purveyor of The Upset, that shocker of a spectacle when one man takes the script, tears it in half, douses it with lighter fluid and torches it, to the amazement and delight of his audience.

On Saturday in Hamburg, I do not expect Hasim Rahman, the 39-year-old former heavyweight titlist, to offer boxing fans another installment of stellar drama. Yes, he has done it before, back on April 22, 2001, when he exploded a right hand on champion Lennox Lewis' chin, and left South Africa after scoring a fifth-round KO with the WBC and IBF belts in hand. But that was 2001, when The Rock could still use that nickname, and not have to defend himself from witty snipers-with-words who crack on him for coming to the ring in less than sterling shape. For his last fight, on June 11, 2011, Rahman weighed 284 pounds in a TKO6 win over Galen Brown. When he dropped that shock and awe on the Brit Lewis, in 2001, he was 238 pounds. And at the Friday weigh-in for his title challenge against Russian Alexander Povetkin in Hamburg, Rahman was 256 pounds.

Those choosing to look on the bright side are more than welcome to note that Rahman, who somehow managed to convince the WBA to rate him their No. 1 challenger, isn't in the 280s, 270s or 260s. But the chance that Rahman could pull off another jaw-dropper win would have been much higher had he whittled his form down to the 230s area.

I asked Povetkin's former trainer, Teddy Atlas, if he thought the Marylander Rahman (50-7-2 with 41 KOs; has been stopped five times) could surprise Povetkin (age 33; 24-0 with 16 KOs; coming off February MD12 win over Marco Huck) and the boxing world yet again.

"Povetkin should knock Rahman out in three or four rounds," the ESPN analyst and Staten Island resident told me. "Rahman has nothing left. He's been active, but in with C- and D-caliber guys."

Atlas said he would have been OK with Povetkin fighting Rahman, when he worked the Russian's corner, as "an easy mandatory," and noted that Rahman will still possess a right hand that is capable of doing damage. But that weight ... Atlas said an athlete can't puff up to 300 pounds, then peel some of that off and expect to perform at a world-class level.

Atlas had Rahman sit next to him for a chat on a recent "Friday Night Fights" and asked him how serious he was about the Povetkin fight, because his bulk was noticeable. Rahman didn't counter with much pep, protesting that he was working hard to get in top shape, but said, because the original scrap was postponed because he hurt his hand, that he'd get a second chance. Atlas said the grapevine told him Rahman looked winded after just a couple of rounds of sparring a few weeks ago, so he isn't optimistic that the boxer is hiding a reservoir of stamina under that hidden six-pack. "I like Rahman, I wish him luck," Atlas said. "But at this point in life, he really needs to be serious about this."

Teddy Atlas won't watch Povetkin-Huck fight

February, 24, 2012
Russian heavyweight Alexander Povetkin (23-0 with 16 KOs; age 27; from Serbia, lives in Berlin) will fight cruiserweight champion Marco Huck (34-1 with 25 KOs; age 34 ) on Saturday in Stuttgart, Germany. If you are so inclined, you can watch the WBA titlist do his thing on EPIX, the premium cable network which is streaming this scrap, as well as next weekend’s Wladimir Klitschko-Jean Marc Mormeck clash on their website.

I know for a fact one person who will not tuning in. Povetkin’s former trainer, Teddy Atlas, who worked with the boxer for more than two years, and exulted with him when he beat Ruslan Chagaev to win the vacated WBA strap. Povetkin defended the crown against oldster Cedric Boswell in December, and then the wheels came off the bus.

Atlas says that it was made quite clear that when Friday Night Fights is in season, he can’t and won’t take time off to do training camps overseas. He says that Team Povetkin was made aware of this non-negotiable, and agreed to it. But then they surprised him by asking him to come to Russia to train Povetkin for this Huck scrap. He said nyet, and they didn’t budge, so a happy story turned sour. Atlas had taken a liking to a young man he took to calling “Sasha” and it is evident he has been stung by this turn of events, which Team Povetkin characterizes as a matter of miscommunication.

“Will I watch the Povetkin-Huck fight? Nah,” Atlas told me. “I feel so betrayed, I don’t want to watch. I feel bad not for me but for my family. This is no pity-party with me. It was a real nice ride for two and a half years, and there’s no opportunity to see it through. Hey, I’m no angel, I’ve been no angel in this world. But to keep your word, I just wish a simple thing like that would be honored.”

Atlas stands firm, won't train Povetkin

January, 24, 2012
Teddy Atlas is gainfully employed by ESPN to be its analyst for "Friday Night Fights." And while the FNF season runs, the Staten Island-based trainer makes sure he sticks close to home so he can call fights for the Worldwide Leader. Atlas is pretty darned sure that he communicated this to his client, WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin. Atlas has been training the Russian for 2½ years, and helped mold him to the point that he fought Ruslan Chagaev in August for a vacant belt and won it. So he thought he had a decent line of communication with the 32-year-old boxer. Not anymore.

Atlas won't train Povetkin for his next bout, which will take place Feb. 25 against cruiserweight Marco Huck in Germany. Atlas is miffed that Povetkin won't come to the U.S. to train so that Atlas can continue his work for ESPN. Atlas maintains that the terms of the training arrangement are explicitly worded in a contract. "Our agreement from the beginning has been that I would go to Russia to train Sasha [Povetkin] when 'Friday Night Fights' was off season, and he would come to the United States to train when I was committed to being here for my ESPN duties," Atlas explained. "That was what we both agreed to, and both sides know it. I have an obligation to ESPN that I have to fulfill, and I intend to fulfill it. Povetkin has an obligation, too, but I'm being told he doesn't want to come to the U.S. I had expected him to live up to his obligation and am very disappointed in Sasha."

Povetkin's manager, Vlad Hrunov, was quoted five days ago on the subject of Atlas and Povetkin and where the fighter will train.

"It is Teddy Atlas' opinion and Teddy Atlas' choice -- we are awaiting him in Russia," Hrunov told "We have a possibility to make an agreement because we are ready to pay a concession because he lose the ESPN money. He knows very well this possibility, but he wants to make [the] decision that he wants."

It looks like a standoff here. Stay tuned to see if anyone blinks. I'm guessing Atlas won't. He's not the blinking type. What about you, readers?

Roach says Atlas will help Povetkin

November, 29, 2011
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.