Alexander Povetkin must face stiffer opposition after two-round victory

It is surely time Alexander Povetkin faced some more testing opposition after the Russian's win over Hasim Rahman

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff

Alexander Povetkin brutally stopped former world heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman inside two rounds, in a mismatch in which the American was so out of his depth it bordered on farcical.

Russia’s WBA ‘Regular’ champion Povetkin was able to land sickening blows as the 39-year-old Rahman lay helpless on the ropes, before the fight was stopped with just over a minute to go in the second round. The win in Hamburg, Germany enhances Povetkin’s record to 25-0 with 17 knockouts.

But this fight will do little to enhance his reputation. Rahman, nicknamed ‘The Rock’, has done little since being stopped by Wladimir Klitschko in 2008 and was so undeserving of a title shot, but obviously the WBA felt his name was still a money-spinner and installed him as their number one contender. The American shocked the world in 2001 when he knocked out Lennox Lewis, in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.

This was a fight that Povetkin was expected to win handily, but with the beauty of hindsight Rahman should never have been in the ring with him. It’s about time the Russian faced stiffer opposition. He’s meant to be a world champion after all, and there was a time that required you to fight the best contenders in your weight class. Of course he isn’t a genuine world champion with Wladimir Klitschko holding the WBA’s ‘Super’ title and along with his brother the belts of the three other major sanctioning bodies. As if the title picture in boxing wasn’t convoluted enough, the WBA have introduced a whole new level of confusion and worthlessness.

Povetkin himself can’t be blamed for who he fights however, as he’s simply the puppet of his promoters at Sauerland Event. In his post fight interview, the fighter said he was open to a clash with Wladimir.

“I’m ready to fight everybody. When they say it’s time to fight Klitschko, I will be ready. He’s the best heavyweight in the world and I will be ready to fight him.”

The card in Hamburg wasn’t a total disaster for heavyweight boxing. Earlier in the evening there was an entertaining clash between two undefeated big men as Bulgaria’s 16-0 European Champion Kubrat Pulev took on Alexander Ustinov of Belarus, unbeaten in 27 contests.

In what proved to be a relatively easy night’s work for Pulev, he stopped Ustinov in the eleventh round of the IBF eliminator, forcing the Belarusian to take a knee with a succession of left hands.

There had been thrilling exchanges at the end of the seventh and early in the eighth, but ultimately that was competitive as the fight got with Pulev finding Ustinov terribly easy to hit and giving the larger man a beating. The Bulgarian was able to land continually with his jab, bloodying the face of Ustinov and seriously damaging his left eye.

A noteworthy victory for Pulev and one that looks very good on paper, yet in reality it’s hard to gauge his level from this, with Ustinov looking grossly overweight and having padded out his record with victories over much lesser opposition.

Alan Shearer (Photo: BBC Sport / Screengrab)
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