HAVING beaten Hughie Fury at the weekend, it’s now possible Russian Alexander Povetkin has emerged as a future opponent for Hughie’s cousin, Tyson.
And who would argue?
Despite more than one performance-enhancing drug transgression, it would be hard to begrudge Povetkin, a former WBA titleholder, the chance when Fury’s next opponent is Otto Wallin, a name unfamiliar to all but hardcore fight fans in Sweden. Trust boxing to make a hero of a villain.
On Saturday, Povetkin, once a villain, showed he is still a force at 40 years of age and that the ghosts of a 2018 defeat to Anthony Joshua have been exorcised. He started slowly but soon got to grips with Fury, eventually outworking him to win a comfortable unanimous decision after 12 rounds.
“I’m very happy with my performance. We worked very hard in training camp and I was able to control the fight with my aggression,” said Povetkin.
“[Tyson Fury’s] talked a great deal about me turning down offers to fight him this year which were never sent.
“He speaks of wanting to fight in England before the end of the year. This is a perfect plan for me. I’d be happy to return to fight in front of these great boxing fans and prove to them and the rest of the world that I can beat Tyson Fury.”
For now, Wallin, unproven and unknown, follows a worrying trend started with fights against the likes of Sefer Seferi, Francesco Pianeta and Tom Schwarz and attempts to be competitive in a September 14 fight for which he is ill-equipped.
It is, on paper, an easy fight to call and an easy fight for Fury. But the hope is that next time Fury, the so-called lineal heavyweight champion of the world, decides to make a tougher defence of his crown and gives the UK fans something more appealing towards the end of the year.
If this is his intention, maybe Povetkin will get the call. The Russian, after all, has boxed in Britain three times on the spin now and has by now made himself at home. He has been a naughty boy in the past but now seems better behaved. (And at least we have heard of him.)
Three-weight world champion Mikey Garcia claims a March defeat to Errol Spence will not have shut any doors on his career as he gears up to return to the ring before the year is out.
Garcia, 39-1 (30), was undersized and overpowered against Spence, when competing up at welterweight, but should be all the better for returning to his natural habitat and fighting men of similar size.
“We haven’t decided what we’re going to do, but what I’d like to do is make a fight before the end of the year and then look for a big fight, with someone like Manny Pacquiao,” Garcia told ESPN Deportes.
“I think that would be my goal, but there are many plans and interesting things to come. The loss to Spence did not close doors for me at all.”
Garcia isn’t the only active fighter to like the idea of fighting Pacquiao. The Filipino, despite his advancing age, remains the big money-maker in the sport and blesses all who encounter him – coaches, staff, opponents. It’s why so many gather around him and why so many are quick to mention his name. Even if defeated, it is the richest kind of defeat.
That said, it’s a mark of Garcia’s desire to continue competing at an elite level that he is already eyeing up Pacquiao and putting his name in the frame. His is a name that should be a name given serious consideration, too.
Before losing to Spence, Garcia was considered one of the pound-for-pound finest fighters on the planet and little has changed in the six months that have elapsed since that first career defeat. At 31, he still has plenty to offer, and though he struggled winning a round against Spence, he wasn’t badly beaten up.
For these reasons he has several suitors eager to link up with and promote him. There have, for instance, been lucrative offers from Premier Boxing Champions and Matchroom Boxing, as well as interest from Top Rank, his former promoter.
Evidently, though his unbeaten record has now vanished, admirers of Mikey Garcia have stuck around.
“In the next few days we will say what we’re going to do,” he said. “We know that good things are coming.
“Personally, I would not like to enter a contract for multiple fights because I’d like to keep myself a free agent. It has worked for me so far.
“I feel good, but let’s see what happens. There are options on the table, and we will soon make a decision.”
The only thing better than seeing Mikey Garcia back in a boxing ring is seeing Mike Garcia in a boxing ring operating at the correct weight. Here’s hoping that’s what we get this year and next.
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