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Recently crowned WBA boxing Heavyweight Champion Aleksandr Povetkin looks set to make his first defence of the title against ageing legend Evander Holyfield. December is the most likely date, with a neutral venue in Zurich Switzerland being mentioned. If the WBA choose to sanction this fight there is not a thing we can do about it, but what I would like to know is: Do you think this is a good idea? 

Aleksandr Povetkin Wins the WBA Belt
On August 27th thirty-two year old Aleksandr Povetkin met with fellow heavyweight contender Ruslan Chagaev at Messehalle, Erfurt, to fight for the WBA heavyweight title that had just become vacant after its last holder, Wladimir Klitschko, was upgraded to ‘Super’ champion. Much criticism abounded over the WBAs move, with most seeing it as a money making scheme and a decision that would devalue the WBA title. Whatever their reasons, it left a world heavyweight belt up for grabs. 

Povetkin and Chagaev fought for twelve rounds, with Povetkin getting the better of most of them. He won by unanimous decision and was crowned world heavyweight champion. With this, the Russian is undefeated after twenty two fights and out of all the heavyweight contender’s fighting today, he is the one with the most potential. Now that he has a title to his name, he should be looking towards the Klitschkos, because there is no greater challenge in the heavyweight division. Instead though, he will be taking a step down and fighting someone nearing fifty years old. 

Evander Holyfield is Still Fighting
That is not to disrespect Evander Holyfield. The man has a most impressive boxing CV, with wins over Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe to his credit and he has been undisputed champion of both the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions. When his boxing career is over, he will surely be inducted into the hall of fame. The problem is, at age forty eight ‘The Real Deal’ is nowhere near the weapon he once was. He is showing signs of slowing down, and many worry that if he carries on fighting he will risk dementia pugilistica, the condition suffered mainly by boxers who have had one-too-many concussions. 

Legendary fighters such as Willie Pep, Sugar Ray Robinson and Floyd Patterson are all said to have suffered from the illness. It would be sad to add another name to this morbid list, and this is why a mooted fight between Aleksandr Povetkin and Evander Holyfield is a bad idea.

Evander’s route to a fight for a potentially record-breaking fifth boxing world title is not an especially impressive one. The man from Atlanta retired (again) back in 2008 after a decision loss to Nicolai Valuev and many doubted he would ever be seen boxing again. He laid low for two years, but finally the itch got to him and he returned to the ring.

On April 10th 2010 Holyfield beat ageing ex-title contender Francis Botha with an eighth round TKO. He followed that with a no-contest ruling against Sherman Williams, and most recently a tenth round victory over forty-six year old Brian Nielsen. There is a theme running through all three of his recent bouts – all were either late forties, or approaching forty (Sherman Williams is thirty-nine).

Aleksandr Povetkin vs Evander Holyfield is a Bad Idea
Povetkin is a young (ish) prospect with a record that is getting more impressive with each fight. While a victory over a legend such as Holyfield would appear good on paper, it must be looked at in context. Holyfield is nearing fifty and he is nowhere near the force he once was. Holyfield’s only angle for the fight is his burning desire to win a world title for the fifth time. It is his obsession, and one he seems willing to risk brain damage for. He wants to be able to look back on a career that saw him break world records.

Povetkin, on the other hand, needs to look to the future. Ultimately, a fight against one of the Klitschkos has to be his goal. To get there, he needs to beat fellow top ten challengers. To have a chance of winning, he must equip himself as best he can by gaining the necessary experience. A fight with the nearly half century old, slowed-down Holyfield will not give him this.

He may have the most to gain from the fight, but Holyfield has the least chance of winning. His body doesn’t move the way it did when he was younger and physically, older fighters find it harder to cope with the demands of a twelve round boxing match. If Povetkin doesn’t knock Holyfield out, he will certainly prevail in the later rounds when his stamina out-performs Holyfield's. This Fight should not go ahead.

Aleksandr Povetkin’s next Fight – some alternatives
If the Holyfield fight does not happen, here are some better alternatives for Povetkin: 

Robert Helenius (16-0 11Kos) – the twenty seven year old has won all of his sixteen fights and is steadily gaining respect in the division. His recent knockout win over Siarhei Liakhovich saw him retain his WBA and WBO Inter-continental heavyweight titles.

David Haye (25-2 23KOs) – The British former undisputed cruiserweight champion lost to Wladimir Klitschko in July and he is now angling for a fight with Vitali. A victory over Povetkin would do him a lot of good, making him the number one contender to a title fight. Conversely, were Povetkin to win there would be no doubt over whether he should get a Klitschko fight.

Tomasz Adamek (44-2 28KOs) – Also a former cruiserweight, he lost to Vitali Klitschko on September 10th in a fight that was dubbed the biggest sporting event in Polish history. Adamek, thirty-four, was dominated by Klitschko, but he says he has no plans to retire. A fight with Povetkin is a good option, as a victory would re-establish his titlist credibility.

Do you want to see the Aleksandr Povetkin– Evander Holyfield fight happen? Or would you prefer him to fight somebody else?