Back To The Future: Povetkin vs Chambers - Boxing
By Julian Kasdin (Jan 26, 2008) Doghouse Boxing        
This Saturday the top young heavyweights from America ‘Fast’ Eddie Chambers, 30-0 [16]) and Russia, Alexander ‘The White Lion’ Povetkin, 14-0 (11), square off in a battle straight out of the old Cold War era rivalries between both nations' amateur programs. While times have changed (there is
no more USSR), the rivalry seems to remain, as clearly shown by HBO´s interest in picking up this fight from Germany despite a fighter by the name of Klitschko not being on the card.

Both fighters have developed strong followings over the last two years due to their success against increasingly sterner opposition. They are somewhat unique in the heavyweight scene, as it is not their size or power that has attracted attention, but instead their skill and poise in the ring. Despite their similarities, these two fighters are also very different.

Chambers, a product of Pennsylvania, is a combination of his Pittsburgh roots and his Philly-fighter upbringing. A firm believer in the ‘Philly shell’ and its focus on parrying and blocking, he has often been able to befuddle his opponents by blunting their offense and making them fight his fight. While he is mainly seen as a defensive fighter, Eddie does have a somewhat underrated offense, which was made quite clear in his fight with Derrick Rossy. Chambers lacks somewhat in the power and mobility departments, and while this has not hindered him much yet, one must wonder if these two problems will become painfully obvious against Povetkin.

Povetkin is quite possibly the most talked about heavy not named Klitschko or Peter (the latter perhaps being not quite deserving of such high regard). In his two years as a professional, Povetkin has decisively defeated such names as Chris Byrd, Larry Donald, David Bostice, and Friday Ahunanya, a virtually incomparably tough gauntlet of fighters for a fourteen-fight pro. Now, against Eddie Chambers, he stands on the cusp of a title shot against a man widely regarded as
the division’s best, Wladimir Klitscho. With his combination of fast hands, mobility, underrated power and defensive skills, and his ability to work angles, Povetkin has been dazzling fans and opponents from both sides of the pond. Chambers is all that stands in the way of his stated goal of challenging for a title in 2008. Will the young American rival be his bump in the road? Or will Povetkin do to him what he has done to many before, and steamroll the opposition?

I have respect for both men involved in this battle of unbeatens. Having interviewed and spoken with Eddie, I believe him to be one of the nice guys in boxing and an excellent ambassador for our sport. However, it is also no secret to the readers of that I have been very high on Povetkin since the beginning of his professional career. But whatever my personal feelings for these two excellent fighters are, it is my job as a journalist to provide what I believe will be an accurate breakdown of how this fight will play out.

Eddie is a solid defensive fighter, but from what I have seen, I believe Povetkin to be the better all-around fighter. Alexander, unlike previous Chambers opponents, will not be fazed by Chambers' hand speed, and most certainly will not be confused by his ‘Philly shell’ defense. I expect Povetkin to use his superior mobility, combined with his excellent hooks and uppercuts, to begin to work around Chambers´ defense early. By attacking Eddie´s body, Alexander can bring down Chambers´ guard, opening up his head to blistering left hooks and right hands. While there are many that expect Eddie to be able to counter or time Alexander's body attack, I firmly believe that Povetkin is actually the faster of the two, and will be better able to time Eddie´s often over-extended straight right, then counter with the left hook. Simply put, I do not see a single area in which Eddie has an appreciable advantage in either technique or speed. Throw that in with Povetkin´s very clear advantage in size, and you have what seems to be a nearly impossible uphill battle for the American. I expect Povetkin to be in control of this fight from the very beginning, and to ultimately end it emphatically by the sixth or seventh round.

(Editor's note: Julian has been in Berlin, Germany since the Monday before the upcoming IBF heavyweight eliminator bout – scheduled for broadcast by HBO on Saturday, January 26 at 10:00 PM ET/PT – meeting with both fighters, their respective training/management camps, and various persons from both promotional groups involved, Goossen Tutor and Sauerland. He'll file a post-fight report for publication by DHB, and will also do a live post-fight radio broadcast. I'll provide a link and details about the latter in DHB's Boxing Chat Forum in advance of fight time.

Editing a Kasdin article by phone usually involves about five minutes of actual work, if that, but this was a tough assignment for both of us, as he posted this from a German internet cafe, using a German-language keyboard, and I've had some technical problems on this end as well. Nevertheless, pretty much ‘live’ from Berlin and exclusively for DHB, here's Julian's pre-fight take on the scrap that will determine Wlad's next opponent, and there will be more to follow over the next few days.

Since the logistics of this edit didn't allow much in the way of colloquy between us, I've taken extraordinary liberties in interpreting this piece, and any technical errors, or possible misinterpretations and hence misstatements of the author's meaning are entirely my fault. – M. Coonan).

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