Tag Archives: Teddy Atlas

Russian Roulette–Povetkin vs Chagaev–Helenius vs Liakhovich

An amazing Russian heavyweight elimination tourney of sorts takes place in Messehalle, Erfurt, Germany on Saturday, August 27 when Alexander Povetkin squares off against Ruslan Chagaev for the WBA “Regular” Championship while Robert Helenius takes on Siarhei Liakhovich for the WBA/WBO Intercontinental belts.

OK, Robert Helenius and Siarhei Liakhovich are the odd men out, being only the amiable next door Finnish and Belarussian neighbors rather than pure Russian rivals, but it’s a great time to cash in on the Russian connection while they’re still around.

Ruslan Chagaev

Ruslan Chagaev

Povetkin has the most impressive amateur credentials with his Olympic Gold Medal, but Chagaev comes in with his World Gold medal. Both were heavily promoted all action style fighters at the start of their pro careers, but have petered out of late due to an overwhelming lethargy in their fights and careers.  

Perhaps there really is only a single bullet left in their collective chambers that they mean to use up in this Russian Roulette elmination bout. A few years ago and interest in the bout would have been notable, but today, who really cares that much other than their mothers?

Helenius and Liakhovich were also heralded amateurs before rising to some acclaim in the pro ranks.

Robert Helenius

Robert Helenius

Helenius, however, is the only legitimate threat to the Klitschko reign, being a supersized heavy himself with plenty of heart, chin, and punch to handle all previous challenges.

Liakhovich is no wilting flower, though. The former WBO champ had considerable talent that he never fully realized, so this looks like the last go round for him and one huge obstacle to overcome since his last big bout, a wide decision loss to big Niko Valuev some 3 yrs ago.

The White Wolf has the coolest boxing moniker by a long shot, but he’s the oldest and most inactive of this foursome, age 35 with only two fights in last 3 years, both knockouts over modest opposition. Helenius gives the impression of a young Cassius, a lean and hungry look about him at only age 27 and improving fight by fight. The White Wolf may have other plans, so they got to fight to prove who really wants it.

Could really be a corker if Liakhovich shows up in great shape ready for a fight.

White Wolf

White Wolf

Returning to the scene of “The Big Names,” Povetkin and Chagaev have spent the last few years circling the collective drain at what should have been their peak years. Chagaev at least has the excuse of a debillitating blood disease, hepititus, whereas Povetkin just up and quit on himself after a great start. His brain trust has tried to remake him in the image of Teddy Atlas, but that was like a really bad hair day everyday with a future as rosy as a Viva Las Vegas Sunday morning shotgun wedding.

Povetkin

Povetkin

I like Chagaev’s experience here, but likely this is a decision and we all know judges don’t always respect the sweet science as much as they do cushy offciating assignments. Any close decision is likely to go to Povetkin who has no such health restrictions in making fights as does Chagaev with his blood testing woes.

Be nice for the division and future development of boxing in Russia if these guys put forth a dynamic bout, but their current realty is more like a sedentary effort suffices.

It’s gonna be up to Helenius and Liakhovich to salvage the card, but regardless, Helenius looks to be a headliner for the next few years, so there you have it, new talent rising and old talent falling off as it should be.

The Heavyweight Dilemma, Vitali Klitschko vs Shannon Briggs

The longtime hue and cry over the current state of the heavyweight division has only intensified these past few months as top contenders, David Haye, Alexander Povetkin, and Thomsz Adamek have refused to fight Vitali Klitschko or his brother Wladimir.

Shannon the Cannon

Shannon the Cannon

Instead, Vitali will defend his WBC belt against a very hungry and now very lean and mean Shannon The Cannon Briggs. Briggs has managed to maneuver into a #9 WBC ranking, but is otherwise not highly ranked by the various orgs and websites. Basically, the complaint is that he has done nothing to warrant a title shot, the same complaint leveled at Vitali’s last opponent, Albert Sosnowski.

Read my previous musings on those claims here, inserting the formidably muscled up Briggs for the muscled up Sosnowski.

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/05/28/the-battle-of-the-weakest-links/

Typically,  overemoting critics fail to understand the dynamics of leveraging a big heavyweight promotion, nor do they have any sense of the rankings or depth of the heavyweight division, preferring the easier job of bigging up the one or two names of their favored fighters as if that was all that was needed to make a prizefight, much less a title fight, the mere suggestion of personal desire.

Here are some recent Boxrec rankings as of September 5th while Vitali, Wlad, and David Haye were all putting together their fights. Keep in mind that Boxrec is the largest of the few ranking orgs that rank more than 10 or 15 fighters in a division.

The (notes) are mine of course:

1. Wlad

2. Vitali

3. Haye (already backed out of one signed and sealed contract and refused recent 50/50 offer by the Klitschkos, signing to defend against Audley Harrison in spite of repeated denials that he was even in negotiations)
4. Adamek (pending to allow cuts to heal, but apparently fighting Maddalone in Dec)
5. Chagaev (beat badly by Wlad and currently Haye’s mandatory)
6. Povetkin (refused to sign negotiated agreement to challenge in Wlad’s last defense, thus losing his 2 yr long mandatory ranking, not to mention his trainer, Teddy Atlas, says Povetkin is not yet ready to challenge for the title.)
7. Valuev (interesting deal was almost put together against Vitali, but out into next year with left shoulder/wrist surgery)
8. Peter (beat badly by Wlad 2x/Vitali 1x)
9. Thompson (beat badly by Wlad with no following)
10. Chambers (beat badly by Wlad and still rebuilding)
11. Arreola (beat badly by Vitali and still rebuilding)
12. Dimitrenko (new EBU champ, but turned down Klitschko offers, maybe building into a much bigger promotion in the next year of two)
13. Gomez (beat badly by Vitali and a last ditch opponent for now)
14. Sexton (busy being knocked out by Chisora)
15. Boytsov (maybe in the future, but only 24 and shaking off the rust after coming back from hand surgery, now is not his time, maybe a year or two in a bigger promotion)
16. Austin (beat badly by Wlad with no following)
17. Helenius (very promising prospect recently breaking into fringe contender. Maybe a year or two away in a much bigger promotion)
18. Solis (chubby growing into a blimp with promoter problems looking like he’s moving to challenge for the WBA cheese belt, not the Klitschkos)
19. Pianeta (who dat?)
20. T Ibragimov (The lesser talented of the Russian Iggys, his cousin already lost a shutout against Wlad)
21. Sosnowski (beat badly by Vitali and rebuilding against Dimitrenko)
22. Ustinov (undefeated Russian Bigfoot monster promoted by Ks and wants a Kbro. I’m guessing Vitali’s retirement fight if he makes it past Briggs and can’t sign Haye or Valuev)
23. Holyfield (Oh, brother, where art thou buried? Jeez…..)
24. Platov (who? See Pianeta!)
25. Johnson (beat worse than badly by Vitali……..please, watching Vitali try to stuff a giant squash into a blender would be better stuffing for a Saturday night turkey……..nevermore…….nevermore…….)

So, thusly informed, now say HELLO to one Shannon The Cannon Briggs, lifelong asthmaholic, part time wastrel, yet all while breaking the all time first round KO record first officially recorded by Jack Dempsey in his all time tear through the heavy division. Briggs has 31 first round KOs, unofficially 32 but for failing a post fight drug test, probably a positive test result for ganja. Briggs is unabashedly Jamaican after all.

Briggs is a strange one alright. He was a dynamic, charismatic young personality who won the ‘Dream’ “Lineal” heavyweight title with a dubious decision over the nearing 50 yr old Big George Foreman, then was knocked out in a ferocious slugfest against WBC champ Lennox Lewis in his very next bout. Instead of rebuilding, he partied hardy and let his training and weight go, thus was written off as a wasted talent.

In spite of all the above shortcomings, many years later he managed to renew “The Dream” when Briggs lifted the WBO title from the then highly regarded Siarhei Liakhovich with a Hail Mary last second knockout in the 12th round, a title that Briggs promptly dropped in his first defense. He then retired to hit the all you can eat buffets for 2 yrs before coming back hard with 4 straight 1st rd Kos.

Now Briggs finds himself square in the middle in his 3rd opportune “Dream ” when Haye, Adamek, and Povetkin all shut down and beat strategic retreats rather than to fight the brothers in a losing cause. As the “2x” champ with an established name, Briggs should bring in the business once the promotion starts touting his KO record.

Der Knock-outers

Der Knock-outers

Brigg’s may be much older and slower of hand and foot than Sosnowski, but hugely larger and stronger, remaining a danger from rds 1-12. He’s already been making the right noises about knocking Vitali out, and while his overall boxing skills may be lacking for a top contender, he has the top experience, hunger, guile, and the natural talent and power to pull off the kind of spectacular upset that nobody else in the division would be capable of.

Bigger upsets have happened in the one punch Big Boy division, that’s for sure.

Der Braumeistrisses

Der Braumeistrisses

Vitali is self promoted and has chosen a juicy date in Germany after all the Oktoberfest lederhosen has been put away, Saturday, October 16th, at the O2 arena in Hamburg. Apparently he will be throwing a rock concert before and after since the bout appears to be the sole fight on the card.

It was quite the slap in the face of Haye that Vitali chose a weekend of WBC boxing festivities in London to do the initial promotion of the bout, but Haye appears to be quite shameless in avoiding any true challenge to his WBA belt he acquired under dubious circumstances. He instead kept himself squirreled away in a secret bunker in London, all while exchanging bitter twitter tweets with The A-Force, Audley Harrison in the Great ’10 Tweet Street War of Sweet Nothings & Handbags.

Yet there is also much reputation and respect to be lost for Vitali if he were to lose to Briggs who is widely derided as previously mentioned in spite of his obvious danger, but Vitali had little choice given the limitations of his division that has seen the Klitschkos dominate their opposition in a fashion never before seen in the history of the division.

Dr. Ironfist

Dr. Ironfist

Both are aging fighters born only months apart for whom the wheels may go flying off without warning. Briggs has many more fights, but owing to his impressive 1st round KO record, they have logged near identical pro rounds, 196 for Vitali and 194 for Briggs.

Vitali has a very long amateur record compared to Briggs and was also a championship kick boxer for several years, so his odometer has significantly more miles on the clock, making him more vulnerable in theory.

The promotion should be a success overall with the European, ie, German public for whom this fight is being targeted.

Briggs 262 - Klitschko 251

Briggs 262 – Klitschko 251

This was supposed to be Vitali’s last year before retirement, after all, he will be 40 yrs old next year, but like Manny Pacquiao’s last year, it may prove to be impossible to walk away from all the money on the table for his fights.

We shall see what The Fates deal out in a couple of weeks. It could be a prototypical methodical Vitali beatdown, or an upset for the new age, so tune in if you want to see knockout record setting heavyweights still in full command their game.

 

A Message From the Boss

A Message From the Boss