IF there’s no smoke without fire, there’s certainly no Alexander Povetkin in Cardiff without the prospect of an Anthony Joshua fight in 2018.
It’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for the controversial Russian and he knows, should he defeat David Price on Saturday (March 31), and cause a bit of chaos and excitement in the process, the fight – The Big One – is as good as his for either summer or autumn.
It’s the reason Povetkin is currently in Wales. It’s why he’s happy to fight Price. Remove Joshua and that life-changing payday and Povetkin would have no reason to box a British heavyweight few believe is in his league, much less do so in Britain.
“It wasn’t my decision,” Povetkin, 33-1 (23), told Boxing News. “It was a proposal from (promoter) Eddie Hearn to perform in the United Kingdom and David Price was one of the opponents offered to my team.
“The plan is to be more recognised by English fans because hopefully there will be a future fight with Anthony Joshua. That is the main purpose for this David Price fight.
“I want to show a good performance and I will try and do my job inside the distance. That is the key to winning the fight and also impressing the people watching.”
It’s as much about impressing as it is winning. Yet Povetkin, currently WBA number one, and therefore in line for a shot at Joshua (the WBA and IBF champion) if he avoids defeat, wouldn’t be the first fighter to stink the place out when on the cusp of a title chance. Nor should he expect said title chance if this were to happen. The heavyweight division, after all, is big business and if Povetkin, someone who has essentially handpicked his showcase opponent, is unable to make the magic happen, his masterplan could go awry.
The 38-year-old is experienced, though, if nothing else. He’s a former WBA heavyweight champion and has also shared a ring with the great Wladimir Klitschko. He’s aware of what he can do and what he can’t do and Price, he believes, has been made to measure for him. He’s ordered off-menu in this one; got the dish just how he likes it.
“A few years ago I felt it was tough boxing really tall guys, but after a few more training camps, and a few more fights, it was a lot more comfortable for me and I feel I do better against them now than I used to,” explains Povetkin.
“For sure, Price has a good right hand and big power. But his conditioning is really poor and that is one of his disadvantages I will look to exploit on Saturday.”