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Boswell out to prove he's no soft touch against Povetkin


Cedric Boswell (above), a 42-year-old former contender with just one pro loss, fights Alexander Povetkin on Saturday. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Reuters)

HELSINKI -- Cedric Boswell knows why he’s here. At an open workout to promote his upcoming heavyweight title fight against Alexander Povetkin (4:30 p.m. ET, EPIX/ on Saturday, Boswell conducted interviews with the media in the shadow of a life-size banner bearing Povetkin’s image. His was nowhere to be found.

“Just look at that banner,” Boswell said. “Where’s my picture? It’s fine though. After Saturday night everything is going to change.”

Boswell’s image is absent, of course, because few expect him to pose much of a challenge. Boswell, now 42, was once a promising heavyweight prospect. He rattled off 21 straight wins to open up his pro career, showcasing impressive power and stamina in the ring. In 2003, Boswell faced off against former title challenger Jameel McCline. Entering the 10th round, Boswell led on all three scorecards. But early in that round Boswell absorbed a vicious, four-punch combination from McCline that ended the fight.

According to Boswell, the loss was injury-related. Boswell says he underwent surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff just months before agreeing to face McCline and shredded it completely during the fight. Soon after Boswell underwent a second surgery that he thought put him on the shelf for two-and-a-half years.

“I thought boxing was over,” Boswell said.

Turns out, it wasn’t. In 2006 Boswell started working out again and, despite some residual pain in his shoulder, felt the itch to box again. In April of that year, Boswell knocked out Wallace McDaniel, kicking off a 14-fight winning streak, albeit against modest competition. In 2008 he stunned unbeaten prospect Roman Greenburg with a second round knockout and has picked up wins over faded former title challenger Owen Beck and former titleholder Oliver McCall.

On Saturday, Boswell (35-1, 26 KOs) will get an opportunity he believes has been a long time coming. Povetkin’s title is bogus; Wladimir Klitschko won the WBA title from David Haye in July but in an obvious cash grab the WBA elevated Klitschko to “super champion” and sanctioned Povetkin’s win over Ruslan Chagaev in August as a title fight. Still, Povetkin (22-0, 15 KOs) is widely regarded as a top-five heavyweight with an open invitation to a unification fight with either of the Klitschko brothers whenever he wants it. Boswell knows he is here because Povetkin’s handlers -- headlined by trainer Teddy Atlas -- consider him a soft touch. What he wants them to know is that they will soon find out they were sorely mistaken.

“I have unfinished business in boxing,” Boswell said. “I don’t want the McCline fight to define my career. I felt I could be a world champion back then and I feel I can be one now. I don’t know why it took this long to get here. Maybe I got caught up in the politics of boxing. But we are here now and I’m going to take advantage of it.”

-- Chris Mannix