Thoughts on Helenius, Povetkin's wins - Sports Illustrated

Thoughts on Helenius, Povetkin's wins

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Robert Helenius

Robert Helenius, but needs to improve if he wants to be a heavyweight title contender. (Reuters)

HELSINKI -- Three quick thoughts on Robert Helenius’ controversial decision over Dereck Chisora and Alexander Povetkin’s knockout win over Cedric Boswell.

Chisora got robbed. There is no other way to say it, really. Chisora put on a clinic on Saturday, pressuring the bigger Helenius from the opening bell and landing bomb -- and I mean bomb-- after bomb over 12 physical rounds. I had Chisora winning 119-109; two of the judges gave it to Helenius 115-113. I’ve seen a lot of bad decisions over the years but few as unbelievable as this. This was borderline criminal. Chisora stormed out of the ring after the fight, furious, and I don’t blame him. After his career was temporarily derailed following a loss to Tyson Fury last July, this fight was supposed to reposition Chisora as a serious challenger to Wladimir Klitschko. It still might, but at the very least Chisora deserves a rematch (on neutral turf) or a shot at Alexander Povetkin and his alphabet title.

The shine on Helenius is off. I’ll admit, I got caught up in Helenius fever. But Saturday night’s performance showed Helenius has a long way to go. His jab was weak and he simply allowed the smaller Chisora to walk inside and take the fight to him. When Chisora did give him an opening, Helenius couldn’t pull the trigger on any kind of meaningful combinations.

Helenius needs to get back in the lab, quickly. His skills are far too rudimentary to compete with any of the top talent in the heavyweight division. Trainer Ulli Wegner has taken him this far but if he cannot turn Helenius into a potent jabber, maybe it’s time to bring someone in (Emanual Steward?) who can.

Povetkin performs. Yes, Cedric Boswell was a C-list opponent who didn’t deserve a shot at the title, no matter how bogus Povetkin’s title is. But Povetkin put in one of his most complete performances to date, patiently working the taller and longer Boswell on the outside and hammering him with well-timed, thudding combinations on the inside. He picked his spots and, as trainer Teddy Atlas said, executed the game plan perfectly.

Povetkin has an open invitation to fight Wladimir Klitschko, but don’t hold your breath. Neither Atlas nor Sauerland Event seem in any rush to make that fight. Cruiserweight champion Marco Huck, in a too perfectly timed moment to be spontaneous, crashed Povetkin’s post fight press conference and challenged him. Both Huck and Povetkin are Sauerland fighters, so that’s an easy fight to make. Faded former titleholder Hasim Rahman and (gulp) Evander Holyfield are also on Sauerland’s radar, making it unlikely Povetkin faces Klitschko next year.

-- Chris Mannix