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Alexander Povetkin vs. Michael Hunter Prediction

Alexander Povetkin vs. Michael Hunter Fight Preview and Prediction to Win
When: Saturday, December 7, 2019
Where: Diriyah Arena, Diriyah, Saudi Arabia
TV: DAZN
Weight Class: Heavyweight
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Alexander Povetkin, 35-2 (24 KOs), Chekhov, Russia
Vs.
Michael Hunter, 18-1 (12 KOs), Las Vegas, Nevada

Betting Odds: Alexander Povetkin (+155), Michael Hunter (-190)

Heavyweights Alexander Povetkin and Michael Hunter will do battle on December 7 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia on the undercard of the Andy Ruiz vs. Anthony Joshua II main event. It's an interesting fight between two contenders, with Povetkin representing the old guard and Hunter more of the new face in the heavyweight upper-shelf. Povetkin, a former titleholder, has been around forever and with a win over Hughie Fury in August, shows he still belongs. Hunter has won 6 straight since moving up to heavyweight and looks to make his first real mark.

Both have suffered setbacks that are of a forgivable nature. At 40, Povetkin has been in the higher reaches of the heavyweight class for over a dozen years. A former gold medal champion in the Olympics, he has lost all but twice in all this time, with a 2013 loss to Wladimir Klitschko and a 2018 KO loss to Anthony Joshua. Meanwhile, he has wins over a lot of big names. At 31, Hunter is also a credentialed former amateur, though he didn't scale the same heights as Povetkin. He made a nice run in the cruiserweight division, before running into the greatest to ever do it in that weight class—Oleksandr Usyk. He then moved up and it's been smooth sailing since. But this is a different kettle of fish, his first test against a true-blue heavyweight.

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I think picking Hunter is problematic on several different fronts. Granted, he has youth on his side. He has more of a future than Povetkin, who is sort of old news at this point. Maybe a tad shopworn at 40 and after a long and trying career, the upside factor lies with Hunter. If the powers-that-be have their way, it would be Hunter who moved on here, as he is at least a fresh face and Povetkin is more of a recycled commodity. And with his morose poker face and steady yet unspectacular skills, the Russian ex-champion always had an exceedingly dull vibe about him. In 2019, it's hard to get people excited about Alexander Povetkin.

I'm just not that clear on what Hunter has done to make him such a substantial favorite. He has a high ranking and could be getting a shot soon if he wins. But up until right now, what has he actually done? He has talent and is a good fighter—that much goes without saying. His father, Mike "The Bounty" Hunter, was captivating and one of my favorite fighters to watch—a swashbuckling and clever joker who would give far bigger men fits with his guile and great defense. He was a fighter who got by on his wits. His son is a more standard boxer, though he has far more discipline and lives better than his troubled late father, may he rest in peace.

In his 6 wins since moving up to the big boys, Hunter has beaten a few good fighters, but nothing to suggest he is ready for what really is a quantum leap in class. Having fought a supreme talent like Usyk, it's hard to say he's jumping up in class. By the same token, his best wins in his career are over top-30 type heavyweights and while he deserves credit as a good prospect/contender on the basis of beating unbeaten Martin Bakole and Sergey Kuzmin, I'm not sure why he's -190.

That's not to say he won't win. A talented fighter, he could be timing this spot well, with Povetkin possibly having grown a bit stale. While I'd pick Hunter to beat Hughie Fury, Povetkin's win over Fury a few months back shows he's not altogether spoilt. Povetkin, always a small step below the absolute best, has always fared well at this level—against mere contenders. When he runs into the ultra-elite is when he runs into problems.

With Povetkin, you have the bigger natural man, a big man who has been big since he was an amateur. He is looking at his last chance to make a move and make another big payday in this business and his urgency will reflect that. He is a pretty dependable fighter and delivers every time out. And when fighting other established heavyweights of high standing, he wins—something Hunter has not shown he can do. In his defense, he has never been given the opportunity to do so, but he has never been at this level. And what level is that? That's not entirely clear, but this much is known—it's higher than any level where he has thrived before.

The guys who set these odds don't do it willy-nilly. I'm not blind to the winning case of Hunter. I'm also not numb to the fact that the shot-callers would prefer to see Povetkin put Hunter over in this spot and when that's the case, the close fight almost always goes to the baby-face. I'm not sure it constitutes a -190 quote against a proven commodity in Povetkin, whose only loss came to the best. And those guys were giants not 6'2" fighters moving up from cruiser.

While not exceptionally quick, Povetkin's fundamentals as a former Olympic champion and longtime successful pro are above reproach. He can zero in with hard thudding shots and isn't an easy guy to dissuade, stopped just once in a long career. Hunter might be quicker and a sharp fighter who is fresher and can win rounds. Over the 12-round distance, something Povetkin is comfortable with. I just see Povetkin's assets coming to the surface against a good, but hardly great fighter in Hunter. I'll go with the underdog in this one.

Loot's Pick to Win the Fight: I'm betting on Alexander Povetkin at +155 odds. Did you know... that you could be wagering on fights at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying inflated odds with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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