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Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin Pick

Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin Fight Preview and Prediction to Win
When: Saturday, September 22, 2018
Where: Wembley Stadium, London, England
TV: PPV
Weight Class: Heavyweight
Titles: IBF, WBO, and WBA Heavyweight Titles
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Anthony Joshua, 21-0 (20 KOs), Watford, England
Vs.
Alexander Povetkin, 34-1 (23 KOs), Chekhov, Russia

Betting Odds: Anthony Joshua (-2500), Alexander Povetkin (+1000)

Anthony Joshua defends his heavyweight titles against Alexander Povetkin on September 22 in London at Wembley Stadium. The unbeaten Joshua looks to take another step toward clear-cut heavyweight supremacy against a fellow Olympic gold medal champion in the once-beaten Povetkin. Granted, this isn't the fight we were hoping for, as a matchup for the top spot with Deontay Wilder was teased. Still, this is an interesting fight and a good test for the still-budding champion.

Povetkin is off most people's radar and at 38, he's a decade Joshua's senior. There's a few different ways to look at the Russian ex-titleholder. If looking to take a rosy outlook, he is in fact an accomplished amateur who was able to garner gold in Athens in the 2004 summer games. He has been taking on tough opposition for the better part of a decade in the pro ranks and his only setback is a decision loss to the preeminent big man of his era—Wladimir Klitschko. He is on an 8-fight winning streak and his resume runs deep. During this latest streak, he has beaten contenders Manuel Charr, Carlos Takam, Mike Perez, Mariusz Wach, Johann Duhaupas, and others. Povetkin has beaten a solid roster of opponents over a long period of time.

By the same token, this is the upper strata of the boxing business. Joshua is at the top of the mountain and while Povetkin has won a world title and maintained a sterling track-record, he has never been able to occupy the top reaches of the sport. In his only shot, he lost a lopsided stinker to Klitschko. There have been some drug-testing issues, which lead to any number of different possibilities. And just from a naked-eye perspective, Povetkin has always been a good fighter without ever suggesting he's capable of being great. Normally, a once-beaten former gold medalist who has beaten innumerable contenders and ex-champions would be an opponent people looked forward to seeing against a champion like Joshua. With Povetkin being a controversial figure with the PED issues, correct or not, he's almost a fringe presence in the heavyweight division—a nuisance that needs to be eliminated.

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Joshua, 28, has passed every test put in front of him. He won his gold medal in his home-country in 2012. His last fight, a decision win over Joshua Parker in March, was the first time he didn't stop his opponent. He is also battle-tempered, having stepped through the fire victorious in a slugfest against the same Klitschko who beat Povetkin by 15 points on the cards. He also overcame a rocky moment against top contender Dillian Whyte to win. This is already his sixth title defense and it's time to acknowledge that he's more than a body-beautiful who banks on strength and brawn. There's a cerebral side to him. On repeated occasions, he has shown he has the heart of a champion to go along with the offensive fireworks.

At root, calling out a guy who is on the verge of being the undisputed best heavyweight in the world is futile. At 21-0 (20) with all kinds of hardware and a gold medal to boot, what else is there to really discuss? That's from a straight-up standpoint. But when you're giving Joshua these kinds of Mike Tyson odds, a different perspective is required and one is forced into the role of critic. What we have in the heavyweight division right now is an overstated separation between the duo of Wilder and Joshua and the rest of the pack. Undoubtedly, they are at the top of the pile in this division. The true degree to which they are better than their peers, however, is not really seen by the odds in fights like this.

Laying chalk like -2500 on Joshua in this spot is nearly unconscionable. Again, one is reminded of a prime Mike Tyson. And he wasn't fighting once-beaten ex-champs who were still as viable as Povetkin is now. The Russian can do damage in the ring. We've seen Joshua in vulnerable moments before. The story starts to write itself. Joshua dissuades opponents from teeing off because they know the outcome of incoming fire can be catastrophic. Still, Joshua is highly-available. His upper-body movement is lacking. He presents a large target.

Joshua is very concentrated in the ring. His last fight, the only one he didn't win by stoppage, showed he can win a more-calculated controlled fight over the long-haul. The Englishman has also won in blowouts and in protracted battles of attrition. At the same time, there's a greenness to him, the result of starting the sport late. He lacks the fluidity that you see with more innate boxers. He has provided a lot of explosive sequences, but there are stretches where he's not working well—just filling time in between the big swats. So far, it hasn't really mattered, but Povetkin is well-schooled and robust, capable of creating a lot of heat between the ropes.

Will Joshua likely go out there and clunk Povetkin over the head at some point? OK, I can buy into that. Povetkin hasn't been stopped and that counts for something, especially with the caliber of punchers he has fought. But he's aging and clearly being put in this spot to lose. The boxing-machine is against him. He'd probably have to win 9 of 12 rounds to get a draw, as a Joshua setback would put a mega-millions match with Wilder in jeopardy. That's just how it seems to work. Nevertheless, at these odds, a small stance on Povetkin can be justified on a lot of levels. I'm taking the dog.

Loot's Pick to Win the Fight: I'm betting on Alexander Povetkin at +1000. Bet this fight for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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