We don't have many "special" bouts in the Heavyweight division, most world title fights can be derided as "mismatches" and most fights in general seem to be between between hopefuls and never will bes.
This weekend however we have world champion against world champion. Olympic champion against Olympic champion. And arguably, the best against the best as Wladimir Klitschko (60-3, 51), the reigning and defending IBF, WBO, Ring Magazine and WBA "Super" champion battles Alexander Povetkin (26-0, 18) the WBA "regular" champion. To the winner go the spoils whilst the loser will only be the next man dubbed a Heavyweight "pretender".
Whether you find Klitschko tiresome or not, he is dominant, he is the best in the world and he is the man who beats back challengers on a regular basis.
On the other hand you may not have seen that much of Povetkin. A Russian who was fast tracked to a "world title" in just 22 fights thanks to the WBA's odd ability to manufacture new titles almost at will.
Whilst we don't really feel Povetkin has earned the right to call himself a world champion is a genuine top fighter, a bona fide top 5 Heavyweight in our eyes thanks to victories over fighters like Chris Byrd, Eddie Chambers, Ruslan Chagaev and Marco Huck.
What Povetkin has going for him is a much more fun to watch style. He's first and foremost a skilled pressure fighter. He has fast hands, lovely shots on the inside, solid timing, and seems to be able to make fights exciting, in fact his bout with Huck was one of the best Heavyweight bouts in recent memory.
Sadly what Povetkin seems to lack is that something that would take him from talented and fun to watch, to special. It's that lack of something that we feel will hold him back here.
What we see happening is Povetkin starting with good intentions and coming forward from the opening round. Unfortunately for the Russian we imagine his forward movement will just lead him into a storm of jabs and this will slowly, but surely wear him down mentally, physically and emotionally. His good intentions may continue in to round 6 or 7 but by then his face will be swelling, his aggression slowing and the clock counting down on just how long he'll be able to hold up. We don't imagine it'll be much longer.
The odds are strongly in favour of Klitschko here with the Ukrainian priced around 1/6. Although we think he'll win we don't see profit in the straight win market. With the fight being in Russia it may also be noted that Klitschko may feel he needs a knock out for the victory, with this in mind a Klitschko T/KO win at 8/13 looks fantastic value.
We all know Klitschko doesn't go for the kill early so we'll be putting our coin on Klitschko between rounds 7-12 at a staggering 15/8!
Klitschko's jab and right hand are the key here as they are in all of his fights. It's not to much a matter of if, but when he starts landing the right hand that this bout will start to come to an end.
We expect a swollen and bloodied Povetkin to be stopped in the final half of the fight (hence the tipped bet above). He likely will be on his feet but we expect the referee to make the right decision for Povetkin's long term health with the Russian showing himself to be too tough for his own good.