By Luke Furman
A mandatory fight between WBA heavyweight champions Wladimir Klitschko (59-3, 50KOs) and Alexander Povetkin (25-0, 17KOs) is likely heading to a purse bid. Since 2008, the match went to a purse bid on two occassions. Both times K2 Promotions was able to outbid Povetkin's promoter, Sauerland Event. The World Boxing Association gave both sides until January 17th to reach a deal or a purse bid would be called.
The WBA sent letters earlier this week, directing Wladimir to face Povetkin by the end of February, but K2 believes they have more time to get the mandatory defense done.
Wladimir, who also holds the WBO/IBF/IBO titles, is the WBA's "super champion" at heavyweight, while Povetkin is the "regular" champion.
Povetkin was the mandatory to Klitschko in 2008, but suffered an injury and withdrew from a scheduled December fight. He was once again the mandatory challenger in 2010, also under the IBF, but this time he withdrew per the advice of his then trainer Teddy Atlas. Povetkin is now trained by Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu.
Based on the early indications through the media, promoter Kalle Sauerland says the two sides are unlikely to reach an agreement by the designated date and they might as well go to a purse bid. He also advised Wladimir to vacate his title if he doesn't want to go through with the Povetkin fight.
"The rules state that they must fight in 18 months. We have to agree by the 17th of January. Because that is certainly going to be very difficult, we can go into the auction right now and put in a purse bid. If Klitschko didn't want [to do a purse bid], he could also [vacate] the title," Sauerland said.
Klitschko's manager, Bernd Boente, has stated that there could be issues in making the match because of the contract agreements that both sides have with rival German cable networks. Wladimir has an exclusive deal with RTL, and Povetkin fights on the airwaves of ARD.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org.