By Ruslan Chikov
Former heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev is upset with trainer Teddy Atlas. He says the well-known trainer dumped WBA "regular" champion Alexander Povetkin (23-0, 16KOs) in favor of making money through his television deal as an ESPN analyst.
This Saturday in Germany, Povetkin defends the title against WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck. Experts in Europe are calling it the most high profile fight of Povetkin's career, but Atlas refused to travel to Russia to join Povetkin's training camp, stating that he just started a new contract with ESPN and didn't want to offend the network by requesting a few weeks off.
The move by Atlas has hurt Povetkin in the fight, says Valuev. The former champion says a Russian trainer would have never made such a move by dumping his fighter in favor of media work.
"Teddy Atlas, of course, undermined him by not taking part in the preparation for the fight. We don’t put money above all else. It’s important, but not so important that you take your trainee and cast him aside in such a trivial manner before a crucial fight,” Valuev told RIA Novasti.
Povetkin is now working with Russian trainer Alexander Zimin, who entered the camp on short notice when Atlas refused to travel over a month ago.