By Ruslan Chikov
On July 29 in Philadelphia, unbeaten heavyweight Alexander Povetkin took part in an exhibition bout with former heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon. During four rounds of action, Povetkin dropped Seldon three times. After taking punishment and hitting the mat for the third time, the referee waved off the contest and handed Povetkin a TKO win which doesn't count on his official record.
This was not the usual kind of exhibition. There was no head gear, or oversized gloves and a referee called the action. This was as close to a legit contest as possible, but calling it an exhibition would rule out the involvement of the local commission, who probably would not have approved the fight between Povetkin and Seldon. Seldon, 42-years-old, had been inactive for a year and was knocked out in his last ring appearance.
Afterwards, Seldon called Povetkin "a future world champion."
The Seldon contest went unreported among the majority of the media worldwide. Only a few outlets in Eastern Europe picked up on the story and most of them copied the information from each other. Sources have advised that even Povetkin's promoter, Sauerland Event, was unaware of this ring appearance until it appeared in the Eastern Euro press days later. Certain individuals close to Povetkin were not happy about being unaware of this information and these same individuals could not have been pleased with fact Povetkin took part in the type of contest where there is always the possibilty of injury.
The exhibition was set up by Povetkin's trainer Teddy Atlas, who may or may not be at odds with Povetkin's promoters and management. It's widely reported that Atlas convinced Povetkin to step away from a scheduled title fight with WBO/IBF/IBO champion Wladimir Klitschko [September 11 in Germany]. Atlas confirmed the information in several interviews stating that Povetkin was "not ready" for the fight.
Because Povetkin did not sign a contract to fight, the IBF knocked him out of the top ten and allowed Samuel Peter to replace him in the Klitschko fight. Povetkin lost a career-high purse of over $2 million; an amount he may never see again.