By Keith Idec
Carlos Takam knows as much about Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin as any heavyweight.
The rugged contender from Cameroon has lost to both boxers, including a 10th-round technical knockout defeat to Joshua on October 28 in Cardiff, Wales. Takam declined to pick a winner when he was interviewed by Sky Sports, but he assessed Povetkin’s chances of pulling off an upset Saturday night at Wembley Stadium in London.
The most important thing Povetkin needs to avoid, according to Takam, is getting off to a slow start against the huge heavyweight champion. If Povetkin starts slowly, Takam thinks Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) will walk right through him in their scheduled 12-round fight for Joshua’s IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles.
“I don’t think that Povetkin should start slowly,” Takam said. “And he can’t start strong, either, because otherwise he is going to tire himself out too quickly. He has to start at a good pace and he has to be there, in it, at every moment. If he starts slowly, though, he is going to get slaughtered by Joshua.”
Povetkin’s right hook impressed Takam (35-5-1, 27 KOs) when they fought in October 2014, but it was the former WBA champion’s left hook that knocked Takam flat on his back and rendered him unable to continue in the 10th round.
As impressed as he was with Povetkin in their bout, Takam doesn’t think Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) looked like the same fighter in his last appearance. The Russian contender knocked out England’s David Price in the fifth round of that March 31 bout in Cardiff, Wales, but not before Price scored a knockdown in the third round.
“He stayed a full year without fighting because of his suspension on doping control and it is not easy to come back after a year,” Takam said. “The last time I saw Povetkin fight was against David Price, and he was too slow and he looked like he was going to mess it up. He has lost his speed and didn’t have the same liveliness as before. He’s lost a lot and it’s not easy.”
Takam expects Povetkin to have difficulty dealing with Joshua’s jab and a significant size disadvantage. The veteran contender doesn’t expect the size of an enormous crowd in enemy territory to intimidate Russia’s Povetkin, though.
“I don’t think it will affect him,” Takam said. “I know that these boxers are used to fighting at home, but I think that he is prepared for this. He has the Russian mentality and he is not going to give up just because he is not in front of his public. It is not going to affect him. On the contrary, it is going to lift him because he’s going to be saying, ‘I am facing a challenge and I need to show that I am the best.’ He is going to box well.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.