By Tré Berry III🖊️
As manifested, this was the best fight on the card, and these 2 Heavyweight contenders showed their worth at the top of the contender list as American 🇺🇸Michael “The Bounty” Hunter Jr. (18-1-1, 12KO👊) established himself as a threat early, and Russia’s 🥇🇷🇺Alexander Povetkin (35-2-1, 24KO👊) proved to be able to still perform consistently at the age of 40. While each fighter took turns having their moments, both fighters will have to deal with the reality that their Heavyweight Title eliminator match was rendered a DRAW by the judges.
A surprise start to this one, as Hunter was able to wobble Povetkin with a strong right cross, and hit him with a barrage of power punches in the first round. It may not have been a surprise to Hunter and Head-Trainer 🗣️Hasim Rahman, who planned to bring the fight to Povetkin and shake the old lions legs. Povetkin did survive the onslaught, so Hunter resorted towards a more measured attack, picking his spots while Povetkin was trying to get a long look at Hunter and looking to get his timing down, though he had fits of trouble in doing so as Hunter worked with an inpredictable approach. Hunter hurt Povetkin once again with a cross in the second round. Povetkin landed his first quality shot towards the end of the round that seemed to get Hunter’s respect.
Povetkins veteran tricks started to show in the 3rd round where he landed some very solid short counter shots on the inside, and mixing in the left hook to the body, somewhat throwing Hunters rhythm off as Povetkin effectively worked himself into the flow of the fight. The Russian boxer (who is built like a tank) started to trek his way forward to try and instill some mental pressure on the younger, less inexperienced fighter at the top level, however Hunter’s moxy overrode those factors, and was well in the action of the fight, but Povetkin started to find home with the looping right hand up top around the high guard of Michael Hunter.
By round 5, Hunter’s punches started to get a little wide, perhaps an indicator of a little mental fatigue, though physically he was in tip top shape. Povetkin threw 3 left hooks in a row, and landed the last one, a strong long left hook that had Hunter fly back into the ropes, which technically should have been ruled a knockdown, something that 🎧On-Air personalities Sergio Mora Jr. & Brian Kenny once again got wrong. There, the momentum of the fight clearly shifted to Povetkin, the veteran of 14 years. Round 6, Hunter did some solid work and kept himself in it by hurting Povetkin to the body during a clinch, something you don’t see too often. Povetkin was effective in holding towards the end of the round to nullify the damage. The 7th round was a great one, both boxers wobbling their opponent repeatedly with feverish exchanges in the last minute of the stanza. The mental warfare of the fight started to kick in for them both, as they began to feel the weight of the shots landed through the first 21 minutes, and moxy became the focal point of the fight going forward.
With both boxers jockeying for position and finding their moments, Hunter hurt Povetkin pretty bad in the 11th round and tried to close the show by knockout out the former Heavyweight Titlist, but Povetkin refused to budge. Fighting closely down the stretch to the final bell, the feeling by many throughout as I asked some people in media circles was that the fight felt very much like a draw, and I was in agreement with them, reflected by how I tallied up my score total, and the judges seemed to share the same opinion as well, with both boxers getting their hands raised. Neither fighter will leave Diriyah with a “W” to their record, but both put on the best fight of the card, and neither stock was hurt with their performances – hell, in Hunters case it may have even elevated it as there were some people wondering exactly where he fits in the overall Heavyweight picture after moving up a little while back from the Cruiserweight division. Here are the official scorecards, and here is how we at Project Combat scored this contest.
OFFICIAL SCORECARDS ✎🗒️
✎ Stefano Carozza = 115 – 113 for MICHAEL HUNTER JR.
✎ Glenn Feldman = 114 – 114 for a DRAW
✎ Yury Koptsev = 118 – 110 for ALEXANDER POVETKIN
PROJECT COMBAT SCORECARDS ✎🗒️
✎ Tré Berry = 114 – 114 for a DRAW
✎ Jon Uddin = 114 – 114 for a DRAW