Alexander Povetkin appears to have accomplished everything that will come of his pro career.
A high-profile rematch with Dillian Whyte ended in despair for the 41-year-old Russian heavyweight, who suffered a one-sided knockout loss Saturday evening at Europa Point Sports Complex in Gibraltar. The fight was all one way, with Whyte (28-2, 19KOs) landing heavy right hands from the opening bell and repeatedly hurting Povetkin before closing the show late in the 4th round.
Whyte avenged a 5th round knockout loss from last August, a fight where he had Povetkin down twice in round four before getting clipped with an uppercut to put him flat on his back. The British heavyweight called for an immediate rematch, only for Povetkin to have to delay by two months after testing positive for COVID-19.
Saturday’s outcome left Povetkin’s handlers concerned for his safety. It was clear from the opening bell that it just wasn’t going to be his night, with the fear of far worse to come should he decide to proceed in the twilight of his career.
“I will persuade Sasha to end his career,” Andrey Ryabinskiy, head of World of Boxing—Povetkin’s promoter—revealed moments after the knockout loss.
Povetkin (36-3-1, 25KOs) fought for the sixth straight time on a Matchroom Boxing-promoted show, a run which began with a 5th round knockout of David Price in March 2018. The win was the 8th in a row at the time for the 2004 Olympic Gold medalist, paving the way for a mandatory title shot at then-unbeaten, unified heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua. Povetkin suffered a 7th round knockout loss in Sept. 2018.
The lone other defeat suffered by Povetkin at the time—and prior to Saturday—was in a 12-round unanimous decision to Wladimir Klitschko in Oct. 2013. Following the setback to Joshua came a 12-round win over former title challenger Hughie Fury in Aug. 2019 just two days prior to his 40th birthday. From there came a 12-round draw with Top 10 heavyweight contender Michael Hunter in Dec. 2019 and his aforementioned off-the-canvas knockout win over Whyte last August less than two weeks before celebrating his 41st birthday.
Father Time remains undefeated, however. As much is sensed by those closest, who realize that the best years of the longtime heavyweight contender are behind him.
“I think this is his last fight,” believes Ryabinskiy.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox