Atlanta’s Cedric Boswell, who is 42 and getting the biggest opportunity in the late stages of his career, aims to bring one of the heavyweight belts back to the United States when he challenges Russia’s Alexander Povetkin at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland, on Saturday.
“This fight is huge for America,” Boswell said. “I’m the one legitimate American boxer who can bring heavyweight boxing glory back to America. I’ve already paid for extra baggage to bring the belt home. My message to all boxing fans: The cold war begins December 3, 2011, in Helsinki. The American Dream will soundly defeat the Russian pretender.”
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Boswell (35-1, 26 KOs) is riding a 14-fight winning streak, albeit against modest opposition, since returning in 2006 following a 2½-year layoff following his lone defeat — a 10-round knockout to then-top contender Jameel McCline in 2003.
Povetkin (22-0, 15 KOs), with ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas in his corner as his head trainer, will be defending his second-tier version of the WBA title. Wladimir Klitschko won the WBA belt in July but was “elevated” to “super champion” and another title was created for the purpose of generating additional sanctioning fees. Povetkin claimed the vacant “regular” title by outpointing former titlist Ruslan Chagaev in August.
Povetkin, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist, is not one for trash talk.
“I will give my answer in the ring,” he said through a translator when told of Boswell’s remarks. “We’ve had a great preparation. Teddy Atlas has come up with a great strategy. I respect Boswell as a fighter, but he will not defeat me.”
The fight will be carried live in the United States on Epix and EpixHD.com at 3:30 p.m. ET along with the main event, which features rising heavyweight contender Robert Helenius (16-0, 11 KOs), who will be fighting in front of his home crowd, facing England’s Dereck Chisora (15-1, 9 KOs) for the vacant European title.
Helenius is coming off an impressive ninth-round knockout of former titlist Sergei Liakhovich on the Povetkin-Chagaev card. Chisora suffered his first loss, a unanimous decision, to countryman Tyson Fury in July and rebounded with a six-round points win against professional opponent Remigijus Ziausys (19-44-3, 9 KOs).
“He’s called the ‘Nordic Nightmare,’ but he’ll be having nightmares about me for the rest of his life after I’ve left him flat out on the canvas,” Chisora said. “I’m surprised Helenius’ people wanted me to fight their unbeaten golden boy. Believe me, this is the biggest mistake they have made with his career.”
Helenius has defeated three former heavyweight titleholders in recent fights. Besides his decisive win against Liakhovich, Helenius also owns knockout victories against Samuel Peter and Lamon Brewster.
Dan Rafael is ESPN.com’s boxing writer.