By Scott Gilfoid: Promoter Eddie Hearn has a lot of interest in putting together a rematch between Dillian Whyte and heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. But before Hearn can put that fight together, he wants Whyte (20-1, 15 KOs) to capture a world title by beating WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder.
#5 WBC, #6 IBF, #10 WBO Whyte is fighting on August 19 against a still to be determined opponent in the U.S. Whyte is fighting on the undercard of the Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo card at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. Michael Grant, a 44-yer-old journeyman, was initially the opponent penciled in to fight Whyte on the card, but he’s no longer fighting him. There are rumors there was too much criticism about the fight from the boxing public, so Grant’s name was pulled as an opponent. Never the less, Whyte is not expected to fight anyone that would be a threat to beating him. He’s on the fast track of getting a rematch with Joshua, as long as he can win a world title.
If you’re wondering why Hearn has Whyte fighting in the U.S on the undercard of the Crawford-Indongo fight, it’s probably because he’s making a huge effort to put together a fight between Whyte and Deontay. That’s the way I see it. The idea is that by putting Whyte on the Crawford vs. Indongo card in the United States, he’ll be seen by a ton of American boxing fans. It’ll increase Whyte’s exposure to the U.S fans. As such, if Hearn can make the Wilder-Whyte fight, it’ll be a bigger deal for the fans to want to see it. It’s a clever move on Hearn’s part. He’ll likely put Whyte in a showcase fight on August 19 against a guy that has zero chance of beating Whyte, and that’ll make him look really good wiping the deck with the opponent.
The casual boxing fans in the U.S that see Whyte smash some badly over-matched opponent dragged into the ring to fight him, they’ll be so impressed that they’ll be chomping at the bit to see Wilder fight Whyte. Hearn having Whyte fight in the U.S on August 19 is a dead giveaway that he’s eager to have Wilder defend against him in the U.S. What Hearn doesn’t realize is that the U.S is a huge country and it takes more than one fight to build up a fighter. It takes years of quality match-making to turn a fighter into a big name in the U.S. That means you need to put fighters in very good matches, not mismatches.
Considering that 44-year-old Michael Grant was briefly Whyte’s opponent for the August 19 card, it doesn’t look like Hearn is interested in putting together a good match to build Whyte up. It looks to me like Hearn is trying the old tried and true method of putting Whyte in with an over-matched fodder opponent in hopes of making him look better than he is in the eyes of the casual boxing fans.
I don’t think it’s going to work. Even casual fans can see when a fighter has no talent. If Hearn doesn’t put Whyte in with a guy that is competitive with him, it’s going to be boring and won’t make him look good. If Hearn is just looking for a punching bag for Whyte to beat up on for the August 19 card in Nebraska, then the U.S boxing fans are going to see through that ploy and not be impressed. If Hearn was willing to take a risk in turning Whyte into a big name in the U.S, he’d get Jarrell Miller or Luis Ortiz to fight him. Obviously, August 19 is too short notice to get either of those talents to fight Whyte, but Hearn had plenty of time to get one of those two to fight Whyte if he’d started making offers early on. But like I said, I don’t think Hearn has any interest in matching Whyte against a good heavyweight that could potentially defeat him. I see him being put in a showcase fight to make him look good in beating some poor sap in order to get boxing fans excited about Wilder fighting Whyte.
“If Whyte can win a heavyweight title, that fight would be massive in this country,” said Hearn via GQ Magazine via skysports.com. ”AJ enjoyed his first fight with Whyte so much he wants to do it again. No one really wants to fight Dillian Whyte because he is a right handful.”
I can’t believe Hearn is saying that “no one” wants to fight Whyte. Undefeated Jarrell Miller just called him out last Saturday night. How can Hearn say no one wants to fight Whyte? Dereck Chisora wants to fight Whyte after losing a very questionable 12 round decision to him last December. Luis Ortiz would likely fight him if Hearn made him an offer.
Hearn has already made 3 offers to Wilder for a fight with Whyte, but thus far he’s not been able to deal the deal. Wilder wants $7 million for the fight with Whyte. Hearn will attempt to get the American talent Wilder to agree to less than that figure if possible.
Joshua already knocked out Whyte in the 7th round two years ago on December 12, 2015. Normally when a fighter knocks out his opponent, he wants to move on. However, the Joshua-Whyte fight brought in a lot of PPV buys on Sky Box office, which is clearly a big reason for the interest in a second fight between them. But for the rematch to bring in huge numbers, Whyte needs to have his career properly rebuilt in order to validate him in the eyes of the British boxing public.
Thus far, Whyte has beaten these 4 fighters since his loss to Joshua: Dereck Chisora, Ian Lewison, David Allen and Ivica Bacurin. Whyte arguably lost to Chisora last December in winning a controversial 12 round split decision. Chisora did more than enough to deserve the victory, but the A-side fighter, Whyte, was given a split decision win. A lot of boxing fans were unhappy with the results of that fight, and many of them screamed for a rematch. Chisora is one of them. Whyte instead is taking no chances of fighting Chisora again, and he’s moving on.
American heavyweight Jarrell Miller called out Dillian Whyte last Saturday night after beating Gerald Washington. Miller likely will not get the fight with Whyte. Indeed, I see Miller having about as much chance of fighting Whyte as Chisora does in getting a rematch. Miller would be a risky fight for Whyte, and one that he would very possibly lose.
“We have made three really good offers,” said Hearn about offers made to Team Wilder for a fight against Whyte. “Wilder’s team have got some issues they need to solve with their mandatory challenger, but we’ve offered them a big, big deal and I think they are interested. It should be a great fight.”
Wilder is in no position to fight Whyte right now, as he has a mandatory defense coming up against #1 WBC Bermane Stiverne. Wilder can’t steer around Stiverne, because he’s made it clear he wants his title shot and he’s not going to take a step aside payment. Getting the rematch scheduled against Stiverne could take a while. My guess is the Wilder-Stiverne 2 fight won’t take place until late 2017.
If Wilder wins that fight, he’ll be looking for a unification fight against Joshua or WBO champion Joseph Parker. If Hearn is going to drag his feet on the Wilder-Joshua fight in hopes of getting Wilder to fight Whyte, then that fight won’t happen. Wilder will need to go in another direction in early 2018. Of course, if Hearn sweetens the offer to Wilder by giving him the money that he’s interested in for him to fight Whyte, there could be a fight between those two.
I don’t know if Wilder is willing to agree to less than $7 million for a fight against Whyte. For that kind of money, I sure as heck don’t see the Wilder-Whyte fight taking place in the U.S. I don’t see Hearn agreeing to that, because he would likely need to get a lot of ticket sales to come up with the cash to pay Wilder. To be sure, Wilder vs. Whyte would not sell a lot of tickets in the U.S unless it was staged in Birmingham, Alabama. You can’t have Wilder fighting Whyte in Las Vegas, Nevada or New York and expect a big crowd to turn up to see the fight. For the boxing fans that know who Whyte is in the U.S, they mostly know him as the guy that was knocked out by Joshua in 2015. Why would the fans get excited about Wilder fighting Joshua’s leftovers? It’s not as if Whyte has done anything spectacular to rebuild his since his loss to Joshua. Whyte has fought 3 fodder opponents and 1 former world title challenger in Chisora. Whyte looked good in none of those fights. He’s not punching with the same authority he once did with his surgically repaired left shoulder, which he injured before and during his fight with Joshua. Whyte is a different fighter now compared to the way he was before the Joshua fight in my view.