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Dillian Whyte happy to fight Malcolm Tann

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By Scott Gilfoid: Instead of fighting a rematch with Dereck Chisora to clear up the controversy surrounding their fight last December, heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte (20-1, 15 KOs) will be going back to his soft opposition in facing 38-year-old journeyman Malcolm Tann (24-5, 13 KOs) on August 19 on the undercard of the Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo card at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Despite fighting a journeyman fighter with just 2 fights under his belt in the last 10 years of his pro career, Whyte thinks it’s a good opponent for him. Tann was knocked out in his last fight by Sergey Kuzmin on June 23. This begs the question, why isn’t Whyte fighting Kuzmin instead of the guy that he just knocked out? I’m just saying. I’m trying to understand the match-making that’s being done for Whyte.

“This is good experience for me, fighting some tall guys because all the champions are quite tall,” said Whyte to skysports.com. ”It’s good for me to fight someone that kind of height in preparation for the future. He’s a tall guy, 6ft 6in, and is quite knowledgeable, knows his way around the ring.”

Tann knows his way around the ring, eh? I don’t know if Whyte has been keeping score, but the last time I checked, Tann has lost 3 out of his last 4 fights. All 3 of those defeats were by knockout. Yeah, Tann knows his way around the ring all right, and he’s doing a great job of finding the canvas. I’m having a hard time taking Whyte seriously in what he says.

It’s almost like he’s saying the opposite of reality. How do you build up an opponent with 3 defeats in his last 4 fights? How do you do that? If it was me that Hearn wanted to put Tann in with, I’d tell him to go back to the drawing board. I’d insist on a rematch with Chisora, because I wouldn’t want the stink of my controversial win over him to keep following me around like it is with Whyte.

Chisora beat the brakes off of Whyte last December, as far as I’m concerned. Boxing News 24 had Chisora winning that fight, not Whyte. There’s unfinished business there for Whyte. Hearn should at least match Whyte up against a bottom feeder in the heavyweight division, shouldn’t he? When I say bottom feeder, I’m talking about a bottom ranked top 15 contender.

At least by fighting an actual contender, Whyte doesn’t look as bad as he is right now, and his boxing skills won’t erode from too many soft opponents, which you can argue is what’s been happening with Whyte since his loss to Joshua.

Here are the guys that Whyte has fought since being stopped by Joshua:

– Ivica Bacurin

– David Allen

– Ian Lewison

– Dereck Chisora

Bacurin is a journeyman, and Lewison and Allen are domestic level fighters. Tann is a journeyman too.
Before the fight with Tann was signed, Whyte was going to fight 6’7” Michael Grant. This is a 45-year-old American heavyweight who was obliterated by Lennox Lewis in 2 rounds on April 29, 2000. Grant is still fighting after all these years, and not doing too well. He’s lost his last 3 fights all by stoppages.

The idea obviously of Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn putting him in with taller heavyweights like the 6’6” Tann is to get him ready for the taller heavyweight world champions like the 6’7” WBC champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder and the 6’5” Anthony Joshua. Hearn had been trying to buy a title shot for Whyte against Wilder, but the money he was offering wasn’t enough for him to get the fight.

Wilder and Hearn were far apart in the money that the two were talking in trying to make the fight. As far as Whyte’s concerned, Wilder is being unreasonable in his money requests, and he says the offer won’t be there on the table forever. Wilder can’t fight Whyte right now anyway, because he’s got his mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne he needs to take care of first.

If Hearn wants to continue trying to negotiate that fight between Whyte and Wilder, he can definitely do after Wilder gets past the 38-year-old Stiverne. Frankly, I don’t think it’s the smartest thing for Hearn to be doing. His objective is he wants to build up the Anthony Joshua vs. Whyte rematch to be as big as possible. The first fight did well between Joshua and Whyte in 2015 in bringing in a lot of PPV buys.

Hearn seems to be more interested in having Joshua fight Whyte than putting him in with Wilder. Why else would Hearn want to have Whyte fight Wilder first rather than keeping him out of the way so that Wilder can face Joshua. I get the feeling that Hearn doesn’t like the idea of the big punching Wilder to fight Joshua due to the risk factor in making that fight. Joshua almost got knocked out by a timid Wladimir Klitschko on April 29.

Wladimir only threw a small handful of power shots in the entire fight, and yet had Joshua on the canvas and ready to be finished off. Wilder hits harder than Wladimir, and he’s a heck of a lot more aggressive. If Wilder had been in the ring with Joshua on the night on April 29, the fight would have been over very quickly in my view. I hate to say it but Joshua wouldn’t have made it past the 6th round if Deontay had been in there with him. I think Hearn is hoping that Whyte will take care of Wilder so that Joshua will be safe from the American talent.

It’s already been established by Joshua that he can beat Whyte, so Hearn is likely not worried about putting his 2 heavyweights together once again with big Joshua losing. Whyte is someone that will give it a good fight against Joshua, but who will wind up getting knocked out once again for lack of power and stamina. If Hearn makes the Joshua-Wilder fight, then things aren’t so simple in predicting the outcome of that fight. It’s not going to be anything like the Joshua vs. Whyte fight.

Wilder don’t suffer an injury to his left shoulder in round 2 after staggering Joshua the way that Whyte did. Wilder will still be there in round 2 through 12, bouncing right hands off the head of Joshua and exposing his lack of stamina, mobility and poor outside game. All those things were exposed by Wladimir in this fight with Joshua last April.

Wilder did recently give Whyte a glimmer of hope that he might get the fight against him in the near future in positing this message:

”Be very careful of what you ask for Dill Pickles for you just might get it,” said Wilder in a message to Dillian via Twitter.

I think Hearn is going to need to sweeten that $3 million offer to Wilder to get him to agree to fight Whyte. I’d say if Hearn puts $6 million in front of Wilder, he’ll take the fight. That would be enough money for Wilder to whet his beak and get excited about fighting what is arguably little more than Joshua’s leftovers. Hearn just needs to dig deep and come up with enough cash to please Wilder, and I think he’ll take the fight with Whyte. It’s no skin off Wilder’s teeth if the fight with Whyte never happens. He doesn’t gain anything from fighting him. Wilder wants unification fights against Joshua and WBO champion Joseph Parker. Those are the fights that Wilder wants. Whyte is nothing but a detour, a needless one.

Hearn needs to show how badly he wants the Wilder-Whyte fight. If he wants that fight so badly, then he’s going to need to come up with the cash to please Wilder. If not, then it’s going to be a long, long time before Whyte is eventually ranked #1 by the World Boxing Council and installed as Wilder’s mandatory challenger. I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes 2-3 years for that to happen. By that time, Joshua might not even be the IBF/WBA heavyweight champion any longer.

For a fighter that has done zero since his loss to Joshua, Whyte has very high ambitions. Whyte wants title shots against Joshua, Wilder and Joseph Parker, but he’s done nothing to deserve any of those fights unless you count beating Allen, Bacurin and Lewison as deserving of a title shot. I’m not even mentioning Whyte’s win over Chisora, because it was too controversial to be counted. I think there should be an asterisk next to Chisora’s name in Whyte’s resume to let the boxing fans know it was a highly disputed decision.

“There are the likes of Manuel Charr, Dereck Chisora, Chazz Witherspoon, Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, Deontay Wilder, even Gerald Washington,” said Whyte about his next fight. “I could fight any of those guys in my next two fights and I wouldn’t mind. Joseph Parker, even the rematch with Anthony Joshua.”

Whyte “wouldn’t mind” title fights against Joshua and Parker? How about earning a title shot, Whyte? That would be a nice change.


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