Whyte: If I KO Helenius early, Wilder may fancy it even less
By Jeff Aranow: Dillian Whyte (21-1, 16 KOs) says he’s concerned if he’s too impressive against Robert Helenius (25-1, 16 KOs), it might scare away WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder from wanting to take a fight against him.
Whyte wants the Wilder fight first so that he can have a world title in his possession when he faces IBF/WBA champion Anthony Joshua. Whyte and Helenius are fighting on the undercard of Joshua’s title defense against Carlos Takam on Saturday night at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
If Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn can make a deal with Wilder for February 3, then Helenius will be a good warm-up fight for him. It’s still a very dangerous fight for Whyte, because he’s easy to hit. Whyte is made to order for Helenius. The guys that Helenius has done well against in the past were the Samuel Peter types, and that’s exactly how Whyte fights. He comes straight at his opponents.
Whyte, 29, thinks Wilder is afraid to fight him. Wilder has told Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn he’ll fight Whyte, but he wants more than the $3 million that he’s offering him for the fight. Wilder wants $7 million for the Whyte fight. Hearn doesn’t want to give him that kind of money. He’s hoping that if he keeps pushing the issue, Wilder will eventually give in and say yes to the fight.
As far as Wilder is concerned, facing Whyte is a detour from the fight that he really wants against Joshua. That’s the target that will bring Wilder huge monetary riches, as well as recognition as the best heavyweight in the division. Fighting Whyte won’t bring Wilder much of anything. It would like many of the opponents that Wilder has had in the past like Artur Szplilka and Eric Molina. Whyte is on the level of those heavyweights as far as popularity goes. He may or may not be better than them, but his popularity is nowhere to be found.
“It’s a bit of a double-edged sword,” said Whyte to espn.com. “I’m not going to watch what Wilder is doing the whole time. I’m just focused on Helenius but I have thought that if I knock Helenius out early, Wilder might fancy it even less than he does already.”
Whyte isn’t a good enough fighter for him to just coast his way to a victory over the big punching Helenius. If he wants to win the fight, he’ll need to make sure he goes all out, because this is a match that he could very well lose. Whyte isn’t a big knockout puncher. He’s a heavyweight that wears his opponents down with jabs and pressure.
Whyte doesn’t have much power in his left anymore after shoulder surgery, and right hand has never been a weapon. Whyte looks good against weak heavyweights like Dave Allen and Malcolm Tann, but he has problems against top guys. Whyte was knocked out by Anthony Joshua in the 5th round in their fight 2015, and last year he barely edged Dereck Chisora. Those fights showed that Whyte doesn’t have the kind of talent needed for him to assume that he’ll get past a guy like Helenius without him giving it a full effort. Whyte can’t hold back if he wants to win against Helenius.
Helenius thinks Whyte’s tendency to be overly aggressive in his fights could work against him on Saturday night when the two of them square off at the Principality Stadium. Helenius plans on nailing Whyte with one of his big power shots.
“Helenius is deluded. He thinks he’s a Viking warrior. He might get sent to Valhalla. It might be an early trip for him on Saturday,” said Whyte.
Whyte needs to show some boxing finesse against the towering 6’7” Helenius, as he’s got punching power on the level of Deontay Wilder. Helenius might not hit quite as hard as Wilder, but he comes very close to that. Helenius’ right uppercut is devastating. He still throws it was incredible power, and if he’s able to land that shot square on Whyte’s chin on Saturday, the fight is going to be over with right then and there. Whyte was shook up on three occasions by Chisora’s big power shots in their fight on December 10 at the Manchester Arena, and the only reason he escaped that fight in one piece was because of the limited stamina of ‘Del Boy.’
Helenius hasn’t shown any stamina problems as of yet. If he hurts Whyte, he’s not going to get tired from punching him in the head. Helenius will continue to hit Whyte until he drops if he can get him hurt. That’s why it’s very important for the 29-year-old Whyte to give his best effort on Saturday, because he’s not the type of talent that can do the minimum and still win.
“Wilder probably has more power than Helenius but Helenius is definitely an all-round more complete fighter,” said Whyte.
Helenius is a pretty solid fighter. He’s not mobile like Wilder, and he’s not going to try and frustrate Whyte the way that the Bronze Bomber would. Helenius is going to come out and try and blast Whyte out of there right off the bat. Whether Whyte is aware of it or not, Helenius is going to be looking to take him out right away on Saturday night. Whyte might be surprised by the difference in power of Helenius from the guys he’s been matched against since his loss to Joshua.
Whyte’s career won’t be over with if he loses to Helenius. It just means he would need to be rebuilt by his promoter Eddie Hearn. As long as Whyte is signed with Hearn, he’ll be alright and will eventually get a rematch with Joshua. If Whyte loses to Helenius, Hearn will likely match him with beatable domestic level fighters before he puts him in with Joshua in 2019 or 2020, if he decides to keep him on his Matchroom Sport payroll for that long. Hearn seems to be collecting all the top fighters in the UK to where he now has most of the notable guys. Whyte will remain useful to Hearn even if he gets beaten by Helenius.