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Dillian Whyte vs. Lucas Browne on HBO on March 24

Image: Dillian Whyte vs. Lucas Browne on HBO on March 24

By Scott Gilfoid: HBO has decided to televise the March 24th fight between heavyweight contenders Dillian Whyte and Lucas Browne from London, England. The Whyte-Browne fight will be televised live by HBO at 6pm ET in the States. The fight will be tape delayed PT.

It appears that HBO is being strategic in building up the Whyte-Browne winner as a future opponent for WBC heavyweight champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder or IBF/WBA champion Anthony Joshua. Unfortunately for HBO, those two fighters are currently with Showtime Boxing. As such, it’s hard to say for sure what the goal is for HBO to televise the Whyte vs. Browne fight.

These are not fighters that the casual boxing fans are familiar with in the U.S, so the fight is unlikely bring in huge ratings. If HBO can sign a deal with the winner of the Whyte vs. Browne fight, then they can have a fight involving them and Joshua or Wilder to be shown on their network. Showtime might not like the idea of HBO televising one of Joshua or Wilder’s fights, but if Whyte or Browne are under contract with HBO, then I don’t see them being able to keep the fight from being televised on HBO.

The winner of the Whyte vs. Browne fight will soon be fighting for a world title against either Wilder or Joshua. If they want to be strategic, it’s a win-win move by HBO if they sign the Whyte-Browne winner to a 3-fight contract. By the third of that contract, one of them could be fighting for a world title against Joshua or Wilder.

Heavyweight contender Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller was recently signed by HBO to a multi-fight contract. It’s possible that HBO Boxing is interested in televising a fight between the Whyte vs. Browne winner against Miller. That would be an excellent fight. Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn works with Miller, and he might like the idea of matching those two guys against each other. I still have my doubts that Hearn would make a Whyte-Miller fight, as he’s interested in having BOTH fight Joshua soon.

I don’t know that he would still be able to do that if one of them loses. It would require for Hearn to rebuild the loser before he could eventually match them against Joshua. I would pick Miller to knockout Whyte if that fight went down. Whyte is a good fighter, but he can’t punch, and he gasses out. Miller would be there all night long, throwing 80 punches per round and forcing Whyte into a war whether he wanted to or not. Miller might even beat Joshua if he can brawl with him and force him to expend energy over a prolonged period.

Whyte (22-1, 16 KOs) is viewed as the favorite to defeat the 38-year-old former WBA heavyweight champion Browne (25-0, 22 KOs). Browne lost his WBA heavyweight title in May of 2016 after being stripped of it due to him testing positive for the banned substance clenbuterol.

Whyte, 29, is the home fighter, and he’ll have the advantage over Browne in terms of the boxing fans that will be at ringside. You hate to say it, but Browne might need a knockout for him to have his hand raised at the end of the fight. We saw Whyte’s A-side power in action with his controversial 12 round split decision win over former heavyweight title challenger Dereck Chisora in December 2016. Boxing News 24 scored that fight in favor or Chisora, but Whyte got the nod by the judges.

The thing you can say about Browne is he’s got the punching power to take the judges out of play. That’s the one thing Browne has going for him in this fight. He’s not younger, he’s not faster, and he doesn’t possess the same engine as Whyte. But if Browne can land his heavy shots, he could drop Whyte for the count.

Whyte underestimated his last opponent Robert Helenius and he was badly hurt by him in the 2nd round of their fight on October 28 in Cardiff, Wales. Helenius didn’t have much of a training camp for the fight, so not surprisingly he gassed out after 2 rounds and ended up losing a 12 round unanimous decision. But if Helenius had the conditioning for the fight, there’s no question that he would have knocked Whyte out. The key for Browne to win the fight is for him to go after Whyte’s chin early and get him in a war.

If Browne can slug with Whyte right off the bat, he’ll have an excellent chance of knocking him out. What Browne doesn’t need to do is wait until the 10th round before he starts going on the attack. We saw Browne do that against Ruslan Chagaev in 2016. Browne did nothing at all for the first 9 rounds of the fight. By the 10th, Browne needed a knockout for him to win the fight, which is exactly what he did. He went after Chagaev’s chin and stopped him with a series of hard blows.

When Browne took that fight, he was still active and fighting on a regular basis. Browne has only one time in the last two years, and that against journeyman Matthew Greer last year. Browne stopped Greer in the 2nd round. The fight was such a mismatch that you can’t really say that Browne got anything out of it. Browne would have been better off staging a sparring exhibition, because he got nothing out of the Greer fight.

HBO Boxing would do well to try and urge the winner of the Whyte vs. Browne fight to take on another top contender if they can’t get Wilder or Joshua. The Whyte-Browne winner against the likes of Adam Kownacki, Kubrat Pulev or Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller would be ideal. As I was saying earlier, Miller against the Whyte-Browne winner would be the best fight that can be made for HBO to televise on their network to attract boxing fans. It might take some convincing by HBO to get Hearn to sign off on it though, because he does want Whyte and Miller to both fight Joshua. Hearn would have a bigger fight for Joshua if Whyte and Miller fought it out before hand in an elimination match, but he would still need to rebuild the loser of the Whyte-Miller fight.

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