Hearn wants Whyte vs. Rivas to be WBC final eliminator
By Scott Gilfoid: Eddie Hearn is still counting on the WBC making the July 20th contest between Dillian Whyte and Oscar Rivas to be a WBC final eliminator, as well as for the WBC interim heavyweight title. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen though. There’s a good chance the WBC is going to tell Whyte he needs to face Luis Ortiz in an eliminator if he wants to become the mandatory for WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
Hearn wants the World Boxing Council to come up a resolution that will enable to winner of the Whyte vs. Rivas fight to face the winner of the May 18th fight between WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Dominic Breazeale.
Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs) is fighting Rivas (26-0, 18 KOs) on July 20 on Sky Box Office at the O2 Arena in London, England. Hearn believes that Whyte, 31, has already waited long enough for the WBC to have ordered a fight between him and WBC champion Wilder. The WBC hasn’t done that because Whyte chose to do things his own way not participating in their eliminator when they wanted him to face Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz. Whyte chose to fight Dereck Chisora and Joseph Parker in 2018 instead of fighting Ortiz. Parker is arguably at the same level as Ortiz in terms of talent, but he wasn’t who the WBC wanted Whyte to face in their eliminator.
The thing is, if the WBC let’s Whyte become their mandatory for the winner of the Wilder vs. Breazeale fight without fighting in an official eliminator, it could set a precedent where future contenders choose not to fight in the WBC’s ordered eliminators, and then complain endlessly when the sanctioning body doesn’t make them the mandatory. If the WBC stays true to their rules by insisting that all contenders take part in official eliminators to earn the mandatory status, then they won’t have fighters in the future ignoring them when they order official eliminators. If the WBC let’s Whyte bypass the eliminator process to get the mandatory position to fight the winner of the Wilder-Breazeale fight, it could open the floodgates for future contenders to ignore the WBC when they order them to fight in eliminators. Whyte chose to take arguably easier fights against journeyman Dereck Chisora, Lucas Browne and Joseph Parker instead of facing the talented southpaw Luis Ortiz. Whyte might have lost to Ortiz. Fighting Chisora, Browne and Parker was far easier.
Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs) is the current WBC mandatory for Wilder, because he didn’t resist fighting in an eliminator when the sanctioning body ordered him to face Eric Molina in November 2017. Breazeale took the fight and defeated Molina by an eighth round stoppage to become the WBC mandatory challenger for Wilder.
”We want the Oscar Rivas fight to be for the mandatory position with the WBC and for that interim world title,” Hearn said to skysports.com. ”Everything that he’s done in that division, all the defences of his WBC ‘silver’ title, a couple of world title eliminators, and him ranked No 1 for god knows how long, and yet someone who is ranked four or five becomes the mandatory,” Hearn said.
For the record, Breazeale, 33, is ranked #4 by the WBC. The reason that he’s ranked that low is because he only fought once in 2018, and he hasn’t fought at all yet in 2019. Once Breazeale earned the WBC mandatory position, he was waiting for the WBC to order the fight against Wilder, but they chose to wait a year and a half before they finally got around to ordering the Wilder-Breazeale fight. Breazeale obviously wasn’t going to risk his guaranteed title shot, so he fought just once in the last year and a half in defeating Carlos Negron by a ninth round knockout. When negotiations were underway for a rematch between Wilder and Tyson Fury, the WBC briefly ordered a fight between Breazeale and Whyte for their interim WBC title. It would have been a win-win for Whyte to fight Breazeale. If Whyte had beaten Breazeale, he’d be the mandatory for Wilder, and he would be the one that would be challenging him next instead of Breazeale. However, when Fury with Top Rank Boxing, they chose not to go ahead with the rematch with Wilder. The negotiations were broken off between Wilder and Fury, and Breazeale was once again in the picture for a world title shot.
Whyte is ranked ahead of Breazeale at #1 with the WBC based on his activity. Whyte has been a lot more active than Breazeale in the last year in defeating Joseph Parker, Dereck Chisora and Lucas Browne. Parker is the quality of that small bunch. Chisora is pretty much a journeyman level fighter, and the 40-year-old former WBA ‘regular’ heavyweight champion Browne looked completely shot against Whyte, as well as in his subsequent fights against Dave Allen and Kamil Sokolowski. Browne looked patently awful against Allen and Sokolowski, so it’s hard to give Whyte any credit whatsoever for beating him or the journeyman Chisora. The only good opponent that Whyte beat in 2018 was Parker, and that’s a fight that arguably should have gone the other way. The referee Ian John Lewis has a bad night at the office in blowing an important call in round 2 in giving Whyte credit for a knockdown when he bumped heads with Parker, putting him on the canvas. It’s unclear how the referee could have missed such an easy call. The rest of the fight saw Whyte roughing Parker up and getting away with it. With all the fouling Whyte did in the contest, you can argue that he should have lost multiple points. It was like watching an MMA fight.
The WBC still hasn’t made their decision about the resolution on Whyte’s status for the WBC mandatory position that he so badly craves. It’ll be interesting to see what Whyte and Hearn choose to do if the WBC comes back with a simple resolution for Dillian to fight Luis Ortiz. What happens then? Will Whyte take the risky fight against ‘King Kong’ Ortiz to earn the title shot against Wilder, the way that he should have for the beginning, or he take off in the opposite and complain about the sanctioning body? If Whyte wants the fight with Wilder badly enough, then he’ll take the fight with Ortiz. But if he doesn’t fancy the idea of the hard work that would be involved in facing Ortiz, then he’ll look for the easier path, which is likely to happen unfortunately. Whyte doesn’t need to fight Wilder in order to get a title shot. Hearn already offered him a crack at IBF/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua, but those two were unable to negotiate the fight.
If Whyte chooses not to fight Ortiz, if that’s what the WBC decides that he needs to do in order to earn the mandatory spot to face Wilder, then he can always tell Hearn to setup a fight between him and Joshua. Obviously, it won’t be the same money for Whyte as it would if he came into the fight with Joshua as the WBC champion, but he won’t have to go through Ortiz, who he doesn’t seem to be all that interested in fighting for some reason. There wouldn’t be a problem for Whyte if he was as gung ho at fighting Ortiz as he was Lucas Browne, Dereck Chisora, Oscar Rivas and Joseph Parker. Whyte took all those fights for nothing. He could have just fought Ortiz and he’d been the WBC mandatory by now if he didn’t lose, which a lot of boxing fans think he would. Ortiz is a bad matchup for Whyte.