Hearn wants Andy Ruiz Jr. or Alexander Povetkin for Dillian Whyte’s fight on April 18
By Sean Jones: The wheeling and dealing British promoter Eddie Hearn wants to enlist former heavyweight world champions Andy Ruiz Jr. or Alexander Povetkin as the opponent for Dillian Whyte to fight on April 18 when he returns to the ring.
Hearn is skeptical about his chances of getting former IBF/WBA/WBO champion Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) to agree to fight the 31-year-old Whyte. Ruiz is coming off of loss to Anthony Joshua on December 7 in Saudi Arabia, and he’s got to rediscover his willingness to train.
Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs) might be open to fighting Whyte for the right amount of money. It’s a risky fight for the battle-worn Whyte, because Povetkin can punch, and he’s better skilled than any of the guys he’s ever fought before.
If one of them agrees to fight Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs), they WON’T be fighting on the Anthony Joshua undercard for his next fight in April or May. Hearn thinks there’s a chance Joshua will be fighting his IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev next. That’s a move that many boxing fans expected, as he’s a soft target for Joshua to defend against.
Ruiz Jr. and Povetkin on Hearn’s target list for Whyte’s next fight
“He’s looking to fight in April, possibly in the UK,” said Hearn to IFL TV about Dillian Whyte. “Again, it all depends on Joshua’s next fight, Usyk-Chisora. Dillian Whyte, where are we going to place him in slot-B? I love the Andy Ruiz fight for Dillian Whyte. Will they take it? Probably not.
“I like the Povetkin fight for Dillian,” Hearn said. “It would be an absolute war. Ultimately, all these fights for Dillian are great, but you’ve got to give him a world title fight. We’ve got to see where we are with the WBC. We’re not the mandatory until 2021, which I obviously don’t agree with, said Hearn.
An in shape Ruiz would be the worst possible opponent for Whyte to fight at this juncture in his career, because he’s starting to wear down. We’ve seen that in Whyte’s last 4 fights against the following heavyweights:
- Mariusz Wach
- Oscar Rivas
- Dereck Chisora
- Joseph Parker
Those were all very hard fights for Whyte in which he took a massive amount of punishment. It doesn’t matter that he won. The fact is Whyte is starting to get worked over by guys that he should have been able to beat with ease. Ruiz would be a terrible opponent for Whyte right now if the Mexican American can start training camp immediately to start burning off all the fat that he’s carrying around.
With the two big paydays that Ruiz got from his fights against Joshua, it’s unlikely that we’ll see him back in the ring in the first half of 2020. If Ruiz is going to fight at all in 2020, it’ll be in late 2020, if it all.
Hearn wants Whyte to fight for world title in 2020
“The worst way for Dillian is Fury and Wilder box in February, and Fury and Wilder box in October, and he gets the winner,” Hearn continued. “That’s the worst way. But I think he should have it sooner than that.
“The truth is, Dillian is not going to fight for a world title next,” said Hearn. “So let’s establish and book that fight, and get the right opponent. Unlikely,” said Hearn when asked if Whyte’s next fight would be on the same card as Joshua’s next title defense in April or May,” Hearn said.
The only that Whyte fights for a world title in 2020 is if he takes on WBA ‘regular’ champion Manuel Charr, because Joshua and WBC champion Deontay Wilder aren’t going to fight him. Hearn could help grease the wheels for Whyte by leaning on Joshua heavily to persuade him to throw Dillian a bone by giving him a title shot.
It’s still doubtful that Joshua would willingly fight Whyte next year, because he has mandatory defenses due against Kubrat Pulev and Oleksandr Usyk. Joshua isn’t going to give up one of his world titles just so that he can help out one of his fellow stable-mates.
Barry Hearn: Whyte has been treated terribly by sanctioning bodies
“I feel for Dillian Whyte. I think he’s been terribly treated by the governing bodies, UKAD, and by a lot of people, but that’s more of a question for him and his lawyers to sort out,” said Barry Hearn to IFL TV.
“If he’s getting the right advice, and I’m sure he is, there’s definitely going to be a legal situation brought into that one because I think he’s been very harshly treated,” said Hearn on Whyte.
“We’d definitely be open for that belt. I hope your sanctioning fees would be reasonable,” Hearn said in a joking manner. “I think it does boxing a disservice because it confuses the punter. I’m not saying we’re going to go back to those glory days when there was one heavyweight champion.
“That’s never going to happen, but at least try and keep it credible, guys,” Hearn said about the numerous world titles created by the sanctioning bodies. “It just looks like they’ve created more belts, and they get more sanctioning fees for more fights. That’s really not what they’re there for, is it?” Hearn said.
The World Boxing Council wanted Whyte to fight in a world title eliminator against Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz in the past, but he opted to instead fight Dereck Chisora. It’s easy to second guess that move in hindsight as a mistake, but obviously the money that Whyte was offered to fight Chisora was too good to turn down.
If Whyte had taken the Ortiz fight, he likely would have lost, and then he would be worse off. At least by fighting Chisora, Whyte picked up an ugly win, and kept his career moving forward.
Barry Hearn talks about Matchroom’s competition not being relevant anymore
“He says things like that, but I don’t necessarily agree with him,” said Barry about his son Eddie having said, “A lot of people in boxing are going to be as sick as pigs that Anthony Joshua won that fight [against Andy Ruiz Jr.].” “I don’t think they’re even relevant anymore,” said Barry about the competition that Matchroom Boxing has. “That sounds a bit big-headed, but the market has changed.
“They’re so yesterday now. They’ll still put up a struggle, and still be involved in fights at their level, but they’re not going to compete with Eddie, and the platforms that he’s got around the world,” Barry said about Matchroom’s competition. “So will they be sick? Yeah, because they’re a little bit bitter because they’re not the kingpins they once were, and dream to be, and that’s sometimes a bitter pill to swallow.
“I understand that, and I would be the exact same as them,” Hearn continued. “I would not be relevant in today’s market, and they’re not relevant. But they’re still going to have an involvement, and they’re still going to be involved in the greatest sport in the world, which boxing probably is.
“But if they expect to be the dignitaries like they have in the past, they best think again, because they’re not so relevant anymore. They’re still partially relevant, but not really relevant,” said Hearn.
It’s interesting that Barry doesn’t name the promotional companies that he’s talking about not being relevant any longer. The American power houses Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions are obviously still doing quite well. They may not have the same amount of big names as Matchroom Boxing, but they’re still doing well with the fighters they have.