Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Dillian Whyte talks ongoing for April fight
By Scott Gilfoid: Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn is working on a mouth-watering fight between former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. and Dillian ‘The Body Snatcher’ Whyte for April.
“That the $ wasn’t enough so we improved and now we are talking,” said Hearn about Ruiz’s reaction to the initial offer for the Whyte fight.
It’s unclear whether Hearn’s proposal would require that Ruiz agree to fight Whyte in the UK. That might be a deal-breaker given the controversial scoring of Whyte’s fight with Dereck Chisora, and the officiating done in the Joseph Parker and Oscar Rivas fights.
Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) rejected Hearn’s initial 7-figure offer, and he’s since bumped up it up to see if he’ll approve accept it. Ruiz Jr. would likely be agreeable to $5-7 million for a fight with Whyte.
This would likely need to take place in the UK in order to bring in a massive amount of fans, but it’s possible that it would do well in Southern California or Mexico.
Ruiz could end Whyte’s world title dreams
If Ruiz is in shape, there’s a good chance he beats Whyte. We’ve seen Whyte struggle recently in his fights with Marisuz Wach, Oscar Rivas and Joseph Parker. Ruiz is a better fighter than all those guys. Whyte is the current WBC mandatory and interim heavyweight champion, and he’s expected to challenge the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury rematch winner in 2021.
This is a potential nightmare fight for Whyte and Hearn, given that Ruiz is a better schooled fighter with superior hand speed and talent. Whyte lacks the wheels to escape former IBF/WBA/WBO champion Ruiz in the way that Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) did in their rematch on December 7 in Saudi Arabia.
Hearn is negotiating with Ruiz Jr. at a bad time with him coming off of 2 big paydays against Anthony Joshua. Ruiz roughly made $17 million combined for those fights, and he may not be open to accepting a smaller seven-figure money offer.
Hearn may need to offer Ruiz Jr. similar money to what he got for his first fight with Joshua in June of last year for him to agree to a risky fight with Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs).
Whyte, 31, looked out of shape and lethargic in his last fight in beating Wach by a 10 round unanimous decision on December 7 in Saudi Arabia. Dillian weighed in at a career high 271 pounds for the fight, and looked like he’d not been training. Nevertheless, the 6’7 1/2″ Wach was always going to give Whyte problems no matter what weight he came into the fight.
The size, toughness and the strength of the Polish fighter created a lot of problems for Whyte. Dillian has gotten used to facing a lot of guys that weren’t willing to fight him in the trenches.
Hearn discusses Whyte’s 3-fight schedule for 2020
“Are you still as hungry? Do you still have that edge,” asked Hearn of Whyte in talking to Matchroom Boxing channel. “When I first met you, you were ready to go. I just want to get him a shot at a world title,” said Hearn about Whyte. “Also at the same time, I want to set him as a schedule to make sure he’s progressing as a fighter to make sure he gets paid. For me, in 2020, the end of March or April, then the summer in the U.S, and then finish with a big, big fight in the winter,” said Hearn.
If Ruiz beats Whyte in April, Hearn might need to rethink his idea of having Dillian fight three times in 2020. Having Whyte fight 3 times this year only works if Whyte is able to march through his competition.
The wheels may come off the Whyte express if he faces an in shape Ruiz, weighing in the 250s. Whyte likes to throw throw a lot of jabs and left hooks to win his fights. He’s never faced a combination puncher with the hand speed, and power of Ruiz. If Whyte stands in the pocket with Ruiz, he’ll likely lose, barring controversial scoring. Even an out of shape 280+ lb Ruiz would give Whyte all kinds of problems with his speed and power.
“Let’s see if I can get out three times this year,” said Whyte to Matchroom Boxing. “I’ll be more than over the moon. Wilder says it best, ‘One face, one name, one champion, and all this crap. But then you’ve got me, an average guy, waiting 800 days. It’s embarrassing,” said Whyte.
Hearn doesn’t want Whyte to give up on WBC route
“From our point of view, the WBC, we’ve been with them for so long, we’ve shown them so much loyalty,” said Hearn in talking about Whyte. “To take the U-turn now. People keep saying, ‘Why don’t you just vacate the interim WBC world title,’ but he’s given up opportunities with other governing bodies.
“He could have been mandatory with the WBO,” said Hearn about Whyte. “The IBF took him out of the rankings. Other people took him out of the rankings because he won the interim [WBC] world title. That’s the frustrating thing. We know sometimes the politics in boxing gets involved, but when other opportunities are taken away, you show loyalty to one other organization.
Hearn and Whyte may not have any choice but to abandon the WBC route to a world title if he loses to Ruiz Jr. in April. It’s taken Whyte three years of his career to get this far with the WBC, and if he absorbs another loss, he’ll get dropped in the rankings.
It won’t be the end of the world for Whyte if Ruiz beats him. Hearn can still have IBF/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua give Dillian a title shot in an optional title defense. Obviously, the money Whyte would get as a voluntary challenger wouldn’t be the same as he would get as the WBC heavyweight champion, but Ruiz could wreck his vision of grabbing that belt.
Whyte has been lucky thus far in his fights against Dereck Chisora, Oscar Rivas and Joseph Parker. He was just a LITTLE bit better than those three heavyweights. Ruiz is better than all three of those guys, and not just a little bit better. He’s a lot better.
Whyte waiting ages for title shot against WBC champion
“We feel like we’re not even asking for a favor,” Hearn continued in talking about Whyte’s situation with the WBC. “When someone wants to protect a champion, you’re not seeing the IBF and WBO now protecting Joshua. No, they’re saying, ‘You’ve got to fight Pulev.’ We’re not asking for any favors. I need to sit down with [WBC president] Mauricio Sulaiman and say, ‘Show me the path, because this is getting ridiculous.’
“It’s going to be 1000 days by the time Fury and Wilder fight the, and I understand they’ve got a rematch clause,” said Hearn. “We just need to know what’s happening with Dillian Whyte.
“I don’t care about Wilder or Fury,” said Hearn. “What’s happening with Dillian Whyte, and he showed immense loyalty to the WBC. All we ask is that they respect him. You won the WBC Silver, the WBC International and WBC interim,” said Hearn.
Whyte has been waiting ages for an OPTIONAL title shot against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. Since Whyte didn’t take part in a WBC title eliminator until July of last year, it’s meaningless that he was ranked #1 with the sanctioning body before that.
What Whyte and Hearn don’t understand is that just because you’re ranked #1, it doesn’t mean your the mandatory. When the WBC attempted to get Whyte to take part in a title eliminator in 2018 against Luis Ortiz, he chose to fight Chisora instead. So who’s fault is that? The WBC’s or Whyte’s?
“They should give me the Diamond belt next time,” said Whyte about the WBC. “I need some more silverware.”