By Scott Gilfoid: UFC promoter Dana White revealed on Friday that the Dillian Whyte vs. Francis Ngannou epress conference won’t be happening on Saturday. White isn’t interested, and Matchroom Boxing has confirmed that Team Ngannou has made a request for it not to take place.
This is what I was afraid of. It looks like Matchroom honcho Eddie Hearn didn’t check it out with Dana first before he started talking up a Whyte vs. Ngannou fight, and scheduling the fake press conference.
There’s no reason for Dana White to let a talented knockout artist like Francis Ngannou fight Dillian Whyte in a boxing match. That would be such a bad idea. Dana needs to continue to build Ngannou to make him a bigger name before letting crossover to a sport like boxing. Even then, Ngannou needs to be fighting the best, not the fourth or the fifth-best.
Here’s a comment from Eddie Hearn getting ahead of himself
“Dana loves great fights, so I’ll try to make this happen. This isn’t a gimmick, this is two of the best and baddest in the world. Whyte vs. Ngannou would be huge,” said Hearn.
No surprise Dana White putting brakes on Whyte-Ngannou
Hearn was champing at the bit, talking about how fans are super excited about a fight between Whyte and Ngannou. He was talking about wanting to make the fight later on in 2020 after Whyte faces 40-year-old Alexander Povetkin.
Speaking about Povetkin, why isn’t Hearn putting the focus on trying to build interest in his fight with Whyte? You can argue that the interest from boxing fans in a Whyte vs. Povetkin is as cool as the surface temperature of Pluto. So instead of Hearn trying to sell the Whyte-Povetkin fight, which no one is interested in, he’s been yacking about Whyte-Ngannou.
White says he’s trying to get his business back together, and he’s NOT thinking about boxing right now. This is perfectly understandable on his part.
Why would White want to put the gangly Ngannou in with a professional boxer like Whyte under any capacity? There are too many things that could go wrong in a fight of that nature, and very little to gain.
Dana focused on his business, NOT boxing
“I’ve said good things about Eddie Hearn and he’s said good things about us. I don’t think that’s going to happen tomorrow,” said Dana White on the Dillian Whyte vs. Francis Ngannou press conference.
“I’m not interested. We’re in a place right now where we’re all trying to get our businesses back up and running. I was talking to you about boxing. I’m not even thinking about boxing anymore right now.
“I’m worried about this business right now. We’re in a place where I told you four months ago that you could put an eighth-grader in charge of Disney, and you couldn’t mess that up. Disney is such a big, bad-ass powerful company.”
So there it is. White letting fans know that there won’t be a press conference between Whyte and Ngannou, and no fight between them either.
It’s one thing for Dana to give the green light for Ngannou to face a popular heavyweight like Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury, but quite another thing for him to let him face Whyte.
Gilfoid wouldn’t make that move if he were in charge of the UFC. If it were me, it would be Joshua or Fury for Ngannou. Whyte wouldn’t make the cut.
Unfortunately our planned Rivals episode with @DillianWhyte and Francis Ngannou will no longer be released as planned on Saturday due to a request from Team Ngannou. Stay tuned for more info and content!
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) May 29, 2020
Hearn picked the wrong opponent for Whyte
What Hearn needs to do moving forward is to make sure that when he matches Whyte, he does it against fighters that fans want to see.
Povetkin, with his 1-1-1 record in his last three fights, is a TERRIBLE choice for Whyte to be fighting. I mean, if I were to pick an opponent that I knew the fans wouldn’t want to see Whyte fighting, Povetkin would be near the top of my list.
Hearn needs to pool from these heavyweights for Whyte:
- Luis Ortiz
- Joe Joyce
- Daniel Dubois
- Andy Ruiz, Jr.
- Michael Hunter
- Filip Hrgovic
- Joseph Parker
- Tony Yoka
Some of those guys would likely do a number on Whyte, and erase his mandated WBC mandatory status, but oh well. If Hearn wants Whyte to be a big PPV seller, then he needs to match him more boldly. Putting Whyte in with two consecutive 40-year-olds is a trainwreck.
In Whyte’s last fight, he defeated 40-year-old Mariusz Wach last December, and he looked fat and lazy. Hearn needs to start matching Whyte against younger fighters instead of old-timers. It would be a nice change of pace if Hearn threw Whyte in with Hrgovic. Is it asking too much for Hearn to let Whyte face Hrgoic, Dubois, or Joyce? I’m just saying.