By Max Seitelman: Eddie Hearn has noticed how quiet former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has been lately, and he’s beginning to have doubts whether he’s ready or motivated to face Tyson Fury in trilogy match in the fall.
Hearn suggests that if Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) isn’t ready to fight WBC champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), then he should move out of the way, let mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte get his deserved shot.
Whyte has been on hold for a year, waiting for his mandated title shot for the WBC belt since beating Oscar Rivas in an eliminator last July. Hearn doesn’t want Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) to be forced to wait any longer.
Even if Wilder does choose to step aside, Whyte might not be ready to challenge Fury for the title in 2021. Whyte is facing Alexander Povetkin on August 22 in a 12 round fight at the Matchroom Fight Camp, Brentwood. That may not be an easy fight for Dillian, and he’s probably not going to be ready to battle Fury until 2021.
Dillian ready to face Fury if Wilder can’t go
“I haven’t heard anything from Deontay Wilder. Is he even fighting Tyson Fury. He’s been very, very quiet,” said Eddie Hearn to Behind The Gloves. “If he doesn’t want to fight Tyson Fury, if he’s not ready, if he’s injured or if he’s not happy with what his 40% equates to, let Dillian Whyte jump in,” said Hearn.
It’s probably not in the cards for Wilder to step aside to let Whyte face Fury. The 40% cut of the money that Wilder will get for his third fight with Fury will still come out to a huge paycheck. Wilder isn’t going to get that kind of money fighting a contender.
Wilder has become invisible since losing to Fury last February, and there’s a lot of speculation about what’s going on with him. Some believe that Wilder’s injured bicep is giving him problems, and may not allow him to face Fury in the fall.
Other people think his humiliating 7th round knockout loss has destroyed wilder’s self-confidence to Fury on February 22. It would have been a good idea for Wilder to take a tune-up fight to regain his confidence and work on the flaws in his game that Fury took advantage of.
Wilder doesn’t want a tune-up, and he’s going to risk everything by facing Fury straightaway.
Whyte vs. Povetkin: Two of the best left-hookers
“Matchroom Square Garden; I mean it should be Madison Square Garden, this fight because that’s where this fight deserves to be,” said Hearn to Sky Sports Boxing in talking about Whyte vs. Povetkin.
“When this happened, I thought to myself, ‘Dillian Whyte won’t fight in the [Matchroom] Garden, will he? Oh God, how wrong was I. He said he’d do it in a car park if I wanted to? This is one of the most dangerous fights in boxing,” Hearn continued in hyping up the Whyte-Povetkin clash.
“Two of the best-left hookers in the sport. Not just dangerous because either guy can put you to sleep with one punch, but hazardous because Dillian Whyte sits on the verge of fighting Tyson Fury for the WBC World title, and time and time again, he’s willing to put it on the line for the fans to give them entertainment.
“[Robert] Helenius, Chisora, Joseph Parker, Chisora again, just because the fans wanted to see it, Oscar Rivas and now Alexander Povetkin. What more does he [Whyte] have to do to get that shot?” Hearn said.
Povetkin and Whyte are two fighters with powerful left hooks, and who can knock out their opponents with a single shot. With Povetkin, he’s capable of throwing double and triple left hooks with power. Whyte is more of a one punch at a time left hooker, but he’s still quite dangerous.
Whyte can’t look past Povetkin
“We’re working hard with him and his legal team to try and enforce what was promised by the WBC on that deadline of February 20021,” said Hearn. “But it’s all irrelevant if he doesn’t beat Alexander Povetkin, and Povetkin is up for this.
“He knows this is the last chance saloon in challenging for world heavyweight titles. He’s trained hard; he’s kept himself in shape from lockdown. Whyte against Povetkin is going to be an all-out war, and it’s going to be thrilling to watch them do it there [at Matchroom Fight Camp].
“Sometimes, in an arena, you can get caught up with the noise. We’re going to be sitting there watching them go to battle at the bottom of those stairs. You’re going to hear every single punch, you’re going to hear every single breath, and you’re going to hear the words of the fighters and the corner team to each other.
“And you’re going to hear the instructions from the corner, and you’re going to hear Povetkin soak up those body shots from Dillian Whyte. It’s going to be thrilling, dangerous, raw, brutal, and a must-win fight for Dillian Whyte,” said Hearn.
The belief that the average boxing fans have is Povetkin stands no chance against Whyte, and he’ll lose just as quickly as some of Dillian’s past opponents like Lucas Browne. At 40, Povetkin is still better than the guys that Whyte has been facing apart from Anthony Joshua. If Whyte isn’t mentally engaged in this fight, Povetkin will beat him.
Hearn doesn’t want Whyte to be delayed anymore
“I think he hasn’t gotten his shot is because the big fights have presented themselves, but he was more convenient for those in charge to make than force a mandatory quite honestly,” said Hearn when asked why Dillian hasn’t gotten his title shot yet.
“I understand the WBC, and I know the world wanted to see Wilder against Fury. They’re significant heavyweight events, but there comes a time when enough is enough. Once a promise has been made [for Whyte to fight for WBC title], which is February 2020, and it was delayed by another year, enough is enough.
“We mustn’t delay it anymore. I’ve said before; I think Dillian Whyte should take priority over Anthony Joshua to get that fight with Tyson Fury before February. AJ is going to fight [Kubrat] Pulev in November.
“So he’s not going to fight until May or June of next year anyway, so there’s no reason why Dillian Whyte shouldn’t get that shot,” said Hearn.
Whyte has been waiting for a long, long time for his title shot, and he would have gotten it if made the right moves. In hindsight, Whyte’s decision not to fight in a title eliminator in 2018 was a mistake.
Further, turning down a title shot against Joshua can also be second-guessed. Whyte also had a chance to face Kubrat Pulev, and he didn’t take that fight either.