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Povetkin suspects PRESSURE getting to Whyte

Alexander Povetkin Dillian Whyte

By Max Seitelman: Dillian Whyte’s sudden move to switch out his long-time trainer Mark Tibbs last week that his upcoming fight against Alexander Povetkin is starting to cause a mental strain. Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs) suspects that the “pressure” of the moment is beginning to eat away at Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs), resulting in this latest move with Tibbs.

Whyte has EVERYTHING to lose next month when he faces the 40-year-old Povetkin on August 22 on Sky Box Office at the Matchroom Fight Camp, Brentwood.

A loss for Whyte would ruin his dreams of challenging for the WBC title in 2021 against Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder. If Povetkin beats Whyte, it’ll be he that challenges for the WBC belt next year. As a consequence, all that hard work that Whyte put in over the last five years will have been wasted.

Alexander Povetkin Dillian Whyte

Dillian had to fight a risky opponent

Whyte, 32, didn’t have to take this fight against Povetkin. After all, Dillian is already the WBC mandatory, and he could have made a soft match-up against David Allen. Some think that Dillian is foolhardy by putting his WBC mandatory status on the line against former WBA champion Povetkin.

It’s easy to understand why Whyte chose to take this fight, though. Dillian is well-paid to have his contests televised on Sky Box Office pay-per-view, but he can’t just fight anybody. Sky expects quality fights for their Box Office show, and that put Whyte in the position where he needed to face someone dangerous.

If Whyte chose to take a run-of-the-hill fighter, then there’s no way that he could have staged the August 22 match on Sky Box Office. It would be a disaster if Whyte chose to play it safe against a no-hoper. That wouldn’t have worked with Sky Box Office.

Dillian wanted to battle former IBF/WBA/WBO champion Andy Ruiz Jr, who is coming off of a loss to Anthony Joshua. Unfortunately, Whyte’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, couldn’t come up with a large enough offer to entice Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) into taking the fight.

Hearn offered Ruiz $4 million, but it would have likely taken $5 million to get him to agree. As such, Whyte is facing Povetkin, a fighter that is even more dangerous than Ruiz.

“Anything can happen in the camp,” Povetkin said to skysports.com in talking about Whyte’s impulse to part ways with Tibbs. “Maybe there is pressure on him. Every fight has pressure.”

Povetkin can take Whyte’s WBC mandatory spot

Whyte is starting to realize what he stands to lose if he gets beaten by Povetkin, and that could be the rationale for him splitting with Tibbs. If Whyte loses to the 1994 Olympic gold medalist Povetkin, he’ll lose countless millions. In other words, Whyte won’t be able to challenge WBC champion Tyson Fury next February.

Dillian would be faced with the long, arduous task of rebuilding his career at age 32. Considering that it took Whyte five years to claw his way back after his eighth-round knockout loss to Joshua in 2015, it could take just as long to come back a second time.

Does Whyte have enough youth left to come back from a debilitating loss to Povetkin? Many boxing fans would have doubts about that. To come back from a defeat to Povetkin, Whyte would need to beat upper-tier heavyweights, and that’s if he could get them to fight him.

If Whyte loses to one of his comeback opponents, then that’s game over. His days of fighting on Sky Box Office will likely be over, and he’d be in the same position that many of the other Matchroom heavyweights are at with them years away from getting a big opportunity. To put it another way, Whyte could be reduced to fighting on undercards once again, and no longer being a headline attraction.

Povetkin is well prepared

It all starts with the Povetkin match. If Whyte wins, he’ll be setting himself up for life with a monstrous payday bout against likely Tyson Fury in early 2021. Whyte can lose that fight to Fury, and it would still be all gravy for him for the rest of his life. He’d have enough money to retire with and live high on the hog.

Povetkin has got other ideas, though. He’s ready to take Whyte’s WBC mandatory status and put himself in a position to make a fortune fighting Fury. Additionally, Povetkin has got the talent to win, and he’s falling apart under the pressure of the moment, firing his trainer and stressing.

“My preparation is responsible,” said Povetkin. “I put in a maximum effort not to lose the possibilities for the future.”

Dilian has an 11-fight winning streak dating back to 2016 going of him as he heads into the Povetkin fight. There were several fights among those 11 that Whyte could have lost if the judges scored the matches differently. Also, there were a lot of calls that went his way.

Alexander Povetkin Dillian Whyte

For example, Whyte’s headbutt knockdown of Joseph Parker wasn’t waived off by the referee in their fight in 2018.

Whyte was given credit for the knockdown, and he ended up winning a close decision. Things could have been different if the referee made the right call, and if he’d penalized Whyte for the outhouse tactics he used in that fight. Then there was a controversial decision win for Whyte over Dereck Chisora in 2016, a battle that many boxing fans thought he lost.

It won’t be the end for Whyte if he loses

In Whyte’s match against Oscar Rivas, he was hurt by a body shot late in the fight and was on the verge of being knocked out. The referee, thinking it was a low blow from Rivas, stopped the action and gave Whyte a moment to collect himself. This was another example of a blown call that benefited Whyte and potentially saved him from losing.

Things could have fallen apart many times for Whyte in the last five years, but he’s been very, very lucky. Will Whyte’s luck run out on August 22? Povetkin has the kind of power that can take the judges and the referee out of play. If he knocks Whyte out, he’ll have his career looking shaky.

Of course, Hearn won’t give up on Whyte. He’ll try and rebuild him the best way he can by putting him in with beatable guys, and hope for the best. But still, Whyte will be up against it due to his age and the fact that a lot of top fighters won’t be interested in fighting him unless Hearn throws a lot of money at them.


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