By Max Seitelman: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum chose to kick Dillian Whyte while he was down tonight in gloating about his 5th round knockout loss to Alexander Povetkin on Sky Sports.
Arum noted that Whyte (27-2, 18 KOs) was too preoccupied about wanting his mandatory title shot against his fighter WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. He failed to focus his attention on the task at hand in dealing with Povetkin (36-2-1, 25 KOs), who knocked him out in five rounds at the Matchroom Boxing Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex.
Whyte vulnerable against uppercuts
Povetkin exposed a massive flaw in Whyte’s game in taking advantage of his problems dealing with uppercuts. The left uppercut that Povetkin knocked Whyte out in the fifth round was the same shot that Anthony Joshua and Oscar Rivas both knocked him down with in the past.
You can best believe that Povetkin studied those fights, and saw how vulnerable Whyte was against uppercuts.
Whyte backed himself up against the ropes in round five, and he was wide open for a big left uppercut from Povetkin that knocked him flat on his back like a pancake.
You can’t entirely fault Whyte and Hearn for being so confident coming into tonight’s fight. Whyte had a string of success in winning his last 11 matches since his defeat to Anthony Joshua in 2015, and he probably thought he would easily beat Povetkin.
I don’t know why Whyte would overconfident. He was facing a 2004 Olympic gold medalist and former WBA heavyweight champion Povetkin, who had done a lot more in both his amateur and professional career.
Arum said that the same fate that Whyte suffered awaits Anthony Joshua when he defends against his Top Rank fighter Kubrat Pulev this year. IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) and Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) still don’t have a date, but it’s possible for November or December.
Dillian no longer WBC mandatory
With one scorching punch, Povetkin, 40, ended Whyte’s dream of fighting for a world title against Fury in round five last Saturday night. As it was, Whyte’s chances of getting a title shot against Fury were almost nowhere, but he and his promoter Eddie Hearn likely would have used the spotlight on them to call out ‘The Gypsy King’ had they been victorious.
Dillian Whyte was so busy fighting for his WBC mandatory position that he didn’t see Povetkin’s uppercut, which knocked him cold on his ass.
— Bob Arum (@BobArum) August 22, 2020
You hate to say it, but Arum is 100% correct about Whyte. The man was too busy thinking about the Fury fight, and he just forgot all about the threat that Povetkin posed. The result was, he was knocked into oblivion in round five.
What was interesting was how the referee kept motioning for Povetkin to stay back after Whyte was knocked out. Povetkin was on the other side of the ring, and the referee kept keeping him at a distance. It looked odd. Povetkin didn’t appear to be approaching Whyte, who was surrounded by people while he laid on his back, not stirring.
You can understand where Arum is coming from with his comments on Whyte, considering that he did seem to be far too focused on getting a title shot against Fury.
Arum predicts misery for Joshua
Pulev will KO Joshua next. London Bridges are falling.
— Bob Arum (@BobArum) August 22, 2020
“I can’t quite believe it honestly,” said Hearn to Sky Sports Boxing in reacting to Povetkin knocking out Whyte in the 5th. “The fight was over virtually. Povetkin had started well. Dillian Whyte,
I felt, was measuring up. He had an excellent finish to the round before when he knocked Povetkin down. Obviously, in the round that he knocked Povetkin down [4th], it was two heavy knockdowns.
I felt, and a lot of people felt that it was over, but this is the drama of the sport that we love,” said Hearn.
If Whyte had beaten Povetkin, he would have been knocking on the doorstep for a mandated title shot against WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), and he would have put him in a bad spot. Fury would have had to either fight him or give up the title.
Losing the WBC title by having stripped or vacating it would have made Fury look bad, and Whyte and Hearn would have used that against him to score points with the boxing fans. They could have said that Fury had ducked them, and some of the impressionable fans would have believed it.
Fury can now face Joshua
Hearn had made a big deal about Whyte being ranked #1 for 1000 days with the World Boxing Council, but none of that matters now. Whyte is now in the position where he’s a million light-years away from a title shot against WBC champ Fury, and he’ll need to face Povetkin in a rematch now to get back his WBC mandatory spot.
Whyte has already told Hearn to use the rematch clause that he had in his contract with Povetkin to set up a rematch in December.
It’s good news for boxing fans that Whyte lost because it now puts Fury in the position to face Joshua in the first half of 2021 instead of him being forced to defend against Dillian.
You can argue that only a minuscule amount of the fans wanted to see Fury face Whyte rather than Joshua in early 2021. Hearn and his promotional company Matchroom wanted to see Fury face Whyte, but that was because it would be good for them.
It wouldn’t be suitable for the fans, though, as they don’t want to see Whyte face Fury. Tonight’s loss for Whyte is a perfect example of why fans wouldn’t have wanted to watch him face Fury because it would have been a mismatch.
Whyte isn’t in the same league as Fury, and he would have likely lost as severely as Deontay Wilder, Wladimir Klitschko and Dereck Chisora all did against him.
Hearn hasn’t officially given up on trying to force Fury to face Whyte in early 2021. He wants Whyte to face Povetkin in December, and if he wins that fight, Hearn will likely expect that Fury will still face him in early 2021.