Whyte refuses to shake Povetkin’s hand at weigh-in

By Boxing News - 08/21/2020 - Comments

By Jeff Aronow: Playing the tough guy, Dillian Whyte refused to shake Alexander Povetkin’s hand when he showed a goodwill gesture as the two fighters stood for their face-off at Friday’s weigh-in.

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Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) may have felt it was necessary to try and get an extra edge in the mind games department against the more experienced former WBA champion Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs). The two warriors will be battling on Saturday, August 22, at the Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex.

Can Dillian beat Povetkin with intimidation?

If Dillian is going to try and scare Povetkin into not fighting hard on Saturday, it’s going to fail. This isn’t a novice that Whyte is facing in Povetkin, and the Russian fighter isn’t going to cringe and give up based on the intimidation tactics by Dillian.

There’s too much money on the line for Povetkin, seeing that he can get a massive payday if he faces Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua.

Dillian will be enjoying a 28-pound weight advantage over the 40-year-old Povetkin. The talented Russian fighter weighed in at a trim 224 lbs on Friday at the weigh-in. That’s a standard weight Povetkin, as he almost always comes into his contests in the 220s.

Only twice in Povetkin’s 15-year professional career has he weighed in the 230s for one of his fights.

Image: Whyte refuses to shake Povetkin's hand at weigh-in

Dillian weighed in at 252┬╝ lbs today, which is 19 pounds lighter than the 271 lbs that he scaled in at for his last contest against Mariusz Wach on December 17 last year in Saudi Arabia.

Whyte looks a lot better now than he did for the Wach match, and that shows that h’s taking Povetkin seriously. If Whyte loses this fight, he’ll miss out on a title shot against WBC champion Tyson Fury. Whyte is the WBC mandatory challenger for that belt, and that spot will be up for grabs against Povetkin on Saturday.

Povetkin not worried about fighting without fans

“There’s nothing I can say about Dillian Whyte. I’m respecting him,” said Povetkin to IFL TV. “He’s a good fighter with a good punch, and he’s a high-level boxer. I will try very hard to compete with him.

“And I don’t think so, but we’ll see,” Povetkin said when asked if not having a crowd for their fight at the Matchroom Boxing HQ will affect how he fights Dillian.

“I have never gone through a situation where there are no people. Firstly, I must box well and follow my plan and not make mistakes. This is what I’m thinking about,” said Povetkin on his game plan for Whyte.

Fighting without fans could hurt Whyte more than it will Povetkin, given that the location of the fight. If this were a match that was taking place inside of the O2 Aren in London, Whyte would be enjoying a massive crowd of his fellow Brits, who would be rooting for him the entire fight.

Dillian, 32, is one of those types of fighters that is at his best when he’s battling in front of his fans. Saturday’s match with Povetkin won’t have the crowd to support Whyte, and if he’s going to win, he’ll need to do it base on his self-confidence without his fans to help root him to victory.

It’s less of an issue for Povetkin fighting without fans, considering that most of his fights during his amateur career were in small venues.

Image: Whyte refuses to shake Povetkin's hand at weigh-in

Alexander is dangerous with small flurries

“He has those bursts,” said Whyte’s cornerman Dave Coldwell to IFL TV on Povetkin. “When he puts those bursts together, he [Povetkin] might as well be fresh and young.

“A lot of fighters as they age, they mold their styles to their capabilities. When he was younger, he could go, go and go, but now everything is condensed. He’s more of a sly fox, being cagey and looking for those openings.

“When he sees those openings, he can put maximum effort into those bursts. He likes to take breathers a lot more often as we all do as we get older, but he’s still a very, very good fighter. He’s still dangerous.

“I think he’s quite unorthodox for a heavyweight fighter, and he can close the range down well. If you stand in front of him, he’ll tee off on you. With a style like Dillian Whyte fights, he’s not going to go in there like Muhammad Ali and start floating around the ring.

“You know there’s going to be exchanges. It’s an exciting fight, and it’s going to be a dangerous fight. You know the early onslaught by [Michael] Hunter, where he looked like he was going to be whacked out at one point, he could have gone through the motions and lost the fight.

“But he dogged it out, he gritted his teeth and kept pushing it, and he dragged the draw out of a loss, really. That shows you the mentality of him and where he wants to be in the sport. He’s not done yet. Attitudes as well,” continued Coldwell on Povetkin.

If you look at Povetkin’s past fights, he’s always fought in the same style as he does now. He’ll stay on the outside to catch his breath and then come forward to throw a three to four-punch combination and then hold his opponent. When the referee breaks them, Povetkin will take a breather on the outside and then go on the attack again.

Image: Whyte refuses to shake Povetkin's hand at weigh-in

Did Povetkin take Hunter lightly?

“You can look at Hunter and get in the ring with him, and think ‘He’s a little cruiserweight that has come up to be in the big boy division,” said Coldwell. “I’ve been in with all these big guys. He’s not going to be able to stand up to my power.’

“You can perhaps take Hunter lightly. That was Hunter’s break out fight in the division, really because that was a really good result. A lot of people thought he won it, and a lot of people thought Povetkin won it.

“Maybe he [Povetkin] could have taken Hunter a little bit lightly in that fight. Look at him now. I’ve seen him do a little bit of a workout, but as I said, he’s [Povetkin] not constant high energy.

“But what he does is very, very good and dangerous. He puts his shots together really well, really fast, and very accurate. This is a dangerous fight [for Whyte].

“I wouldn’t surprise me because he shared the ring with him,” Coldwell said when told that Hunter is picking Povetkin to beat Dillian.

Povetkin took Hunter seriously, but he was caught by a good right hand from him in the opening round. That shot from Hunter stunned Povetkin briefly and left him vulnerable to a followup flurry.

If Hunter had a little more power, he might have finished Povetkin off in the first round after he had him hurt, and he didn’t have the size to get the job done.

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Coldwell expects Povetkin to struggle

“You can think with an older fighter, when it’s going their way, they’re alright,” Coldwell said. “Once you start putting it on them, it’s hard for them to dig down and drag it out of themselves to keep up with a younger, more energetic sort of fighter.

“Let’s get this right. Hunter is all wrong for Povetkin stylistically because of his moves, his angles, and his sharpshooting and the shots he throws. He was giving Povetkin problems with shots he couldn’t see.

“But he adapted, and that’s what’s really good about Povetkin. He adapts and works things out. A lot of these Russian fighters are [good at adapting]. He’s got all this bank of experience of being in with all these different fighters, sparring all these different fighters at the top level.

“He figures things out as the fights go along. He adapted in that fight [against Hunter], and that’s what got him the result that he got out of it.

“If he didn’t think he has another world title shot in him and if he wasn’t driven for that, he would have settled for a points loss in Saudi Arabia, but he didn’t. Look at the shape he’s in right now. You know he’s very serious,” said Coldwell.

In Povetkin’s 10-round contest against Michael Hunter (18-1-1, 12 KOs) on December 7 in Saudi, he fought in brief spurts of energy. Povetkin wasn’t fighting the entire three minutes of every round, given his lack of energy. He was tying Hunter up and not letting him get his shots off after he would throw his own punches.

Image: Whyte refuses to shake Povetkin's hand at weigh-in

Hunter fought well in the first three rounds, but he had problems with Povetkin from round four through ten. Once Povetkin figured out how to deal with Hunter’s style, he controlled the match from the fourth.

The judges arguably gave Hunter a huge break in scoring the fight as a ten round draw, as Povetkin was the better fighter of the two through the last seven rounds of the bout.