Whyte vs. Povetkin: Dillian must win to keep title hopes alive

By Boxing News - 08/22/2020 - Comments

By Charles Brun: Dillian Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) is putting his interim WBC heavyweight title and a future world title shot on the line tonight against Alexander Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs) at the Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex.

Whyte wanted this fight with former WBA heavyweight champion Povetkin to stay busy while he waits for his mandatory title shot against WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in 2021.

It’s brave on Whyte’s part for him to be facing fringe contender Povetkin rather than someone like Dave Allen, but he wanted to fight on Sky Box Office. Whyte couldn’t have fought a lesser guy on pay-per-view and sell the contest to the British boxing public, at least not now during the pandemic.

To sell fights now, Whyte has to face a semi-decent opponent because the fans would have turned up their noses if he picked 40-year-old Mariusz Wach for this fight.

That’s who Whyte fought last time he was in the ring. He was matched up with journeyman Wach, and he looked horrible in struggling to beat him by a 10 round decision.

Povetkin giving up 28-lbs to Whyte

With Whyte’s huge 28-pound weight advantage, he’s got an excellent chance of defeating the 224-lb Povetkin.

Image: Whyte vs. Povetkin: Dillian must win to keep title hopes alive

Whyte weighed in at 252 ΒΌ pounds on Friday at the weight-in, which makes this fight with Povetkin basically a heavyweight vs. cruiserweight type of match-up. It’s not just the size that Whyte has going for him tonight.

Dillian is also a lot younger at 32 compared to Povetkinw, who will be turning 41-years-old next month on September 2. If you don’t think it was intentional that Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn selected a small, old fighter like Povetkin to face him, then you don’t know how boxing is run. This is the norm for the sport.

It’s not like the NFL or NBA, where teams have to face the best. In boxing, promoters hedge their bets by selecting the old, weak, and lame to make sure their fighters win. Boxing also isn’t run like the UFC where the best fight the best, which is unfortunate. There would be a lot more great fights if the sport were run like the UFC.

At the same time, the promoters hype up the fights, making it seem as if their guys are facing the best when in reality, they’re taking on a moderate level opponent.

If Whyte loses tonight, he can forget about fighting WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury or being given the belt through email if the title is vacated by ‘The Gypsy King.

Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn has been banging on about how he’s been mistreated, having to ait 1000+ days for his title shot for the WBC heavyweight strap.

Well, if Whyte loses tonight, Hearn won’t argue any longer about him deserving a crack at the WBC title. That argument will be null and void unless Hearn wants to muddy the water by talking controversy if Povetkin wins.

Creating a conspiracy theory would be a black eye for the sport, and hopefully, Hearn doesn’t go down that road if Dillian loses tonight.

Whyte must beat Povetkin to stay in WBC hunt

“You don’t need all the belts to have a fight, but when you want to be undisputed like Anthony Joshua, that is the absolute focus of the fight,” said Hearn to Sky Sports Boxing. “It’s very difficult when you get to the spot where you talk about undisputed fights to maintain your position and deal with all your mandatories.

Image: Whyte vs. Povetkin: Dillian must win to keep title hopes alive

“When you think back a year ago when we were attempting to negotiate the Deontay Wilder fight, I said, ‘This is the time where we have no other obligations. We may never get in this position again,’ and I was right because now we have two mandatories that are waiting.

“One is Saturday night’s fight between Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte, and the other side is Oleksandr Usyk against Dereck Chisora. So there’s a lot of juggling that has to be done. For sure, Tyson Fury can fight Anthony Joshua, but to do so straight after his fight against Deontay Wilder, and God knows if that’s even going to happen.

“He [Fury] would have to vacate his [WBC] belt for him to do that, or Dillian Whyte would have to take a step aside [fee from Tyson]. I promise you now that’s not happening, but all of this is irrelevant unless Dillian Whyte wins on Saturday night,” said Hearn.

Whyte has got to win tonight against Alexander, or else the last four years of his career will have been wasted. That’s how long Whyte has been pursuing the World Boxing Council title, and it’s taken him longer than it should have.

That’s largely Whyte’s fault for turning own WBC title eliminators and wasting time facing the wrong opposition. Instead of facing Dereck Chisora twice, Whyte should have taken on Luis Ortiz when the WBC ordered him to face the talented Cuban in a title eliminator.

Fury will need to face Dillian

“So I agree that the fight [between Joshua and Fury] can be made without the belts, but from my side and my point of view, I know how driven Anthony Joshua is to be the heavyweight champion of the world,” said Hearn.

Image: Whyte vs. Povetkin: Dillian must win to keep title hopes alive

“He holds four belts at the moment if you include the IBO, he’s a two-time world champion, and he wants to be undisputed. So if there’s a way to keep those belts intact, it’s fantastic.

“At the moment, the only way to keep those belts from the WBC’s point of view is the winner of the Wilder-Fury is to fight the winner of Whyte-Povetkin.

“AJ and Dillian have this weird thing,” said Hearn. “They could go at each other at any time and start rolling around, but I think that there’s a deep respect between the two.

“Coming off the first fight between them [in 2015], which was an absolute war, there’s a deep respect between them. I know Dillian Whyte respects what AJ has achieved, and I know that AJ respects what Dillian Whyte has achieved.

“And I know that Dillian rates AJ really highly, and I know that AJ rates Dillian really highly. I don’t think AJ is the type of guy that would hope that Dillian loses. He actually thinks Alexander Povetkin will win,” said Eddie.

Hearn is hoping that Fury will take the fight with Whyte next if Dillian wins tonight, but it may not play out like that.

Fury wants the bigger money clash against Anthony Joshua, and he doesn’t seem to be interested in making a needless title defense against Whyte just for the sake of it.

Tyson doesn’t put as much weight into the titles as Joshua and Hearn do. That’s why he’s focused on wanting to go straight into the match against AJ rather than taking a detour against Dillian.

Joshua predicting Povetkin win

“I had a conversation with him the other day, and he thinks this is a massive banana skin for Dillian Whyte,” Eddie said about Joshua. “I wouldn’t be surprised if someone on the other side [Team Fury] hopes that Dillian Whyte loses.

“Certainly, I don’t think Tyson Fury thinks too deeply about it, but of course, in boxing, there’s so much business with people thinking, ‘please lose.’ In life, that works against you most of the time.

Image: Whyte vs. Povetkin: Dillian must win to keep title hopes alive

“So it’s a fascinating mix of a jigsaw puzzle. [Whyte vs. Povetkin] is the first to unlock that puzzle to let us know what is happening. Right now, you saw the interview with Mauricio Sulaiman last night.

“It’s not going anywhere. We might as well face up to it. You see these interviews, ‘we’re not going to do this.’ You’re going to have to, mate, or we’re going to have to make alternative arrangements,” said Hearn in letting Fury and his management know that they’ll need to defend Whyte next if he wins tonight against Povetkin.

“So [Whyte-Povetkin] is so important for the heavyweight division to give us the opportunity to unlock this puzzle for the undisputed,” Hearn continued.

Joshua has a good idea of what Povetkin is capable of after facing him in 2018 at Wembley Stadium. Povetkin had Joshua hurt early on in the contest after clipping him with a right hand to the head, but AJ was able to recover.

Had Povetkin continued to pound Joshua after hurting him, he would have knocked him out, but he failed to do that. Povetkin took a breather after hurting Joshua, and that let him off the hook.

People predicting Whyte loses

“I know with Povetkin; these people are coming with the heat. They are coming with 120% ferocity to take this moment and to win,” said Hearn.

“I think the fascinating thing about the Whyte-Povetkin fight is the number of texts I’m getting from industry people going, ‘Povetkin is going to do this, you know? I’m telling you, I see this and I see that.’

Image: Whyte vs. Povetkin: Dillian must win to keep title hopes alive

“I’ll be honest with you, it is squeaky bum time, but it’s great, isn’t it? Because it makes you realize that you’ve got a real fight. I cannot wait for that moment where we’re sitting on the lawn [at Matchroom Boxing Fight Camp] in the most bizarre of circumstances and environments.

“The way that 2020 has gone and the way that Fight Camp has gone, I don’t think this is going to play out with a comfortable Dillian Whyte win. No chance. It’s going to be fireworks all the way through,” said Hearn.

The reason why a lot of boxing fans are picking Povetkin to win is due to how Whyte looked in his matches against Wach, Oscar Rivas, Joseph Parker, and Dereck Chisora. Parker had Whyte close to being stopped in the 12th round in 2018, and Chisora and Rivas fought Dillian to a standstill.

As we saw last December, Wach was competitive with Whyte the entire fight. Whyte is a good fighter, but he’s a B-level guy, and he’s been unable to separate himself from the fighters he’s been matched with by Hearn.