Dillian Whyte gets his shot at redemption when he faces Alexander Povetkin in Gibraltar on March 27, but can 'The Body Snatcher' get his quest for a world heavyweight title fight back on track or will the former champion destroy his dream by knocking him out for a second time?
This is ‘win or bust’ for Dillian Whyte. He was made to wait for a ludicrously long time to get a title shot and in that time continued to take on fight after fight, including some pretty dangerous ones. And in that time there was always the concern that he would suffer a ‘needless’ defeat that would destroy his chances of finally stepping into the ring with a world heavyweight champion in the near future. That concern proved to be well-found when Whyte found himself flat out on the canvas after being floored by Alexander Povetkin late last year. ‘The Body Snatcher’ has been granted an immediate chance at redemption, but he knows that if he falls to the veteran once again it will be a long time before he gets a crack to become world champion… if he ever gets that chance!
So how does this affect Whyte mentally and emotionally heading into this one? That is a gigantic question and one that will play a key role in how this rematch plays out. Whyte appeared to be on his way to victory as he controlled the early stages of the first fight between the two men and managed to drop Povetkin twice in the fourth round, but things went horrendously wrong for him in the fifth round when ‘The White Lion’ rocked his jaw and sent him crashing to the canvas. That knockout has to be in the back of Whyte’s mind here, no matter how well he took the loss in public. He and Povetkin both know that the Russian needs just one big punch to switch off the lights, and they also both know that the former world champion can take the power sent his way by Whyte and still get up. Can Whyte manage those thoughts and feelings here? He simply has to.
Can Whyte trouble and hurt Povetkin? Yes. Can he stop him? I am not so sure, and while Whyte may not feel the same way, he will be aware that if he does trouble the ex-champion in the rematch he cannot afford to fight recklessly because it could backfire. ‘The Body Snatcher’ has to fight smart, he has to pick his moments to strike and he has to keep his gloves up at all times. I must admit that I have my concerns because Whyte has now been dropped multiple times in his career, but in his defence this is heavyweight boxing and anything can happen so there is no shame in getting caught. And of course, Povetkin is now 41 years old and is coming into the fight on the back of a respiratory illness that may have some long-term lingering effects. That is another massive factor in this fight.
Therefore I am backing Whyte to bounce back. Whyte is unlikely to get reckless here, he will adopt a cautious and calculated approach that will prevent Povetkin from getting inside and doing damage, and while it may not be pleasing on the eye and create fireworks, it should be enough to get him the nod from the judges and catapult him right back to the front of the queue for a world title shot.
Road To Whyte Povetkin 2
I used the word “scandalous” to describe the fact that Dillian Whyte had still not got his shot at a world heavyweight title in 2020. The 32-year-old had been on a tear since suffering the first defeat of his career, a seventh round stoppage loss to Anthony Joshua in December 2015, and during his 11-fight win streak he had dispatched former world champions, ex-world title contenders and a man who, like him, had seemingly been avoided like the plague by those at the very top of the heavyweight division.
A six-round demolition of Lucas Browne did not secure a crack at then WBC champion Deontay Wilder, neither did a well-deserved decision win over former WBO champion Joseph Parker a few months later. Whyte rounded out the year with a stoppage win over Dereck Chisora that was more about keeping busy and settling an old score than stepping up his calls for a title shot, but when he returned to action in mid-2019 he signed on to face the tough and dangerous Oscar Rivas. This was an incredibly risky fight for a number one contender to take, but Whyte signed on the dotted line with the interim WBC belt being the prize and he came out victorious despite being dropped in the ninth.
Controversy quickly followed as ‘The Body Snatcher’ was stripped of his newly-acquired hardware and suspended due to an inconclusive drug test result, but after being forced to sit on the sidelines for several months he was finally cleared to return to action before the end of the year. To knock off some of the rust he quickly agreed to fight on the Ruiz Jr-Joshua 2 undercard in Saudi Arabia and although he got the nod from the judges, it was an underwhelming performance from an overweight Whyte who clearly needed more time to get back into ring shape. He got the job done though to keep his win streak alive, but instead of sitting on the sidelines waiting for a shot he agreed to main event an August ‘Matchroom Fight Camp’ card with former world champion Alexander Povetkin.
Povetkin, a vastly experienced fighter who was be stepping inside the professional boxing ring for the 39th time, has been a major player in the heavyweight division for a decade now and has tasted defeat on only two occasions – a unanimous decision loss to the legendary Wladimir Klitschko in October 2013 and a seventh-round stoppage defeat to Anthony Joshua as recently as September 2018. His last stoppage win had come at the expense of a glass-jawed David Price two years ago and since that night he had gone 1-1-1, getting knocked out by Joshua before out-pointing Hughie Fury and then drawing, somewhat controversially, with Michael Hunter last December.
‘The White Lion’ appeared to be on the downturn in his career and while he did represent a test for Whyte, many felt ‘The Body Snatcher’ would dispatch of the experienced Russian and maintain his spot at the front of the queue for a world heavyweight title fight. He started well enough and was able to floor Povetkin twice in the fourth round in Eddie Hearn’s back garden, but the former champion got back to his feet on both occasions and he then rocked the heavyweight division in the following round. Povetkin uncorked a brutal uppercut that sent Whyte sprawling to the canvas and it was immediately clear that he would not be getting up from that punch.
Whyte took his defeat like a man, but with his world title dream now in tatters he knew he needed to get back in the ring with Povetkin as soon as possible. A November 21 rematch had to be shelved when Povetkin was forced to withdraw from the bout, but Whyte will now get his shot at redemption on March 27. But can he right the ‘wrong’ of his devastating knockout loss or will Povetkin pour more salt into the wound by beating the heavyweight title hopeful for the second time?
Whyte Povetkin 2 Betting Tips: Expert Predictions
World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua talking to 5 Live Boxing: “I thought ‘has Dillian lost that instinct?’ I believe if you smell or see a drop of blood you have to take them out. If you leave it a round or two you just don’t know. If a man gets a hope and a lifeline he might just bounce back. If I see you hurt I am going to blitz you and Dillian needs to get back to that mindset. The last thing you lose is your power. Povetkin is a bit shaky on the legs but the foundations these guys have, I don’t think you can give them an inch of hope. They will take any opportunity, and opportunity matched with power is knockouts. Certain people will now be negative towards Dillian. I believe he’s a great fighter. It’s a blip in his career. Five years from now it will just be part of the story. He will be able to look back and think it’s a great lesson.”
Whyte Povetkin 2 Tips: Fighter Predictions
Dillian Whyte: “I’m over the moon to have the rematch. As soon as I got out of the ring [after the first fight], I was looking for confirmation that the fight would be on. I can’t wait to get back in the ring and get back what is rightfully mine. I’m looking to do what I said I would the first time, and that’s beat Alexander Povetkin. There won’t be any major adjustments, but I just need to be more switched on and not get distracted. He was able to use his experience against me. I will be a lot more focused and sharper in the rematch. I’m coming to win and knock him out. I’m coming to even the score and the only way to do that is by knocking him out.”
Alexander Povetkin: “I’ve rested well, spent time with my family, and now that the date of the rematch is known, I will soon return to my training camp and prepare as thoroughly as I did for the first fight. As I said before the first fight, and after it too, Dillian Whyte is a good, strong boxer. I will be ready to enter the ring on November 21. I hope it will be another beautiful fight for the fans.”