Dillian Whyte Back In Heavyweight Discussion
(In his latest item appearing on his site, boxingwriter.co.uk, David Payne offers his assessment of what Saturday night’s revenge KO for Dillian Whyte means for his and the WBC contender near futures.)
Dllian Whyte is a chaotic amalgam of power, tactics and old fashioned toughness. His 4th round Saturday knockout of veteran Alexander Povetkin restores the baubles to his mantlepiece and positions him back among the top 5 heavyweights. There remain flaws and they will persist until the end. Whenever that may come.
A straight right hand landed flush (in the 4th), Povetkin stumbled back, eyes trailing right, his back landed against the ropes, the elastic effect propelled the 41-year-old back toward the maelstrom. Whyte was waiting, punches continued.A left hook that started on the Spanish mainland before arriving to detonate on Povetkin’s right cheek proved to be the finisher.
Povetkin rose, unconvincingly, a towel of surrender fluttered into centre ring, as Victor Loughlin waved off the fight.
Whyte continues. Povetkin, surely, does not.
At 41, Povetkin is now finished as a top level heavyweight and should be encouraged to hang up the gloves. There is no benefit from continuing and only the accrual of damage and regret awaits him if doesn’t heed the call of the slippers and soft cushions. He has been a contender for 15 years, suspensions aside, and while the belts he was custodian of never truly made him a world champion he has fought everyone from his generation and done so with tenacity and courage.
Within Povetkin’s performance there was plenty of evidence of deterioration in coordination and balance. So unsteady, that I was reminded of Justin Juuko’s performance in a British ring versus Michael Gomez in 2004, when the Ugandan struggled to remain vertical simply walking to centre ring.
Whether it is the after effects of the COVID infection or merely a decline since last he fought will be hard to qualify, but fighting again is not the place to seek the answer. I hope he finds honesty and integrity in those confidants he turns to to pose the question no fighter wants to utter. “Is it over?”
Whyte is renewed. And will find himself in the midst of Oleksandr Usyk, Deontay Wilder, Joe Joyce and others as the next in line for a world-title shot. Whether the sanctioning bodies opt to denounce Fury and Joshua, or the fighters themselves opt to abdicate remains to be seen. An immediate division of any unified title will follow. The titles rarely cohabit for very long.
The WBC would probably look most favourably on a Wilder v Whyte fight, given their respective fawning toward the green and gold belt. It seems an easy fight to make as both wait on the fall out from Joshua v Fury but then it should’ve been an easy fight to make two years ago too.
Nothing is ever easy in boxing.