Seven months after Alexander Povetkin shocked Dillian Whyte with a chilling fifth round KO at Matchroom’s Fight Camp, the heavyweight contenders recommence their rivalry in Gibraltar on Saturday evening.
Last year, Russian veteran Povetkin turned a losing cause into an unlikely victory after rising from two knockdowns to shockingly halt Londoner Whyte and his dreams of fighting for the WBC heavyweight crown in 2021.
That defeat toppled Whyte from his long-held position as the WBC’s No.1 contender, but revenge tomorrow on the rock of Gibraltar can relaunch the Brixton man’s heavyweight title hopes. Another loss is, quite frankly, unthinkable, possibly career-ending.
So, who prevails? Boxing Social’s intrepid band of writers and soothsayers attempt to predict the outcome.
Povetkin’s unexpected victory last time these two met was my upset of the year – mainly because the Russian conjured a spectacular KO when he looked on his own last legs. Both men are past their best in my opinion and this fight will be decided by who has deteriorated the least. To know that, we need to know what the heavy knockout last time has taken out of ‘The Bodysnatcher’. We won’t truly know that until fight night. My hunch, however, is that Whyte will fight relatively conservatively a la Joshua vs Ruiz second time around and secure a late stoppage of a stamina-sapped Sasha, or a wide points win. – Luke G. Williams.
This is as near a coin flip as you’re going to get. Whyte showed in the first fight a bit of a gulf in quality but fell into the trap of one punch changes it all. I can’t for the life of me believe lightning will strike twice. Povetkin has gotten a bit older, he’s no spring chicken and he’s had Covid. Whyte has removed himself from every possible distraction and looks set to get revenge. It’s a coin flip because of the danger Povetkin provides, Whyte’s vulnerabilities and what happened last year. I tip Whyte to win by fighting on the outside early, taking the sting out of Povetkin, slowing him down and stopping the Russian in the eighth. – Shaun Brown.
Dillian Whyte’s rematch with Alexander Povetkin forces him to face his fears – but he’s done so before and emerged stronger. The Russian’s stunning, shocking uppercut wasn’t a lucky punch thrown from the gods; but it certainly dug him out of a hole. I’m going to pick Dillian Whyte to stay disciplined and win by unanimous decision. – Craig Scott.
Dillian Whyte divides fight fans like few other British boxers. His chin’s inability to cash the cheques his mouth writes, coupled with his absurd deification via the usual Sky Sports stooges, led to wild celebrations across social media when he was wiped out by Alexander Povetkin back in August 2020. The Matchroom shills had gone into overdrive both during and after the fight’s emphatic conclusion, with Matt Macklin and Adam Smith neglecting to mention any of the Russian’s success in the opening four rounds and promoter Eddie Hearn claiming, rather comically, that Whyte had risen from his slumber at the count of eight. An immediate rematch had been earmarked only 11 weeks later, leaving many fans, myself included, deeply concerned at the risks attached to training and sparring, let alone fighting, so soon after such a devastating knockout. The subsequent delay, due to his opponent’s positive Covid-19 test, can only be seen as a positive for Whyte. Conversely, how the respiratory virus will have impacted the 41-year-old lungs of Povetkin remains to be seen. Whyte certainly had success in the opening rounds of their first fight, sinking in some good body shots of his own, hooking off the jab well at times, and dropping the uncharacteristically ungainly Povetkin twice. Whyte’s cumbersome footwork and stationary head, however, remain major flaws he looks unlikely to ever remedy. Povetkin will be looking to avoid getting dragged into a dogfight on the inside, where he looked unbalanced and battle worn. He is undoubtedly the more refined and technically proficient of the two, but father time appears to have blunted the poise of his Olympic pomp and robbed him of the faster, more industrious, starts of his heyday. I see this rematch being an entertaining back-and-forth battle, with Whyte surviving more punishment from Povetkin’s left hook and eventually stopping his man in the mid to late rounds. Whyte KO round 8. – Phil Rogers.
I tipped a Povetkin KO last time, but I’m flipping the script for the rematch. Whyte was probably guilty of complacency before the first meeting. Mark Tibbs was also a huge miss in his corner. People underestimate what a stellar job Tibbs had done with Whyte. The Brixton man lacked mental acuity against Povetkin and paid the penalty. While always a threat, Povetkin’s ‘best before’ date has expired and a battle with Covid-19 that twice postponed this rematch may have dulled his remaining edge. I expect a smarter, probably more cautious, Whyte to negotiate a few sticky moments before prevailing on points. But the Russian remains a live dog until the final bell. – Mark Butcher.
Main image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.