When Alexander Povetkin offered Dillian Whyte a final handshake on Friday, he got a fist bump instead. Even in less busy times, these most gloomy heavyweights were never great for life’s pleasantries.
His return to Povetkin’s company at all amounts to a career crisis, and for the same reason Saturday’s reunion in Gibraltar can reasonably be described as his most important fight to date.
If he wins this rematch, he’ll return to his former spot in the front of the slow-moving row of heavyweights, but if he falls into the Iberian Peninsula like he did in Eddie Hearn’s yard last August, his highly anticipated world title shot may never come .
Dillian Whyte is keen to show he maintains his nasty side as he plots Alexander Povetkin’s downfall
He can’t afford to lose in Saturday’s rematch as he offers to keep his world title hopes alive
Against that backdrop, and in the shadow of another great lump, there have been all kinds of interpretations around the shocking defeat that pushed him to this place, but most theories tend to rethink what happened.
That is, he dominated and dropped a former World and Olympic champion over four rounds, then crashed into an uppercut from hell in the fifth.
With the heavyweights, it’s often no more complicated than that, but Hearn has since raised the possibility that some of Whyte’s nausea and resentment prior to the first fight might have been undermined by a combination of his growing wealth and the unusual circumstances of the encounter.
Many forget that he dominated the Russian last summer after beating his opponent twice
This included living in a Winnebago on the lawn of a Holiday Inn in Brentwood for a week and then being greeted every morning with a smile from the man he was going to hit.
Whyte himself has alluded to the latter issue, claiming that his Russian opponent has found a way to arm in good manners.
In his usual style, Whyte, 32, explained it this way: ‘Povetkin thinks he’s smart and he likes to play this friendly game where he touches gloves before the fight and before every round – that’s what he did in the fight.
But he failed to finish the job and ran into an uppercut from hell with his career in crisis
“It is very difficult to be mean to someone who is polite to you. But this time I don’t care, this time I don’t care. If he wants to be kind, I don’t care, I’ll punch him in the throat. ‘
On Hearn’s point about softening wealth, Whyte, who will make over £ 2 million for this pay-per-view fight, said, ‘I’m not living nicely people will tell you. I don’t party and have no entourage. I could live in a much bigger place, but I keep my life modest.
‘I don’t show up with Louis Vuitton or anything like that, I was never that guy. It is Eddie Hearn who is living a comfortable life and he assumes I am too. He even asks me why I don’t drive around in a Rolls Royce with all the money I’ve made, but I’m not. I am happy with an Audi and a Range Rover. The bad things never went away. ‘
He will definitely have to be more decisive when faced with the kind of opportunities he had in the first fight, when Whyte dropped Povetkin twice but couldn’t finish him.
There are many theories as to why Whyte lost, but he has vowed to be more bold
Another defeat would stand in the way of hopes of a world title fight against Anthony Joshua
Whyte will enter the fight as the favorite and can’t be sucked into Povetkin’s mind games
One area of intrigue this time around is whether Povetkin, aged 41, has fully recovered from hospitalization with coronavirus, delaying the initial November fight date.
The persistent effects of the virus then led to a second postponement in January, so it was poor preparation, and indeed Povetkin looked a little meaty on the scales. At 16 he was 4 pounds four pounds heavier than August, while Whyte was relatively toned and five pounds lower on his weight for the first fight at 17th 9 pounds.
He will start off as a decent favorite to regain his spot as the WBC’s mandatory challenger, a position he previously held for over 1,000 days. If he loses, title fights with Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua will be further away than ever.
Meanwhile, Campbell Hatton weighed 9-10 pounds for his lightweight debut against Jesus Ruiz, a Spaniard with a 0-10 record. His job appears to be simpler than the one Whyte faces.