JEFF POWELL: Dillian Whyte proved he has both respect and anger in his formidable arsenal during Alexander Povetkin’s demolition … but he will also need patience if he is to fulfill his dream of a world title
- Dillian Whyte stopped Alexander Povetkin in five rounds in Gibraltar
- The 32-year-old avenged his defeat to the Russian in their first fight last August
- Whyte loves a trilogy fight because he has one eye for a world title
Alexander Povetkin grew old before our very eyes, but the aging process was vividly accelerated by Dillian Whyte’s new maturity.
Carrying his own crutch to the other corner so that his crushed opponent could sag during his medical checkups, Whyte did more than revive his career by retaliating for that shock knockout seven months earlier.
By resisting the temptation to screw up, he acquired personal dignity.
Dillian Whyte recovered from despair with a stunning fourth-round knockout win
Nor had there been much of Whyte’s usual trash can prior to the fight. Instead, he walked to the ring in a robe commemorating the death of his idol Marvin Hagler. Rumble On The Rock of Gibraltar on Saturday night became the anvil for a transformation.
Previously, respect didn’t seem to be part of Brixton’s lexicon Body-snatcher, but his acquired understanding of the meaning of the word now adds a significant extra level to his marathon campaign for a world heavyweight title.
Without that mutual admiration for others brave enough to climb those ropes, there is always the danger of adversaries being underestimated.
Whyte learned another lesson from that humiliating near-beheading by Povetkin last August. Patience.
The Briton flew Povetkin in the fourth lap after dominating from the first seconds
This time, instead of himself eagerly awaiting the 41-year-old Russian’s nuclear uppercut, he waited for the opening for a three-stroke finish. That moment ended up in the fourth round and was detonated with clinical precision.
Whyte will need the virtue of patience even more now that he’s hoisted himself back up the ladder for a title shot. All the alpha belts are tangled around the two fights in which Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury signed a contract to decide which of them will be the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.
That could take us well into next year. Even then, despite calling himself “ the third best heavyweight in the world, ” Whyte would find himself pushing for places in the winner’s queue between Olexsandr Usyk and Joe Joyce. As well as imaginary behind Deontay Wilder.
Whyte has returned his WBC interim heavyweight title and has revived his boxing career
Promoter Eddie Hearn would like to match Whyte with Wilder this summer ‘in a colossal fight’. But the Bronze Bomber appears to be coming back more from its Fury defeat by going up against Andy Ruiz Jr in what was to be a bigger money fight in America.
For now, Whyte must continue to direct his long-standing anger at the cruel hardships of his youth on the dedicated preparations that brought him to Gibraltar in the best mental and physical condition of his life.
The prospects for this naturally fighting man doing just that are enhanced by discovering in himself the core elements of a real man.