If the hardest punch is the one you don’t see coming, then we should be flat on our backs just like Dillian Whyte. Whyte found himself supine just a few short moments into the 5th round of a heavyweight bout contested in the garden of Matchroom Boxing headquarters, televised on DAZN on Saturday, for some diamond thingamajig or whatever.
After a sluggish first three rounds that saw only sporadic action, the fighter who rendered Whyte into a viscous state, Alexander Povetkin (36-2-1, 25 KO), was looking his nearly 41 years. He was digging hooks to the body well, but his legs were plodding and his work rate was low. It got worse when, 30 seconds into the 4th, Whyte snapped a short left hook off Povetkin’s dome and dropped him. Povetkin was up just as the referee began his count. Whyte (27-2, 18KO) failed to follow up, and Povetkin slowly worked his way back into the round with combinations and body shots. But with 20 seconds left in the round, Whyte landed a hard left uppercut, and Povetkin was dumped on his ass again.
The Sky Sports announcing crew had left Povetkin for dead well before the bout started, and between rounds, they hissed like vultures at fresh roadkill. Given what we’d seen thus far, they seemed to be making a safe bet. But more important than what we saw was what Povetkin had seen. In the first four rounds, Povetkin frequently threw left hooks to the body off his jab. Whyte responded every time.
Thirty seconds into the 5th round, Povetkin snapped out a jab and dipped left, but instead of a hook to the body, Povetkin threw an uppercut that landed flush. Whyte was zombified instantly, and the shot lifted him off his right foot (see photo). Whyte collapsed into a heap, head bouncing off the mat. Referee Ian John Lewis instantly waved the bout off.
Whyte was never as good as he was made out to be by Eddie Hearn and the affectionate British media. He’s a good heavyweight, but he’s not elite, and this isn’t the 1990s in terms of talent. Povetkin, on the other hand, has been at or very near the top of the division since stopping Chris Byrd in 2007. Hearn said after the bout that they would invoke the rematch clause. Unless Povetkin does magically age between now and then, it’s hard to see it going differently. And it’s not as though Whyte can tell himself he only lost because Povetkin is a known cheater, now can he?
(Photo via DAZN)