Povetkin vs Whyte: A Rematch With Imminent Danger
The temptation for revenge is understandable, but Dillian Whyte heads into his crucial rematch with everything on the line.
All those days lying in wait for his opportunity ended with one brutal punch. Physically has he recovered, and the mental scars of his shocking defeat to Alexander Povetkin will not easily be overcome.
The Russian will go into his contracted rematch buoyant after his upset win over Whyte. Written off prior, Povetkin shocked everyone, upset a lot of plans and cleared the way for others. Povetkin will fancy the job this time far more than he did first time around.
Whyte will be the one under pressure, motivated by redemption but it carries imminent danger. The rewards are high if not immediate, but another defeat and his career could be over.
Eddie Hearn has admitted Whyte won’t be a PPV fighter anymore if he loses again, thoughts of world title opportunities will be dead in the water. It’s difficult to envisage a scenario where Whyte will fight on for substantially reduced purses, in the hope he can get back to where he once was. The road was long before, a third career defeat and it will be a road to nowhere.
Whyte despite being the much younger fighter might be the one with more miles on the clock. Nothing Whyte has done in recent years has been easy, practically every fight he has had, has taken Whyte further away from his peak. Every single punch ages a fighter, Whyte has absorbed more than most.
The wars make reputations but shorten careers. Whyte had that opportunity to fight his bitter rival Anthony Joshua a few years ago, he turned it down, a decision even he surely must regret now.
The defeat to Povetkin cost Whyte plenty, even with revenge he knows his long wait for a world title chance won’t end anytime soon.
You can look back in heavyweight history to see where the immediate rematch has turned out for the better or for the worse, but the past is largely irrelevant. What anyone else has done previously means nothing, the question is can Whyte avoid defeat a second time.
Whyte was in control, looking on the verge of victory and suddenly it was over. The rematch gives him a chance to put it right, but will he be hesitant this time, will he think more of safety, will the way the last fight ended determine how this one ends. Victory is by no means certain, far less so than the fight in August.
Whyte might already have missed or blown his moment, some will sympathise, others won’t. Love and hate in equal measure, Whyte according to a certain narrative has played the victim far too much. But Whyte regardless of public opinion or perception is at a career crossroads, possibly because of his own doing.
Whatever critics might say of Whyte invoking the immediate rematch clause, he didn’t really have much choice. Both Whyte and Povetkin need each other again to move on and to get to what potentially lies ahead.
The bigger argument is should Whyte have taken it so soon, time will tell. November 21st seems an incredibly quick turnaround, maybe worryingly so.
Despite what happened in the garden, Whyte will start the return odds on favourite. But however well he is doing in the fight, Whyte will know that every second the fight lasts, there will be real danger circling around him.
Whyte has gambled plenty in the last few years, last time out his luck ran out. The British heavyweight contender is rolling the dice once again, he will hope and pray that fortune favours the brave.