This Saturday on DAZN (3 pm ET) and Sky Box Office (8 pm UK time), Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte headline a Matchroom card from Gibraltar, with the heavyweights rematching after last August’s dramatic upset win by Povetkin.
Can the Russian veteran do it again and maybe force his way into one more world title fight, or will Whyte get his revenge and back onto the shortlist for a 2022 title shot?
Scott Christ (15-5-1)
I rolled with Povetkin last August, and it paid off. Admittedly, it didn’t look like it would in the fourth round, when Grandpa Sasha was down twice. Part of my pick then was just that I could feel how deliciously cruel the story would be; Dillian Whyte, waiting over 1,000 days because he thought he was the WBC mandatory, having One More Fight to Win, and getting upset by a dangerous old guy. But the other part was that Povetkin, while an old guy, was dangerous; he’s never quite hit the top of the division, but his only losses are to Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua in a career that began over 15 years ago.
All of that is still true, and in theory I think Povetkin is still very dangerous. Same reasons: he’s technically sound, smart, can punch, and Whyte’s defense is not exactly one of his strongest assets. What worries me about Povetkin this time is not even what Whyte did last time before the vicious knockout, but Povetkin having struggled with COVID in between. He didn’t have a mild case, by all accounts, he had some real issues. But since he’s showing up I will assume he’s OK enough to fight.
In that case, I roll with Povetkin again. I think basically the same thing happens. He might get caught by Whyte, but he will at some point land on Dillian. Whyte’s a good fighter, but he makes big mistakes basically every time out. Povetkin KO-7
Wil Esco (15-5-1)
Dillian Whyte was doing alright the first time around until he got hammered by an uppercut that he never saw coming. That’s heavyweight boxing for you — any one shot can change things quick, fast and in a hurry. Whyte will be facing that same danger once again in this fight, especially if he tries to take a page out of Tyson Fury’s recent game plan against Deontay Wilder, bringing the fight to the puncher. I’m not certain if Whyte can really escape the problems that Povetkin poses no matter what style he tries to fight in, because he can be drawn into firefights which will give his opponent chances. I’ll be honest here, I have no real issue with anyone picking Povetkin to repeat this time around because it’s entirely possible, but I’m just going to play a hunch that Whyte avoids a fight ending punch and scores one of his own. Whyte TKO-8
How to Watch Povetkin vs Whyte 2
Patrick L. Stumberg (14-6-1)
The “Whyte was kicking Povetkin’s ass before getting caught” narrative doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Before the last two rounds, Povetkin was doing a remarkable job of punishing Whyte’s midsection and avoiding most of his power shots, struggling only with “The Body Snatcher’s” thudding jab. Under ideal circumstances, I could definitely see him making it 2-0 against the hulking Brit.
These are not ideal circumstances. Povetkin’s coming off of a lengthy bout with COVID, and considering he’s in his 40s, that’s bad news. Fighting a man with the size, power, and body attack of Whyte demands a level of conditioning I’m no longer certain Povetkin possesses. That Sunday punch could once again be there for “Russian Vityaz,” but the likelier outcome sees an even start get steadily more one-sided as Whyte racks up damage for an eventual stoppage. Whyte TKO-8
Lewis Watson (15-5-1)
There was nothing lucky about Povetkin’s left uppercut last August. It was a perfect punch that had been drilled over a career, and the Russian found a home for it after unsuccessfully trying a few times earlier in the fight. I’m not even sure Whyte got overly complacent. It was just a thing of instinctual beauty from “Sasha”, that comes with the territory of a man of his experience. Now, it would be amiss to ignore the four rounds leading up to that devastating stoppage. Whyte had Povetkin in a heap of trouble, and he’s unlikely to tear everything up from the original game-plan and start afresh.
Two factors worth considering: Whyte’s condition following a hellacious kayo, and Povetkin’s condition following a battle with COVID-19. Immediate rematches in the heavyweight division don’t always end in revenge – will Whyte be gun-shy? Overcautious? And with 41 years behind him, being rushed into a rematch following health complications, are we really going to see the best Alexander Povetkin?
Whyte has always been susceptible to the uppercut so no doubt Povetkin will be looking for that money shot again, but I’m finding it hard to back the dog in this one. Whyte has his critics but is a born fighter, and I think he’s going to relish this opportunity. Maybe a little more patience in his attacks and work to Sasha’s body (and questionable post-COVID-19 tank) will force the opening for a late finish. Whyte down the stretch. Whyte TKO-10