Finally coming up on March 27 in Gibraltar is the much anticipated ‘Rumble on the Rock’ rematch between Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin.
Many fans will have been watching their first encounter last August expecting Whyte to finish Povetkin at any moment after scoring two knockdowns in the fourth round, but the 2004 Olympic gold medalist’s pedigree shone bright, landing a destructive shot at the start of the fifth which was being set up all night, ending the fight and Whyte’s dreams of an imminent WBC title shot.
To the incredible shock of all fans watching and spectators present, Whyte was out cold.
A rematch was due on November 21 before Povetkin tested positive for Covid-19 and the fight was delayed.
Another new date of January 31 was derailed when it was revealed that Povetkin required additional time to recover from Covid.
After Covid-related restrictions pushed the fight back further from its re-scheduled date of March 6, the showdown is now finally near.
If Whyte loses, he is out of the world title picture, potentially for good.
If he wins, he will prove that he possesses the minerals of a champion.
If Whyte can overcome potential doubts and demons after suffering such a brutal knockout loss to create a statement of his own, it will show a lot about Whyte’s character.
A man who removed a bullet from his own leg as a kid, sewed himself back up after a knife attack and was brought up by a father with the mindset of “If you’re not dead, you’re alright” should not have his character questioned, but boxing is an unforgiving sport.
Whyte has previously stated he has always believed he was destined for something great. Now is the time to prove it, with the stakes higher than ever.
Entering their first fight, at 40 years of age, Povetkin was judged to have been old and there for the taking at just the right moment for Whyte.
Povetkin’s previous fight was a draw against Michael Hunter, with many believing the Russian had been gifted the result.
Whyte, on the other hand, was entering the bout fresh off the back of 11 consecutive victories since his loss to Anthony Joshua in December 2015, with wins against notable opponents such as Robert Helenius, Joseph Parker, Dereck Chisora and Oscar Rivas, whilst constantly improving his game significantly.
Nobody with any true knowledge of Povetkin’s credentials will have entirely dismissed the Russian heading into the first bout, with the Olympian and former WBA ‘Regular’ world champion’s skill-set and undoubted power, but general consensus was the momentum was with Whyte. Whyte was on an upward trajectory with youth on his side, with victory guaranteeing him a shot at the WBC title, and Povetkin was on the decline.
However, a perfectly executed, devastatingly powerful and accurate uppercut from hell by Povetkin reminded everybody who Whyte is dealing with here.
Underestimate the experienced Russian at your peril. Povetkin has been a mainstay amongst the heavyweight division’s top contenders for a decade. Following his first professional loss to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013, he scored devastating back-to-back knockout victories over the likes of Manuel Charr, Carlos Takam and Mike Perez. The key thing is, all of his brutal KO’s were short shots.
Whyte has a constantly-improving jab, and it would be wise to utilise that longer reach in the rematch, stay disciplined and gradually break Povetkin down with a strong, sharp jab. Whyte seemed to become comfortable with allowing Povetkin to get close in the first fight due to his initial success, and that is where Povetkin thrived and produced the goods. Whyte loves throwing short shots too, and has never shied away from getting into wars of attrition, but he has looked vulnerable on multiple occasions when he has done so.
Povetkin will most likely do everything he can to encourage Whyte to become eager and start exchanging. This is also risky for Povetkin and Whyte can still have success here, as that is where Whyte scored his two knockdowns, but it is also where Povetkin scored one of the most brutal knockouts in recent memory.
“Fighting’s only about being smart. This is a smart man’s game. This ain’t a tough man’s sport.” as Mike Tyson has stated.
Will it be ‘repeat or revenge’?
Can Povetkin repeat a similar kind of vicious stoppage, or was that the last moment of glory for a heavyweight who has consistently been amongst the top of the division for many years?
Whyte told the Metro in an interview: “Last time I mixed a bit of boxing and fighting but this time I’m coming to fight, to go to war. I’m coming for the knockout, to try and get him out as early as I can. If I fight and apply pressure as I know I can, I think I stop him early.”
Whyte will be wanting to make a statement of his own in gaining revenge here. Will he make adjustments and be smart, or engage in a risky but thrilling slugfest from the outset?
One thing this fight most likely promises is Whyte’s mantra of Maximum Violence. Who will deliver it is the answer we’ll find out soon.
Sina for SimBoxx
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