Dillian Whyte insists that his match against Jermaine Franklin “wasn’t close” last Saturday night in London. In Whyte’s mind, he won a 12 round decision over Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs), and he’s comfortable with his victory, such as it is, and is ready to move forward to a rematch with Anthony Joshua next year.
Boxing fans on social media overwhelmingly had Whyte (29-3, 19 KOs) losing, and they collectively saw the American Franklin as having been robbed by the judges at the OVO Arena in London.
Considering that this was supposed to be a fight to set the table for a big Wembley stadium rematch between Whyte and Anthony Joshua next year, it wasn’t the performance that Dillian or his promoter Eddie Hearn needed.
After the fight, Hearn repeatedly claimed that Whyte had earned the victory by sweeping the final three rounds in his mind. Still, if that were the case, the fans wouldn’t have been booing Dillian at ringside, and the people on social media wouldn’t be calling it a “robbery.”
The reality is Whyte appeared to lose most of the first nine rounds, was staggered in the tenth, and fought well enough to win the last two.
With Whyte getting hurt in the tenth, there’s no way you could give him the final three, as Hearn did, but even if you did, he was dominated in the first nine rounds by Franklin.
Whyte looked like an old washed-up fighter out there last Saturday night, and it was disturbing to see him given a decision he didn’t deserve.
On social media, boxing fans believe that Dillian Whyte was given the victory due to the big business fight against Anthony Joshua.
It didn’t matter that Hearn was giving his own personal spin on the fight because the fans watched it with their own eyes. They had no dog in this hunt and no reason to see a different reality than the one inside the ring.
“The fight wasn’t close,” said Dillian Whyte to iFL TV about his controversial decision victory over Jermaine Franklin last Saturday night. “It’s judges. When it goes to points, some judges like boxing, and some judges like slugging, you know?
“The main thing is I got the W. I was going to slug and 50-50 trade-off, but what’s the point when I can pick him apart?” said Dillian.
“I thought Franklin started the fight fairly well, but once he reverted to type and started beating him up, hurting him in the tenth, hurt him badly in the twelfth,” said Eddie Hearn putting his spin on what happened in the fight. “In America, that’s probably a standing eight count because the ropes held him up.
“Another minute in the fight, and it’s all over,” said Hearn, suggesting that if there were a 13th round, Whyte would have scored a knockout instead of being the recipient of a controversial decision.
“The mental pressure on Dillian was his career was on the line. After six or seven rounds, it looked like it could be over if he didn’t turn the fight around. I think the bodywork he did [at the direction of his coach Buddy McGirt] started to tire Jermaine Franklin, and the championship rounds are the ones that won Dillian the fight, in my opinion.
“All this new stuff he’s learning [from McGirt] is nice, but it’s the old school in the final stages of the fight is what won him the fight, in my opinion, and would have led to a knockout if he’d started a round earlier or if there was a minute more [a thirteenth round],” said Hearn.
What Hearn is forgetting is that it was McGirt telling Whyte repeatedly to target the body of Franklin. The guy that wanted Whyte to go old school was McGirt.
That wasn’t Whyte’s idea. His idea was to headhunt, and he was missing like crazy due to his slow hands, poor accuracy, and excellent defensive skills of Franklin.
Whyte was too slow to land head shots, and McGirt knew that from watching him repeatedly miss. If Whyte had fought the way he wanted to, he would have likely been knocked out and wouldn’t have been saved by the judges.
“If they’d given me a knockdown [in the twelfth], I would have gone for it, but they didn’t give me a knockdown,” said Whyte, wanting credit for a knockdown when Franklin fell against the ropes.
The reason the referee didn’t give Whyte credit for a knockdown in the 12th is that Franklin bounced off the ropes and immediately nailed him with a right to the head. Whyte then retreated across the ring like he’d been scalded by hot water.
The referee wasn’t going to give Whyte credit for a knockdown when he immediately backpedaled. The body language of Whyte was that of a guy that knew he was in trouble if he stood his ground because Franklin was coming after him.
“People forget that I only had seven amateur fights. I’m still learning, still figuring things out,” said Dillian.
“Dillian Whyte and Fabio Wardley are proving people wrong with a lack of amateur pedigree,” said Hearn. “Two big wins tonight.”
“I’m a fighter. I know how to win,” said Whyte, forgetting that the perception from the boxing world is he was given a gift decision. “No matter what it is, I’ll find a way to win. You might start fast and get a knockdown here and there,” said Whyte.