Dillian Whyte had to settle for a fight against Alexander Povetkin for May 2 after former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. turned down two offers to fight him. Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) is still pretty bitter about Ruiz saying no to his offers, and he figures that he just wants to fight an old heavyweight in 38-year-old Chris Arreola next in a tune-up.
(Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing)
Whyte, 31, is happy that former WBA heavyweight champion Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs) stepped up to the plate to face him next. Whyte-Povetkin will be fighting on May 2 on Sky Sports Box Office at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK.
If everything goes right for Dillian, he’ll pick up the biggest win of his career against the 40-year-old Povetkin. But if Whyte loses, he’s going to look bad, and he’ll be facing a long road back.
“Andy Ruiz didn’t want it so Povetkin stepped up to the plate-like I knew he would because he’s a warrior,” said Whyte to IFL TV. “We sent him two offers but they didn’t accept the offers, so that’s his problem.
“He [Ruiz] didn’t want to take two dangerous fights back to back. He wanted to take a warmup. I think he’s going to fight Chris Arreola, which is like 1,000 years old,” said Whyte.
See what I mean about Whyte being bitter. He’s clearly disgruntled over Ruiz turning down the two offers sent to him by Eddie Hearn, one of which was reportedly in the $5 million range. From Ruiz’s perspective, it’s easy to see why he wouldn’t want to agree to a fight with Whyte.
For one, he’s coming off of a bad loss to Anthony Joshua last December, and his motivation train hard was missing for that fight. If Ruiz isn’t entirely sure if he wants to train hard anymore, then it’s quite understandable why he’d turn down the offers to fight Whyte.
That wouldn’t be an easy fight for Ruiz even if he were in shape. He’d likely beat Whyte, but he’d have to be totally dedicated. Right now, Ruiz doesn’t even have a trainer.
Ruiz is mostly speaking in platitudes about how he’s ready to change his career, but he’s done nothing to back up his talk. The other probable reason for why Ruiz turned down the fight with Whyte is because he can potentially make a lot more money in a trilogy fight with Joshua or a match against Tyson Fury.
Against Those guys, Ruiz would likely get double the money he’d get as the B-side opponent for Whyte. Additionally, Ruiz would have needed to fight Whyte in the UK for that match to happen, and he might end up getting the short end of the stick in terms of the officiating and judging. Whyte got away with a lot of roughhouse tactics against Dereck Chisora and Joseph Parker that he wasn’t penalized for.
“He’s a good 40-years-old, not a bad 40,” said Whyte on Povetkin. “Look at how long Klitschko reigned. Povetkin is the same. He might reign until he’s 45 because he keeps himself in shape. He’s a good fighter. He can box, he can punch, and he’s a slugger,” said Whyte about Povetkin.
If Whyte loses to Povetkin, then he’s going to look silly for having taken this risky fight. Whyte is already locked in as the WBC mandatory to Tyson Fury, so why take a risky fight against Povetkin? The answer is simple. Whyte makes a lot of money for his fights on Sky Sports Box Office, but he has to fight decent quality opposition to sell those fights to the British public.
Whyte can’t just fight fodder level opponents and expect his fans to purchase his fights on PPV in droves. That’s why Whyte is taking this CALCULATED risk. He thinks he can win, but if he’s wrong, it’s going to be tough for him to work his way back. For all intents and purposes, Whyte will be the new Dereck Chisora. That’s a fighter that has been around forever and loses when he steps it up. But despite all the defeats on Chisora’s record, he still remains a popular fighter in the UK, if not elsewhere.