When they met a few days ago, careers were on the line.
Part two of a sports event, or a movie for that matter, can either be a continuation of the first go around, or similarities, combined with differences.
Alexander Povetkin wanted to repeat what he had done to Dillian Whyte four months ago, which was, score a knockout. Whyte had gone back to the drawing board after his crushing defeat, worked on a mistake he had made in the first fight, and prepped for revenge.
When they met a few days ago, careers were on the line. I don’t agree with some who felt that, even if he’d lost to Povetkin again, Whyte was a still player in the heavyweight division. No. I would have considered him done, even in the present day weak heavyweight division.
Whyte looked focused and ready. On the other hand, Povetkin did not. One writer mentioned his lack of attentiveness. Some thought that perhaps Covid-19, which Povetkin had contracted last January, still had its grip on him. Possible, but Povetkin’s ring walk was bizarre. He looked as if he just woke up from a nap. He gazed at the sparse crowd like a drugged-up animal in a cage.
Seconds after the bell rang for round one, Whyte, applying the aforementioned differences, pumped his jab in Povetkin’s face. A glancing blow caused Povetkin to stagger like a two hundred-and twenty-five-pound Russian ballerina on cracked ice. He hardly looked interested. Whyte landed a big right that logically should have bothered Povetkin. It did not.
In round two, Whyte went back to jabbing. He likely could have done that all night, Think the Anthony Joshua – Andy Ruiz rematch. Jab, jab, jab. To his own detriment at times, Whyte likes to mix it up. A solid right connected. Povetkin continued to teeter, but did fight back with a few hooks and a right hand.
Povetkin was gassed after two rounds. He was fighting like a 41-year-old in search of a new career. He tried to bring some life to his legs by squatting between rounds. No go. His legs weren’t responding. It was like they were saying, “You’ve been to the well once too often, Sasha.”
Whyte was told in his corner to, “Keep your hands close to you.” Excellent advice. Though wobbly, Povetkin was looking to unleash the blow that had put Whyte to sleep in their first fight.
In round four, Povetkin wobbled again. He was an older man teetering on a cliff. Whyte was determined to knock him off it. He took his time. A huge left sent Povetkin down along the ropes. He got up, but was completely out of sorts, staggering like a guy who had one to many. He had. Not booze, but blows.
Referee Victor Laughlin waved the fight off.
Whyte was thrilled with his victory.
“I’m just sad I didn’t get it finished in the first round,” Whyte said. “I shouldn’t have lost the first time. I was annoyed at myself. I made a silly mistake and paid for it. Tonight, I was like ‘yo’, I’m looking to beat some ass tonight.”
Though sloppy at times, Whyte fought well. His changes to the script paid off big time.
Povetkin? Hopefully he goes home and stays there. No more parts for him.