This might be the making of Dillian Whyte. Though his pulverising loss to Alexander Povetkin might have felt like a disaster, it has created a huge buzz about him and the heavyweight division.
And depending on how he responds it could push him to the front of the queue after standing in line for a title shot for more than a thousand days.
People love a knockout, and a comeback. Whyte was the victim of a perfect storm, a brilliant shot that proved what I have always said, turn over 220 pounds at speed and, even if the opponent is made of concrete, he is going over.
No fighter in the world would have taken that shot. Don’t forget the man who threw it won Olympic gold as an amateur in 2004 and has been beaten only by Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua.
We are talking about a retro heavyweight here, a 1960s/70s throwback to the 16st stylist. Povetkin was outweighed by two stones, but 220 pounds is always enough in the right hands, even against today’s 18st-plus behemoths.
The irony is Whyte was performing so well, giving one of the most accomplished performances of his career.
He wasn’t reckless. He fought with an educated jab and put his punches together well for four rounds. He had Povetkin over twice.
It just shows, if you switch off for a second it’s over at this level. Povetkin’s corner were on the point of pulling him out. He came out for the fifth needing something and trying to push Whyte back.
What a sequence it was. Jab, rapid weight transfer to the left, dip, bang, over and out. The jab was the key forcing Whyte’s hands to come forward, creating the space for the uppercut.
Let’s see how the psychology plays out. It might not affect Whyte at all. A knockout does not seem to be as damaging to the big boys as it is for those in the lighter weights.
Some are scarred but I have seen plenty of heavies knocked out and come back in the next fight like it never happened.
People like to see knockouts. There will be excitement about the rematch, a fascination to see if Whyte can exact revenge.
It won’t be easy. There is plenty of jeopardy, but Whyte will be encouraged by the work he did. He just has to finish the job.
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