On Saturday (3 p.m. ET, DAZN) in Gibraltar, seven months after they initially met, heavyweights Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin will meet again in a key heavyweight clash.
Povetkin, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist and former world champion, became the interim WBC heavyweight champion on Aug. 22 when he caught Whyte with a perfect jab-uppercut combination at the start of the fifth round in Brentwood, England, and knocked him cold.
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This is one of the rare situations where the clear, convincing winner of the first fight is a fairly significant underdog in the rematch. At BetMGM, Whyte is a -400 favorite, with the 41-year-old Povetkin at +275.
Whyte by KO/TKO/DQ or technical decision is -165, while Whyte by decision is +350. Povetkin is +350 to win by KO and +1400 to win by decision.
That seems strange on the surface, but when you dig a bit deeper, it is not. Whyte was clearly winning the first bout and appeared to have taken each of the first four rounds. He had two knockdowns in the fourth round, which he won by a 10-7 score.
He was quicker, more authoritative and in control of the fight.
Povetkin won the fight with that single combination. He’s a skilled fighter who has fought elite competition, and though his best days are behind him, he still is skilled and capable of electric moments.
The key here is that it wasn’t that Whyte faded, or made a mistake, or did anything wrong. It’s that Povetkin rose up at a significant moment and connected with the best combination he’d landed, literally, in years.
So do you bank on that happening again?
Povetkin is 41 and is 2-1-1 in his last four fights. He got a disappointing draw with Michael Hunter on Dec. 19, 2007, and was knocked out by Anthony Joshua on Sept. 22, 2018.
He’s been slipping, and while he’s not completely faded and still has some fight left in him, he’s not the threat he was a few years ago.
The question those looking to back Whyte will have to address is his mental state. Do you lay nearly 4-1 on him knowing this is his first fight after getting KO'd?
Whyte is a smart professional who has a number of solid fights available to him should he beat Povetkin. His only other defeat was by KO in 2015 to Joshua, and he responded by going unbeaten for nearly five full years, covering 11 fights. He’s proven he can shake it off.
Povetkin can be dropped, but he’s as tough as they come and will continue to get up. So I like Whyte at +350 to win by decision. It will hurt if he wins by knockout and I lose my bet when I have the winner, but it’s a big difference between laying -400 and betting the +350. I’m willing to gamble that Whyte doesn’t get the KO and if he does, I’m not out a huge amount.
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