Our boxing expert, Peter Morris, has three tips for the bout between Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin
As boxing fan in the UK these last few weeks have been a bit of treat all things considered. With promoters, fighters and sanctioning bodies making up for lost time (revenue) we’ve been dished up a decent show every week for the last month and this Saturday is no exception. This weekend sees the culmination of Matchroom’s “Fight Camp” series with Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin headlining a pay per view card in Eddie Hearn’s back garden. Welcome to the new normal.
Whyte versus Povetkin is an intriguing fight, particularly from a betting perspective. Personally, this tipster favours Whyte but only marginally. The bookies however have Dillian Whyte a firm odds-on favourite, his best price is 2/7 and most bookies are currently offering 1/4. Povetkin on the other hand is as long as 7/2 in places. Roughly speaking, the bookies believe Dillian Whyte has a 75-80% chance in this fight, whilst Povetkin is given a 20-25% chance. That appears to be underestimating the Russian veteran.
Povetkin is 40 but has shown in recent bouts he’s still got 12 rounds in his legs, is still dangerous and, despite his last three fights reading as 1-1-1, he can still mix it at the top. His most recent loss was to Anthony Joshua but in that fight he had the British champion in all sorts of trouble in the early rounds. He then won a bit of a snorefest over 12 rounds with the perennially frustrating Hughie Fury and most recently drew a ten rounder against Michael Hunter. The Michael Hunter result may not mean much to some people, but Hunter is an excellent boxer who would be a tough night’s work for anyone in the division (the only loss on his record is to one Oleksandr Usyk). On the surface Povetkin’s age, recent form and odds suggest this could be a one-sided affair but the reality is far from it.
If you were inclined to back the Russian this tipster wouldn’t work too hard to change your mind. It’s a good bet at the price. However, good value doesn’t always translate into winnings in the pocket. Another market that is good value and looks good for a return is for the fight to go the distance. Whilst both can punch, their most recent form suggests at the higher level they’re more prone to grinding out decisions. Of Whyte’s last 8 wins, only 3 have been by stoppage and he was unable to stop Mariusz Wach or Oscar Rivas in his last 2 outings, both of whom are weaker opposition than Povetkin. On the flipside, excluding the loss to Joshua, 4 of Povetkin’s last 5 bouts have gone the full 12. Whilst this is being billed as an explosive battle of left hooks, it’s just as likely to be a war of attrition. If neither fighter makes a dent in their opponent early, there’s a good chance these two hardnosed, durable men will be grinding out a decision. Back the fight to go the full distance with Betfred, who are best price at 20/21.
And despite the previous words in this article in favour of Povetkin’s chances… it does become difficult to see him winning a decision over 12 rounds: he’s up against an improved, resilient and bigger man in Whyte who’s got a reach advantage. Furthermore, Whyte is the home fighter (it’s literally in Eddie Hearn’s backyard) and is more likely to benefit from any sympathetic judging. The Russian will not lie down and should make it more competitive than his odds suggest but Whyte to win a decision is an attractive price at 6/4. It’s also worth a small bet on the split decision victory for the man from Brixton at 10/1.