First appeared on Freebets.net
On Saturday 20th July, in the lull between the unexpected crescendo of Andy Ruiz’s victory over Anthony Joshua last month and the return of Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder in September, Dillian Whyte will tackle Colombian rival Oscar Rivas in yet another dangerous ‘qualifier’. It is a fight of unusual character; no belt is currently attached to the fixture, as is customary in the current scene, and it features two top 10 heavyweight contenders in their physical prime.
Jamaican born contender Whyte, 25-1 (18kos), has been a conspicuous buck to this otherwise soporific trend. In Rivas, 26-0 (18kos), the London-based fighter faces an opponent who poses risk to his health and status but with the knowledge victory will reward him by cementing his position as the most worthy challenger to the division’s leading attractions.
The best bookmakers are intrigued by the bout too and offer match odds alongside markets for the chief support bout between fellow Heavyweights Dave Allen and David Price.
At the age of 31, and with 8 years a professional now behind him, Dillian Whyte is boxing at his physical peak. He has been accumulating valuable experience and wiles and in his current unbeaten run, which stretches back to his creditable loss to the then-emerging Anthony Joshua. He has overcome the likes of Dereck Chisora, Robert Helenius, Joseph Parker and Lucas Browne along the way. Creditable fare.
In the contest with Rivas, Whyte will enjoy significant advantages of height and reach. At a nudge over 6ft, Rivas is unusual in the heavyweight division and his supporters will suggest it is this squat, muscular physique that Rivas enjoys opportunities and advantages rather than weakness. In his most recent victory over Bryant Jennings, Rivas was able to negotiate similar disadvantages successfully.
The performance earned him his most significant professional victory and catapulted the former Olympian into the consciousness of the boxing public and the rankings of all of the major sanctioning bodies. Somewhat belatedly, having feasted on a parade of mediocre opponents for almost a decade.
As an Amateur, he fought at the 2008 Olympics, handily beating Andy Ruiz Jnr. during the qualifiers and overcame favoured Kubrat Pulev at the Beijing Games before succumbing to Italian Roberto Cammarelle, the eventual gold medalist. His style had evolved significantly. Though his success remains grounded in his strength, stamina and aggressiveness he now has more poise, a better judgement of distance – if the bookend performances versus Pulev and Jennings are compared – and has become a dangerous opponent for all but the most accomplished.
However, Whyte, on the assumption he preserves his focus and has prepared diligently, will not be discouraged in the way Jennings was and will boast a more potent arsenal of punches, both in variety and power. There is encouragement for the theory Rivas could prove difficult for Whyte to discourage, or to keep at distance, which would be Whyte’s preference one would assume.
There is risk here. It will be a telling assessment of just how polished a contender Whyte has become, because Rivas has superb stamina, though rarely demonstrated against a confident opponent, is hard to hit and has good power and fast hands. The type of contender a champion assesses, neutralises and overcomes. But can Whyte?
At 2/9 to win outright with Bet365, he remains a firm favourite with bookmakers who will recognise his record substantiates his ability in a way Rivas’ doesn’t. Chisora and Parker would beat everyone Rivas has. Whyte beat both, though not without a scare. I’m tempted to think Whyte gets home on points and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some messy rounds that are hard to score if Whyte cannot preserve some distance with his jab.
Look for markets on Whyte to win on points during fight-week.
Heavyweight Curiosities, Allen and Price, Collide
As chief support to the Whyte versus Rivas bout, two British Heavyweights, Doncaster’s Dave Allen and Liverpool’s David Price, will clash in their respective quests to gatecrash the world-title picture.
In one corner, Allen is the moon-faced rogue who didn’t train, flunked generous examinations his preceding accomplishments didn’t merit and yet proved able to charm thousands with his playful honesty. That he is chief support at the O2 Arena, having knocked out a former world-title belt holder in his last fight, is reflective of this social media renown but also, genuine boxing acumen, for too long camouflaged by a poor attitude and excessive weight.
Price meanwhile, having turned 36, is still in pursuit of a world-title shot he may have presumed to be his five or more years ago. A distinguished amateur, Price’s path to the throne has been compromised by a combination of misfortunate and fluctuating motivation. For him, every fight could prove to be his last.
Allen has respectable power, to go with durability, increasingly precise shot-selection and a peculiar self-confidence that is hard to quell. Price has knockout power and an enormous reach advantage. His flaw appears to be stamina related, something a newly focussed Allen will presume to capitalise on. The most common analysis of the fight is thus; Price tries to blow Allen away early, possibly succeeds and exposes Allen as a heavyweight imposter or Allen perseveres, endures and then breaks Price’s heart in the middle rounds.
Price needs to be busier than Allen will demand he is in the opening rounds. Too often he throws the jab and then ‘huffs and puffs’ while reviewing whether it worked. It would be good to see him follow through. He’s stated he intends to chase the knockout.
It is his best chance. Hard to foresee the Liverpudlian out boxing or outworking the rugged Yorkshireman in a distance fight. I like Allen by stoppage after halfway at 3/1 with Ladbrokes, but would venture a Price cover bet on the 1-3 round knockout outcome at 7/1 with Coral would offer a fun position to hold too.