By Jake Collins (@MelancholyFolly)
The ubiquitous WBC Silver title is on the line on Saturday as Dillian Whyte looks to cement himself as Deontay Wilder’s mandatory challenger. Standing in his way is Australia’s Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne. Whyte is the better boxer of the two, whilst Browne certainly carries more power. I would be remiss in saying that either of these guys are world class fighters but they are both legitimate contenders in the current HW scene. Yes, the division is currently wanting for true elite talents but there are plenty of intriguing bouts to be made, especially fights like this. I’ve been swaying on how I think this fight will pan out, which if nothing else means it’s reasonably well matched.
Whyte is coming off of what was frankly a dreadful fight to watch against Helenius. Helenius is way past his best and to be fair his best was never all that great to begin with. He had some hype as a prospect that was never really justified. Whyte won the fight very widely but didn’t look impressive in the slightest. Helenius rocked him but looked spent quickly and had no interest in engaging. Whyte looked sloppy and at times a little impatient against an unwilling foe – of course, the onus on creating the fight is down to Whyte himself. He’s been saying recently that the AJ fight has improved him but honestly I don’t see it. He’s the still the same fighter. He can box a bit and jabs to the body well but is defensively quite poor, lacking head movement and quick feet. He was in a tornado of a scrap with Chisora as each man threw hooks with malicious intent, although truth be told I thought Whyte lost that fight, albeit in a close manner.
Realistically, Whyte’s hype is mostly born through rocking Joshua. It’s easy to forget he firmly had the light switches set to off by the end of that fight.
Since then, we’ve seen he can be hurt (by Chisora and Helenius, neither of whom I would say have Browne’s power) and unfortunately he hasn’t had an opponent in front of him which has allowed him to showcase the boxing ability he has. Maybe I’m being harsh but I just really don’t rate him very highly. He isn’t a bad boxer when he tries it but at what level? His power hasn’t troubled anyone of note. That said, his success doesn’t presuppose impressing me in my piss stained armchair. His success comes from beating those who stand in front of him and this is indeed a very winnable fight.
Whyte would be best served in making this as tedious a fight for the spectator as possible. And by that I mean keeping Browne at the end of his jab and resisting the furore of the crowd when a right hand does find the target. Browne isn’t a highly skilled boxer or a crafty veteran and Whyte needs to treat him in that way. Given his inactivity over the last couple of years and the fact he turns 39 soon, I’d question how much is in Browne’s tank. Make him work, throw lots of feints to try to use up any nervous energy Browne might have and lean against him when he gets in close. Without sounding too cynical, if it’s a close fight that goes the distance it’s hard to look past Whyte getting the nod in London, so if he can’t find a stoppage against a tiring Browne then that’s the way to go .
Excusing the comeback fight against a hideously overmatched Matthew Greer, Browne’s last fight was around 2 years ago. It was his career best win and a solid one at that as he got up off the desk to KO Ruslan Chagaev. Chagaev was boxing well against Browne and floored him around midway through the fight. Despite an extra 10-15 seconds being added onto the round by some very suspect officials ringside (possibly influenced by the presence of Ramzan Kadyrov), Browne survived and rallied back in 10th to floor an exhausted Chagaev. Now, after that fight I remember people making jokes saying that Browne would get done for PEDs as he KO’d the home favourite in what some might call an unscrupulous area in the form of the Chechen Republic. To the surprise of very few, that’s exactly what happened. I can’t say for sure if he was actually guilty or not but the fact of the matter is that he has been terribly inactive for 2 years and is approaching 39 years of age. Prior to that he had a decent win against Rudenko which went the distance (as his fights often do) but not an awful lot else to be excited about. He has been cut a few times and showed character in fighting through that, as well as getting off the canvas to score the aforementioned KO in a hostile environment – in a gruelling contest that’s evenly matched this can be the point of separation.
We’ve seen in his fights that Browne isn’t exactly a master of the sweet science. He’s powerful and actually moves across the ring quite well for someone his size. He does get caught square on with his feet when attacking though which is a problem and having Chagaev floor you emphatically isn’t a healthy sign. Being down on the cards at this level isn’t the end of the world and to stop him away from home is encouraging. He paws with the jab a little too much for my liking although when he adds conviction to the shot it’s quite rapidly fired. A concern for me going into this bout is how low that right hand can be when it’s returning from being fired. Whyte likes to throw hooks and that leaves an open target for him to land on.
I think Browne’s best chance of winning is to fight, simply put. I don’t think he can outbox Whyte but I certainly think he’s capable of fighting a similar fight that Chisora did and certainly to a similar standard. He may not have Chisora’s chin but I’m comfortable in saying he hits harder. I would look to land big on Whyte early, perhaps fight a little dirty on the inside to try and entice an angry response from the Londoner. If Whyte loses his head he WILL engage and that makes for a more winnable fight for Browne. He needs to know his own conditioning, too. If he KNOWS he can fight for 12 rounds then maybe he can adopt a different strategy. But to truly know that on fight night is a nigh on impossible so as reckless as it sounds, I’d consider just going for broke early on. It’s careless and risky but Whyte can be hurt and – as I mentioned – I can’t see the scorecards being favourable toward Browne. Or perhaps I just watch to watch Whyte-Chisora more than Whyte-Helenius.
Look, this could be a really fun fight. The ingredients are there and if stirred correctly then the cauldron of the 02 could knock up something spicy. All the same, an evenly matched tear up is a tricky dish and can lead to things being rather dull. I remember being particularly excited for Briedis-Huck and that went the way of being particularly mundane. For the sake of our Saturday night, let’s pray to the boxing Gods that these two go to war. I won’t hold my breath, just in case.by