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Coming up with the “Rumble on the Rock” name for a boxing event in Gibraltar can’t have taken long, and the action involving Ted Cheeseman v James Metcalf, Fabio Wardley, Chris Kongo, Campbell Hatton and, of course, the rematch between Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte, could be settled just as swiftly.
The climax to the fight series at Eddie Hearn’s house last summer was supposed to be a big win for Whyte, but Povetkin stole the show with one of the knockouts of the year. The rematch has been made and the lads are off to the slab of 1980’s Britain dangling from the south of Spain to settle the score.
The second edition of this fight has already been postponed a couple of times due to Povetkin contracting Covid-19.
Whyte was easily winning the first contest, and after flooring the away fighter twice in the fourth round the bout looked as good as done, but Povetkin showed his pedigree, remained composed under pressure and let off a left uppercut from hell.
There was very little that the Londoner was doing wrong in the first fight until that fifth round. The people with the tactical knowledge worth listening to say that the ‘Body Snatcher’ just relaxed a bit and let Povetkin work at a close range and that the solution is to keep using his jab and his three-inch reach advantage.
Even Whyte and his team have acknowledged that tactical tidbit by adding one of Lennox Lewis’ old crew to the corner. Dillian went straight back to work at his Portugal base camp after the defeat in August and he has spent seven months dedicated to improving.
If we get a tip-top Povetkin this Saturday then he can replicate what he did last summer. The 2004 Olympic champ knows what to expect and he’ll try to avoid the torrid opening sessions he suffered last time. The big odds on Povetkin are really tempting – I am looking at the Power Price on Povetkin in rounds 1-6 and the straight bet on the veteran to win.
However, there was a point a month or so ago, when Whyte was willing to walk away because Povetkin was taking too long to sign the contract, and there’s a real chance he isn’t quite ready and he’s cashing in on those snazzy commemorative two pound coins.
There are some cracking bets in the #WhatOddsPaddy section involving Povetkin being knocked down and Whyte winning in the following rounds, but my tip is that a laser-focused Whyte will clinically pick off the old age pug and finish the fight in the middle rounds with a punch-perfect performance.
Top of the undercard on Saturday is another mouthwatering British scrap in the super welterweight division. The vacant Lonsdale belt is on the line and there’s little to choose between Cheeseman and Metcalf in terms of skill, physique and pedigree – and both are hittable, which always makes for an exciting bout.
‘The Big Cheese’ is coming off a tough five-fight streak that included winning the British title, losing at European level, then losing his domestic crown, before beating former champ Sam Eggington. Metcalf is much less seasoned at this level, but he did win the Commonwealth strap against former British champ Jason Welborn in 2019.
Liverpool’s ‘Kid Shamrock’, 32, has knocked out his last seven opponents and Paddy makes him favourite, but Cheeseman will take Metcalf to deep waters and I can see the younger, but more experienced man coming out on top.
- Rapidly improving heavyweight Fabio Wardley takes on veteran American Eric Molina (9pm). Molina, 38, has been out of the ring since 2019, while Wardley looked sharp in his two lockdown appearances. I fancy the fast-handed Wardley to have the win wrapped up in rounds 3-4.
- In the match-up of the unbeaten welterweights, we have London’s Chris Kongo against Portsmouth’s Michael McKinson. This is the closest thing to a 50:50 on the undercard, but Kongo has the edge in class and I am backing him to win by KO.
- And, at some point in the evening, Campbell Hatton will make his debut against Jesus Ruiz. The bloke in the opposite corner won’t be anything more than a tin can, but if Hatton Junior is anything like his dad – and he seems to be a clone of his old man – it’s worth getting on-board with this lad asap.
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