It’s time to start talking about whether the heavyweight division is back.
Dillian Whyte vs Lucas Browne Saturday on HBO is just one piece of evidence. Last year the best fight was Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko. The best fight this year is probably Deontay Wilder over Luis Ortiz. Next weekend is Joshua vs Joseph Parker, itself a great bout.
Browne is no great shakes, nor is Whyte. But man, Whyte can punch, and that makes him a viable opponent for whoever comes out of the Wilder-Parker-Joshua gauntlet.
Whyte is a mound of muscle, the guy who, prior to Klitschko, gave Joshua his toughest night. Against Browne, he demonstrated nasty body punching, a rare commodity for a heavyweight.
Whyte bloodied Browne right away with head shots, between his nasty body punches against a soft-looking Browne, who has previously failed some drug tests.
Eventually Browne — a puncher of some note himself — busted up Whyte’s nose, too. But it was Whyte who destroyed Browne’s face, more than anything. It was such that someone needed to think about stopping it at various points before the knockout came.
That moment occurred in the 6th round, when Whyte landed a brutal left hand that put Browne down on his face in a pool of crimson.
Whyte is better now than when he faced Joshua the first time, not that Joshua isn’t better, too. But Whyte being a better Whyte makes him a viable opponent for whenever the top of the division is settled.
They used to say, “As the heavyweight division, so goes boxing.” The sport long ago disproved that. But a vital heavyweight division? That is some kind of boost.
(Photo: Dillian Whyte, left, Lucas Browne, right; via HBO, Ed Mullholand)