Dmitriy Salita sensed Dillian Whyte wanted what Whyte would consider an easy fight after his sixth-round knockout loss to Tyson Fury seven months ago.
The British heavyweight contender chose the wrong guy, according to Salita, whose company promotes Jermaine Franklin. Most handicappers have installed Whyte as at least a 12-1 favorite to beat the undefeated Franklin on Saturday night in London, but Salita insists that their 12-round fight will be much more difficult for Whyte than those one-sided odds suggest.
In fact, Salita feels Franklin (21-0, 14 KOs) will take full advantage of the biggest opportunity of his seven-year professional career in a main event DAZN will stream worldwide from OVO Arena Wembley.
“He’s an undefeated American heavyweight, but he’s had sparse activity because of COVID and things and there’s not a lot of viable fighters in the heavyweight division,” Salita told BoxingScene.com. “I do believe they’re looking past him. Even in that promo video, where Dillian Whyte spoke bad of the fight, he says, ‘There was no one better to fight.’ So, I do believe he’s overlooking Jermaine.
“Dillian Whyte is a very experienced guy. He fought Tyson Fury in his last fight, in a massive event. He fought Povetkin twice before that. So, name-wise, Jermaine is obviously not as accomplished and not as big as those guys. So, without a doubt, he’s taking Jermaine lightly.”
The 35-year-old Whyte (28-3, 19 KOs), who was born in Jamaica and developed as a boxer in London, has lost only to England’s Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs), who owns the WBC belt, and former champions in Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) and Alexander Povetkin (36-3-1, 25 KOs). Fury, England’s Joshua and Russia’s Povetkin all knocked out Whyte, but Whyte battered and stopped Povetkin to win their immediate rematch by fourth-round technical knockout in March 2021.
The 6-foot-9, 265-pound Fury knocked out Whyte with a right uppercut April 23 at a sold-out Wembley Stadium in London, where a crowd in excess of 94,000 assembled. Franklin sparred against Fury at least eight times recently in preparation for his own fight with Whyte, which has instilled more confidence in the unbeaten but unproven Franklin.
“I think the key factor in the fight will be that Dillian Whyte is pretty explosive in the first three rounds,” Salita said. “After that, he slows down, he gets sloppy and his chin becomes more susceptible. Jermaine has a good chin, is pretty active, good jab, good power, and I believe that after the fourth round it’ll be Jermaine’s fight to win.”
The 29-year-old Franklin, a native of Saginaw, Michigan, has boxed only once since he beat the Czech Republic’s Pavel Sour (then 11-1) by unanimous decision in a 10-rounder in October 2019 at Dort Financial Center in Flint, Michigan. Franklin ended a 2½-year layoff May 7, when beat journeyman Rodney Moore (20-22-2, 9 KOs) by fifth-round technical knockout at McBride Hall in Gary, Indiana.
Franklin resiliently took a circuitous route toward this potentially career-changing chance, which has only motivated him more to exploit it.
“Jermaine is a young, hungry fighter,” Salita said. “He’s a  national Golden Gloves champion who has had some solid wins in his career. I believe it’s a real close, close fight, difficult. A young prospect in Jermaine and Dillian Whyte, who’s a proven veteran who’s a bit on the other side of his peak. So, for that reason I believe that it’s Jermaine’s fight to win. I believe that he has the ability, the stamina and the will to be a champion, to be a top heavyweight. And he’s definitely gonna put it all on the line November 26th – there’s no doubt about that.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.