“Destruct and destroy. You’ve got to be in that mindset,” Harold ‘The Shadow’ Knight helped Lennox Lewis avenge defeat and has been priming Dillian Whyte for a devastating victory over Alexander Povetkin
Dillian Whyte has rehearsed the spiteful punches to punish Alexander Povetkin after embracing the guidance of a trainer who plotted revenge wins for Lennox Lewis.
Whyte has been angrily pacing his Portugal gym, venting his rage at sparring partners while a new member of the team calmly devises tactics for Saturday’s rematch, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Harold ‘The Shadow’ Knight, an ever-present in the corner of Lewis, assisted legendary trainer Emanuel Steward as they prepared for a succession of fearsome challengers.
Povetkin has already displayed his violent threat as he climbed off the canvas twice to deliver a huge uppercut, the cruellest of knockout blows for Whyte.
But Knight, a man well versed in vengeance, has since arrived to clear the wreckage.
“He pulled that shot out of the heavens and it landed,” Knight told Sky Sports.
“Unfortunately for Dillian, it took him out, but it’s a fortunate thing, because if it wouldn’t have happened, I wouldn’t be here.”
A trusted coach for Lewis since 1990, Knight worked alongside Steward as they salvaged redemption from two knockout defeats to Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman.
“I don’t want to give away a lot of our secrets, because we’ve got some good secrets for Povetkin coming up,” said Knight who is now studying Russia’s former WBA champion.
“It’s so crazy, when I get in situations like with Dillian now, I always revert back to what would Emanuel Steward do? I try to emulate what he did.
“I’m going in 2 and 0 in rematches. I love to win. Obviously in order to be a good winner, sometimes you have to experience a loss.
“I’ve learnt on the path of the losses and I’m slowly but surely with the team, it’s not just me, it’s Dillian that’s going in there, that’s going to be taking care of business.
“But with the team, to be able to learn off the past losses with Lennox – Oliver McCall, Hasim Rahman and take them experiences into with Povetkin.
“The history, you can’t buy it.”
Whyte is ‘a strong-minded’ individual, not adverse to a ‘back and forth’, admits Knight who is working closely with the south Londoner’s co-trainer Xavier Miller.
But the New Jersey man, a former world title challenger himself, knows all about the unforgiving atmosphere of a fight gym, and how to read a wounded heavyweight.
“Dillian is similar to Lennox Lewis. He picks up everything.
“You can be talking to someone else, but he’s listening. We could be in a gym, he could be doing certain things, but he’s watching, and that’s what great champions do.
“It’s bringing back good memories.”
Lewis would break the tedium of repetitive training sessions in the Pocono Mountains with lengthy games of chess as he planned a crushing, conclusive blow, even when outside the ropes.
Whyte has been priming his hurtful right hand, rather than strategizing with a rook, but Knight is trying to instil that same clinical mindset in Brixton’s ‘Body Snatcher’.
“We’re not playing chequers. We’re playing chess now. Be smart in what you do, because sometimes Dillian is too tough for his own good. He really is.”
A jolting jab, the weapon underused by Whyte as he invited Povetkin into range, has been sharpened again, with Knight instructing his fighter about ‘ring IQ’.
“Sometimes he doesn’t use it, the way he needs to use it.
“With that jab, that puts everything, the other small pieces in the puzzle together.”
The steely gaze of Lewis barely flickered as he marched to the ring for the Rahman rematch, with ‘The Payback’ by James Brown blaring out at The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Gibraltar might be an unfamiliar backdrop for this weekend’s ‘Rumble On The Rock’, but the motivation is the same.
“He’s an assassin when he gets in that ring, so we’re not going to take anything away from what he naturally does. We’re just adding a couple of weapons to his repertoire.
“Destruct and destroy. You’ve got to be in that mindset. But once again, do it in a smart way.”
Cruel assertions about Lewis and his ability to rule the top division were swept aside like a misplaced pawn as he regained his position at the heavyweight summit.
With Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury set to meet in an undisputed world heavyweight title fight, Whyte can only defy his doubters with a devastating win over Povetkin.
But Knight has drawn his own conclusions, while silently watching a brooding challenger with revenge on his mind.
“It’s so exciting, this undisputed title fight with Joshua and Fury, because it opens things up. Not only for them, but for us. It opens so much up and the possibilities are unending, because Dillian is right there. He’s right there. That’s why this fight is so important.
“I’m going to be honest with you. I wouldn’t have accepted this role, this position, if I didn’t feel he could become heavyweight champion of the world.
“I truly believe that he can put that crown on his head, those belts around his shoulders and around his waist to become the heavyweight champion of the world.”