This article originally appeared in the November 2 Fightful Boxing Newsletter, which releases every Thursday Morning. You can see the full newsletter at this link. Fightful will have live coverage of Wilder vs. Stiverne 2 from inside the Barclays Center on November 4.
Deontay Wilder vs. Bermane Stiverne Preview:
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is set to make his latest title defense on Showtime against Bermane Stiverne. The fight will headline a boxing card at the Barclays Center, the sixth boxing card to take place at the venue in 2017.
The fight is an interesting one, especially due to the fact that Stiverne was not Wilder’s original opponent to begin with. Wilder was supposed to fight Luis Ortiz, but he failed a VADA test with about a month before the fight was supposed to take place.
Wilder is facing Stiverne in a rematch from their 2015 bout, in which Wilder beat Stiverne to win the WBC title. Wilder’s run as champion has been marred by his numerous opponents failing drug tests with only weeks before the fight. His upcoming November 4 fight is just the latest example of that. It is in fact the third straight fight that Wilder has had in which his opponent had to be removed due to failed drug tests.
With the world heavyweight title on the line this weekend, here is the full preview of the fight.
Wilder vs. Stiverne Conference Call:
On October 24, Wilder and Stiverne, alongside promoter Lou DiBella, held a media conference call to further discuss their upcoming WBC heavyweight title fight on November 4.
The conference call was originally going to have Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza, but his call dropped, likely due to him not have a good enough phone signal because he was in the U.K. for Showtime’s broadcast of the October 28 fight between Anthony Joshua and Carlos Takam.
Wilder said he didn’t want any excuses coming from Stiverne should Wilder beat Stiverne. Wilder doubled down on his promise that he will beat Stiverne and avenge the fact that Stiverne is the only man that Wilder has never knocked out that Wilder promised he would retire if he loses.
“Ya’ll can quote me on this. Ya’ll can put this down to paper. You can put this at the top of the headlines because of the way I’ve been feeling about boxing right now. If Bermane Stiverne beats me, I will retire. You can put that down. I will be out of the way. Boxing doesn’t have to worry about me anymore because it hasn’t been doing me any good. All I wanted to do was prove that I am the best and the best doesn’t want to fight. What’s the point of me being in this sport? If Bermane beats me, you’ll never have to hear about me anymore. I’m done. It doesn’t get any more serious than that. Let the games begin,” Wilder said.
Wilder has expressed his frustrations with boxing’s issue with heavyweights failing drug tests in the aftermath of Ortiz’s situation and even admitted that he has thought about retiring in the past few weeks.
But Wilder isn’t the only one wary of Ortiz before his failed drug test. Stiverne admitted that he had a feeling he would fight Wilder and that Ortiz’s failed drug test was a possibility. When asked what he meant by this revelation, Stiverne summed it all up to a feeling he had.
"I can't really tell you why, but it was just something that I believed that was going to happen. Knowing Ortiz, I know Ortiz since 2004. So, he's always been who he is right now. So I don't know. I mean the first thought I had when I decided they were trying to have this fight going on and I finally made the decision to just move to the side and let them have the fight. And I guarantee you, this fight ain't gone happen. And that's exactly what happened. If I'm lying, my manager can tell you if I'm lying," Stiverne said.
But the conference call then moved on to Stiverne’s inability to even make his first fight against Deontay Wilder a competitive one. Stiverne was proud of the fact that Wilder couldn’t knock out Stiverne, even though Stiverne said he was very sick during the fight.
“The man couldn't knock me out. Nobody can knock me out. Nobody. It won't happen. It never happened, even though it says on my record, nobody knocked me out, ever. And that will not happen November 4, whether it's you or anybody else; anybody else. And right now, I don't even feel like I want to talk to anybody. I want you all to come and talk to me after the fight. That's what I want," Stiverne said.
Stiverne was passionate in his responses, but only talked about how Wilder couldn’t knock him out instead of talking up his chances of regaining the WBC title.
The conference call ended with DiBella lashing out at a reporter who asked a question about a comment made by Wilder during the conference call to ask a better question than that (luckily it wasn’t me whom DiBella lashed out at). This prompted DiBella to go on a tirade on the WBC for allowing someone like Stiverne to remain the mandatory challenger despite fighting only once since fighting Wilder.
"Someone made a comment about Bermane Stiverne said he ate his breakfast. I wish the same person would have asked a different question. How do you fight one fight in two years against a guy that knocked you down and subsequently gets knocked out, and barely do anything and you're still the WBC mandatory? That would have been a better question. But in the meantime, there's nothing we can do about it. November 4, I'm worried about the fight because Stiverne has got nothing to lose and Deontay has got everything to lose," DiBella said.
Narratives For Wilder vs. Stiverne:
This is where the fight has a chance to excel in terms of capturing the casual audience’s attention. To take a narrative approach to this fight, there are multiple layers that actually make the fight very interesting to watch, at least on paper.
The promotion of the fight now revolves around Wilder’s inability to knock out Stiverne in their first encounter. Wilder is being billed as boxing’s top knockout artist and the only blemish on his record is not a loss but a lack of a knockout win against the former world champion. Wilder’s mental and emotional state is at its breaking point after another opponent failed a drug test.
On one side, Wilder is either setting himself up for a potential upset at the hands of Stiverne or Wilder gets his knockout and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is the best heavyweight boxer in the world, calling out Joshua and WBO champion Joseph Parker in the process.
But potential unification fights and the WBC title aren’t the only things on the line for Wilder. His career is on the line. Fed up with the constant drug issues boxing’s heavyweight division has suffered in the past couple of years, Wilder repeatedly promised that he will retire if he loses to Stiverne, raising the stakes even higher for Wilder.
Over on Stiverne’s side, his narrative deals with him being considered a joke of a mandatory challenger by both DiBella and Wilder due to his inactivity in the past couple of years and his performance against the current champion. Stiverne has alleged that he was ill during that fight and Wilder still couldn’t knock Stiverne out. But now Stiverne has to beat Wilder in order to remain relevant in an increasingly talented heavyweight division. Stiverne is 39 years old and a loss to Wilder pretty much closes the window on his time as a world title contender.
Tale of the tape:
Record: 38-0 (37 KO)
Titles Won: WBC Heavyweight, WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight
Notable Fights: Bermane Stiverne, Chris Arreola, Eric Molina, Johann Duhaupas, Artur Szpilka, Malik Scott
Record: 25-2-1 (21 KO)
Titles Won: WBC Heavyweight, WBC Silver Heavyweight, WBA Fedelatin Heavyweight, WBC International, WBC United States (USNBC) Heavyweight
Notable Fights: Deontay Wilder, Chris Arreola, Ray Austin
Full Card And Where To Watch:
The main event, as well as the vacant IBF junior welterweight and WBC Silver welterweight title fights, will be broadcasted on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET. The card is littered with big names and the top two untelevised fights is a WBC heavyweight title eliminator between Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina as well as the Barclays Center return of female world champion Amanda Serrano.
Below is the full card, but the card has not been finalized yet and is subject to change.
- Deontay Wilder (c) vs. Bermane Stiverne: WBC Heavyweight Title Bout
- Shawn Porter vs. Adrian Granados: WBC Welterweight Title Eliminator/Vacant WBC Silver Welterweight Title Bout
- Sergey Lipinets vs. Akihiro Kondo: Vacant IBF Junior Welterweight Title Bout
- Dominic Breazeale vs. Eric Molina: WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator
- Amanda Serrano vs. Marilyn Hernandez: Female Junior Lightweight Bout
- Seanie Monaghan vs. Evert Bravo: Light Heavyweight Bout
- Chris Colbert vs. Titus Williams: Featherweight Bout
- Iago Kiladze vs. Pedro Rodriguez: Heavyweight Bout
- Dylan Price vs. TBA: Junior Bantamweight Bout
- Keyshawn Williams vs. TBA: Lightweight Bout
- Lenroy Thomas vs. Mike Bissett: Heavyweight Bout
Prediction: For as much as I romanticized the fight’s narrative from both sides, the fight on paper is about as a big of mismatch as I can remember. The first fight between the two gave us absolutely zero indication that a rematch would provide a more competitive bout, much less open up the possibility of Stiverne winning.
In a way, this might as well end up being a tune-up fight for Wilder. With Joshua potentially having his hands full with a fight against Kubrat Pulev once he heals up, Wilder could either fight Dillian Whyte, Dominic Breazeale (if he wins his upcoming fight) or even Parker in a unification fight.
In the end, we will see an angry and highly motivated Wilder understanding that he needs to have a great performance to further build hype for the 2018 super fight against Joshua.
I predict Wilder will knock Stiverne out in seven rounds and given how I correctly predicted that Joshua would stop Carlos Takam in the 10th round, I feel pretty good with this prediction.