KO-king Deontay Wilder (32-0,32KO’s) faces potentially one of his toughest assignments to date in the form of current heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas this coming Saturday.
Wilder has boxed a mere 58 rounds in his 32 professional fights and has never been past the fourth round. Questions are raised even more so as many believe he’s going in to the ring with a fighter who genuinely poses a threat. Wilder on average puts a stop to a bout or allows his opponent to meet the canvas towards the end of round one. This is when you’re most likely to see Stiverne stopped if it is to happen.
As a large portion of the boxing community agrees, somewhat quietly, Wilder has never faced a durable, rough and ready puncher. Normally he’s matched against the heavyweights who are fairly unknown to many (former champion, Sergei Liakhovich, Aug ’13), or are simply on a decline and are ready to hang up the gloves (Harrison Apr ’13), not now however.
Cue the introduction of the Haitian born WBC heavyweight champion, Bermane Stiverne. The 36 year old is the current holder of a version of the world title, previously held by one of the two Ukrainian Klitschko brothers, Vitali who retired in late 2013.
Stiverne has lost just a single fight in his ten year career back in ’07. Coming off the back of his most recent showing in Los Angeles against Chris Arreola (TKO6), he really does give Wilder the biggest headache he’s received in his time during his short heavyweight career.
The buzz circulating around this fight is simply because Bermane Stiverne is the first live credible opponent Deontay Wilder has faced since turning professional in 2008.
Both fighters vow to end the contest early. Who’s to say otherwise? Stiverne has only been the distance four times in his career. He calmly brushed off all the trash talk from Wilder earlier this week stating, “I’m going to just knock him out, I’m going to hurt that kid”.
The stage is set for one of these fighters to propel themselves among the heavyweight elite. Both set to make a bold statement in a division that’s seen so few since the Klitschko brothers arrived in the early 2000’s. If Wilder wins by knock out and takes his record tot 33-0, he’ll gain the respect from many he feels he richly deserves. Lose to Stiverne, and potentially become the next American heavyweight that fell just short of glory.
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