Rematch: Wilder vs. Stiverne II

By Robert Ecksel on November 4, 2017
Rematch: Wilder vs. Stiverne II
“This is death,” said Wilder. “I wanna body on my record. I wanna see a body there.”

“Somebody will die in that ring. I promise you. The ambulance better be ready. The medical better be ready. The referee better be ready…”

Tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in a fight televised live on Showtime Championship Boxing, WBC World heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (34-0, 33 KOs), “The Bronze Bomber” from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, rematches with former WBC champion Bermane Stiverne (32-2, 18 KOs), the mandatory from Las Vegas, Nevada, by way of La Plaine, Haiti.

Stiverne is the strong, silent type. He is a man of few words. He lets his fists do the talking, without which there would be interminable long pauses.

Wilder by contrast is voluble. He imagines everything is worth sharing. Paragraphs pour from his lips like wine from a golden chalice. He too lets his fists do the talking.

Stiverne is a late replacement for Luis Ortiz. The Cuban maestro is a repeat offender who is dangerous when he’s clean. He’s even more dangerous when he’s on drugs.

The first time Stiverne fought Wilder, in January 2015, it went to the judges after 12 rounds. The final scores were 120-107, 119-108, and 118-109. It was a Pyrrhic victory, but it wasn’t close.

Stiverne has fought once since losing the title to Wilder in November of 2015, a close unanimous decision to Derric Rossy.

He didn’t fight at all in 2016.

“I was scheduled to fight in 2016,” said Stiverne on a recent conference call. “I got injured and I had to pull out in different fights. I can’t remember which card it was going to be, but it was set. I was set to fight in 2016 two times. The first time I got injured, my ankle and I had to pull out. And then I came back. I got ready and I got injured again, so I had to pull out again. And that’s what happened.”

Stiverne tipped the scales at yesterday’s weigh-in at 254.75 pounds, 15 pounds heavier than when he and Wilder first fought. Stiverne looked soft. He looked like he hadn’t trained. He looked resigned to taking a beating.

As far as administering that beating is concerned, Wilder is ready He came in at a lean and mean 219, one pound less than in their first fight.

“He survived the first time,” said Wilder. “He’s the only one to survive on their feet. This is something that I’ve come back to. I will finish the job this time. Stiverne had a lot of excuses after the last fight. Nobody wants to hear excuses from the loser. He knows what happened. I beat him 12 rounds in a row. I think this fight will be even easier for me. He hasn’t improved since we last fought, but I’m going to show him a whole new Deontay Wilder. This is the end of Bermane Stiverne’s career right here.”

That’s a plausible scenario. It’s less a question of what Stiverne can do to win, which is pretty much nothing, than speculating about which round Wilder ends it.

“I thought the first Stiverne fight should have been stopped,” Wilder said. “He had knots all over his faced and was concussed. I’m not trying to leave any doubt this time around. This is my mandatory opponent. I must face him and that’s just what it is. I’ve called out every name in the sport. All the top guys have ducked me, so I just have to take care of the people that are able to get in the ring.”

Wilder lowered his voice.

“Somebody will die in that ring come November 4th,” he said. “I promise you. The ambulance better be ready. The medical better be ready. The referee better be ready. They better have that towel to be able to throw it in, ‘cause every blow gonna mean something. This is death. I wanna body on my record anyway. I wanna see a body there.”

There’s something to be said for morbidity, but it escapes me at the moment.

“This just got more personal. I beat him within an inch of his life last time. This time gonna end his life.”

Anything to earn a buck, I get it.

But some things are better left unsaid.

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  1. Lucas McCain 04:58pm, 11/04/2017

    I was under the impression that Wilder was a Trump supporter.  He’s got the manners.  In any event, it’s ugly only if Stiverne isn’t in on it.  He’s doing everyone, himself included, what could be a messy favor—payday for everyone rather than washing out the show.  It’s obvious he didn’t have time enough to get into contending shape, even if he were so inclined.  He’s there to hope for a Hail Mary on the big guy’s jawbone, but more likely plans to accept just enough bruises and contusions to make it look good, then find a soft spot on the canvas for a snooze.

  2. Sheldon Leonard 12:47pm, 11/04/2017

    After all the ugly talk about killing Stiverne…. if something tragic does happen he will say that he really didn’t mean it…. or that it was the ref’s fault….or Bermane’s fault….or the fault lies with the people who forced him to fight this fight….or Hearn’s fault…..or Joshua’s fault….still….in the end he’‘ll probably blame Trump and we’ll all move on!

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