Wilder Bombz Out Stiverne in One

By Caryn A. Tate on November 4, 2017
Wilder Bombz Out Stiverne in One
The truth about this fight is that it never should have happened. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

After an overall stellar year of boxing, the mismatches and fake hype behind certain bouts have been even worse than normal…

Premier Boxing Champions presented a card with phenomenal fighters, if not necessarily the most desirable match-ups, on Saturday night. The event took place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and was broadcast on SHOWTIME.

The main event featured a rematch between WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) facing his mandatory contender and former WBC champion, Bermane “B. Ware” Stiverne (25-2, 21 KOs). In their first bout in January 2015, Stiverne was the only fighter to go the distance with Wilder. That largely became the main selling point for this second fight, because there really wasn’t a good reason for a rematch to happen. The first fight was completely one-sided in Wilder’s favor, and since then, Stiverne has fought a single time and was troubled by journeyman Derric Rossy. Yet, somehow, Stiverne became the WBC mandatory challenger again despite these facts. (Stiverne was a recent replacement—Wilder was originally going to face Luis Ortiz, but Ortiz was replaced with Stiverne after the Cuban tested positive for banned substances.)

Tonight, from the first bell, Wilder had his way. He used his length and power to good effect, immediately coming out throwing and landing nearly anything he wanted. He used a long jab and kept Stiverne’s hands at home—in fact, Stiverne didn’t throw a single punch for quite some time. Wilder’s hands are incredibly fast for a heavyweight and despite some flaws in his stance and fundamentals, he is able to really make his strengths work incredibly well.

With about eight seconds left in the round, Wilder landed a right hand that actually landed on Stiverne’s gloves, yet still had so much force behind it that it knocked the challenger down. Bermane made the count, though he seemed stunned and disillusioned as he tried to shake it off. When the action continued, Wilder threw wide and somewhat wild shots but they landed to good effect, and he beat Stiverne back against the ropes. A jab snapped Stiverne’s head back and another right hand landed before the referee was able to step in and call the fight at 2:59 of the first round. Stiverne had gone down again and was almost completely out, but with just enough left to try to sit up. It was sobering to see.

The truth about this fight is that it never should have happened—at least not now. Stiverne hadn’t fought in two years and was not ready for this level of fight at this point. Because of his inactivity and the fact that he wasn’t even in the kind of shape he normally is (he weighed about fifteen pounds more than he did in his first fight against Wilder), this bout was a mismatch from the get go. But it’s important to put the blame where it belongs. Why was Stiverne the mandatory to Wilder again after two years of inactivity, and losing so badly to Wilder in their first go? Because of the pull of his promoter, Don King, and because the WBC (World Boxing Council) went along with what King wanted.

It never appeared that Wilder wanted to fight Stiverne again, because there was no need for it. But he did what he was supposed to do, and he behaved like a champion. Immediately following the stoppage, he went to Stiverne’s team and exchanged pleasantries with them in a good show of sportsmanship.

Buzz has been building lately about a fight between Wilder and IBF/WBA world champion Anthony Joshua. It’s high time. Enough with the mismatches and the business decisions. After an overall stellar year of boxing, the mismatches and fake hype behind certain bouts have begun stinking to high heaven even worse than normal.

Thankfully, Wilder agrees. After the fight when he spoke to SHOWTIME’s Jim Gray in his post-fight interview, he reiterated his desire to fight Joshua, not Dillian Whyte, whom promoter Eddie Hearn has gone on record offering to the WBC champion. “A king don’t chase the peasants. Kings chase kings. I want Joshua. If he don’t give me that fight, then we got other plans. They tryin’ to give me a peasant, as in Dillian Whyte, but they don’t want to put Joshua’s name on the contract. Joshua, come and see me, baby! No more ducking, no more dodging, no more excuses! Let’s see who’s the best! I know I’m the best. Are you up for the test?”

Let’s hope this unification fight happens very soon. Boxing can’t afford any more of the gross mismatches some of its business people so love.

But Wilder also had a moving message and a dedication of his performance. “I’d like to dedicate this fight to a friend of mine, Delron Smalls. He died [from] police brutality, so may he rest in peace and may his family get peace and justice.”

Before the main event, welterweights “Showtime” Shawn Porter (27-2, 17 KOs) and Adrian “El Tigre” Granados (18-5, 12 KOs) squared off. Granados, who normally fights at junior welterweight, looked like the weight largely agreed with him. But from the first bell, Porter landed some snappy and unorthodox shots, as he is wont to do, and as the early rounds progressed Granados seemed surprised and perplexed as to how to deal with the savage Shawn Porter.

Porter showed all of his best assets in this fight, particularly in the early rounds. He used his boxing ability and great footwork to control where the action took place, but in classic Porter fashion, he clearly took joy in controlling his opponent. As he told me back in April, “Being able to get a guy out of his game plan, or force him to fight my fight—that became the fun part to me. That was the challenging part, and that was the part that made sense…If I could make a guy do what I wanted him to do, I have control of him. And for some reason, that’s what makes me move, that’s what makes me tick the most.”

The early rounds were just a phenomenally fun firefight. Porter by far got the best of the exchanges due to his understated speed, mobility, and boxing ability—in fact, Granados made Porter use his boxing ability more than he often has to. Porter showed very good defense and was clearly watching the location of his head in an attempt to avoid headbutts and cuts which have plagued his last couple of bouts.

Granados showed incredible grit, and in round three, he began to chiefly rely on defense and movement which completely changed the tide of the fight. He forced Porter to stop and think and change his tactics which had been working so well up to that point. But the levels possessed by Porter meant that he was able to find other tools in his toolbox and make an adjustment. And that was a key in what separated Porter from Granados in the bout.

Throughout the fight, referee Gary Rosato periodically pushed Granados too roughly when he separated the fighters (which he did far too quickly—with two action-loving and inside fighters like Porter and Granados, you would hope the commission would appoint a referee who is more tolerant of infighting). It was odd considering it was only Granados that he shoved so roughly.

In round five, Porter began to lure Granados in and the latter became the stalker, which really showed Shawn’s underrated boxing ability and ring IQ. In the sixth round, though, Granados’ accuracy improved and he landed a couple of clean and sharp right hands that got Porter’s attention. But surprisingly, even though it seemed Granados should have gotten some traction because of that, he began to display attempts to buy time—when the referee separated them at one point, Granados moved widely around the ref, a common and classic way for a fighter to get time and distance. Later, Porter had to literally chase Granados around the ring in another attempt to get time.

During round seven, Porter landed a clean and very hard straight right hand to Granados’ face that seemed to immediately injure Adrian’s nose. He began to sniff periodically and paw at his nose, and blood appeared. Later in the round, when separating the fighters again, referee Rosato pushed Granados away so hard that he fell back against the ropes. The two seemingly laughed about it, but it’s a real shame for a referee to do this sort of thing as the shoving takes energy from fighters—particularly in a grueling and strength-draining fight like this one.

As the rounds progressed, Porter just seemed to gain energy as he went, almost seeming super-human in that regard. It’s particularly astounding considering how much energy this fighter is putting out. He’s like a dervish of action, yet he never seems to tire. Granados was the more “human” of the two, and he began to fade as the fight went on. His nose, seemingly broken, was swollen and bleeding. No doubt the difficulty the nose injury caused for his breathing impacted his energy, on top of the plethora of digging body shots Porter was landing with consistency.

Shawn once again showed himself to be the sort of modern-day Henry Armstrong, utilizing exceptional upper body movement and intelligence on the inside. He occasionally took punches he shouldn’t, but that will happen with a fighter who is so focused on offense.

Granados should be highly praised for his performance here. He showed incredible heart, relentlessness, and a true warrior’s spirit. What he lacks in technique he makes up for with grit. In round ten, it was clear that Porter was actually a bit tired, which is incredibly rare to see. In round eleven, Porter came out seeming a little off—maybe he’d injured something, or maybe Granados had hurt him with a shot at some point. Granados began to outland him, and then an accidental headbutt occurred which Porter got the worst of. He turned away instinctively, seemingly stunned, and referee Rosato paused the action and asked Porter what was going on. He gave a break where he shouldn’t have, but it looked like he didn’t see the headbutt and wasn’t’ sure what was happening. Granados took his second round on my card in eleven, and then in twelve Porter seemed solely focused on survival. Something was wrong, most likely some sort of injury as Porter had largely shut down his offense even when Granados wasn’t landing anything. But he made it through and the Chicagoan won his third round on my card.

I had the same score as the judges, with all three of them scoring it 117-111. After the fight, SHOWTIME’s Jim Gray spoke with Porter, who confirmed a hand injury. “My dad is pretty sure we broke it,” he said. “I don’t know. I hurt it in the sixth round and by the tenth round, if I hit him, I felt a sharp pain.

“I’ve never been injured. This is my first time. I’m not even gonna call this an injury. I’m just gonna rest up.”

About his opponent, Shawn was gracious, as always. “He did good. My hat goes off to him. We came in here prepared to knock him out, but like my dad said in the corner, he knows how hard his head is. He’s a tough warrior. All the best to him in the future. I came in here to take his heart and he wouldn’t let me take it.”

“I controlled the rounds,” Granados said to Jim Gray, oddly believing he won the fight. The crowd booed. But later during his interview, Adrian had a great message for his native Chicago and its gun violence: “Please put the guns down. Please stop the violence.”

The first bout of the night featured Sergey “Samurai” Lipinets (12-0, 10 KOs) vs. Akihiro Kondo (29-6, 16 KOs) fighting for the vacant IBF super lightweight world title. I’ve been following Lipinets for the last couple of years and he is a phenomenal talent, training under the excellent former fighter Buddy McGirt. One of the most impressive things about the former kickboxing champion is that he fights nothing like most boxers from his native Kazakhstan—rather, he mimics old-school American fighters with his somewhat slick, mobile, and tactical style with which he tries to set up traps for his opponents, often with his hands down.

From round one, Lipinets showed superior defense, mobility, and IQ. He landed more, and importantly, began going to the body in that initial round, with both power hands and jabs, and Kondo didn’t have an answer. Kondo was cut near the nose by a right hand from Lipinets in the second round (and in round three, Lipinets landed a beautiful right uppercut that caused the blood to flow from Kondo’s nose). Though he pressed on the gas more and landed a few more shots, he was still being seriously outworked by the undefeated Lipinets. Kondo applied pressure but it usually wasn’t terribly effective—he never made Lipinets uncomfortable or caused him to really rethink his current strategy.

“Creativity prevents you from being timed,” said former fighter and commentator Paulie Malignaggi in round four. He said this in response to Lipinets’ near-constant movement, feints, slips, counters, and use of angles. It perfectly captured much of Lipinets’ strategy during the fight.

In the fifth round, Kondo landed a shot on Lipinets near the temple as the fighter known as “Samurai” was pulling back and attempting to slip it. It caused Lipinets to stumble a bit, but it was mostly if not entirely due to balance, but it got Kondo excited as he thought he finally had a moment of success, and he plowed forward. Lipinets showed the “dog” in him as he fought back hard, yet smart, when he landed some sharp, clean punches to Kondo upstairs and down. Lipinets’ legs were fine and he continued to largely control what Kondo did and where the fighting took place, yet the commentators took the bait and began praising Kondo, as if the single moment of doubt was enough for Kondo to win the entire round.

In round six, Lipinets was throwing a combination when he moved forward with the right hand and accidentally clashed his head to Kondo’s, which caused a profusely bleeding cut on Lipinets’ brow. The ringside doctor inspected it but deemed the fighter fine to continue.

Over the next few rounds, Kondo showed his heart as he continued to try to pressure Lipinets and hurt him. In round seven, he landed a big right hand on Lipinets, yet the undefeated fighter appeared fine. Kondo did begin to land more as Lipinets’ defense lapsed a bit, perhaps because of fatigue, but the fighter from Kazakhstan still outlanded Kondo and hence continued to win most of the rounds. A fighter who simply looks better than one expected, or has better body language than one expected, does not win rounds if he gets hit more. The number one scoring criterion is the number of clean punches, so if those are not relatively equal by both fighters, only then is a judge supposed to continue to the number two criterion (effective aggressiveness). In this fight, only occasionally in the middle rounds did Kondo either land more clean punches or do well enough that we had to go to the second criterion. Therefore, it was not a difficult bout to score, nor was it close. It was, perhaps, simply closer in certain rounds than people may have expected.

In round eleven, Lipinets may have broken Kondo’s nose with a beautiful uppercut. Kondo’s nose began bleeding again and it appeared to immediately begin swelling. Every time thereafter that Lipinets landed to Kondo’s nose, Kondo wiped at it with his glove. Lipinets seemed energized by this and pressed harder, going after the nose with his popping jab.

“Just like that!” shouted Buddy McGirt in Lipinets’ corner after the eleventh. He was right—Lipinets standing his ground more actually seemed to trouble Kondo more than the movement had been, and most certainly the nose issue was bothering the Japanese native.

In round twelve Lipinets again had good energy and he continued to work Kondo’s nose, though Kondo came on hard as he seemed to feel he needed a knockout to win (which I agreed with).

While Lipinets had moments where he got hit more than he should have, and Kondo had moments where he did better than many people expected, it doesn’t change the fact that Lipinets landed more clean punches in more of the rounds and, hence, won the fight. Many of Kondo’s punches were partially blocked or deflected, which means they don’t count to a judge who knows the scoring criteria and how to apply them.

When the scorecards were read (118-110, and two 117-111, all for Lipinets), some fans at Barclays booed. The commentators opined that they thought the cards were too wide. Yet rarely do we hear anyone on boxing broadcasts talk about how you’re supposed to score rounds, what the scoring criteria are, and how to apply them. My article from last year discusses this in detail.

While Lipinets still has some areas for improvement, he shows some excellent skill and it will be exciting to see where he goes as champion in the 140-pound division.

Follow Caryn A. Tate on Twitter@carynatate

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  1. Pete The Sneak 05:01am, 11/07/2017

    Koolz, great stuff as always man. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Koolz 03:55pm, 11/05/2017


    Gonzalez vs Berry!  Amigos!

  3. Koolz 11:49am, 11/05/2017

    Lucas McCain
    you get it!

    Did Stiverne even train for that fight? 
    He reminded me of a large punching bag on a chain going around the ring.

  4. Sheldon Leonard 09:51am, 11/05/2017

    Red Plains-Lots of detail here as always but for some reason you never see the forest for the trees. You clearly see things for example that Granados didn’t see or feel in there last night with your favorite “savage dervish”. What you in your vast wisdom refer to as"great upper body movement” and “intelligence on the inside” Granados declares is really Porter making illegal use of his head and elbows while Granados was trying to fight back with his fists. You refer to Porter “locating his head to avoid headbutts”....really?! BTW it wasn’t a headbutt…it was Porter’s left hand for Christ;s sake and you’re damn right Rosado shouldn’t have called a break in the action. Rosato didn’t see any of the same things that you didn’t see and he was obviously offended that Granados was talking shit to Porter throughout to the point that Adrien is lucky that in addition to the ridiculous shoving that Rosato didn’t issue a nice snappy backhand to Granados from time to time.

  5. Lucas McCain 06:59am, 11/05/2017

    Thanks for the Russian link, Koolz (insert obvious joke here).  Stiverne took a few, but his final limbo-and-roll demonstration reminded me of Sonny Liston’s Lewiston act.  Whatever.  I’m glad he wasn’t hurt, since he was clearly going into a gunfight with blanks, and he knew it.

  6. Koolz 02:25am, 11/05/2017


    McDonnell vs Solic 2

  7. Koolz 01:53am, 11/05/2017


    Quigg vs Yefimovych

    ok this was damn good card !

  8. Koolz 01:50am, 11/05/2017


    Chisora vs Kabayel
    ahh the Heavy Weight Division…

  9. Koolz 01:27am, 11/05/2017

    Villanueva vs Nery


    first round!?  hahah I am kidding.

  10. Koolz 01:22am, 11/05/2017


    Wilder vs Stiverne 2

    Wilder just taking out his anger at the boxing world.

  11. Koolz 01:14am, 11/05/2017

    Bivol vs Broadhurst   Broadhurst who the hell is that?  Mate!

  12. Lucas McCain 11:02pm, 11/04/2017

    Glad I don’t pay for Showtime.  I’ll stick to HBO, Lomachencko, GGG, Crawford, and an occasional John Oliver show

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