By Jason Gonzalez
Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder vowed to dismantle Bermane Stiverne in their rematch Saturday night at the Barclay Center.
The 32-year-old, native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama made good on his promise, when he unleashed hell and fury on his 39-year-old counterpart. Wilder hit the out of shape Stiverne with right hand after right hand, ultimately knocking the challenger down three times, en route to a first round technical knockout at the 2:59 mark.
With the victory, the 6-foot-7 inch Wilder improved to 39-0, (38), all while adding the sixth successful defense of his WBC strap.
It now appears that Wilder and the IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua are headed for a collision course against each other. The always talkative Wilder wasn’t reluctant to call Joshua out either.
“I’ve been waiting for that fight for a long time,” said Wilder. “Now I declare war on you. Do you accept my challenge?”
A Joshua-Wilder bout would be the mega-fight of 2018. If the bout were to be held in Joshua’s native England, the fight could potentially draw an attendance of anywhere from 90,000-100,000. Albeit speculation, Wembley Stadium has been suggested as being the hosting venue.
Stiverne, now 25-3-1, (21) was a substitute opponent, replacing Luis Ortiz. Ortiz, a Cuban heavyweight, was scratched off of the card after testing positive for a banned substance. Ortiz is the third prospective Wilder opponent to have tested positive for either performance enhancing drugs or diuretics. Andrzej Wawrzyk and Alexander Povetkin are the other two fighters.
“So much frustration,” said Wilder. “It just seemed like my career, it’s been crazy with so many guys using PEDs. I just want to prove that I am the best. I know I am the best. But I want to prove I am the best.”
Stiverne’s claim to fame is being the only fighter to go the distance with Wilder. The pair fought back in January of 2015, when Wilder captured the title via a unanimous decision. Now fast forward the clock two years later, incorporate a long layoff in between for the 1st generation Haitian, while carrying a 254-pound frame, spells the e-n-d of his boxing career.
There was a lot of harsh trash talking between Wilder and Stiverne in the build up to the fight. Both guys went as far as to hinting to the notion of killing each other. This should never be the case in the sport of boxing.
Simply put, it’s inappropriate. But to Wilder’s credit, he was gracious in victory. And at one point during the slaughter, after Stiverne touched the canvas for the second time, Wilder was shouting at his foe’s corner, encouraging his rival’s head trainer to stop the fight.
“You have to give Stiverne props for getting in the ring,” Wilder said while addressing the crowd of 10,924 who witnessed the execution. “It takes a lot of courage. It takes a lot of pride to step in the ring with someone like me.”
In the co-feature bout of the evening, former IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter defeated Adrian Granados by unanimous decision. All three judges saw it identically the same at 117-111 for Porter. The contest was fought at a very exhausting pace, one that saw a lot of clinches, head-butts, and a ton of sloppy exchanges at close quarters.
Porter opened up the contest as the aggressor, applying a lot of pressure on his opponent up until the last three rounds of the contest. Porter and Granados fatigued tremendously as they approached the finish line. Granados sustained a cut over his left eye that was the result of an accidental head-butt. In the post-fight presser, it was revealed that Porter fractured his left hand.
“He [Granados] gave me a little trouble here and there,” said Porter, who improved to 28-2-1, (17) with the victory. “I hurt my left-hand in the sixth round, but I kept using it. I had to use my jab. It took a toll on me and by the tenth round I just couldn’t throw it anymore.”
With the loss Granados’s ledger drops to 18-6-2, (11).
“We are going to rest for about a week and then get back to work,” said Porter. “We want Keith Thurman as soon as possible.”
In the opening bout of the telecast, Sergey Lipinets captured the vacant IBF junior welterweight title, when he defeated Akihiro Kondo of Japan by scores of 118-110, and 117-111 twice.
It was a close and competitive fight that saw many shifts in momentum. The scrap seemed a lot closer than the scorecards had originally indicated.
Much was made about Lipinets leading up to the fight. Unfortunately, he didn’t make the statement that he needed to make, which would warrant us to say that we want to see him again.
He’s lucky that Terence Crawford moved up to welterweight.