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Stiverne vs Wilder prediction: Too many unknowns for one fighter?

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Tonight, two heavyweights will fight for the WBC Heavyweight Title.
Although neither combatant is the lineal champion, Bermane Stiverne vs Deontay Wilder has received a lot of press.

As for the lineal champion, Wladimir Klitschko, he is regarded as the best heavyweight in the world but is approaching 40 and may soon walk off into the sunset, concluding his hall of fame career.

Wilder vs Stiverne breakdown
The challenger Deontay Wilder enters this matchup with a 100% knockout ratio. Each of his fights were stopped within four rounds.

Wilder began his pro career after winning a bronze medal in the 2008 Olymmpic games.

Anybody who knows about amateur boxing understands that in order to be as successful as Wilder was, one must possess solid skills. Hence, nobody knocks out 100% of their opponents in the amateurs at that level.

In order to make it as far as Wilder did, he had to box well. And in his pro bouts, we have seen him control the distance well, stay behind his jab, and demolish his opposition with a big right hand and left hook.

When he hurts a guy, he gets him outa there. His killer instinct is second to none. At 6'7", the bronze bomber has made it very difficult for opponents (even former world champions) to close the distance on him.

The champion, although suffering a knockout loss early in his career, has dominated the top of the division with his hand speed, movement, defense, and counter punching ability. He has been 12 rounds once and been in much deeper waters than his opponent.

Stiverne is a short heavyweight by today's standards but has good defense and likes to use it to lure opponents in and then counter with short crisp combinations. He can punch with the best of them, and if he hits you on the chin, the lights will go out.

This is a very interesting fight and it is almost 50/50.

The question is: Can Wilder KO Stiverne early?

In boxing as we all know anything can happen. But what "can" happen doesn't matter. What "does" happen is all that counts.

Look for Wilder will come out using his jab and keep the fight at long range until he sees the opportunity to unleash the big right hand. Maybe he lands a good shot early and stuns Stiverne or maybe he misses. Either way he probably controls the early rounds with his distance and jab by being busier than Stiverne.

The early rounds will be crucial as both men need to make a statement and take control of the fight sooner rather than later.

Tonight, will probably be Wilder's first time going more than four rounds. He needs to put rounds in the bank before he starts swimming in deeper water than he's been in. If the fight makes it into the middle rounds (which it probably will) the pace will slow down and Wilder cannot afford to miss with big shots.

Doing so will exhaust him quickly and with a sharp counter puncher in Stiverne, he will get picked apart. Stiverne can take that long jab away with his foot and head movement. He will change range making it hard for Wilder to find him.

If Wilder gets anxious and starts reaching with his jab, he will walk into a hard counter right hand as we saw with Chris Areola.

Wilder's best bet is to understand his advantages and use them. He needs to keep the fight at long range with his jab and be selective in loading up with big shots.

He doesn't necessarily need to land the jab but as long as he puts it out there and keeps Stiverne at bey, he can win rounds by being busier.

I have to favor Stiverne in this matchup. There are too many unknowns about Wilder's experience and boxing ability as a professional at this point. I think Wilder's aggression will be his demise.

When a fighter knocks everybody out, the knockout mentality becomes a habit and eventually a trap (see Hopkins VS Trinidad and Ali VS Foreman for examples).

At this point of his young career, Wilder doesn't know anything besides knockouts. I believe it will be too much for him to settle down and outbox an opponent at this level and as good as Stiverne.

Prediction: Stiverne by knockout somewhere between rounds eight and twelve.
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