Wilder vs Stiverne rematch: A license to kill?
This Saturday night from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, reigning WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) will once again take on former title holder and fellow knockout artist Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) in the main event of a Showtime triple-header, slated to air at 9PM ET.
The forced heavyweight rematch comes almost three years after their initial meeting in which the current champ originally won the coveted WBC title. The first bout went the distance but was dominated by "The Bronze Bomber" and didn't leave very many questions unanswered concerning the big punching match-up.
The final scores by the three judges at ringside read 118-109, 119-108, and 120-107.
Although Bermane was decisively beaten by Wilder for twelve rounds in January of 2015, he still holds the distinction of being the only fighter to professionally go the distance with the current champion. And while the outcome of Saturday night's title fight would seem to be a foregone conclusion in the minds of most pundits and ringside observers, after reviewing both fighters' respective paths over the last three years as well as the style match-up, Deontay believes he still has something to prove upon stepping in the ring with his Haitian born challenger.
"This is the funeral right here," the incumbent 32 year old title holder recently stated to Seconds Out online. "There's just no casket yet. I will get a body on my record. I've been wanting one for a long time anyway."
"I want a body...I want a body, and he's gonna be that body."
Whether the "grave" commentary from Wilder is a feeble attempt to attract attention, or a genuine disdain for his opponent, the seemingly ominous message is a bit much leading into a sporting event...even a prizefight./
But the customarily good-natured former Olympian claims the message is merely part of the occupational hazard that is prizefighting.
"We get paid to do this...this is what we choose to do. We sign up for this. So whatever happens in the ring happens. He says he's going to kill me, I say I'm gonna kill him."
"So may the best man win on the killing...and I guarantee it's going to be me."
The 6'7" champ believes he needs more than just an impressive showing on Saturday night, which could be the reason for the "grim" pep talk...perhaps Deontay is indeed trying to emotionally "get-up" for the otherwise uninspired match-up.
In order to get the other heavyweight title holders in the ring next year, Wilder believes he does need a knock-out victory over the usually granite-chinned Stiverne. Despite having the WBC belt around his waist, getting the top earners and other title holders of the sport's former glamour division has been a real problem.
Wilder vs Stiverne 2 (stories)
November 4, 2017
9PM ET Eastern Time / 6PM PT
Barclays Center, NYC
Wilder vs Stiverne I: Highlights, stats
Since picking up the renowned "green belt", Wilder hasn't exactly faced a who's who among popular heavyweights. He's faced and ultimately stopped Eric Molina, Johann Duhaupas, Artur Szpilka, Chris Arreola, and Gerald Washington.
The athletically-gifted champ finally desires the biggest match-ups next year and feels the long suffering fans of the heavyweight division also want and deserve to see the perceived best fight each other...preferably a unification bout against current IBF and WBA champion Anthony Joshua.
"Nobody wants to see this fight [Wilder vs Stiverne rematch]... they want to see me fight A.J. [Anthony Joshua].
"I mean, you have to ask the WBC why they made Stiverne the mandatory. I don't have anything to do with that. According to them, he's my mandatory challenger and I must face him."
"The guys I actually want to face either duck me or get busted for PEDs. I've called out every name in the division and no one wants to fight me. I'm frustrated...so I'm gonna take it out on Stiverne this Saturday night!"
Because the New York State Athletic Commission has recently been under scrutiny due to fighter health provisions and concerns, don't expect this weekend's heavyweight title fight to go the distance. Look for the third man in the ring to be merciful and call a halt to the bout in the mid to late rounds.
The Wilder vs Stiverne rematch action happens on Showtime Championship Boxing with a start time of 9PM ET.