Sunday, 18 January 2015 04:00

Stiverne vs Wilder surprise: The modern-day Foreman vs Morrison?

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In one of the most intriguing heavyweight match-ups in the last ten years, explosive 29 year old Deontay Wilder (32-0, 32 KO) will face WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KO) of Canada on Saturday.
Combined, their record is 56-1-1 with a bloodcurdling 53 knockouts , producing a 91 percent knockouts-to-fights ratio.

And while experts and fans are split on who will win, the overwhelming majority insist someone is getting knocked out.

Stiverne vs Wilder is guaranteed to produce mega fireworks... Or is it?

Should the judges assigned to this bout order a few drinks and kick back to watch Stiverne vs Wilder with the rest of us? 

Looking back, was there ever a high-profile heavyweight bout that was so heavily projected to end in a knockout that didn't?

Let's turn back the clock to 1993.

George Foreman (then 72-–3, 67 KO) and Tommy Morrison (36-1, 32 KO) faced each other for the then-lightly regarded WBO heavyweight title.

Combined, the fighters had a record of 108-4, 99 KO with a blistering 88 percent knockouts-to-fights ratio. The fight was promoted as a match-up between boxing's hardest punchers, the immovable object vs unstoppable force.

But to the disappointment of some and surprise of many, neither fighter scored a knockdown nor had their opponent in any real danger, and the 24 year old Morrison won a decision over twelve rounds by the scores of 117-–110 twice and one score of 118–-109.

So what happened?

Team Morrison caught everyone by surprise as Tommy abandoned his usual ferocious, come-forward style by using his advantages in hand and foot speed to work from a distance to effectively outbox the much slower Foreman.

Ping, ping and move... Ping, ping and move.

It was your classic hit-but-don't-be-hit bout as the 24 year old Morrison, reluctant to trade, was content to pile up points round after round on 44 year old boxing legend.

And while there were a few sparks, if not fireworks, the quintessential brawler fooled us all by "boxing," much to the dismay of fans who were expecting a slugfest.

Will the 6'7" Deontay Wilder use his height, reach and superior footwork to do the same thing Saturday?

There's an old adage in boxing, "Win tonight and look good next time."

Will we, in fact, see a more tentative Wilder who will look to stay out of harm's way by using his advantages in size, athleticism and overall skills to pile up points and coast to a decision win?


Leroy Cleveland

Lee is Managing Editor of, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.