It’s a fight that no one wanted, but it’s going to happen anyway, as Deontay Wilder makes his sixth defense of the WBC heavyweight world title against former champion Bermane Stiverne on Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
In their first encounter in January 2015, Wilder (38-0, 37 KO’s), 32, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, outboxed Stiverne (25-1-1, 21 KO’s), 38, a Haiti native fighting out of Las Vegas, to a unanimous decision victory. However, Stiverne had to spend several days in the hospital for severe dehydration and muscle damage, which he blamed on overtraining.
When Stiverne steps into the ring, it will be nearly two years since his last fight, when he defeated Derric Rossy by unanimous decision on November 14, 2015. Meanwhile, Wilder has had five fights, with all five ending by way of knockout, though, he struggled against Gerald Washington in February, before icing him with a massive right hand in the fifth round5
Ring rust, inactivity, and pushing 40 years of age – it’s not going to be a pretty night for Stiverne. Let’s take it round-by-round.
Round 1: Wilder is going to come out faster than he has in recent fights. Most of this will have to do with his anger surrounding the failed drug test of Luis Ortiz, which resulted in the Cuban getting booted from the original main event. The champion knocks Stiverne down with a vicious right cross. The former champion survives the round.
Winner: Wilder 10-8
Round 2: Stiverne takes another punishing right to the jaw and another series of powerful combinations. This can’t go on for much longer.
Winner: Wilder 20-17
Round 3: Stiverne has nothing to lose and comes right at Wilder, connecting with multiple low blows. These two have a real disdain for each other. Look for the referee to issue a stern warning. Stiverne lands a few right hands and Wilder rocks him at the end of the round with a right of his own. Advantage Wilder.
Winner: Wilder 30-26
Round 4: Stiverne goes down from a massive right hand. He gets up before the count of 10, but is in no condition to continue.
Winner: Wilder by fourth-round TKO