By Dan Ambrose: Former WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne (24-2-1, 21 KOs) will be back in ring in July against an opponent still to be determined. Stiverne, 36, lost his WBC title to the 6’7” Deontay Wilder last January in losing a 12 round unanimous decision.
Stiverne went to the hospital after the fight where it was learned that he was severely dehydrated. Apparently he’d over-trained for the fight, and hadn’t drank enough fluids beforehand. It’s unfortunate because it was a tough way to lose the fight.
Stiverne wants a rematch, but the odds of that happening are slim. Wilder is moving on, and is looking for bigger money fights against the likes of Britain’s Tyson Fury and IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
For Stiverne to get a rematch, he’s going to need to start winning again and put himself in position to become the WBC mandatory challenger. That’s going to take a little while. Stiverne is ranked #4 by the WBC, so he’s going to need to beat some of the top contenders to get a shot.
You can expect that the WBC will eventually have Stiverne fight in an eliminator if he can put together a handful of wins.
As for Stiverne’s opponent in July, it probably won’t be a dangerous opponent. Stiverne’s manager Camille Estphan will likely look to put him in with someone that will give him a confidence boost.
Chris Arreola would be perfect for Stiverne, because he’s shown in their two previous fights to really have Arreola’s number. Stiverne defeated Arreola by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision in their first fight in April 2013, and then in their second fight in May 2014, Stiverne stopped Arreola in the 6th round.
Terence Crawford vacates his WBO lightweight title
Unbeaten Terence Crawford (25-0, 17 KOs) vacated his WBO lightweight title on Wednesday, as he plans on campaigning as a light welterweight for the time being. Crawford is looking for bigger money fights at 140, and the division is perfect for him to move towards the bigger fights. Had he stayed at 135, Crawford would have limited in the big fights he could have taken in this weight class. There are only so many big fights that his promoters at Top Rank could have made for him at lightweight.
Crawford is scheduled to fight Thomas Dulorme on 4/18 on HBO. If Crawford wins that fight, then he’ll be moving forward to face Chris Algieri for the vacant WBO light welterweight title.
As a lightweight, Crawford had wins over Ricky Burns, Raymundo Beltran and Yuriorkis Gamboa. The win over Gamboa, a 9th round stoppage, was the high point of Crawford’s career, as he fought in an exciting toe-to-toe war until scoring a 9th round TKO. Crawford’s recent victory over Beltran was a less than exciting, because Crawford did a lot of clinching and moving in order to stay out of the way of Beltran’s big power shots.
Crawford is being angled towards a future fight against Manny Pacquiao. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum will surely be making that fight in the future if both fighters can keep winning long enough for him to make that fight.
Arum needs to match Crawford against Pacquiao in order to increase his popularity with the company. Brandon Rios and Tim Bradley became more popular fighters after their fights against Pacquiao, even though they both were beaten by him. Crawford and Jessie Vargas, both Top Rank fighters, will almost surely be facing Pacquiao in the future.
Crawford needs to make his fighting style more people pleasing if he wants to become a big star. He’s got a lot of talent, but he likes to stay on the outside a lot, and he does too much holding.