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Malignaggi gives Stiverne a chance against Wilder

Image: Malignaggi gives Stiverne a chance against Wilder

By Eric Thomas: Paulie Malignaggi says he’s looking forward to this Saturday’s title defense for WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder against former heavyweight belt holder Bermane
B-Ware” Stiverne. Malignaggi thinks Stiverne, 39, has a chance of potentially beating the undefeated Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) if he can go the 12 round decision with him in their fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

The Wilder-Stiverne fight will be televised on Showtime Championship Boxing.

It seems that Malignaggi thinks that Stiverne could possibly win a 12 round decision over the 32-year-old Wilder, because that’s not the route that most boxing fans would see Wilder losing the fight. If Wilder is going to lose to the 6’2” Stiverne, it’s almost guaranteed to be by a knockout. Wilder was boxing Stiverne’s head off in their previous fight on January 17, 2015.

Stiverne didn’t have the arm length to land his big power shots, and he was walking into a lot of heavy right hands from Wilder for the entire fight. This was with Wilder fighting with a broken right hand from round 2. Wilder was robbed of a knockdown in round 4 when the referee failed to give him credit for dropping Stiverne with a flurry of shots. Stiverne was clearly down from an accumulation of head shots he took, but the referee blew the call and said it was a slip.

“It’ll be great, but let’s see how Wilder does against Stiverne,” said Malignaggi to Fighthype in responding to a question about whether he’s looking forward to Wilder vs. Joshua. “Stiverne has got to only go the distance with Wilder. If you keep Wilder in the ring for those extra rounds, let’s see how it goes. Plus, Stiverne was saying he had a couple of issues before the last fight. I’m curious about this fight next week. You only got to take Deontay Wilder 12 rounds,” said Malignaggi.

What’s going against Stiverne pulling off an upset against the favorite Deontay is a number of things:

A. Stiverne hasn’t fought since 2015. That’s 2 years Stiverne has been out of the ring, and now he’s fighting one of the most dangerous heavyweights in boxing in Wilder. That’s not good news for Stiverne.

B. Age: Stiverne is 39-years-old and he’s not been keeping active. When you’re that old and coming off of a 2-year-old layoff, you’re going to have problems. The age combined with inactivity might be too much for Stiverne to win on Saturday. Wilder has fought 5 times in the last 2 years, whereas Stiverne has fought just once.

C. Stiverne looked really poor in his previous loss to Wilder in 2015. That’s with Wilder fighting with just his left hand for most of the fight. When Wilder did use his right, he was using it in a clubbing fashion, because of the broken bone in that hand. Stiverne looked clueless and totally lost against Wilder.

D. Stiverne barely beat journeyman Derric Rossy in his last fight on November 14, 2015. Stiverne was knocked down, and battered by Rossy in that fight. Fortunately for Stiverne, he had enough boxing skills to win a close decision, but it was far from impressive.

E. Height and reach. Stiverne is giving away 5” inches in height and 6 inches in reach to the 6’7” Wilder. That’s fairly significant. Being that much taller than Stiverne is going to help Wilder in a big way by allowing him to land his right hands from the distance. Wilder has the hand speed advantage, as well as the power. With all the things Wilder has going for him in this fight, he’s going to be all over Stiverne.

I think Malignaggi has Wilder mixed up with Chris Arreola. Stiverne out-boxed the 6’3” Arreola in April 2013 in winning a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision, but that was against a fighter 4 inches shorter than Wilder. Arreola was just a plodder, who was talked into Stiverne’s jabs and right hands all night long. In Wilder’s case, he used his long reach to spear Stiverne for 12 rounds. Every so often, Wilder would take Stiverne with a hard right hand to stop his forward momentum.

Stiverne followed Wilder around the ring in a slow manner for 12 rounds, eating huge shots and missing badly each time he would throw his left hook. Wilder took a handful of Stiverne’s best shots, but he didn’t have the power to KO him. Stiverne isn’t a one-punch guy. Most of Stiverne’s knockouts in his career have come from him wearing down his opponents by hitting them repeatedy with heavy shots over the course of the fights. Stiverne will have a tough time trying to land his punches against Wilder unless he stands still and lets him come inside his power alley

Deontay Wilder looks good in his spots, but sometimes as well he looks susceptible,” said Malignaggi. So, I’m very curious about next week. But if Deontay Wilder is able to come out of it, I want to see Joshua and Wilder.”

With Malignaggi working for Showtime Boxing as a commentator, you can argue that it’s in his best interest to try and hype the Wilder vs. Stiverne fight up as much as possible so that the boxing public can get excited about the fight and tune in to watch it on Showtime on the night. Unfortunately, I don’t think enough boxing fans are going to bother paying any attention to what Malignaggi is saying about the Wilder vs. Stiverne rematch. The boxing fans aren’t very excited about this fight, and it doesn’t matter how much Malignaggi hypes the fight with the media, I still don’t see the public getting excited about the fight.

If Stiverne is able to knockout Wilder, he’ll wreck his plans of fighting IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in 2018. Joshua-Wilder will still happen eventually, but it would likely be pushed into 2019 or 2020. Wilder would have to rebuild his career, and look good for him to get a shot against Joshua. It might not matter whether Wilder looks good or not. Joshua has been matched against mostly fighters that haven’t looked good in their recent bouts. It’s Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, who would insist on Wilder rebuilding his career before he’s given a crack at his fighter.

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