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Deontay Wilder needs to impress against Bermane Siverne

Image: Deontay Wilder needs to impress against Bermane Siverne

By Scott Gilfoid: WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) has a lot of pressure on him this Saturday in his rematch against the inactive 39-year-old Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

With former WBC heavyweight champion Stiverne now old and no longer fighting on a regular basis, Wilder stands to gain very little in the way of credit for beating the old timer. The only thing Wilder gains from this fight is to put more pressure on IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn to make the Wilder-Joshua unification fight in 2018. That’s easier said than done though, because Hearn is really dragging his feet in making the Joshua-Wilder fight by setting up unacceptable conditions for Wilder to get the fight by him first earning it by facing Hearn’s stable fighter Dillian Whyte. That’s another fight where Wilder will gain nothing as far as popularity in the U.S, as the casual boxing fans have never heard of Dillian Whyte. The fans that do know of Whyte saw how dreadful he looked against Robert Helenius last Saturday, and against Derrick Chisora and Joshua in the recent past.

The towering 6’7” Deontay Wilder needs to use his height and reach to KO Stiverne. The last time the two fought each other in January 2015. Wilder injured his right hand in the 2nd round, fracturing it badly. Wilder continued to use his right, but he couldn’t get the devastating power on his punches the way that he normally did. Wilder was still able to punish Stiverne badly for 12 long rounds, but he had to use a lot of movement and jabbing to get the job done. If Wilder’s right hand holds up this Saturday, it’s probably going to be an early night for him. Stiverne is not going to be able to take Wilder’s artillery shelling for 12 rounds without him hitting the deck for the 10 count.

Likewise, there’s no referee on earth that is going to let Wilder pound the daylights out of Stiverne for 12 rounds without stepping in and stopping the slaughter for the sake of safety. If Stiverne resembles the same punching bag as he did the last time he fought Wilder, then the referee or his corner is going to need to save him from himself. Stiverne can’ take the kind of punishment against Wilder like he did last time for 12 rounds of the Bronze Bomber’s right hand is healthy. Stiverne could get hurt in there if he absorbs that kind of punishment for 12 rounds. The boxing fans want to see a fight on Saturday night at the Barclays Center, not a ritual massacre involving Wilder smashing Stiverne.

Stiverne’s lack of height and reach is what held him back against Wilder in their previous fight. At 6’2”, Stiverne looked like a short, fat cruiserweight fighting a super heavyweight. The two didn’t belong in the same ring with each other. Mike Tyson, 5’11”, was one of the few exceptions of a short heavyweight doing well against taller heavyweights from the past era, but he was a special case. Stiverne doesn’t have Tyson’s hand speed and brutal power. Stiverne does hit hard, but not with the same mind-numbing power that Mike Tyson did. Wilder showed last time that he could handle Stiverne’s power blasts. I don’t think for a second that Wilder would have been able to withstand getting hit by Stiverne for 12 rounds if he was able to land as much as frequently as he did in his 2 fights with Chris Arreola. Using his height and reach, Wilder didn’t let Stiverne connect with his enormous power shots on a routine basis. Wilder fought a brilliant fight, making Stiverne look inept and totally limited.

Wilder CANNOT look as bad as Joshua did in his recent fight against Carlos Takam last Saturday at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Joshua was fighting in front of a large horde of his loyal boxing fans, but he hard loads of problems with the fit, more agile and more athletic Takam. Weighing 254 pounds and looking like an amateur body builder ready for a competition, Joshua really labored around the ring through the first 9 rounds of the fight. Joshua’s fans are what helped through the fight with their cheering in round 10. Joshua was able to force his huge physique to throw some combinations after landing a good but not great uppercut. The referee Phil Edwards did the rest, stopping the fight prematurely with Takam seemingly fine. It was a bad stoppage on Edward’s part. It’s fine for Joshua to look bad, because his boxing fans will continue to purchase his fights on Sky Box Office PPV in high numbers no matter how poor he looks. As long as Joshua continues to win, he’ll bring in the cash in ticket and PPV sales.

Wilder’s situation is different. He needs to perform at a high level each time for him to stay on course to get the Joshua fight. If Wilder struggles to beat Takam on Saturday, it could be the only excuse Hearn needs to write him off as an opponent for 2018. We saw how Hearn dismissed WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker as a viable opponent for Joshua just because he didn’t knockout runner Hughie Fury last September in Manchester, England. With Hughie running and clinching like mad for 12 rounds, Parker was unable to catch up to him to knock him out. Eah time Parker would get in range to land a shot, Hughie grab him in a bear-hug to keep him from throwing punches. On average, Hughie was clinching 10 times per round. When he wasn’t clinching, he was running. Instead of Hearn blaming Hughie for Parker not looking good, he blamed it on Parker, and he said that his star had slipped. Joshua looked even worse than Parker did, and he wasn’t fighting a spoiler inside the ring. Takam was fighting him the old-fashioned way and looking great.

Wilder wants the Joshua fight first thing in 2018, but he’s not going to chase and beg him for the fight. Wilder also isn’t going to lower himself by doing what Hearn says by facing Dillian Whyte to earn the fight.

“Kings don’t chase other kings,” Wilder said via “I got a kingdom and I brought all my king’s men and all the king’s horses and now I’m knocking on your kingdom doors. I declare war. I am declaring war upon AJ. I will not chase him. We are going to lure you in, you can only run for so long and so far.”

Wilder is banging on the doors of Joshua’s castle, and Hearn is sending out one of his guards in Dillian Whyte to try and fend the Bronze Bomber off. Unfortunately, Whyte doesn’t seem nearly equipped to do the job. Wilder will take on Whyte if Hearn is willing to meet his asking price of $7 million.

If Hearn isn’t willing to give Wilder what he wants to face Whyte, then he’ll be stuck having to either make the Joshua-Wilder fight as is or tell the boxing public that he’s not interested in making the fight in 2018. Hearn can push the Wilder vs. Joshua fight down the road into 2019 or 2020, and hope that it becomes a bigger affair. If Hearn does that, he’ll be taking a significant risk, considering that Joshua is slowing down and starting to look more beatable with each and every fight.

Wilder vs. Stiverne will be televised this Saturday night on November 4 on Showtime World Championship Boxing. The start time is at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

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