Photo Credit: Ryan Haney/Premier Boxing Champions
BROOKLYN — Deontay Wilder said before last night’s rematch he feared for Bermane Stiverne’s life. Two minutes and 59 seconds later, we found out why as Stiverne failed to land a single punch and was on the receiving end of three knockdowns before being left motionless at the Barclays Center.
At 39 years old and having not fought in two years, most weren’t expecting much from Stiverne. Wilder wisely pounced on him early, showing a sharp jab. As Stiverne tried to plod in, his guard was split by an accurate straight right that put the former titlist on the seat of his pants. Any semblance of fighting spirit left Stiverne as he vainly claimed it was a rabbit punch. Wilder taunted him with a statue pose before unleashing two haymaker left and right hooks for another knockdown seconds later.
With under 10 seconds left, Wilder landing a sliding right hook and two left hooks that put Stiverne out cold against the bottom of the ropes.
Wilder’s win now gives him the distinction of knocking out every man he’s ever faced. In the post-fight interview, he challenged Anthony Joshua, who he accused of using performing enhancing drugs. Wilder also rebuffed the public offer from Joshua’s promoter Matchroom Boxing, who want him to face Dillian Whyte to earn a Joshua unification.Wilder did acquiesce that he would be willing to travel to the UK for Joshua.
Last night’s knockout was Wilder’s sixth successful defense of the WBC heavyweight title.
A good knockout can make you forget the details. Stiverne was a dead man walking the minute this fight was announced. Shopworn, 39 years old, and inactive for two years (and in his last fight, was dropped), Stiverne was facing a man in Wilder at the peak of his physical powers and it showed quickly.
But the fact Wilder scored a huge KO, and Joshua seemed to “struggle” a week ago vs. Carlos Takam, has led some to claim not only will Wilder win, but that AJ is ducking the American champion.
When comparing resumes, Joshua holds the clear advantage. If Wladimir Klitschko was washed up, then Stiverne was the walking dead. And even more ironic is that Wilder’s next opponent is likely Dominic Breazeale, a man Joshua easily knocked out in seven rounds last year.
Now make no mistake, the fight needs to happen to unify the division. But Wilder has to realize he has zero leverage. Last night’s win was not even a sellout, while Joshua easily filled and set an indoor boxing record of over 70,000 with a replacement opponent in Takam. Much like Canelo-GGG, Joshua has all the cards and can delay the fight or have Wilder jump through as many hoops as he pleases.
Don’t expect this fight to happen until late 2018, early 2019 at the latest.