Bermane Stiverne vows KO of Chris Arreola
LAS VEGAS — Once-beaten heavyweight Bermane Stiverne is "confident I will win the fight by knockout" heading into Saturday's rematch with Chris Arreola, whom he dropped in the third round of a unanimous decision victory in April of last year.
In their previous bout, Arreola (36-3, 31 knockouts) was soundly outboxed and outclassed by Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KOs), whose vicious right hand floored him and simultaneously shattered and bloodied his nose for the remainder their bout.
"Everything's a target, his nose and everything. The way that I've trained for this fight, it's not going the distance," said Stiverne, 35, during an interview with RingTV.com last week.
"I'm training the same way that I did the first camp but this time, I'm doing it even better. No injuries. I feel good; I feel great. I just feel like, for probably the first time in my career, I'm confident in a really great performance."
Stiverne spoke to RingTV.com two days prior to this past Saturday's majority decision by Floyd Mayweather Jr. over Marcos Maidana, after which Mayweather had added Maidana's WBA welterweight title to the RING and WBC championships he already holds.
Stiverne is meeting Arreola, 33, at the USC Galen Center in Los Angeles, Calif., for the WBC belt vacated in the wake of Vitali Klitschko's retirement. Having rebounded from the loss to Stiverne with a first-round knockout of highly-touted Seth Mitchell in September, Arreola has declared himself "desperate" in his quest to become the first heavyweight titleholder of Mexican descent.
Wladimir Klitschko is the RING, IBF, WBA and WBO champion and made his most recent defense with a fifth-round technical knockout of Alex Leapai, whom he floored three times last month.
Stiverne-Arreola represents a crowded chase for the WBC's belt, with the winner having been mandated to defend against Deontay Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs), who was last in the ring for last month's 96-second stoppage win over Malik Scott.
In addition, there was a second mandatory ordered by the WBC between unbeaten fighters Mike Perez and Bryant Jennings for May 24, the winner of which will face that between Wilder and the victor of the Stiverne-Arreola match-up.
Also, 42-year-old southpaw Tony Thompson appears to have revived his career, being that last month's split decision over Odlanier Solis was a bout for the WBC's vacant international belt.
Stiverne is looking to become the first heavyweight champion of Haitian descent.
"What can I say? As far as I'm concerned, I'm still the underdog because, apparently, [Arreola] couldn't fight because his nose was broken. But even if that wasn't the case, I was still boxing the hell out of him. Chris just loves to fight. He fights with his balls and his heart. He's not even fighting with his head. That's my advantage. If I want to bang with him, I can bang with him," said Stiverne.
"But even if I was to bang with him, I believe that I'm stronger and faster than him. Let's not talk about boxing because I can do a clinic on him. Like I said, underdog or not, I'm going in there confident and I will win the fight by knockout. When it comes, I don't know. But Chris will bring the best out of me in this fight. Trust me. It will not go the distance. What round, I don't know. That's up to him."