Evander Holyfield, insiders mull who wins Bermane Stiverne-Deontay Wilder
Who is going to win Saturday’s heavyweight bout at the MGM Grand between RING No. 2-rated WBC beltholder Bermane Stiverne and No. 6 Deontay Wilder on Showtime?
Many are calling their clash a pick-em fight and four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield said, “I ain’t picking nobody,” adding, “but I can tell you what I think.”
The 36-year-old Stiverne is the first heavyweight beltholder of Haitian descent while Wilder, 29, is attempting to become the first American titleholder since Shannon Briggs in 2007.
“You’ve got two guys, one who just became the champion, and styles make fights. It could come down to range,” said Holyfield. “If this guy, Stiverne, can’t get close enough to Deontay Wilder, then it could be tough and he ain’t going to be able to get to Deontay and hurt him.”
Since falling by fourth-round stoppage to Demetrice King in July 2007, Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs) is 12-0-1 with nine stoppages heading into the bout against Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs), for whom King served as one of his sparring partners.
Stiverne is coming off a sixth-round technical knockout over Chris Arreola in May that earned the belt which had been vacated when Vitali Klitschko retired to pursue a political career in Ukraine.
Stiverne-Arreola was a rematch of an earlier bout in April 2013, during which Stiverne floored Arreola in the third round of a unanimous decision victory.
Wilder is coming off a fourth-round knockout of Jason Gavern in August; one fight prior, Wilder became Stiverne’s mandatory challenger with a 96-second knockout of Malik Scott in a WBC eliminator bout in March.
Of Stiverne’s 21 stoppage wins, 18 have come inside of three rounds with 14 being in the first. Wilder, meanwhile, has gone four rounds four times and scored 18 knockouts in the first round.
“This guy, Bermane Stiverne is a rugged guy who is going to try to get inside any type of way that he can but if the fight is quick, then I think that it’s going to favor Deontay. But Deontay has never gone beyond four rounds,” said of Wilder, a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist and the last American man to medal in Olympic boxing.
“So if it goes six or seven rounds, then you have to look at the fact that Deontay hasn’t faced anybody who has gone that distance with him. It comes down to all of those things and the question of who have either of these guys ever fought to say that they’ve been tested? Evidently, that’s what makes this fight so exciting.”
The results of the RingTV.com poll taken from 36 insiders regarding Stiverne-Wilder are as follows.
Bermane Stiverne KO 7 Deontay Wilder: I will take Bermane Stiverne by seventh round stoppage. I think the big fight experience will be the difference as Deontay Wilder is taking a big step up in competition.
Bermane Stiverne TKO 4 Deontay Wilder: As much as the sport of boxing could benefit from the chance that unbeaten Deontay Wilder is everything he appears to be, the painfully slow pace of his matchmaking creates too much doubt.
Through 32 pro fights, Wilder hasn’t faced anyone able to test him or paint an accurate enough picture as to how strong his intangibles truly are. The very solid Bermane Stiverne, meanwhile, is a sure thing.
And as long as Stiverne avoids getting caught flush with Wilder’s right hand in the early rounds, he will pick his spots patiently and find a home for his counter right hand, marking the beginning of the end for Wilder.
Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press
Deontay Wilder TKO 4 Bermane Stiverne: This is the real test between hype and reality for Deontay Wilder, who has been brought along at a snails pace against questionable opponents.
I think Wilder passes it with a fourth round TKO over Bermane Stiverne that could breathe new life into a heavyweight division that has been moribund for years.
Stephen Donatelli, guest/fan, Pittsburgh, PA.
Deontay Wilder KO 8 Bermane Stiverne: Bermane Stiverne-Deontay Wilder shapes up as among the most exciting heavyweight title bouts in recent years. Stiverne has twice beaten title challenger Chris Arreola, the second time by stoppage.
Wilder, meanwhile, has not gone beyond four rounds in stopping all of his 32 opponents. Stiverne has been knocked out in his lone defeat by Demetrice King in July 2004, this after having dropped King in the first round. Stiverne also has battled to a majority draw opposite Charles Davis back in 2009.
Wilder was stopped as an amateur, rocked during sparring sessions with RING champion Wladimir Klitschko and former titleholder David Haye. Bottom line, this fight is a toss-up.
I envision Wilder using jab as a range-finder as opposed to a sustained weapon, so look for Stiverne to try to get beneath it. I see an even fight after seven rounds until the power gets to be too much for Stiverne, who falls by eighth round knockout.
Deontay Wilder KO 4 Bermane Stiverne: One day, Deontay Wilder will prove how well he can or can’t box and whether or not he can take a shot.
On this night, an early bum-rush will be enough to throw Bermane Stiverne off-track, setting the tone for a wild slugfest that ends with Wilder landing a hailstorm of punches to force a stoppage.
Bermane Stiverne early-to-mid rounds KO Deontay Wilder: I gotta go with the more experienced, proven and battle-tested veteran in this one. I’m not as big of a Deontay Wilder skeptic as some hardcore fans are. I think the Alabama native is a talented athlete with world-class speed. And his punching power is definitely for real.
However, Bermane Stiverne is also a puncher and a quicker, sneakier puncher with a more varied offense than the undefeated American Hope. I know Stiverne has some flaws, such as backing to the ropes and covering up when under fire that will make him vulnerable to Wilder’s vaunted right hand.
But the tough rounds the Haitian-Canadian went with Chris Arreola tell me that he can survive rough spots and that he’s dangerous during exchanges and when fighting off the ropes. The bottom line for me is that Wilder hasn’t been developed enough to deal with a complete boxer-puncher of Stiverne’s class.
Wilder is too raw and untested for my liking, which is kind of a sad statement given that he’s got 32 pro bouts. I see Stiverne setting traps early and catching the spindly-legged KO artist with quick one-twos, body shots and sneaky left hooks. I don’t see Wilder taking these shots very well or surviving for very long.
George Foreman, former heavyweight champion
Deontay Wilder KO 3 Bermane Stiverne: If he stays aggressive, Deontay Wilder wins but he’s got to fight downhill and stay aggressive against Bermane Stiverne. As long as Wilder remains aggressive, then I think he could have him out of there in three or four rounds.
Deontay Wilder KO 4 Bermane Stiverne: Deontay Wilder looks like a big Tommy Hearns. The wide upper-body and those long skinny legs provide the leverage for all that power. But is there more?
Hearns could think, box, adjust and take a punch. Bermane Stiverne will try to show he can’t do any of those things in taking Wilder beyond where he’s ever been. If it goes past six rounds, Stiverne wins and Wilder gets a lesson.
But the power figures to land early, leaving Stiverne dazed and vulnerable to a fight-ending shot before the halfway point in another stoppage that enhances Wilder’s reputation, yet doesn’t stop the skepticism.
Bermane Stiverne KO 2 Deontay Wilder: Anybody who says they know for sure who’s going to win this one is probably lying to you or telling the truth. WBC champion Bermane Stiverne is a relative newcomer in the heavyweight ranks while Deontay Wilder is the most wildly untested title challenger to come along in years.
To say that I’m skeptical of the “Bronze Bomber” is putting it mildly. At least with Stiverne, you know he’s been in some dogfights and won them. Wilder’s biggest win was fishy, at best, and, at worst, it was a farcical dive.
Stiverne promises a short and painful night. I’m inclined to believe him more than whatever “magic tricks” come from the vivid imagination of Wilder these days.
In the ring, Stiverne presses his attack early, discovers quickly that Wilder doesn’t like it on the inside and also that he doesn’t have the chin to survive there. Stiverne scores a revealing knockout in two painful rounds.
Bermane Stiverne TKO 9 Deontay Wilder: If Deontay Wilder is unable to land the kind of home runs which have decimated 32 mediocre fighters, then I think he’s in a lot of trouble.
The downside of blasting out every opponent you’ve faced is that you lack experience when the going gets tough and Wilder will naturally become frustrated if this doesn’t end early.
Bermane Stiverne is a nice counterpuncher who is defensively adept and I see him asking questions of the challenger. It’s also worth remembering that there are “two” punchers in this fight.
It could be over early, either way, but I think Stiverne’s radar will deflect the bombs over the first four rounds and he’ll start teeing off when Wilder tires or loses his shape. I expect to be in the minority but I think Wilder runs out of dynamite in this one.
Bermane Stiverne KO 6 Deontay Wilder: There is a definitely X-factor feeling surrounding Deontay Wilder, for while he has the perfect record, we just don’t know how well he will hurdle over the best opponent of his career – or if he’ll clear that hurdle at all.
Wilder has the height, reach, conditioning and power to win but the questions surrounding his chin are simply too much to ignore. If Bermane Stiverne can do one thing it is punch and given his performance against Chris Arreola in the rematch, he does it very well.
If Stiverne can reach that chin, he will dent it and despite the KO loss seven years ago, we know from the Arreola fights, he can take it. In short, I’m going with what I perceive to know over what none of us know.
Deontay Wilder KO 6 Bermane Stiverne: This clearly is the toughest test of Deontay Wilder’s six-year pro career and it’ll be interesting to see how he takes shots against a powerful opponent at the championship level.
Bermane Stiverne has beaten better opposition and is smart and skilled but Wilder’s power is real and Stiverne seems to think it isn’t. That’ll lead to his downfall.
Stiverne has underestimated opponents before and paid the price. The stoppage in his lone loss to Demetrice King – then 11-15 – was terrible but that fight shouldn’t have even been competitive.
Stiverne also has a majority draw on his record against Charles Davis, who was then 17-17-1. Despite Stiverne’s impressive performances against Chris Arreola, Wilder isn’t exactly challenging Joe Louis in his prime.
Edward “Revolver” Khabrov, guest/fan, Zaporozhye City, Ukraine
Bermane Stiverne TKO Deontay Wilder: Bermane Stiverne is underrated. Deontay Wilder is, so far, overrated. Stiverne’s two wins over Chris Arreola alone are making his resume look better than Wilder’s list of credentials.
Wilder’s career is highlighted by KO wins over shot and faded veterans Audley Harrison and Sergei Liakhovich. Both are KO artists but Stiverne has also shown decent skills and technique.
Wilder can punch but his technique seems mediocre and that he has a suspect chin. Wilder was stopped on more than on one occasion in the amateurs and has been hurt during his pro career.
Bermane Stiverne KO 6 Deontay Wilder: This could come down to who connects first, as both fighters have the power to flatten the other. But Bermane Stiverne is a little quicker, a little craftier and gained valuable experience in back-to-back wins over Chris Arreola.
Could Deontay Wilder demolish Stiverne in one? Absolutely. That right hand is the real deal and the hook is coming along nicely. But give me Stiverne to survive the early rounds and finish it after the fourth.
Deontay Wilder KO 3 Bermane Stiverne: I am picking Deontay Wilder to win by a knockout sometime before the sixth. Wilder has extraordinary power. If he hits you, you are going down. And Bermane Stiverne is very hittable.
Bermane Stiverne TKO 11 Deontay Wilder: This is a tough call and I’ve been really wrestling with it for two reasons: 1) Its impossible to know how good Deontay Wilder is because his level of competition has been so poor and 2) The disparity in height and reach is so severe.
Maybe Wilder is just too big for Bermane Stiverne and it’s George Foreman-Joe Frazier all over again. Maybe Wilder is simply not ready for a difficult situation, having not been tested by tough opponents or faced adversity. So my best guess is simply that: a guess.
That being the case, I’m visualizing the fight as being Wilder controlling the ring in the early rounds with his height and reach, with Stiverne slowly figuring out a way to close the distance. By mid-fight, Bermane will start breaking down Deontay, wear him out and stop him in the late going.
Deontay Wilder W 12 Bermane Stiverne: It’s a close call in every department, including their very deceiving records especially when they are evaluated in the current context in which Bermane Stiverne seems to be peaking while Deontay Wilder has apparently showed signs of weakness and is clearly going to face the most accomplished fighter in his pro career.
But Stiverne’s focus has been shaky at times and his killer instinct is in question. In the meantime, Wilder has proved exactly the opposite in both of those departments. It will be a close fight but after a slow start, I believe Wilder will impose his speed, wingspan and athleticism to score a relatively comfortable points win.
Deontay Wilder KO 5 Bermane Stiverne: On the one hand, it is hard to pick against Deontay Wilder winning his 33rd straight fight inside the distance. Momentum has to count for something when you are on such a lengthy knockout run. This contender knows nothing other than blistering triumphs inside a ring.
The flipside to that, however, is if Wilder is unable to dispatch WBC titleholder Bermane Stiverne – who is undoubtedly a far better fighter than any of those he has thumped previously – in rapid fashion and without getting caught himself, then he will immediately find himself in unwelcome, uncharted territory.
Only then will we learn whether Wilder sinks or swims when the going gets tough. That’s why the wise money on such a fascinating hard-to-call match-up in Las Vegas has to be with the more experienced man from Haiti, whose record proves he punches hard and can go deep into contests.
Then again, as I am not wagering anything this weekend, I am going with Wilder to give the division the shake-up it so desperately needs. I’m going with a fifth-round stoppage by the challenger.
Bermane Stiverne TKO 11 Deontay Wilder: I see this as a 50/50 fight. Is Bermane Stiverne’s chin strong enough to absorb Deontay Wilder’s shots? Will Wilder fade if he’s forced to go into the later rounds?
Stiverne has faced the tougher opposition and has more rounds under his belt. He should be able to counter Wilder’s heavy shots – if he can take his punch. The match will likely come down to who has the stronger whiskers. My gut is telling me that Stiverne will hang tough and stop Wilder late.
Bermane Stiverne KO 4 Deontay Wilder: I am super excited for this fight for one reason: It all but guarantees a good, old-fashioned heavyweight slugfest. Someone is definitely getting knocked out in this one. And while I think it would be better for boxing if it is Deontay Wilder, a heavy-hitting, American Olympian who actually comes in shape, I don’t think he will be.
There has to be a reason why Wilder has fought so many Tijuana cab drivers and that’s probably because he has a Michael Grant-level chin. Against Bermane Stiverne, that will be evident pretty quickly. Maybe I’m wrong and Wilder will be the next big heavyweight star from the United States. But that’s unlikely. Stiverne will win in an exciting fight, definitely by knockout, probably within four rounds.
Deontay Wilder KO Bermane Stiverne: Deontay Wilder is the biggest question mark around. He has the tools; does he have the chops? Bermane Stiverne is a too inactive, shorter man who will get caught first. It’s going to be fun while it lasts.
Deontay Wilder KO 5 Bermane Stiverne: This is a tough one. Bermane Stiverne is the more-experienced, more-advanced fighter even though Deontay Wilder has had more pro fights.
The Haitian-Canadian had a solid amateur career, worked his way up the heavyweight ranks and has had some big fights. Wilder, an Olympic medalist, also had amateur experience but is still evolving as boxer and hasn’t faced a significant test.
Wilder’s principal weapon is ridiculous punching power, with which he has stopped all 32 of his opponents. I think it comes down to this: Who will land the first big punch? I have a feeling that will be Wilder, who will hurt Stiverne and finish the job. Wilder by fifth-round knockout.
Bermane Stiverne TKO 11 Deontay Wilder: I like Deontay Wilder a lot, but Bermane Stiverne’s style might be his undoing. Stiverne doesn’t just hit hard, but he has deceptive hand speed and knows how to set up his combinations.
Wilder has not fought a bout past the fourth round, and if this fight goes into the later rounds, that favors Stiverne. This bout could have fireworks early, and Wilder could score a flash knockdown. But Stiverne slowly breaks Wilder down, eventually getting the stoppage win or else a victory by hard-fought unanimous decision.
Deontay Wilder KO 3 Bermane Stiverne: I think Deontay Wilder’s best chance for a win is before the fifth round. The longer it goes, the better for Bermane Stiverne. I think it will be Wilder by knockout in three.
Vince Santino, guest/fan, New York, N.Y.
Deontay Wilder KO 5 Bermane Stiverne: A lot of pundits believe that Bermane Stiverne’s resume is much deeper than Deontay Wilder’s but who has Stiverne faced aside from an undisciplined Chris Arreola?
And hasn’t Stiverne been stopped by an opponent with more losses than wins? Wilder may have 32 unremarkable names on his record but he has thoroughly obliterated all of them.
Stiverne has seen the later rounds for sure but his defense is very penetrable and he often allows himself to get backed into the ropes. In order to win, Stiverne will need to be on Wilder for 12 rounds, pushing him back and remaining inside the bigger man’s reach.
I just can’t see that happening. Wilder has considerable advantages in youth, size, speed and power. Once these two get to know each other, the “Bronze Bomber” will start finding his range and close the show somewhere between the fourth and sixth rounds.
Deontay Wilder KO 10 Bermane Stiverne: I like Deontay Wilder’s power and the fact that he’ll force Bermane Stiverne into places he hasn’t previously been. I think Wilder can put enough pressure on Stiverne to get him into some trouble in the later rounds.
I’ll say this: It promises to be exciting with two heavyweights willing to take chances and go at it. When is the last time we’ve seen elite heavyweights do that?
Deontay Wilder KO 5 Bermane Stiverne: I’m kind of torn on this one. I believe in Deontay Wilder’s power 100 percent but I’m just not 1000 percent sure of his durability as I have no instances to refer to as proof one way or the other.
Wilder is in with the best guy he’s been in with yet but even Wilder’s naysayers will agree that Bermane Stiverne is in with his most dangerous opponent to date.
Stiverne is going to try and establish himself early, I believe, and it will probably come down to who gets there first. My thought is that Wilder will get there first.
I’m thinking Wilder overcomes a shaky moment or two before he catches Stiverne being a little over aggressive and ends it probably in around the fourth or fifth.
Danny Serratelli, Doghouseboxing.com
Deontay Wilder TKO 8 Bermane Stiverne: I have been excited about this fight for a while. I found Bermane Stiverne’s two wins over Chris Arreola to be very impressive, so I am a little surprised Deontay Wilder appears to be the favorite.
A lot has been said about the quality of Wilder’s opposition but outside of Chris Arreola, the quality of their opponents has been about the same. Something about Wilder makes him seem vulnerable at times and he hasn’t seen the fifth round as a professional.
Stiverne has been 12 rounds once and has 14 knockouts in the first round compared to Wilder’s 18-first round stoppages. Stiverne is 36 and was stopped in his only loss as a pro in 2007. My gut tells me Stiverne but my heart is telling me Wilder.
You rarely see a knockout artist fighting another one who is as loose and confident as Wilder is for this fight. This fight is intriguing because either man can stop the other at any moment.
But I think both men will be a little more cautious than usual and feel each other out early. I’m going with Wilder by TKO somewhere around the eighth round.
Bermane Stiverne KO 10 Deontay Wilder: I like Bermane Stiverne by knockout around the 10th. There are really too many unknowns to be solid about any prediction, as we’ve scarcely seen Deontay Wilder tested.
Going by the traditional boxing beliefs book, a guy stepping up untested who has rarely gone deep into fights will have trouble later on. Stiverne is a strong, durable fighter who is unspectacular for sure but he’s dependable in that he has managed to survive adversity.
In a heavyweight title fight – this is essentially the North American championship fight – there will be adversity and I find it easier to side with Stiverne.
Bermane Stiverne TKO 2 Deontay Wilder: I see a “Welcome to the big leagues”-type of moment early in this fight similar to Lennox Lewis’ second round destruction of Michael Grant 15 years ago.
Even though Bermane Stiverne hasn’t fought many world-class fighters, he has been tested against much better competition overall than Deontay Wilder. Although not perceived to be the “puncher” in this fight, Stiverne is heavy-handed and I can see him putting Wilder to sleep early.
Obviously, Wilder has a chance to do the same to any heavyweight with his explosive one-punch power and it won’t shock me if he wins by way of an early knockout. This fight is going to end with someone getting hurt and my prediction is that Wilder will be the one on his back.
Bradley Starks, guest/fan, Novato, Calif.
Bermane Stiverne KO 8 Deontay Wilder: Finally a heavyweight bout to get excited about. I like Bermane Stiverne by hard-fought, late-round KO in this fight between two of the top heavies in the division today.
While the extremely athletic Deontay Wilder is unbeaten, has a three-inch reach advantage and has won all 32 of his fights by knockout, he has not shown the skill set that Stiverne possesses.
Never mind that the Haitian lost to Demetrice King in 2007. King was everything Deontay Wilder is not and was taking a pretty good beating in a bout that was stopped a little questionably.
Stiverne may have to survive some rough moments in the first few rounds but once it reaches round No. 6, Stiverne should be able to grind Wilder down to an eighth round knockout in an exciting first title defense.
Deontay Wilder KO 6 Bermane Stiverne: I’m going to go with Deontay Wilder by KO on this one. Bermane Stiverne is definitely Wilder’s biggest and most talented opposition to date.
But I think Wilder will rise to the occasion and get that world title that has eluded him thus far. I’m going with Wilder by mid-rounds KO; I would say in the sixth or seventh.
Deontay Wilder TKO 6 Bermane Stiverne: I’m picking Deontay Wilder by sixth round TKO. Contrary to popular belief, Wilder will not come out swinging and leave himself open to Bermane Stiverne’s power.
I believe he will be patient and wait for his powerful right hand to find an opening. And it will. His height and length will be the difference in this fight.
Bermane Stiverne KO 8 Deontay Wilder: Bermane Stiverne-Deontay Wilder is a fight to be excited about and one that should end in a brutal knockout. Stiverne can be very lazy on the ropes but can also be explosive off of them. He carries just as much power and weight off his punches to put a man to sleep.
The 6-foot-7 Wilder has all the makings of a champion, including great height, a long reach, knockout power and a 32-0 record comprised 100 percent of stoppage wins. Wilder will need to take charge early in order to capitalize on Stiverne’s low activity level. We know that Wilder’s power is real but there are questions about his chin.
After likely tasting the canvas early, Stiverne will need to survive the early stages, take Wilder into uncharted waters and drown the inexperienced beast. If that happens, then Wilder will fold late and Stiverne will emerge victorious with a knockout. I’m betting that happens in the eighth round.
Bermane Stiverne TKO 7 Deontay Wilder: Deontay Wilder is a big man with amazing reach and crushing power. But as we know, all but a few of his opponents have reached above “tomato can” status – and that’s being generous.
With names like Audley Harrison and Malik Scott being his most notable wins, you have to wonder how Wilder got here in the first place. There are many more “unknowns” than “knowns” but what we do know regarding Wilder’s size and strength is that it’s intriguing enough to see if the young man has the goods.
Bermane Stiverne’s resume deserves equal scrutiny over the course of 25 fights. But while there is a lack of “elite” opponents, he does own a pair of wins over Chris Arreola. Say what you will about Arreola but the versions Stiverne faced serve a legitimate gatekeeper in the heavyweight division.
While both men lack the wins fans might deem as “worthy” to face Wladimir Klitschko, I believe Stiverne has the slight edge in experience to take this fight. Wilder doesn’t swarm recklessly but he hasn’t been countered the way Stiverne is able to do so. Look for Stiverne to weather the storm and drop the big man several times before a seventh round TKO.
Bermane Stiverne TKO 5 Deontay Wilder: This is a very interesting fight. We don’t really know what Deontay Wilder is made of. This is a huge step up fight for him. Wilder has the power to knock anyone out but rumors persist about his chin and we don’t know about his stamina.
With that being said, I’m going with the tried and tested Bermane Stiverne, who may have to see his way through a couple of dicey moments early on. But I see Stiverne clipping Wilder by the mid-rounds and forcing the stoppage.
The insiders begin the year 2015 by voting to an 18-18 draw in advance of Saturday night’s defense by WBC heavyweight titleholder Bermane Stiverne against Deontay Wilder.