WBC heavyweight champion of the world Bermane Stiverne has stopped 21 of his 24 opponents.
That’s a knockout percentage of 87 percent.
Deontay Wilder, who will meet Stiverne on January 17 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV., has KO’d all 32 of his adversaries.
Neither boxer has agreed on much during the pre-fight buildup, except that their scheduled 12-round fight won’t go the distance.
“A short, painful night,” said Stiverne a few weeks ago at a media press conference. “Instead of telling you about it here, I will show you. Don’t blink!”
"I don’t get paid for overtime, so why go all the way? “countered Wilder, who’s trying to become the first American to hold a portion of the heavyweight crown since Shannon Briggs.
“I finish things early in the ring.”
Stiverne (24-1, 21 KOs) captured the heavyweight strap last May when he stopped Chris Arreola in six rounds. The victory was a glorious one for the 36-year-old Stiverne, who also became the first person of Haitian descent to win the crown.
Wilder, 29, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, stopped Jason Gavern five months ago.
Stiverne, who loathes trash talking, has reminded the media that Wilder’s resume isn’t exactly a Who’s Who of great pugilistic names.
“"He’s fought nobody, I always train like I’m fighting the best out there,” Stiverne said.
Even the champion’s manager, Camille Estephan, chimed in.
“He’s thirty-two and zero, with thirty-two knockouts.“ said Estephan. “Against who? We believe this is a choreographed career.”
Last March, Wilder stopped fringe contender Malik Scott early in the first round. A left hook to the temple--followed by a glancing right hand did the deed. Scott hit the canvas and couldn’t beat the fatal ten count. Many of the crowd in attendance booed the outcome.
The 6-foot-7 resident of Tuscaloosa, Ala., doesn‘t feel that the criticism he receives is fair.
“I don’t want people to discredit me anymore,” Wilder said. “The time has come to change that. I have heard nothing but excuses for my thirty-two wins by KO, and when I get thirty-three, I don’t want to hear anything about it.”
Stiverne, who resides in Las Vegas, has wanted to fight in Sin City for years.
“Defending my title in Vegas at the MGM Grand is a dream,“ Stiverne said. “Nobody will beat me. This belt isn’t going anywhere January seventeen.”
So, who has the edge going into the bout?
Wilder has an advantage in height, and reach. He’s also the quicker fighter.
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 chin.
A short night?
It could happen, but if the fight goes into the later rounds, look for the sturdy Stiverne to pull out the victory.