By Peter Lim
Bermane Stiverne vs. Deontay Wilder
Jan. 17, 2015, MGM Grand, Las Vegas Nevada
Styles make fights and this one is a no-brainer. Here we have two guys with more or less the same modus operandi; both are classical boxers who deploy their jabs to set up mind-numbing rights. One stands at six-foot-eight, the other six-foot-two and neither is significantly faster than the other. Guess who gets his punches off first? While Stiverne's tuck-and-roll defense can neutralize the firepower of sluggers like Chris Arreola, it is much less effective against long-range straight shooters like Wilder. Unless Stiverne has some ace up his sleeve to close the distance that we've never seen before, Wilder will easily outbox him to win a lopsided decision or late-round stoppage.
Result: Deontay Wilder W12 Bermane Stiverne
If these were the two best heavyweights on this side of the Atlantic, the elite action in the division is going to remain in Europe for a while, not that the talent pool runs very deep over there either. Despite the pre-fight hype that undoubtedly led to its high ratings, Stiverne-Wilder did little to generate excitement in the heavyweight division on this hemisphere.
Stiverne proved he had a torpedo-proof chin but that was about it. But if his chin was made of concrete, so it seemed, were his feet as he was unveiled as plodding and one-dimensional with little ability or even willingness to adjust.
As slow-footed as Stiverne was, he nevertheless showed that all you had to do to close the distance against Wilder was to move forward, no feinting or bobbing and weaving required. Wilder displayed a long stiff jab but more often than not, he used his left to paw, poke and prod, exposing himself to counters that more versatile fighters would have exploited.