BOXING

Deontay Wilder Obliterates Stiverne, Wants Anthony Joshua in 2018

Deontay Wilder Makes Quick Work of Bermane Stiverne, Calls Out Anthony Joshua

Deontay Wilder took out his frustrations on Bermane Stiverne — taking out Stiverne in one round by destroying him in about as one-sided a manner as possible.

Wilder knocked Stiverne down three times in three minutes. Stiverne threw just four punches. He didn’t land a single one.

It was even more of a mismatch than expected, and far more of a mismatch than had been the case when Wilder and Stiverne first fought nearly three years ago.

Back then, Stiverne held a heavyweight title while Wilder was an unproven prospect who had knocked out everyone he’d faced. Wilder boxed with discipline, scored a knockdown, and won a wide unanimous decision and the world title. Stiverne went to the hospital afterward with a condition that can be caused by overtraining; he and his team said that explained his uninspired performance.

But if they were hoping the rematch with Wilder would go better, recent history indicated otherwise. Stiverne hadn’t fought in two years. He’d struggled that night, barely edging a journeyman named Derric Rossy.

Stiverne showed up 15 pounds heavier for the Wilder rematch than he’d weighed for the first fight. He claimed he was more comfortable at the weight, that this meant he hadn’t hurt his body the way he’d done in training camp the last time.

All it really meant was that he’d make a louder thud when he hit the canvas.

Wilder led off the fight with jabs, not throwing his vaunted right hand until after the opening minute. Stiverne showed little intensity, and perhaps that is why Wilder soon pounded his own chest, demonstrating the fire that his opponent lacked.

Wilder then went from demonstrating his fire to demonstrating his firepower.

Stiverne getting a little more than an extra hour of ? courtesy of @bronzebomber #DaylightSavingsTime #WilderStiverne2

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After pounding his chest, he threw a jab and a right hand, then sent out the same combination, knocking Stiverne down on his rear end. Stiverne got up and shook his head, complaining wrongly to the referee that the punch had landed behind his head. Wilder stood there with his hands down, the ultimate sign of disrespect, then let loose with another barrage, finishing with a left hook and a wide right hand that put Stiverne down once more.

Stiverne got up. He didn’t remain that way for long. There were seconds left in the round, and Wilder took advantage of them. The final blows left Stiverne crumpled in a heap. The fight was over.

Wilder is now 39-0 with 38 knockouts. Stiverne fell to 25-3-1 with 21 KOs.

Wilder wasn’t even supposed to face Stiverne to begin with. He was originally scheduled to take on heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz. But then Ortiz tested positive for a banned substance — a substance that can be found in blood pressure medication but can also be used to mask the presence of performance enhancing drugs. Ortiz’s team said he had a legitimate prescription. They had never claimed the medication on their forms, however, nor sought an exemption to allow him to take it.

That meant Wilder once again had a chance taken away from him, a chance to hush his doubters by facing and beating a very good heavyweight. It had happened last year, when Wilder was ready to fly to Russia to defend against Alexander Povetkin. (Wilder also had another opponent, Andrzej Wawrzyk, test positive ahead of a fight earlier this year. Wilder wound up facing and stopping Gerald Washington instead.)

His next chance should come against Anthony Joshua, who has two of the other heavyweight titles.

“I’ve been waiting for that fight a long time now,” Wilder said after his victory.

There’s been plenty of talk about a unification fight, about bringing the two tall power-punchers together for a huge event in the United Kingdom, where Joshua drew an amazing 90,000 earlier this year to see him beat Wladimir Klitschko and where an impressive 78,000 people came out to see Joshua face a replacement opponent in Carlos Takam.

Wilder can earn a lot of money for taking the fight and a lot of respect for winning it. Whoever comes out victorious would become the clear man to beat at heavyweight. (Former lineal champ Tyson Fury hasn’t fought in two years, keeps teasing a comeback but otherwise is a non-entity until he loses a bunch of weight, has a positive test for a banned substance adjudicated, and actually steps back in the ring.)

If the Joshua fight doesn’t happen next, then perhaps we’ll see Wilder take on Dominic Breazeale first. Breazeale stopped Eric Molina in eight rounds on the undercard. He and Wilder have history; they exchanged words earlier this year, leading to Wilder’s brother confronting and attacking Breazeale in the hotel after both Wilder and Breazeale had won their respective fights.

Anthony Joshua’s promoter has also offered Wilder a fight with Dillian Whyte, who lost to Joshua in a thriller two years ago and has won six straight since.

There’s much still to be determined. One thing, however, is certain. Deontay Wilder wants to have a much bigger 2018 than his 2017 turned out to be.

Shawn Porter Wins Decision Over Adrian Granados, Still Waiting For Keith Thurman Rematch

Shawn Porter wasn’t blessed with fight-changing power. He has to work very hard to get what he wants. That suits him fine. His tenacity matches his drive. Porter grinds and grinds and grinds his way to victories. It is what he must do to win fights. And he must continue to win fights to get back to the top of the welterweight division.

Porter kept grinding on Saturday night en route to a unanimous decision over Adrian Granados. It was his second straight victory since dropping a close decision to Keith Thurman last year. Porter has wanted a rematch ever since the result was announced that night in June 2016. He’s hoping it’ll finally come next year.

That’s not certain, as Thurman is recovering from an injury and hasn’t fought since March. Porter’s had to stay busy, which is what put him in the ring with Granados on the undercard of Deontay Wilder vs. Bermane Stiverne.

As usual, Porter spent much of his fight coming forward, trying to make Granados uncomfortable with the pressure, pursuing him to the ropes and then letting loose with punishment. Granados is a gritty fighter himself, better than his record might indicate. He has close losses to the likes of Adrien Broner and Felix Diaz, and he shocked 140-pound prospect Amir Imam back in 2015.

Granados wasn’t blown out of the water by Porter. He was just outworked, unable to do enough to fend Porter off, unable to land enough in return to take enough rounds.

It was a rough-and-tumble fight. A clash of heads — one of many caused by Porter’s style — opened a cut on Granados in the first round. Porter also landed a crisp overhand right just before the bell. Porter started the second with six hooks, many digging down to the body. Granados landed a good counter right, trying to deter Porter’s aggressive style and remind him that he wasn’t going to merely be a punching bag.

Porter turned the tables to start the third, landing a left hook counter as Granados approached. Soon it was Porter coming forward once more. But Granados didn’t appear to be too troubled. At one point in the round, he remained on the ropes and posed with his hands down, inviting Porter to return to the fray. Porter stayed at the center of the ring instead. Later on in the round, Granados slipped a jab and circled away with his hands down once again.

But fighting Porter means dealing with a volume of shots, and the volume makes it hard to dodge them all. Porter had Granados on the ropes again in the fourth, letting loose with hooks, uppercuts and body shots. He remained disciplined, sticking to his game plan.

And then he suffered an injury, reportedly hurting his left hand in the sixth. Porter kept going because, well, that’s what he knows — and what he’s capable of.

Granados soon had more success, and Porter began to show signs of tiring. Porter threw just 35 punches in the 11th round, an uncharacteristically low number. By that point, however, he’d already done enough to win.

All three judges scored the fight 117-111 for Porter, giving him nine rounds and seeing three for Granados. While Granados complained that he had once again been robbed, his argument didn’t have merit.

Porter moves to 28-2-1 with 17 KOs. It’s too early to tell how long the injury will sideline him for. It’s also uncertain how long Porter will have to wait for the Thurman rematch. Thurman undoubtedly will want to shake off rust upon his return. And then he might choose a fight with Errol Spence afterward instead of taking on Porter. A unification fight would take precedence over a title defense against his mandatory challenger.

Granados is now 18-6-2 with 12 KOs. He should return to 140; while the paydays against the big names at 147 are good, he’s more likely to find success back at junior welterweight.

David Greisman
About the Author:

David Greisman.

David Greisman is an award-winning boxing writer based out of Washington, D.C., who has covered the sport since 2004. He is the senior staff writer and “Fighting Words” columnist for BoxingScene.com and a reporter for The Ring magazine. Greisman is the author of the book “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing.”
Follow on Twitter @fightingwords2

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