LAS VEGAS -- It was billed as the answer to the bottomless pit that has been boxing’s heavyweight division. For what seems like eons, the sport’s most important weight class has been suffering from a lack of true star power, but if one was to believe the hype leading up to the Bermane Stiverne vs. Deontay Wilder heavyweight title fight, this was to be Ali-Frazier, Holyfield-Bowe and Foreman-Young all rolled into one.
A few times throughout the Showtime-televised bout, there were flashes of those old wars. But the majority of the bout saw Wilder using a telephone pole-like jab to keep the shorter Haitian-American at bay, with little in terms of raw action.
Related » Wilder-Stiverne Play-by-Play
Stiverne had extreme difficulty in getting on the inside of the taller Alabama native’s reach, which left a lot to be desired in terms of aesthetics. But to make a fight exciting would mean both men would be in peril and Wilder fought an intelligent fight from start to finish.
The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist rocked the defending WBC champ late in the first and second rounds, scoring a chaotic knockdown at the bell of the second. A right hand wobbled Stiverne’s legs, which prompted Wilder to unleash a hellish assault as the bell rang. Stiverne stumbled forward and wound performing a nifty double-leg takedown as referee Tony Weeks intervened.
Aside from that minor fracas, the majority of the fight saw Wilder picking Stiverne apart with his long jab. The “Bronze Bomber” hardly ever was hit cleanly as he won round after round. With the fight drawing to a close, Stiverne tried to go for broke in an attempt to pull off a miraculous come-from-behind knockout, but Wilder simply tied him up.
Wilder won handily -- officially by scores of 118-109, 119-108 and 120-107 -- to snatch Stiverne’s WBC strap away from him. This is the first time in his career he had been past four rounds and even though his perfect knockout streak came to a halt, his overall professional ledger is still spotless. The win allowed Wilder to improve to 33-0 (32). Stiverne fell to 24-2-1 with 21 KOs.
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