Wilder or Stiverne in WBC Heavyweight Rematch?

Deontay Wilder (-1600) vs Bermane Stiverne (+1150), Draw (+3500)

It isn’t the fight we were expecting, but it should be an entertaining night nonetheless. WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) was scheduled to face the undefeated Luis Ortiz for his sixth title defense, but the fight was canned after Ortiz failed yet another drug test. In stepped former champ Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs), who lost his title to Wilder back in 2015. The two knockout artists will meet once again at the Barclays Center on Sunday, November 5th, 2017.

After stripping Stiverne of his WBC belt, Wilder became the first American heavyweight champ in almost a decade. Prior to the Stiverne bout, Wilder had laid waste to his opponents, stopping all 32 fights before the end of the fourth round. Stiverne was the first and only opponent to take Wilder to decision, but that’s not to say it was a close fight. As the scorecards showed — 120-107, 119-108, 118-109 — Stiverne was thoroughly outmatched.

Wilder has become perhaps the most feared heavyweight in boxing since claiming the title. Despite his willingness to fight anyone, he’s made five title defenses but has yet to face a top-ten heavyweight. Wilder’s form and technique take a backseat to his power, and heis known to throw all caution to the wind once he smells blood. 

 

Stiverne returns after two years. Photo credit: DZreplay (Wikimedia) CC License

 

Stiverne barely beat the lowly Derric Rossy following his loss to Wilder, and has been on a two-year layoff since. At 39 years old, he’s well into the sunset years of his career and has taken some heavy punishment in his time. He’s giving away five inches in height and six inches in reach to Wilder, who stands at 6’7. That height and reach disadvantage was on full display during their first fight. Wilder used his long jab to keep Stiverne at bay, and followed up with vicious straights. Stiverne had no response for the simple 1-2 combination and suffered a slew of heavy hits over the 12 rounds.

As is always the case when two pugilists with ridiculous knockout rates touch gloves, this fight could go either way. Stiverne has the proverbial “puncher’s chance.” But if a knockout is going to occur, it’s far more likely that Wilder will be the one left standing. He has rapidly improved since claiming the WBC title, while the aging Stiverne has been inactive and gathering rust. If Wilder was too much for Stiverne in 2015, two years of ring rust and three years of age to Stiverne are only going to result in an even more lopsided matchup.

Bettors have to lay big money on Wilder to make this worth their while, but putting anything on Stiverne is akin to lighting your money on fire.

Pick: Deontay Wilder (-1600)