Going into Saturday night, only one man had gone the distance with Deontay Wilder. When they first faced off in January 2015, Bermane Stiverne had lost by unanimous decision to the WBC champ.
But last Saturday night in their rematch, Stiverne couldn’t make it out of the first round.
Wilder looked like he was unloading on a punching bag, with Stivern throwing just six punches while camping out behind a uneffective high guard. The night ended with a single second left in the first frame. Stiverne was crumpled at the ropes, his knee bent clumsily beneath his collapsed body.
Don’t get this situation twisted. Wilder’s work against Stiverne was compelling for it’s pure brutality, but it would have been a lot more interesting had we seen him matched up with original opponent Luis Ortiz.
Unfortunately, Ortiz pissed hot on a PED test, just as Alexander Povetkin did when slated to face Wilder last year.
After the win, Wilder did what fans hoped he would do and called out IBF and WBA belt holder Anthony Joshua. Even with lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury teasing a long-delayed comeback for 2018, the biggest fight that can happen now in the heavyweight division would be Wilder vs. Joshua: the undefeated American skyscraper vs. the undefeated U.K. version.
I will be forever disappointed if this fight does not get made for the first half of 2018. Wilder and Joshua have been both knocked one professional opponent after another silly. They both have done enough to generate fan excitement, at home and abroad.
But for either to truly call himself the man at heavyweight, he needs to beat the other. Neither can do it merely by asserting himself from his own side of the Atlantic.