By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Leave it to Don King to compare a Haitian-born former heavyweight champion to the polarizing president of the United States.
The provocative promoter predicted Thursday that Bermane Stiverne will be the man to pull off an unpopular upset this November. King promotes Stiverne, who will challenge unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in a mandatory rematch Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) is listed by most Internet sports books as a 25-1 favorite over Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs), who recorded a lackluster points victory over Derric Rossy (31-13, 15 KOs) in his only fight since Wilder took the title from him in January 2015. None of that matters, according to the ever-verbose, 86-year-old King.
“Here’s what’s gonna happen – you’re gonna have an upset similar to Donald Trump, where nobody in the world wanted him to be president,” King predicted during a press conference Thursday in Manhattan. “He shocked the world by becoming president, against all odds. All right? So now what we’re gonna have here is a shocking upset. It’s gonna be Bermane, when he knocks out my dear friend here, Deontay.
“Now you know that when he does this, and I want Al Haymon to take this into consideration, that Deontay will retire. That’s his words. But I wanna say right now, I wanna put in my request, when you come out of retirement, come on to see me.”
The 32-year-old Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, promised during a conference call last week that he’ll retire if he loses his rematch to Stiverne, the mandatory challenger for his title. Stiverne turned 39 on Wednesday and has been very inactive compared to Wilder, but King thinks his contender is ready to prove his one-sided, unanimous-decision defeat to Wilder in their first fight was an aberration.
“We will have a wonderful November to remember,” King said. “That’s what we said when I was working and promoting Donald Trump – a November to remember. And it will be remembered from here until eternity.”
The Wilder-Stiverne rematch will be the main event of a Showtime tripleheader set to start Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.