By Keith Idec
None of the numbers favor Bermane Stiverne.
Deontay Wilder was listed as a 16-1 favorite over him as of Friday night. Stiverne is 39, seven years older than Wilder, has boxed just once in the past 23 months and weighed in at 254¾ pounds Friday afternoon at Barclays Center, nearly 16 pounds heavier than he was for their first fight in January 2015.
Then again, none of that matters to Stiverne. The former WBC heavyweight champion claims not only will he remain the only opponent Wilder hasn’t knocked out when they exit the ring Saturday night in Brooklyn, New York, but that he’ll hand Wilder his first professional defeat by knocking out the heavily favored champion.
“You know, Deontay’s a camera boy,” Stiverne told Showtime’s Steve Farhood following Friday’s weigh-in. “When the light, cameras, action, he likes to talk. He likes to put a show on. You see what I’m saying? I normally don’t talk, but I decided to talk [Friday] and tomorrow, I’m gonna deliver what I told you. I’m gonna knock his ass out. I promise you that. I’m gonna be two-time heavyweight champion of the world.”
Stiverne then directed more anger toward Wilder, who has made five defenses of his title since he beat Stiverne by unanimous decision in their 12-rounder nearly three years ago.
“He said that I’m scared,” Stiverne said, before yelling toward Wilder, who was standing across the stage. “Boy, I ain’t scared of you. Are you crazy? Are you crazy? Are you crazy? I ain’t scared of you. I’m not scared of you. That’s why I’m here, because I’m not scared of you. You can dance. I’m gonna make you dance tomorrow night. I’m gonna make you dance tomorrow night. I’m gonna crack your ribs, I’m gonna crack your jaw, I’m gonna send you home, packing, and you will retire!”
The mandatory rematch between Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the Haitian-born, Las Vegas-based Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) is the main event of Showtime’s tripleheader (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
The three-bout broadcast also will include a 10-round welterweight fight between former IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter (27-2-1, 17 KOs), of Akron, Ohio, and Adrian Granados (18-5-2, 12 KOs), of Cicero, Illinois. The telecast is scheduled to begin with a 12-round battle that’ll pit Kazakhstan’s Sergey Lipinets (12-0, 10 KOs) against Japan’s Akihiro Kondo (29-6-1, 16 KOs) for the vacant IBF junior welterweight title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.