By Keith Idec
Deontay Wilder is sick of hearing Bermane Stiverne’s “excuses” for losing their heavyweight title fight in January 2015.
Stiverne is equally nauseated from listening to Wilder complain about having to fight him again. Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) and Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) are set for a mandatory rematch Showtime will televise Saturday night from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Their 12-round rematch was mandated by the WBC because Stiverne is the No. 1 challenger for Wilder’s title. Wilder, promoter Lou DiBella and countless others have questioned Stiverne’s status as a mandatory challenger because he has fought just once since Wilder dethroned him and struggled to defeat Derric Rossy (31-13, 15 KOs) in that 10-round bout nearly two years ago in Las Vegas.
“I lost the fight, I lost the fight,” Stiverne said regarding his first fight with Wilder during a recent conference call. “But I’m tired of talking about the first fight. The first fight is over. Of course I believe that [Wilder doesn’t want to fight me again]. Because a true champion, it don’t matter if you’re fighting the same guy five times who they put in front of you, it’s who you fight.
“You don’t cry and talk about, ‘I want this fight and I want that fight.’ Whoever they put in front of you, that’s who you fight. I didn’t cry when they brought back Arreola. I took Arreola. I didn’t cry, I didn’t run, I didn’t talk. I took it. I shut my mouth, I went back to the gym and I fought him again for a second time. That’s what a true champion does. Even though you’ve gotta fight the same person three, four times, it don’t matter. A champion shut his mouth and do what he gotta do – fight. It don’t matter.”
The Haitian-born Stiverne, who resides in Las Vegas, dropped Arreola in the third round of their first fight and won a 12-round unanimous decision by big margins on all three scorecards in April 2013. Despite that convincing victory (118-109, 117-110, 117-110), Stiverne was required to fight Arreola again in his next fight for the then-vacant WBC title.
Stiverne dropped Arreola twice in the sixth round of their rematch and won by sixth-round technical knockout in May 2014. Wilder beat Stiverne by unanimous decision in Stiverne’s first title defense eight months later.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.