Bermane "B-Ware" Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KO) is the new WBC heavyweight champion of the world. On Saturday night, Stiverne defeated Chris "Nightmare" Arreola (36-4, 31 KO) by TKO at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.
ESPN Boxing had the official word:
The official time is 2:02 of Round 6. At 34, Bermane Stiverne becomes a heavyweight titlist.— ESPN Boxing (@ESPNBoxing) May 11, 2014
It was the second time the two fighters met. Stiverne won an easy unanimous decision over Arreola in April 2013.
After the win on Saturday, Stiverne said this in the post-fight interview, per ESPN Boxing:
Stiverne: "I knew I could knock him out because I've got the power."— ESPN Boxing (@ESPNBoxing) May 11, 2014
That's for sure.
The fight was broadcast live on ESPN, and if this was a step toward delivering meaningful fights on the network, it was a smash hit.
From the opening bell, the two heavyweights were banging. Both had their moments, but in the end, the 35-year-old became the first Haitian-born heavyweight champion in history.
He came out strong in the first round. His hand speed and confidence set the pace for the opening frame. An otherwise even round shifted just before the bell.
Stiverne lit into Arreola with a hard right hand. It would be a precursor to the definitive punch in the fight.
After the shot, the big Haitian trash-talked Arreola, and it looked as if the night might be as easy as it was in their first meeting.
Arreola showed early resolve in the second and third rounds. He hurt Stiverne when the fight went to the ropes and outworked him to take control of the fight.
In the fourth and fifth rounds, Stiverne started to utilize more movement and find some range on his counter shots.
In the sixth round, he hit the jackpot.
A big right-hand counter shot knocked the sturdy Arreola off his feet. He would get up, but he never really gathered himself completely.
Stiverne pounced immediately and floored Arreola again.
The second knockdown could have spelled the end for Arreola. No one would have criticized referee Jack Reiss for calling a halt to the bout at that point.
The stoppage finally came seconds later when Reiss rescued Arreola from a barrage of power shots from Stiverne.
Capturing a legitimate world title puts Stiverne firmly in position to take on the top heavyweight contenders—and even the king of the division, Wladimir Klitschko—somewhere down the line.
Undefeated American knockout artist Deontay Wilder is Stiverne's mandatory challenger from the WBC rankings, but obviously, a fight with Klitschko would be more lucrative.
Max Boxing's Steve Kim was impressed with the bout and intrigued by one of Stiverne's potential matchups:
That wasn't a bad heavyweight fight. I think Stiverne-Wilder is an intriguing match-up... #boxing— Steve Kim (@stevemaxboxing) May 11, 2014
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix thinks Stiverne has a chance to give Klitschko some issues:
Stiverne-Klitschko is an intriguing fight. Wladimir hasn't been in with a heavyweight with that kind of power in years. Stiverne can crack.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 11, 2014
As for Arreola, this was a crushing defeat. He had prepared himself as well as he had for any previous fight. He was eight pounds lighter for this bout than he was for the first fight.
Still, it didn't matter.
After the loss, he was clearly disappointed. Per ESPN Boxing, Arreola said the following in his post-fight interview:
Arreola: "I'm devastated. I'm here to win, plain and simple. But he has a tremendous right hand."— ESPN Boxing (@ESPNBoxing) May 11, 2014
At 33 years old, Arreola isn't done—he made that clear, per the ESPN broadcast. But he may have reached his ceiling in the sport.
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