Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Last April, Bermane Stiverne captured the vacant WBC Heavyweight Championship when he knocked out Chris Arreola in Round 6. It was an extremely impressive performance for the Haitian native. Arreola came into the fight in the best shape of his career and used a good jab to take an early lead.
But Stiverne knew exactly what opening he was looking for, and when he saw it, he dropped his big right hand and floored the tough Mexican-American. Nobody has ever knocked the iron-jawed Arreola silly like that, not even Vitali Klitschko.
The No. 1 contender for Stiverne's new belt is undefeated Deontay Wilder, a knockout machine who has stopped all 31 opponents he has faced. Wilder has not exactly faced tough opposition, but when you get a heavyweight who stops 31 straight, fans are going to get interested.
Boxing in the United States has begun to approach niche status in this century. Some of that is just an unfortunate byproduct of our culture growing softer.
But it's also due to the fact that there hasn't been a legitimate heavyweight star to emerge from the United States since the 1990s. The heavyweight division has always been the glamour division of the sport.
I love to watch all the weight classes. My favorite sports are all weight-class sports where there is room for every great athlete.
But the pinnacle of the combat sports has always been watching two big men go at it.
Stiverne is waiting for his hand to heal, and Wilder is fighting journeyman Jason Gavern this weekend to stay busy. But for the health of the sport, I sure hope the two end up fighting later this year.