Give Credit to Team Wilder for Being Patient

Deontay Wilder captured the hearts and imaginations of many in the boxing public on Saturday night by becoming the first American to hold a portion of the heavyweight championship of the world since Shannon Briggs held the WBO title back in 2006.

Wilder earned a clear decision win over Bermane Stiverne at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas by being just about everything he and his handlers hoped he could be when the 6’7” former football player from Alabama turned pro in 2008 after stunningly capturing the bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics.

When I talked to Wilder’s manager, Jay Deas, back in 2011, Wilder was three years into his prizefighting career but still lacked the necessary tutelage to move past anything tougher than the local show circuit, something that had begun to frustrate many boxing fans and media alike.

To Wilder’s credit, the late starter knew what he was up against. When he turned professional in 2008, he told ESPN.com he knew he still had a lot to learn about the sweet science. After all, he had just walked into a boxing gym for the first time back in 2005 when he was 20 years old.

“My game plan right now is take it slow,” Wilder said. “I’m just turning pro. …I’ll learn some different things.”

Despite being as green as he was back then, Wilder showed promise at the 2008 Olympics. He earned a bronze medal in the super heavyweight division, and remains the last American male to earn boxing hardware at the Olympic Games.

There was a lot to like about Wilder. He was tall, had long arms and ridiculous power. Maybe even more importantly, Wilder was legitimately a great athlete. He wasn’t just a chiseled frame. He possessed superb reflexes and hand-eye coordination, the kind which any boxing trainer would salivate over.

It’d be easy to put such a natural physical specimen, especially one who managed to do so well on the world stage as an amateur after such a short period of time, into deep waters too early. But Deas and company, including co-manager Shelly Finkel and trainer Mark Breland, knew better than that. They knew they didn’t just have a decent heavyweight who could earn a few bucks here and there. No, they knew they had a fighter who could one day become heavyweight champion of the world.

So they got him rounds, and they did it anyway they could. It was a difficult task. Wilder knocked out every opponent he faced before defeating Stiverne, and all within four rounds. But they didn’t let his success make their plan a failure. They sent him packing whenever and wherever to be a sparring partner for world-class fighters such as Wladimir Klitschko, David Haye and Tomas Adamek.

It wasn’t just something they wanted him to do. It’s something they needed him to do. Back in 2011, Deas told me Wilder’s total time inside a boxing ring overall was a paltry four hours.

“He’s only had about 30 amateur bouts, and his amateur and professional actual ring time total is about four hours,” said Deas.

So Deas and company were patient. They built Wilder up. They had him fight often and while his competition wasn’t stellar, it allowed them to mold Wilder into a legitimate heavyweight contender. The work of Breland in particular seems to have paid huge dividends. Wilder went from barely having a jab at all to using what appears to be one of the better jabs in the division to sting Stiverne all 12 rounds on his way to becoming WBC heavyweight champion. Moreover, he went from looking like a clumsy, newborn baby dear to a swift-footed boxer who knew his way around a boxing ring.

Of course, Wilder is a champion now, but he’s not THE champion. Wladimir Klitschko is the WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF titleholder, as well as The Ring Magazine and Transnational Rankings champion. That makes him ‘The Man’ at heavyweight, and the latter belt distinguishes him as the division’s lineal champion.

And despite his exceptional progress, Wilder isn’t quite ready to take on Klitschko yet. While his win over Stiverne was impressive and important to his development, it was the 29-year-old’s first tussle with world-class opposition.

With the belt secure now, and advisor Al Haymon’s recent inroads over at NBC, Team Wilder would be wise to remain patient with their fighter. When I talked to the new champion last week, he told me he would target a defense against Tyson Fury next, possibly in the UK. Fury is exactly the kind of competition Wilder needs now. He’s accomplished, world-class but also appears flawed. The division is rife with the types: good but not great fighters, the likes of which has made Klitschko’s reign long and easy.

Bouts against heavyweights like Fury, Dereck Chisora, Steve Cunningham, Mike Perez, Vyacheslav Glazkov and Tony Thompson, would further Wilder’s cause. The competition would make him a better fighter, and give him the experience he needs to really give Klitschko a run for his money. And having some or all of the bouts on Haymon’s NBC cards would make Wilder America’s heavyweight darling.

If you’re the impatient type, think about his: how big would a Klitschko-Wilder unification bout be in 2016 if Wilder came into the bout with wins over Stiverne, Fury, Thompson and Glazkov, the latter three featured in primetime on NBC?

History tells me Team Wilder will be patient moving forward with their fighter. It also tells me it’s probably the right move, because Wilder’s talent and ability would only have gotten him so far. He needed a great team for the rest of it, a smart and patient one who really had his best interests at heart. So give credit to Wilder for being America’s legitimate heavyweight hope, and the rest of Team Wilder for helping make it possible.

Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos

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COMMENTS

-Radam G :

No doubt! I second that! Credit be even to Team D-Wild, especially to my childhood-idol Mark Ireland. He looks like an ebony-colored Clark Kent with those glasses on. And he did a Superman job and kept his charge from taking B-Ware's kryptonite. Holla!


-brownsugar :

He's better than advertised .... How ironic. Wilder kept us in the dark his whole career. Had us thinking he was just a mindless slugger. Wilder it seems has a better comprehension of boxing than I could have imagined. When Breland said their plan was to "stab Stiverne" with the jab and be patient while awaiting openings for the right. Who knew that Wilder would be able to implement that strategy to the letter. The whole scenario was as shocking as when Tyson Fury who had looked like an utter buffoon in some of his earlier fights,... Suddenly come out and put on a flawless technical clinic against Kevin Johnson. I shudder to think what Wilder would have done to Stiverne if hadn't fractured his hand.


-stormcentre :

He's better than advertised .... How ironic. Wilder kept us in the dark his whole career. Had us thinking he was just a mindless slugger. Wilder it seems has a better comprehension of boxing than I could have imagined. I shudder to think what Wilder would have done to Stiverne if hadn't fractured his hand.
Dude you usually write some good stuff - but with this I gotta take a big Xeption. Wilder's chances of winning would decrease if his hand were not busted. :) Cause . . . . If Wilder didn't fractured his hand Stiverne - for sure - would have knocked him clean out. See . . . . here's proof from MMMRG, and him be one of da most wicked fight prophets on da block, and (from what I hear) him also be not bad getting it down wiv the ladies, continental style.
->http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?19396-Jab-Happy-Wilder-BOXES-His-Way-To-WBC-Belt-Win-Over-Stiverne&p=74627&viewfull=1#post74627 :)


-gibola :

It might be my UK bias but I make a Wilder-Fury bout an absolute pick'em, 50-50 fight - it's a fantastic matchup that both guys would seem to have a great chance to win because they both have flaws the other can exploit. If that is Wilder's next fight on primetime NBC, given the personalities of both guys and the right hype, it would really put boxing back into the mainstream. Fingers crossed that it happens. Wilder's people may (quite reasonably) want to milk the title for all it's worth so I'm fearful that we'll see B/C class opponents. Bowe beat Holyfield and we wanted all Lewis next, we got Dokes and Ferguson. Will history repeat?


-brownsugar :

Dude you usually write some good stuff - but with this I gotta take a big Xeption. Wilder's chances of winning would decrease if his hand were not busted. :) Cause . . . . If Wilder didn't fractured his hand Stiverne - for sure - would have knocked him clean out. See . . . . here's proof from MMMRG, and him be one of da most wicked fight prophets on da block, and (from what I hear) him also be not bad getting it down wiv the ladies, continental style.
->http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?19396-Jab-Happy-Wilder-BOXES-His-Way-To-WBC-Belt-Win-Over-Stiverne&p=74627&viewfull=1#post74627 :)
He's already done it Storm... Wilder was already beaten Stiverne...and dominated the entire fight.... So how can a hypothetical eventuality be predicted to have occurred when the event has already been concluded? Wilder whooped Stiverne like he stole something and now a theory is deemed to be true just because RG said it? I have the utmost respect for RG ...the man is amazing but he also said Wilder was going to lose by ko early. A lot of folks did. But all we are left with are the actual results. Wilder beat Stiverne with one hand. Think what he would've done with two?.... I think he would have demolished him. I respect your opinion your but your claim is a moot point that can't be proven Because the fights over and can only be refought in our imaginations. But that's why we come here to discuss our opinions .... So I appreciate your contributions.


-stormcentre :

He's already done it Storm... Wilder was already beaten Stiverne...and dominated the entire fight.... So how can a hypothetical eventuality be predicted to have occurred when the event has already been concluded? Wilder whooped Stiverne like he stole something and now a theory is deemed to be true just because RG said it? I have the utmost respect for RG ...the man is amazing but he also said Wilder was going to lose by ko early. A lot of folks did. But all we are left with are the actual results. Wilder beat Stiverne with one hand. Think what he would've done with two?.... I think he would have demolished him. I respect your opinion your but your claim is a moot point that can't be proven Because the fights over and can only be refought in our imaginations. But that's why we come here to discuss our opinions .... So I appreciate your contributions.
I was just jiving with you BS. Same with the link's content's towards MMMRG. I think it's awesome that anyone could even get the gumption up to mount such a concept (if Wilder hadn't hurt his hand Stiverne would have KO'd him); seriously - the concept's ability to be exploited for humour far outweighs any shortsightedness it may possess. Pure Gold!


-brownsugar :

I was just jiving with you BS. Same with the link's content's towards MMMRG. I think it's awesome that anyone could even get the gumption up to mount such a concept (if Wilder hadn't hurt his hand Stiverne would have KO'd him); seriously - the concept's ability to be exploited for humour far outweighs any shortsightedness it may possess. Pure Gold!
Lol you had me going Storm....you got me... I forgot you were never really committed to either fighter and never really had a dog in this race to begin with. Good one.


-deepwater2 :

I give Fury a big edge and I don't see wilder taking Fury on anytime soon due to Wilder's advisor. For a big man Fury has good boxing skills and footwork. He can switch to southpaw. He is as tall as Wilder,30 lbs heavier, and won't be bothered by the big stage. He will not freeze like Stiverne . Wilder will have some heavyweights from the tsAH stable to defend against. He will hold the title for a while until he has to face WK or Fury. Look to see green heavyweights or guys on the downside scooped up by tsAH in the next few weeks. Tarver will get a nice payday,talk up the fight and get some big gambling chips as a bonus after he losses.


-stormcentre :

Lol you had me going Storm....you got me... I forgot you were never really committed to either fighter and never really had a dog in this race to begin with. Good one.
Yep, that's right - I never really had a dog in the race to begin with. I was careful with my caveats when I did the Wilder research and also that on Stiverne that you also kindly requested. Thanks for the request there by the way, and hasn't our relationship come a long way since Amayseng was my crooked promoter - almost 2 years ago? :) ). (Just so you know - I am rarely serious and/or even when I am I will almost - sometimes to my own detriment and also the embarrassment of others around me - always divert into stupid humour if it's ready/available). Truth was, and perhaps too judgmentally on my part, I just didn't really see Wilder or Stiverne as classy heavyweights, and as such I hadn't followed them that much. I was also pretty unsure about the King V Haymon connection too. So that - plus learning from making predictions last year with fights involving fighters I had little knowledge on - meant I was never going to go out on a limb for either guy in last weekend's heavyweight fight. Plus the Commish spooked me out with his unwavering confidence, and I began to wonder about that (and Haymon/King) in tandem with all Wilder's obvious mistakes, that still didn't deter Randy. I learnt about making predictions on minimal knowledge when I openly made the Crawford V Gamboa prediction mistake last year. I really hadn't seen enough of both guys - well not enough of Crawford - to step in confidently with a prediction; but still did. I assumed Gamboa would not have too much ring rust, that he would repair bad habits, and that Crawford's mistakes could be capitalised on. I also underestimated Crawford's resilience too. Sure it's fun taking chances with the predictions, but had I looked at a few of Terrance's earlier fights I would have seen that Crawford had deceptive skills and moves that could fit well with a plan to neutralise some of Gamboas' strengths - even if he hadn't had the long layoff he had before that fight. So, with the Wilder/Stiverne thing, I wanted to see how well some research could dictate a more accurate understanding of the (Wilder V Stiverne) odds; if not the fight's outcome - as I was pretty sure Wilder should not have been the favorite by such a wide margin. Going into it all and aside from some parts of other Stiverne fights; I had only previously seen Bermane's complete fight's with Arreola (whom had fought far better opposition than Wilder and many of Wilder's opponents), but prior to those fights with Stiverne Cris himself (and in some ways the heavyweight "market") had, over the last few years or so, really lowered Cris' competition standards. And that was after Cris lost out in championship fights with some of the heavyweight divisions' big dawgs. Furthermore, unlike Wilder's low competition level, Arreola's aforementioned lowered competition level was somewhat concealed on paper - particularly that which skimmed across the top and only bounced when the big names were read; as a few articles seemed to do. But still, there is no doubt that Stiverne had the better match practice (Arreloa Vs Gavern) going into the fight; if you just consider experience of opposition, making your lungs burn for 12 rounds, throwing down, and getting out of the way of the big shots sent across from guys that have been in there with serious risks/power. Problem was - or at least one of them was - that whilst Arreola was a good tough hombre to prepare for Wilder with (for Bermane), he didn't really present Bermane with the speed, athleticism, style, and reach issues that Wilder did. Whereas Gavern, as concerning as he is at the level Wilder was seeking to be recognised at, perhaps (due to the Stiverne that {was possibly dehydrated; if you believe that} we got on fight night) ended up resembling a poor mans Stiverne-preparation-fight (for Wilder) - even more than Arreola resembled Wilder (for Stiverne) - if that makes sense. All up, aside from the above-mentioned reasons for not going out on a limb with a Wilder/Stiverne prediction, there were just way too many soft touches on both guy's records to feel safe about anything remotely to do with a prediction, and that's without considering the King/Haymon connection. Even contemplating doing so made me think of Crawford V Gamboa. As, when I fumbled that prediction I really only saw 1 of Crawford's previous fights beforehand, and of course I knew Gamboa pretty well and (despite his low hands - which I stupidly thought he would fix coming into the Crawford fight - because that also involved both moving up in weight and fighting a guy that can switch) as a result I was pretty wrapped and confident with his mad Cuban skills. Silly eh? Gamboa looked to be the goods at the time this sucker made that prediction and I learnt from that and implemented that lesson via caveats in relation to the revision pieces I recently did on Stiverne and Wilder. You know how the saying goes; ""every sucker will fall for a fully blown ho at least once in his life - maybe twice as quick if she is fit and says all the right things"". Well Gamboa wooed me enough to look past the logic, facts, and history. So I wasn't going to do the same thing with; 2 guys I really knew nothing about, guys that had multiple question marks about some of their opponents, and also a guy that seemed to make a lot of fundamental mistakes and noise. After the fight I had expected a few to overlook my Wilder/Stiverne caveats and ultimately call me out (thinking I was committed to Stiverne because I was not (as) impressed with some of Wilder's attributes), but no-one has - which, either way, is still good. I still think Wider is a very raw, lucky, and a well "managed" new champion. But hey - top level critique aside - there is no harm in that and learning on the job and getting paid the big bucks for it. You don't want to rain a man's parade too much in a sport as tough as this. Plus, the fact that he still got a Olympic medal means he something to offer; even if his professional record is a little less than spectacular when viewed in the opponent's dimension. Anyway, in closing and from what I hear/read you had the fight pretty well predicted - so well done there.


-stormcentre :

I give Fury a big edge and I don't see wilder taking Fury on anytime soon due to Wilder's advisor. For a big man Fury has good boxing skills and footwork. He can switch to southpaw. He is as tall as Wilder,30 lbs heavier, and won't be bothered by the big stage. He will not freeze like Stiverne . Wilder will have some heavyweights from the tsAH stable to defend against. He will hold the title for a while until he has to face WK or Fury. Look to see green heavyweights or guys on the downside scooped up by tsAH in the next few weeks. Tarver will get a nice payday,talk up the fight and get some big gambling chips as a bonus after he losses.
Is Fury really 30 pounds heavier than Wilder? Is his reach longer? Hmm interesting. Who has Fury fought/beat of note?


-Radam G :

He's already done it Storm... Wilder was already beaten Stiverne...and dominated the entire fight.... So how can a hypothetical eventuality be predicted to have occurred when the event has already been concluded? Wilder whooped Stiverne like he stole something and now a theory is deemed to be true just because RG said it? I have the utmost respect for RG ...the man is amazing but he also said Wilder was going to lose by ko early. A lot of folks did. But all we are left with are the actual results. Wilder beat Stiverne with one hand. Think what he would've done with two?.... I think he would have demolished him. I respect your opinion your but your claim is a moot point that can't be proven Because the fights over and can only be refought in our imaginations. But that's why we come here to discuss our opinions .... So I appreciate your contributions.
The broken hand is what stop D-Wild from getting kayoed early or late, or not at all. It settled him down and made him move and use his jab. Otherwise he would have been in B-Ware's face swinging that raggedly right hand and got hurt to the gut and badly clipped on the chin. Injuries in boxing have always changed the equation to better, not worst for a knockout puncher, because he is forced to adapt and box. Don't forget in bout one of CCC-B-Ware how a broken nose change the equation of Chris Arreola not getting kayoed, because he change his fight game and the equation. But when his nose was fine in bout two, he got knocked da double fudge out. It is no way in hell that D-Wild would have box with an unbroken right claw. He knows it. And so does his team. You have to know when to maul 'em, and you have to know when to fold 'em and dance away. A broken hand done that for him. Besides his power in really that awesome. Holla!


-brownsugar :

The broken hand is what stop D-Wild from getting kayoed early or late, or not at all. It settled him down and made him move and use his jab. Otherwise he would have been in B-Ware's face swinging that raggedly right hand and got hurt to the gut and badly clipped on the chin. Injuries in boxing has always changed the equation to better, not worst for a knockout puncher, because he is forced to adapt and box. Don't forget in bout one of CCC-B-Ware how a broken nose change the equation of Chris Arreola not getting kayoed, because he change his fight game and the equation. But when his nose was fine in bout two, he got knocked da double fudge out. It is no way in hell that D-Wild would have box with an unbroken right claw. He knows it. And so does his team. You have to know when to maul 'em, and you have to know when to fold 'em and dance away. A broken hand done that for him. Besides his power in really that awesome. Holla!
I'll have to disagree with you this time RG. I'm at work and a man can be fired debating with you. So I'm going to ease my gun back into its holster and back away slowly.


-stormcentre :

The broken hand is what stop D-Wild from getting kayoed early or late, or not at all. It settled him down and made him move and use his jab. Otherwise he would have been in B-Ware's face swinging that raggedly right hand and got hurt to the gut and badly clipped on the chin. Injuries in boxing have always changed the equation to better, not worst for a knockout puncher, because he is forced to adapt and box. Don't forget in bout one of CCC-B-Ware how a broken nose change the equation of Chris Arreola not getting kayoed, because he change his fight game and the equation. But when his nose was fine in bout two, he got knocked da double fudge out. It is no way in hell that D-Wild would have box with an unbroken right claw. He knows it. And so does his team. You have to know when to maul 'em, and you have to know when to fold 'em and dance away. A broken hand done that for him. Besides his power in really that awesome. Holla!
Despite how exploitable the concept (Wilder's broken hand is what stopped him from getting kayoed early, late, or not at all) is for humour - which I know you don't mind me having fun with - the idea itself it's not completely without merit. I'm just not sure how much merit we're talking about. Cause it supposes that Wilder right hands would not have found their mark, whilst there were Wilder left hands that Stiverne was clearly not getting out of the way from. I think the idea that - if Bermane was not dehydrated he would have won - has a better chance. But then, hey, WTF do I know - I live in a foiled up window caravan, never sleep, have been abducted by aliens more than one, and am starting to love it.


-The Commish :

Being able to adapt in any situation makes us stronger and wiser, in any line of work. I know for a fact that Wilder's plan was not to recklessly come out and start rumbling with Stiverne, looking to trade shot for shot. Knowing what kind of condition he was in, Wilder was going to be content picking his shots and waiting for his opening. When he saw the same amount of patience and hands high defense of Stiverne, Wilder knew this fight wasn't going to end early. Seeing that his movement behind a long, effective jab was working and listening to his corner telling him to "be patient," Wilder did exactly that. The injury to his right hand was not the reason for Wilder boxing behind his long jab. The reason is: That was his fight plan all along. Only, he didn't figure Stiverne to move like a Sloth. He figured Stiverne would be pouring on the pressure, doing his best to make an inside war out of it. When the realization hit him that Stiverne's legs had cement blocks attached to them, along with the knowledge that his right hand was injured, Wilder continued to move and jab the title away from Stiverne. Rarely do two fighters step into the ring to face each other at 100%, and even if they do, it's even unlikelier that both of them will make it to the final bell in 100% shape. In this one, Stiverne suffered dehydration. Wilder broke his powerful right hand. Wilder made adjustments. Stiverne couldn't. In every fight, guys are called on to make adjustments if and when adversity strikes. Last Saturday night, both fighters were hit with adversity. One of them adjusted. One of them couldn't. The one who did adjust persevered and rose to victory. The one who didn't/couldn't adjust now licks his wounds as an ex-champion. Deontay had the skills to pull it off. He also had the patience. A majority of fans didn't know he had that in him. They know now. -Randy G.


-deepwater2 :

Being able to adapt in any situation makes us stronger and wiser, in any line of work. I know for a fact that Wilder's plan was not to recklessly come out and start rumbling with Stiverne, looking to trade shot for shot. Knowing what kind of condition he was in, Wilder was going to be content picking his shots and waiting for his opening. When he saw the same amount of patience and hands high defense of Stiverne, Wilder knew this fight wasn't going to end early. Seeing that his movement behind a long, effective jab was working and listening to his corner telling him to "be patient," Wilder did exactly that. The injury to his right hand was not the reason for Wilder boxing behind his long jab. The reason is: That was his fight plan all along. Only, he didn't figure Stiverne to move like a Sloth. He figured Stiverne would be pouring on the pressure, doing his best to make an inside war out of it. When the realization hit him that Stiverne's legs had cement blocks attached to them, along with the knowledge that his right hand was injured, Wilder continued to move and jab the title away from Stiverne. Rarely do two fighters step into the ring to face each other at 100%, and even if they do, it's even unlikelier that both of them will make it to the final bell in 100% shape. In this one, Stiverne suffered dehydration. Wilder broke his powerful right hand. Wilder made adjustments. Stiverne couldn't. In every fight, guys are called on to make adjustments if and when adversity strikes. Last Saturday night, both fighters were hit with adversity. One of them adjusted. One of them couldn't. The one who did adjust persevered and rose to victory. The one who didn't/couldn't adjust now licks his wounds as an ex-champion. Deontay had the skills to pull it off. He also had the patience. A majority of fans didn't know he had that in him. They know now. -Randy G.
Commish, who does DW want next? Is he in a hurry to fight Fury or will he take a fight or two before that one? I pick Fury if it happens and I know who you will pick. how bout a steak dinner?


-The Commish :

Commish, who does DW want next? Is he in a hurry to fight Fury or will he take a fight or two before that one? I pick Fury if it happens and I know who you will pick. how bout a steak dinner?
A steak dinner sounds great. I wish Radam could join us. Betcha' he'd love a 16-oz. Filet Mignon. -Randy G.


-Domenic :

Being able to adapt in any situation makes us stronger and wiser, in any line of work. I know for a fact that Wilder's plan was not to recklessly come out and start rumbling with Stiverne, looking to trade shot for shot. Knowing what kind of condition he was in, Wilder was going to be content picking his shots and waiting for his opening. When he saw the same amount of patience and hands high defense of Stiverne, Wilder knew this fight wasn't going to end early. Seeing that his movement behind a long, effective jab was working and listening to his corner telling him to "be patient," Wilder did exactly that. The injury to his right hand was not the reason for Wilder boxing behind his long jab. The reason is: That was his fight plan all along. Only, he didn't figure Stiverne to move like a Sloth. He figured Stiverne would be pouring on the pressure, doing his best to make an inside war out of it. When the realization hit him that Stiverne's legs had cement blocks attached to them, along with the knowledge that his right hand was injured, Wilder continued to move and jab the title away from Stiverne. Rarely do two fighters step into the ring to face each other at 100%, and even if they do, it's even unlikelier that both of them will make it to the final bell in 100% shape. In this one, Stiverne suffered dehydration. Wilder broke his powerful right hand. Wilder made adjustments. Stiverne couldn't. In every fight, guys are called on to make adjustments if and when adversity strikes. Last Saturday night, both fighters were hit with adversity. One of them adjusted. One of them couldn't. The one who did adjust persevered and rose to victory. The one who didn't/couldn't adjust now licks his wounds as an ex-champion. Deontay had the skills to pull it off. He also had the patience. A majority of fans didn't know he had that in him. They know now. -Randy G.
First off, congratulations to Deontay Wilder. It wasn't Holmes - Norton, but it was an entertaining enough scrap with good electricity where he was able to adapt and put to rest any doubts about his ability to go 12. He's now in line for a shot at Klitschko, and the true, linear title. Commish - Good call. You never wavered in the face of heavy Stiverne backing here. I missed the show last night; only heard the Kevin Iole interview portion. Did Wilder lay out his plans? Obviously he's going to savor the win, heal the right hand, etc. It looks like Klitschko - Jennings is inked for April in NY. My understanding is Fury's lined up for WK after Jennings, so Fury is unlikely to be next for DW (this one was unlikely to happen next anyway, given the danger component). An option that doesn't excite me in the least is DW - Tarver, a fight that could be packaged and sold to the unknowing. This is a dreary option to me, but it's thin until unification late this year (hopefully). My guess is we get Wilder - Tarver next. I suppose Briggs is an option too, if the paramount issue is pre-fight hype and the train-wreck appeal. In any event, after Wilder dispatches Tarver, or beats TBD, he'll be queued up for a monster unification/linear title payday against WK.


-stormcentre :

Being able to adapt in any situation makes us stronger and wiser, in any line of work. I know for a fact that Wilder's plan was not to recklessly come out and start rumbling with Stiverne, looking to trade shot for shot. Knowing what kind of condition he was in, Wilder was going to be content picking his shots and waiting for his opening. When he saw the same amount of patience and hands high defense of Stiverne, Wilder knew this fight wasn't going to end early. Seeing that his movement behind a long, effective jab was working and listening to his corner telling him to "be patient," Wilder did exactly that. The injury to his right hand was not the reason for Wilder boxing behind his long jab. The reason is: That was his fight plan all along. Only, he didn't figure Stiverne to move like a Sloth. He figured Stiverne would be pouring on the pressure, doing his best to make an inside war out of it. When the realization hit him that Stiverne's legs had cement blocks attached to them, along with the knowledge that his right hand was injured, Wilder continued to move and jab the title away from Stiverne. Rarely do two fighters step into the ring to face each other at 100%, and even if they do, it's even unlikelier that both of them will make it to the final bell in 100% shape. In this one, Stiverne suffered dehydration. Wilder broke his powerful right hand. Wilder made adjustments. Stiverne couldn't. In every fight, guys are called on to make adjustments if and when adversity strikes. Last Saturday night, both fighters were hit with adversity. One of them adjusted. One of them couldn't. The one who did adjust persevered and rose to victory. The one who didn't/couldn't adjust now licks his wounds as an ex-champion. Deontay had the skills to pull it off. He also had the patience. A majority of fans didn't know he had that in him. They know now. -Randy G.
Good points. But also Bermane had the wrong game plan in headbutting Wilder's right hand - as that only saved Deontay from getting knocked out by Stiverne's right hand. See, you never know what's going to go down in the theatre of the unexpected - or even the come-again-virgin-mary-church. Look .. . . I am sorry. I just can't be serious about this. I will try next time. Really. Actually no, I will do it ("try") now. OK, fact; "Stiverne lost and I don't know how a (obviously not trim) heavyweight that also has, both; a) Not had an officially verified medical problem. b) Had a proper camp. Can come into a heavyweight title defence looking fat and dehydrated. At best Stiverne didn't prepare well for Wilder and/or he underestimated him. It's a shame as there were a lot of mistakes there for Bermane to capitalise on. But that wasn't the case. Still, Wilder won. Stiverne, get back into the gym and contention and work at taking the title back; Frazier, Ali, Norton, and Foreman style. There - I did it. :)