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For Bermane Stiverne, The Nightmare Has Ended
The Nightmare Has Ended
By Kerry Benjamin
Special to BASN
Brooklyn, NY (BASN): The WBC Heavyweight title once held by Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, and Lennox Lewis has found a new owner in California.
Promising to win by KO, 35-year-old Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1 KOs) delivered by stopping 33-year-old Chris Arreola (36-3 31KOs) in the 6th round of a hard fought fight. Stiver became the first Haitian to own the heavyweight title.
A little more than half a year after Stiverne’s unanimous decision win over Arreola, they were slated to do it again at the USC Galen Center in Los Angeles. You could see the focus in both fighters’ eyes in this match. The first round showed everything of how Arreola planned to take down Stiverne.
He stalked cautiously but with a quiet intensity that you can tell what’s on his mind. He jumped on Stiverne early and often, pushing him to the ropes and unloading combinations. Right hand bombs, uppercuts, and left hooks were the name of his game. Though he was rocked by a straight right hand near the end of the first by Stiverne, Arreola recovered and easily outworked him during the first two rounds. He even rocked Stiverne with right hands of his own in Rounds Two and Three, and proceeded to press him into the ropes.
All of Arreola’s offensive magic came from his jab, which set up his devastating shots and split Stiverne’s guard open a few times.
Stiverne’s jab didn’t really pick up until Round Three. He began snapping it at Arreola’s head and mid round started attacking the body. Stiverne showed the poise of a would-be champion by fighting off the ropes a few times and was beginning to find himself.
Arreola started to attack the body too in the fourth round using some to set up a left hook that rocked Stiverne again and put him at the ropes. But Stiverne held on and exchanged with him.
The fifth round saw Stiverne double jabbing and turning his left into sneaky left uppercuts and hooks, all coming from his unassuming habit of keeping his left arm low.
Round Six was the round that changed everything. Arreola threw a left but was too slow to pull back. That’s when Stiverne caught him with a sweeping right-hand counter to the temple. The shot completely destroyed Arreola’s equilibrium, sending him to the canvas. He got up at the count of eight but it was clear his legs were gone.
A flurry of head shots brought him to his knees again. Arreola got up at the count of eight, but within a few seconds, the referee had stopped the fight to save Arreola from himself. Bermane Stiverne let out a well of emotion at the acknowledgement that he is now the champ. Both combatants showed class when they hugged each other in the center of the ring at the conclusion of the fight.
Bermane Stiverne now has two very attractive and interesting potential bouts. His WBC mandatory opponent is 28-year-old Deontay Wilder, who sports one of the most impressive records in boxing: (31-0, 31 KOs). The “Bronze Bomber” has one punch knockout power and has never been past round four. The 6’6’ Alabama native is also an Olympic bronze medalist earning it with his 2008 performance in Beijing.
The other challenger is the heavyweight champion of the world, Wladimir Klitschko. Wladimir is the younger brother of Vitali Klitschko, the previous WBC champion who vacated the title to pursue political aspirations.
Klitschko (62-3, 52KO’s) owns the WBO, WBA, and IBF heavy titles and has been undefeated for a decade. The pride of Ukraine has 16 successful title defenses, the last of which was 2 weeks ago. He knocked out Alex Leapai (34-4-3, 24 KOs) of Australia without any trouble in the fifth round. He’s expressed interest in unifying all the titles and returning to the states eventually for his next fight. His height, great use of his reach, and strength will be troubling for Stiverne if he goes that route.
If Bermane Stiverne can pull it off, he will cement himself in Haitian and boxing history for years to come. But one thing is for sure, there is renewed interest in the heavyweight division and this bodes well for the sport. It seems the heavyweights division is relevant again. And with that said, the nightmare has finally ended.