Boxing promoter Lou DiBella has put together a very intriguing match-up between...
By Eric Graham
Updated: January 20, 2015
Bermane Stirvene and Deontay Wilder faced off as Wilder attempted to become the first American to own a piece of the Heavyweight championship belt in nearly a decade ut before the big event, two other fights occurred. Undefeated Amir Imam faced Fidel Maldonado in a battle of junior Welterweights.
Over the first five minutes and fifty nine seconds, Maldonado managed to get inside and landed some solid lefts and right hooks while Imam jab looked ineffective. Imam landed a lead right hand with one second left and sent Maldonado down. However, Maldonado return the favor at the beginning of the third round as a straight left sent Imam down. Both men nailed each other with big shots with Maldonado landing the more effective left shots but with thirty seconds left, Imam sent Maldonado down with left hooks followed by right hands twice. The first nine minutes saw four knockdowns and a few firefights.
Imam started to gain rhythm in the fourth round as he landed heavy body shots and in the fifth round, Fidel Maldonado made some adjustments as he pushed Imam to the rope and attempted to smother Imam. It looked like that maybe he might have found a way to stay in the fight but over the last ten seconds, Imam scored with a short right, followed by a compact left hook that sent Maldonado down for the final time. Even though Maldonado got up before the end of the count; the referee stopped the fight. Both fighters landed a similar number of punches but the key to the bout was that Imamâs punches were harder.
Jesus Ruiz went after Leo Santa Cruzâs junior featherweight title in the second bout leading up to the Heavyweight main event. The first round saw both men lace each other with solid combinations as Ruiz came after Cruz with an aggressive style as both men threw a total of 200 punches combined and this pace continued into the second round. Both men landed hooks to the body and Ruiz connected with short compact upper cuts.
This pattern continued through the fifth round even though as the fifth round concluded, Ruiz started to slow down his foot movement and this allowed Cruz to rip some body shots. Throughout the sixth and seventh round, Cruz started to take control of the fight as he nailed Ruiz with combinations and Ruiz power disappear. At the beginning of the eighth round, Cruz nailed Ruiz with two big right hands and forced Ruiz back to the rope. Cruz continued to pound Ruiz and the referee stopped the fight as Cruz landed seven or eight punches in a roll without nothing coming back. Cruz connected on nearly double the punches as Ruiz and this proved to be the biggest factor as Cruz hit Ruiz at will with power shots after power shots; set up by a left jabs.
Over the first minute, Wilder started jabbing as Stiverne move forward; waiting for a Wilder mistake. Wilder landed a big right hand at the end of the round after a ton of jabs in a round in which Stiverne didnât throw many punches.
Throughout the second round, Wilder landed several power shots starting with jabs but Stiverne continued to walk down his opponent down. Near the end of the second round, one of those weird boxing moments when Wilder hurt Stiverne with rights before Stiverne tackled Wilder to keep him from being knock down.
Stiverne attempted to attack halfway through the third round as he landed body shots and then try to land big rights but Wilder continued to box beautifully. Halfway through the fourth round, Stiverne landed his first big left hook and for a brief moment, Wilder stopped boxing. Stiverne started to connect with right hands as the round continued. The fifth round saw Stiverne landed some solid body shots over the first two minutes but Wilder landed some big combinations over the final minute of the bout.
With the fight halfway over, Wilder was winning on points but the sixth round belong to the champion Stiverne as it looked like maybe Stiverne changed the momentum. Wilder landed big right hand halfway through the seventh round as he forced Stiverne to retreat to regain the momentum. Very few pundits saw this fight actually get into the eleventh round and Stiverneâs corner already told their fighter, he was well behind on points. The action slowed down throughout the eleventh round as Wilder jabbed and Stiverne attempted some big power shots but rarely connecting. Stiverne landed several body shots for the first two minutes of the final round as Wilder looked exhausted but he showed some boxing guile as he spent the last minute smothering Stiverneâs power. The one thing that no one predicted was the fight going to the scorecard and another no one foresaw was Wilderâs patience to stay with a game plan; use the jab to set up his punches.
Wilder won the unanimous decision as he became the first American to win a heavyweight title since Shannon Briggs defeated Siarhei Liakhovich for Liakhovich WBO title in 2006. Wilder answer many questions tonight, the first being he can be in the same ring as a tough banger and the second is that he can show discipline to stay with a game plan.