By Rich Cheney: #1 WBC mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) won’t be stepping aside so that WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder can defend his WBC title against Luis “King Kong” Ortiz.
Stiverne, 38, wants his title shot and he will not let Wilder maneuver around him to take the fight against the Cuban Ortiz.
Wilder and Ortiz have reportedly been in discussions for a fight between them. It was thought that Stiverne would step aside so that the two unbeaten knockout artists could face each other, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen now.
“Try telling Bermane to step aside,” said Stiverne’s attorney Josh Dublin to ESPN.com. “One thing [Prince] and I believe in strongly is if a fighter needs his rights enforced, we’re going to do it. He is going to fight Deontay Wilder in his next fight and anyone who tries to infringe on his rights in any way will end up in litigation. We’ll do anything we can do to block Wilder-Ortiz or any other fight.”
So, there it is. Dublin is saying that Stiverne is not going to let the Wilder vs. Ortiz fight from taking place. Stiverne might be doing Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) a big favor by not letting him bypass their fight. Wilder, 31, would have tremendous problems against the 6’4” southpaw Ortiz’s power, talent and boxing skills if the two of them wound up facing each other.
I wouldn’t favor Wilder over Ortiz, even though the Cuban is starting to look kind of old at 38. Whether that’s Ortiz’s true age is unknown. What is known is that Ortiz looked pretty good in his last fight in stopping David Allen in an 8th round knockout.
Wilder beat Stiverne by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision two years ago in January 2015. That was a bad mismatch from start to finish. Stiverne has done precious little since then in only fighting just once in the last 2 years in beating Derric Rossey by a 10 round unanimous decision on November 14, 2015. Stiverne didn’t fight in 2016, and he still hasn’t fought in 2017.