House says Stiverne in five
When Don House, trainer of WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne, looks at their challenger on Saturday night, Deontay Wilder, he sees another athlete of the past who took up boxing at a relatively late stage after participating in other sports.
When asked if Wilder – who has the stature of a small forward – was just a basketballer with boxing gloves, House surmised, “Well, we kinda saw that with Seth Mitchell, a football player who wanted to be a boxer. And basically that’s the same thing with Deontay Wilder; he’s a basketball player who wants to be a boxer. I’ve always said, ‘Sometimes you can be too tall’; y’know what I mean? I mean, if you’re fighting a 6-foot-7 guy and both guys are that height, you’re going to see a boxing match.
“But [Wilder] gets somebody that has a great center of gravity that’s strong – look at Mike Tyson, that boy was 5’11 and giants were never a problem for him – but those guys, you just push them guys back. Most of them can’t fight backwards. Those tall guys have to throw long one-twos and if you’re dumb enough to stay out there – you should get hit with ’em.”
Wilder has an impressive mark of 32-0 with 32 knockouts but to say he’s been matched soft would be an insult to Charmin.
“Well, you know how this game works; he’s been over-protected,” House opined on Tuesday morning. “I understand they want to create a champion, an American heavyweight, but unfortunately I think they’ve protected him a little bit too much. You don’t get to this level and decide, ‘Hey, I want to fight for a world title.’ I think he should’ve been tested first.”
This fight is for the right for either fighter to call himself the second best big man in boxing behind the dominant Wladimir Klitschko. Wilder got this opportunity as he was named the WBC’s mandatory challenger. As this fight took awhile to be finalized (and it was only announced about a month ago), there were whispers that perhaps Wilder would pull a Peter Quillin, who vacated his WBO middleweight and turned down a $1.4 million payday to face Matt Korobov. Like “Kid Chocolate,” Wilder is advised by Al Haymon.
As he put pen to paper, House admits, “Yeah, I as totally surprised that [Wilder] actually signed on the dotted line.”
So the fight is here and in the lead-up, Wilder has been downright disrespectful to the defending beltholder in the lead-up to this fight. House says, “I think when you get these guys that run their mouths and talking, I mean, this is just his 15 minutes, so my hat’s off to him. Enjoy your 15 minutes [of fame]; Bermane doesn’t pay attention to it. The minute they forced this guy on us, I got pissed off, ‘Why they gonna force this guy on us? He hasn’t earned the right.’ Bermane is the one who said, ‘Don’t worry about it, I’ll fight him.’
“Fine with me, so since then, Deontay’s been running his mouth and talking a lot of trash and only thing he’s done is dug himself in a hole. I mean, he done woke Bermane up. He pissed him off to a point where – y’know what? – maybe he should’ve kept his mouth closed.”
If you include his amateur experience, Stiverne is the more seasoned boxer (even with just 26 professional bouts under his belt) but he is 36 years old. The variable is that in 2012, 2013 and 2014, he has fought just once a year (yeah, that’s life with Don King nowadays) but House believes there is plenty left in the tank.
“He’s a young 36,” said House, who says laughing. “In fact, sometimes when we go out, they I.D. him. He’s a young 36. He hasn’t been in a lot of wars; he hasn’t been beat up. But I think he’s right where he needs to be. He’s mature enough; he’s relaxed enough. He’s not flamboyant. He take this game very serious. I think he’s matured since the Ray Austin fight [in June of 2011], so he’s come a long way.”
The veteran trainer believes he has a fighter who is coming into his own and has a renewed sense of self-assurance now that he has a championship belt in his possession.
“Right now, he does and it took him beating Chris Arreola the first time out to get that, to build that confidence up and once he beat Chris the second time, he then realized, ‘Y’know what? I belong here; I can to this. I can be the heavyweight world champion. I can carry this belt like a Muhammad Ali, a Mike Tyson, the [Evander] Holyfields – I belong here,'” said House, who is shy about laying out their in-ring blueprint this weekend.
“Listen, I’m gonna tell you the strategy; it’s a very simple strategy. I met some drunk guy here at the casino six months ago, gave me the perfect strategy: Get inside. Break him down. Break the body down. Get up under that jab and overhand right. It’s a very simple plan. There’s no secret here,” said House, chuckling at the thought.
He added that his charge was “gonna take it to him” and not to expect Stiverne to lay on the ropes as he did against Arreola. Wilder brings a different riddle to solve “because he’s long and just in case the right hand is real, you don’t want to take that chance.”
As for his forecast on the fight, House says, “Well, I would like to take him into deep waters, six, seven, eight, nine [rounds] , Bermane don’t want to take him no more than three or four rounds. So there we are.”
So there will be a compromise between the trainer and fighter.
“So if you add the two together, seven plus three is ten. Hey, five rounds.”
Here’s the 2015 debut of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly:
A heavyweight bout between Steve Cunningham and Vyacheslav Glazkov has been finalized as the HBO co-feature in support of Sergey Kovalev-Jean Pascal on March 14 in Montreal…According to Boxingscene.com, NBC’s new boxing series debut will have Keith Thurman-Robert Guerrero and Adrien Broner-John Molina. Hey, that’s a good start. Speaking of which, here’s a story on this development from the New York Times: NBC Sports Will Present Boxing in Prime Time…Can Urban Meyer coach ’em up or what? And how good is the Buckeyes fourth string QB?….OK, “Empire” on FOX looks like it’s worth giving a shot…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at http://twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at http://instagram.com/steveucnlive and I can now also be found at www.tsu.co/steveucnlive.