ESPN has reportedly bought the rights to televised the rematch between heavyweights Chris Arreola (36-3, 31 KO’s) and Bermane Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KO’s) on May 10th in their fight for the vacant WBC heavyweight title at a still to be determined venue. For boxing fans this is a big deal because they won’t need an expensive premium channel like HBO or Showtime to see the fight now that ESPN will televise it.
While it sounds nice that ESPN was able to purchase the fight to televise on their network, it gives you an idea of how much interest HBO and Showtime had in televising the fight. Believe me, if they had wanted to show the fight, they would have purchased it.
Stiverne and Arreola fought last year in April in a fight that was televised by HBO, and obviously the ratings weren’t high enough for them to want to televise a second fight between them. Stiverne knocked Arreola to the canvas in the 3rd round, and broke his nose in the same round. From that point on, Stiverne totally dominated Arreola in winning an easy 12 round unanimous decision.
As bad as Arreola looked in the fight, it’s very difficult to picture him doing any better in the rematch. His fighting style is too primitive for him to beat a boxer/puncher like Stiverne unless he makes major changes to his game by the time they face each other on May 10th.
It’s kind of controversial that the World Boxing Council picked Arreola out as Stiverne’s next opponent given that he already fought him last year and beat him easily. The WBC should have arguably picked another contender out like Deontay Wilder and had him fighting Stiverne. Not only would it make a lot more sense in that fight taking place, but it would also be better for boxing fans.
Why see another Arreola-Stiverne fight when their previous bout was so one-sided and it happened just last year? I guess the WBC has their reasons for making that strange call, but I have a feeling that ESPN’s ratings will be poor for this one. There’s real suspense in who’s going to win the fight because Stiverne had Arrreola so outclassed last time.
Arrreola has fought once since then in stopping Seth Mitchell in the 1st round last September in a predictable mismatch.
Hopefully this is the last time the WBC orders Arreola and Stiverne to fight, because they really don’t need to fight anymore. It’s silly and pointless.