So after many many years, we will finally crown a world heavyweight champion not named Klitschko! Vitali, who’s been the WBC title holder since 2008, has stepped down to pursue his politics aspirations (not sure if he’s still happy with his decisions considering what is happening right now in Ukraine but I won’t dive in that subject). We will now get to see Bermane ¨B-Ware¨ Stiverne and Chris ¨The Nightmare¨ Arreola battle it out for the now vacant belt.
All indications points to Villahermosa, Mexico to be where this fight is going to take place. Even though Villahermosa is a town with only 600 000 residents and that no title fight we’re ever held in that venue, it looks like they got the highest bid and that it will indeed take place there. So we are now only couple of months away from that scrap but still, it do not seem to get the attention that it should get. It seems that everyone’s talking about the likes of Deontay Wilder, Tyson and Hughie Fury or Derrick Chisora when this is the big heavyweight clash! So let’s breakdown this matchup.
Arreola, the American, will try to bring the world championship to the United States where it hasn’t been for more than 6 years! It’s been a really long time since Shannon Briggs became WBO heavyweight champion by beating Siarhei Liakhovich (and eventually lost in his first title defense against Russia Sultan Ibragimov). This will be the second time in his career that Arreola bids at a world title as he tried but got outpointed badly in 2009 taking on Vitali Klitschko.
So what do Arreola has going for him. Well first of all, he comes back from a big knockout win versus compatriot Seth Mitchell in the first round. Even though Mitchell is not known as a big contender in the division, that win still gives him some kind of momentum heading in the fight with Stiverne. ¨The Nightmare¨ needed that one as he was just coming of his upset lost against that same Stiverne. He also has experience on his side. Even though he only fought once for the big prize, Chris has a bigger resume with fighting top-tier opponents with the likes of Klitschko and Adamek. Fighting on the big stage is not new for him and we should expect that we won’t make the same mistakes twice against the Haitian born slugger.
On the other side, Stiverne, who has not lost since 2007, is the number 1 contender for the belt. He will try to become the first Haitian born heavyweight champion of the world and that is a big deal for him. Now living and fighting from Quebec, Canada, Stiverne finally gets his shot at a belt after patiently waiting more than 2 years as a mandatory challenger. Indeed, Stiverne knocked out Ray Austin in 2011 in a WBC title eliminator bout but the fight with world champion Klitschko never materialized. He had to win another eliminator last year to, again, have a chance at the big Ukrainian. For obvious reasons, that match never took place which leads to the fight we are all waiting for.This will be Bermane first attempt at a world title.
So what should we expect of this title fight? Well, first of all, we should expect a closer fight than the first one where Stiverne, completely dominated Arreola from the beginning to the end. There is also no doubt that Stiverne is now considered to be the favorite heading in. We have to remember that in the first clash between those two, Arreola was a 4 to 1 favorite over ¨B-Ware¨. Indeed, Stiverne came in as a big underdog and surprised everyone, including Arreola who probably underestimated Stiverne power and in-ring abilities. Chris still showed a lot of toughness battling through and staying alive for 12 rounds. He was badly hurt at multiple times in the fight, was down in the 3rd, got his nose broken , got bullied for a majority of the rounds, but still managed to make Stiverne work till the end. I really think that this time around, Arreola will be more prepared than he was the first time around and that could definitely change the outcome of the next bout. As for the intangibles, it’s heading in Arreola’s favor as he will be the crowd favorite in Mexico. There’s also the fact that Stiverne has not fought for more than 1 year which may cause some ring rust for the big Haitian.
But with all that in mind, I still give the decision to Stiverne. He won rather handily last April and I don’t see how ¨The Nightmare¨ can change so drastically the outcome in just 1 year. Bermane mentioned that this time around, ¨he will knock Arreola ass out¨, but I don’t see that happening. Arreola took a hell of a beating in their last encounter but managed to stay on his feet.
I also don’t see him being as dominated as he was a year ago and expect this to go once again to the judge’s score cards. We should expect a really great fight with fireworks from the beginning to the end. Let’s say that I’m just glad that finally, we will get to see a change in the heavyweight scenery as the division was just really boring for the last couple of years with the Klitschko’s at the top of the hill.
Who do you guys think will walk out as the undisputed champ?