With one of the most potentially explosive, must-see heavyweight matchups in recent history less than a month away, hard-hitting WBC World Champion Bermane “B. Ware” Stiverne and undefeated heavyweight contender Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder participated in a media teleconference call Thursday to discuss their eagerly anticipated heavyweight world title fight on Saturday, Jan. 17 live on SHOWTIME® at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. The two heavyweights were joined on the call by Hall of Fame boxing promoter Don King, President of Don King Productions and Eric Gomez, Senior Vice President of Golden Boy Promotions.
Stiverne-Wilder should be a gripping, intense encounter for as long as it lasts. Neither boxer is a fan of the other and, with a combined 54 knockouts in 58 fights, both heavy-handed heavyweights expect to triumph by knockout.
Since suffering his lone loss in July 2007, Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs), training out of Las Vegas, Nev., has emerged as one of the world’s most feared and destructive heavyweights. In his last 13 starts, the first-ever Haiti-born boxer to own a heavyweight crown is 12-0-1, with 10 of the victories coming inside the distance. Of his 21 knockouts, 18 came inside three rounds, with 14 of his knockouts coming in the initial three minutes.
The 6-foot-7 Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Ala., hasn’t come close to putting in a full night’s work. He has gone four full rounds just one time since turning pro in November 2008, knocking out all of his opponents all within the four-round range. The 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist and the last American male boxer to medal in The Olympics, Wilder has fought a total of just 58 rounds, an average of 1.8 rounds per outing. He’s registered 18 knockouts in the first round and eight in the second.
Tickets for the live event go on sale tomorrow, Dec. 19 at 10 a.m. PT and are priced at $500, $350, $250, $125 and $50, not including applicable service charges and taxes. Tickets are limited to eight (8) per person with a limit of four (4) at the $50 price range. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
Here’s what both fighters as well as Don King, Senior Vice President of Golden Boy Promotions, Eric Gomez, Executive Vice President & General Manager SHOWTIME Sports, Stephen Espinoza and manager Camille Estephan (Stiverne) had to say Thursday:
BERMANE STIVERNE, WBC Heavyweight World Champion
“To be a role model to the kids & people in Haiti is all motivation to me.
“He’s fought nobody, I always train like I’m fighting the best out there.
“As far as a game plan, all I can say is ‘Don’t Blink!’. Watch the action on Jan 17. I can show you better than I can tell you.
“The belt is great, it’s meant a lot but I’m still hungry. I still want more.
“Defending my title in Vegas at the MGM Grand is a dream. Nobody will beat me. This belt isn’t going anywhere. Jan. 17 is going to be a short night and it’s going to be painful.”
DEONTAY WILDER, Undefeated Heavyweight Contender & Mandatory Challenger
“I have a chance to shock the world and I just can’t wait for it.
“I think this is the most anticipated heavyweight bout in a long time, there’s a lot of energy in my home city [Tuscaloosa, Ala.].
“This is my time. This is me! I don’t want to be compared to other fighters. I want to build my own legacy.
“I’m not your average heavyweight I go to work all day, every day as if it’s my 9 to 5 job.
“I don’t get paid for overtime so why go all the way, that’s why I finish things early in the ring.
“I don’t want anyone to make excuses to me. I don’t want people to discredit me anymore. But the time has come to change that.
“I have heard nothing but excuses for my 32 wins by KO and when I get 33, I don’t want to hear anything about it.
“I can’t let my ultimate number one fan, my daughter, down on Jan17. I’m going to fulfill my promise to her to be world champ.
“I can’t wait! I’m so passionate about this fight. I wish it were tomorrow.
“I have no doubt at the end of this fight my hand will be raised as the new heavyweight champion of the world.”
DON KING, President of Don King Promotions
“This program is a return to glory, an American return to glory in the heavyweight division.
“The WBC Heavyweight champion, Bermane Stiverne versus mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder is going to be a great event and a fight for peace.
“This is a fight to bring boxing and the country back to where it should be and being able to bring the glory back to the heavyweight division, which has been lacking for quite a while now.
“It has been about 10 years since there was a heavyweight match here in America, so we are going to celebrate this at the MGM Grand.
“I feel that Bermane will give Wilder a lesson after they meet in their heavyweight fight for peace here at the MGM Grand.
“This fight for peace symbolizes the essence of America’s creed, freedom, justice, equality, liberty and peace, which makes all Americans proud and extremely grateful. I’m looking for bringing the heavyweight championship back to America and we are doing that.
“We are bringing boxing back to the people, the people is what it is all about.
“It’s heavyweight time, it’s America’s time on January 17! Tell the world!”
ERIC GOMEZ, Senior Vice President of Golden Boy Promotions
“Deontay Wilder finally gets his chance to fight for a world title. He is the number one ranked contender.
“He has won all of his fights by knockout, and is probably the most exciting American heavyweight boxer in the last 20 years.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive Vice President & General Manager SHOWTIME SPORTS
“It is an intriguing fight and the perfect way to kick off the New Year on SHOWTIME. This fight has been rumored for quite some time.
“The media demand is on par with a [Floyd] Mayweather fight. The Heavyweights are definitely back.
“This is one of the most highly anticipated fights in the U.S. in many years.
CAMILLE ESTEPHAN, Stiverne’s Manager
“I want to tell you what I believe. I do not like to put things politically correct, (32-0, 32 KOs) against who? We believe this [Deontay Wilder] is a choreographed career, very well done. Good job. But I believe Wilder will quickly realize that fighting at this level is a whole different universe, but by then it will be too late for him. Bermane will make a statement.
“Don’t blink guys, I really hope all the fans on this planet get to realize who the new Mike Tyson is.
“We earned this, we paid our dues, we waited a long time, we have been dodged by many for many years and blocked for many years. The time has come for people to realize that the most beautiful talent in boxing today is called Bermane Stiverne. We will show you on Jan. 17.”