Bermane Stiverne's HBO debut could have gone a lot better, but the tentative Haitian/Canadian got the win with a 10th round stoppage of journeyman Ray Austin to open the Boxing After Dark broadcast this evening.
Austin (28-6-4, 18 KO) was controlling much of the fight just by using his 6'5" jab, even when it wasn't landing, and was at times taking Stiverne (21-1-1, 20 KO) to school. But in the end, it was the occasionally-demonstrated power of the 32-year-old Stiverne that made the difference.
Stiverne is now in line to fight the winner of the September 10 fight between WBC titlist Vitali Klitschko and Tomasz Adamek, which based on this fight would be a complete mismatch, as Stiverne impressed almost nobody. Yes, he has power, but his overall game is very limited, and having trouble with a fighter on Austin's level is just not a good sign. He's still somewhat a work in progress as a football import, but I don't see how you could watch this fight and think he's ready for Klitschko or Adamek. But then, I didn't understand how this was a "Silver" title eliminator fight anyway, so that's heavyweight boxing for you.
All in all, just another dreadful heavyweight fight.
Our live coverage continues here, with Tavoris Cloud vs Yusaf Mack coming next.