Bermane Stiverne dropped Chris Arreola hard in the third round of their first fight, then broke the Mexican-American's nose, but couldn't quite put Arreola away in a bloody slugfest last April on HBO. This time, with the fight being featured in primetime on ESPN, Stiverne states that he plans on ending the rematch before the final bell has a chance to sound.
Here's what Stiverne had to say, via RingTV.com:
"Everything's a target, his nose and everything. The way that I've trained for this fight, it's not going the distance. I'm training the same way that I did the first camp but this time, I'm doing it even better. No injuries. I feel good; I feel great. I just feel like, for probably the first time in my career, I'm confident in a really great performance."
"What can I say? As far as I'm concerned, I'm still the underdog because, apparently, [Arreola] couldn't fight because his nose was broken. But even if that wasn't the case, I was still boxing the hell out of him. Chris just loves to fight. He fights with his balls and his heart. He's not even fighting with his head. That's my advantage. If I want to bang with him, I can bang with him.
"But even if I was to bang with him, I believe that I'm stronger and faster than him. Let's not talk about boxing because I can do a clinic on him. Like I said, underdog or not, I'm going in there confident and I will win the fight by knockout. When it comes, I don't know. But Chris will bring the best out of me in this fight. Trust me. It will not go the distance. What round, I don't know. That's up to him."
Stiverne really beat Arreola down the first time. It was a little surprising because Arreola was seen as a good contender, but got pretty well raked over by Stiverne, who appeared to have the faster hands. Arreola also suffered from a busted nose early in the fight, and just never seemed to be able to fully get the momentum. For a modern heavyweight fight, it was contested at a quick pace and is worth a watch if you weren't able to catch it last April.
It's random that ESPN would show this in primetime but, truthfully, these guys could put on a good fight. Neither is a big name, of course, but I would rather see action than a showcase like Wladimir Klitschko's junk.