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Wilder vs Stiverne II: Ringside report from Brooklyn

Michael Woods gives his thoughts from ringside from Saturday night’s big card in Brooklyn.

Deontay Wilder v Bermane Stiverne Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Deontay Wilder had the Barclays Center as buzzed as I recall it being in the five years I’ve covered fights there. Five minutes after his demolition job Saturday night, his assassination attempt on porky Bermane Stiverne, the joint still buzzed.

I was hopped up, and thinking now, now is the time to make Wilder versus AJ, because AJ was so-so in his last outing, against Carlos Takam, and Wilder was human hand grenade against Stiverne.

Make it now, stop the urge to marinate for millions more!

I was brought back to earth a bit by veteran fight writer Wallace Matthews, the NYC thru and thru scribe who shook his head in mild disgust at the effort put forth by Stiverne. Let me enjoy the buzz, Wallace, I implored, as I grilled promoter Lou Dibella about what comes next for the Bama slamma.

OK, Wallace allowed…but he’s not wrong.

Stiverne did himself and the sport no favors by being so pudgy, and he aided the conspiracy theorists who insist (maybe rightfully) that this ending was pre-ordained. Pre-planned, if not explicitly. Let us face it, Stiverne’s condition, his physique, spoke a volume coming in. He was porky, and I wanted to believe that wouldn’t matter. You maybe read my pieces talking to his trainer, Don House.

I think it a safe bet that he may have gloved up for the last time, and if so, no, he will not go out on a high note. His prep was poor, at least from a strength and conditioning perspective.

I was also at odds with an old fight friend, 40 years in the business, one of my Mass-hole pals, who told me before this fight that he didn’t like how Don King came to Brooklyn with “two lambs being led to slaughter.” He spoke of Eric Molina, who was stopped out by Dominic Breazeale in a heavyweight title shot WBC eliminator, and then Stiverne. I thought Molina gave his best effort, though, at least. Stiverne, yeah, he has some soul searching to do. Does King? I don’t think so; he’s 86, and, to me, looked and sounded in decent form this week in NY. He is who and what he is. I enjoyed seeing him, hearing him, like the stamp he puts on the sport. So, me and my Mass-hole buddy agree to disagree. But I see his points.

---Wilder was on a high post-fight, see here.

—I am wondering how the Jarrell Miller thing plays out. He fights next week, on Long Island, against Mariusz Wach. He’d be such a good match for Wilder, with the winner to get AJ. But is he steering toward the HBO lane? It looks like it, though he’s saying he’s a free agent all the way. Is HBO stockpiling funds to get an AJ versus Big Baby fight, try and win the next AJ bidding war with Showtime? Time tells…

—The Shawn Porter-Adrian Granados bout lived up to its billing in the realm of entertainment value. It was chippy, weird, and Granados upped his fanbase with his oozing machismo and gameness. He lost a couple from there when he said after that he thought he won. The post-fight from the Porters, Shawn and dad/trainer Kenny, was interesting.

Shawn admitted he hurt his jab hand midway through and was bewildered. He said he didn’t want to tell his pop it was hurting, and so he didn’t, for a few rounds. Then, he admitted it, and dad helped him come up with a plan. Dad said he thought about putting Shawn lefty but nah, he stayed righty and just avoided using the hurt hand, which he said might be fractured. Shawn, Kenny told assembled media at 1:10 am ET, had NEVER been hurt in boxing or football or anything, so he was in a scray place. But they adjusted, together, and solved Granados. It is clear Porter is pushing to get a crack at Keith Thurman again, and kinda sorta hints that Thurman isn’t the man he is, because Keith wants a rust-shedder before taking on an A grade foe.

—The crowd went into boo mode when Sergey Lipinets was announced a UD12 winner over Akihiro Kondo, and there was a wide discrepancy in how folks on press row had it. I saw the savvy Kazakh the clear winner, the better ring general, in control pretty widely. My man Mike Thompson of amNewYork saw it 8-4 for Lip and I liked that card. But the crowd saw a different fight, many of them. Maybe, we surmised, they were booing because they didn’t like the 119-110 card for Lip, believing the man from Japan deserved more love. Mebbe so; I admit to you I sometimes miss a second here and there when I look down and type! Oh, and Paul Malignaggi saw it 7-5 Lip and Steve Farhood a draw, so there ya go.

—Jarrell Miller, in action Nov. 11 at Nassau Coliseum, as referenced before, was in the house and worked the crowd. A TV exec and I chatted and talked about him, and I said I think I’d like to see him and Deontay Wilder fight soon, and that I thought this fight would draw attention. Two great talkers, both can crack. And I shared that I legit feel for Wilder, who gets frustrated that he isn’t better known outside the hardcore fight fanbase.

—Hank Lundy, the genial and talkative 135 pounder, came from PA to BK. He wants a name fighter to step up and test him. He said to call his promoter Jimmy Burchfield if you are game.

—Danny Aiello the thespian watched the scraps from great seats.

NOTE: I spoke to heavyweight Luis Ortiz before the card started, outside the building. His trainer Herman Caicedo told me their Friday meeting with the WBC had gone well, and they are hopeful sanctions against Ortiz for a PED positive will be minimized, because the Ortiz people brought documentation of his medical history, and presented how long he’d been using the medication which flagged red. Caicedo also told me that Team Ortiz is willing and able to do a test on his hair, which they say would prove he doesn’t have any anabolics in his sytem, and hasn’t for up to a year. They say a test can prove it but they need a sanctioning body or regulatory body to order it. They are, I repeat, open to that, he told me. Ortiz was supposed to be across from Wilder on this evening, but the PED positive eliminated him from participating.

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