Although WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder has been in talks with Luis Ortiz for a heavyweight showdown, mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne continues to provide a serious obstacle that prevents it from happening.
Stiverne has recently enlisted James Prince and attorney Josh Dublin as co-managers (both who are best known for representing Andre Ward) and Dublin insists that Stirverne has no intention of taking any step-aside agreement to allow Wilder-Ortiz to come to fruition. Stiverne wants his mandatory title shot straight away.
"Try telling Bermane to step aside," Dubin said. "One thing [Prince] and I believe in strongly is if a fighter needs his rights enforced, we're going to do it. He is going to fight Deontay Wilder in his next fight and anyone who tries to infringe on his rights in any way will end up in litigation. We'll do anything we can do to block Wilder-Ortiz or any other fight."
Stiverne fought Wilder back in early 2015, losing the WBC title to him in a rather lopsided match. In fact the fight was so lopsided that a rematch between the fighters has no real commercial viability, with no network even interested in purchasing the fight. But as far as Stiverne is concerned, that’s Wilder’s problem — he just wants the fight that’s owed to him as mandatory challenger.
So as good as a fight Wilder-Ortiz is at face-value, there’s little likelihood that it happens in the immediate future if Stiverne is unwilling to budge — which appears to be the case. Wilder may well need to take care of Stiverne first in a small, untelevised title fight if push comes to shove. That or make Stiverne a monetary offer that he simply can’t refuse.