My previous article mentioned the importance of the numbers game, and how winning it usually wins you a match.
I should have added a disclaimer: This does not extend to heavyweight fighting.
From a statistical standpoint, Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs, Bermane pronounced “Burr-man”) had his ass handed to him. The majority of the fight he was perched against the ropes, gloves up, receiving blow after blow from Cristobal Arreola (36-4-0, 31 KOs). Stiverne, however, never seemed fazed even when things looked darkest for him, continuing to talk trash and taunt Arreola throughout the fight.
One thing bothered me at the end of round one – Stiverne landed a lightning-fast right hook to Arreola’s temple, sending the Mexican-American back and clearly hurting him. This moment foreshadowed the end of the fight five rounds later.
“The Nightmare” came out in Round 2 aggressively punching Stiverne and pushing him back to the ropes. The blowhard Teddy Atlas made a good point around this time – Arreola was keeping his head in the middle and not moving it at all. One extremely powerful hit directly between the gloves into Stiverne’s face (which would have knocked most boxers out, imo) didn’t seem to faze Stiverne at all. It was later revealed by Stiverne that the punch mainly impacted his lip, cutting it but doing no damage elsewhere.
The rest of the fight proceeded in similar fashion. “B. WARE” took many hits to the gloves and a few uppercuts to the chin, but as he stated in the post-fight interview, it seems this was intentional as he wanted Arreola to get comfortable. Then, in round six, another very fast right hook to the temple caused Arreola to lose balance and fall to the ground. Arreola would be knocked down and get up once more before the ref stopped the fight with a minute remaining in the sixth round.
Wladimir Klitschko (62-3-0, 52 KOs) has stated that he wanted to fight the winner of this bout, and so it is looking like Stiverne will either fight Klitschko in a unification bout or defend his new title against the physically impressive 6’7″ 28-year-old Deontay Wilder (31-0-0, 31 KOs), a fantastic boxer out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This will be by far the toughest fight for Wilder, who has knocked outSEVENTEEN opponents in the first round.
IMAM MAKES IT LOOK EASY
The impressive Amir Imam (14-0-0, 12 KOs) handled Yordenis Ugas (15-3, 7 KOs) relatively easily in an 8-round bout.
This was the only televised undercard, but it was entertaining nonetheless as the 23-year-old Amir Imam (14-0-0, 12 KOs) put on a clinic for ESPN viewers on a Saturday night co-feature. Yordenis Ugas (15-3, 7 KOs) was very unimpressive to me all night as he missed several punches and allowed the younger light welterweight to control the fight.
Teddy Atlas had the fight scored 30-27 in Ugas’s favor by the end of the third, but honestly I thought that was completely off-base. Imam clearly established he was the better boxer by the second round, using his range to keep Ugas at bay and using his excellent quickness and elusiveness to dodge the majority of his opponent’s power punches. He demonstrated great vision and I believe he is one of the best light welterweights fighting right now. Imam’s taller 5’11 frame can clearly support more good weight, and I think he will move up divisions as he ages.
Those unfamiliar with this young man need to watch This Video as he knocked Jared Robinson (14-1-0, 6 KOs) clean through the ropes and out of the ring with a powerful 1-2 left jab-right hook. Imam’s impressive defensive skills were put on display on ESPN2 on Saturday night, and hopefully we will get to see him showcase his skillset against some top-tier competition in the months to come.
As eyes turn towards the next major PPV fight – Canelo Alvarez vs. Erislandy Lara on July 12th – keep your eye on First and Monday as we promise to post more exciting boxing content between now and then.