DAILY SPORT brings you the Deontay Wilder and Bermane Stiverne conference call Q & A ahead of their WBC world heavyweight title clash next Saturday [Nov 4]
Thanks everybody for joining us for this call for the November 4 SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING show live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
This card is headlined by the Heavyweight Championship of the World — the WBC Heavyweight Championship of the World — between Deontay Wilder the champion, and the mandatory challenger for his title — Bermane Stiverne.
This card is also featuring “Showtime” Shawn Porter against Adrian Granados in a fight that figures to be extremely exciting. Sergey Lipinets will fight for a World Title on the SHOWTIME portion of the card, and there will be a sensational undercard that we’ll be talking more about in the near future.
By the way, tickets are on sale at TicketMaster.com, BarclaysCenter.com, the Barclays Center Box Office, and we urge as many people as possible to show up. It’s a rare opportunity to see a World Heavyweight Championship Fight in New York City in Brooklyn.
In my mind, this is an extremely dangerous fight. He has been preparing for a career defining fight against Luis Ortiz — an unorthodox left-handed puncher — a guy that he was really mentally revved up to fight. And instead he’s winding up with a rematch of a fight against Bermane Stiverne — a guy that’s been in this kind of situation before who’s a legitimate dangerous heavyweight contender.
Frankly, in this situation, Bermane Stiverne has absolutely nothing to lose. And he must feel like this is Christmas Day. He was already preparing for a large right-handed opponent in Breazeale; he was going to be on that same card. It’s now switched over to a fight that you have to think maybe Deontay is a little bit deflated to be forced to fight. But Bermane is the mandatory contender, and that’s the fight that’s going to happen.
I know that he’s confident and I also know that he’s dangerous. And I know that it’s all upside here for Bermane Stiverne and very little pressure. So Bermane, would you say a few words please and then we’ll open it up for questions for you?
Well I’m happy to be on the call. I had just a perfect training camp which was an exceptional training camp. So it was just a matter of time. I have a few days left to finish up this camp.
I always thought that the fight was never going to happen with Deontay and Ortiz — if you asked me from the moment they announced the fight. The first thing I said is, “This fight is not going to happen. And I’ve got to get ready for Deontay.”
That’s exactly what I said. You can ask anybody in my camp. You can ask my manager, that’s what I told him.
Deontay, you were preparing for a completely different fight. This isn’t the fight that you thought you’d be fighting.
I think with that there’s always a little better risk because you’re adjusting to a new opponent. But you want to just say a few words and tell everybody where your head is at right now?
Well my head is in a peaceful state of mind. I still sit back now and still just analyze my career and I’ll just sit back and just think. I’m like what have I done — what have I done so wrong to get the bad of the stick with every fight that comes in.
All I ever wanted was to fight the best. When I say I am the best, that it shows not only on the record but all the way around as a person.
It just saddens me. Man, it just saddens me. It makes me reevaluate my career. It almost made me lose the love of boxing for a little bit as well too because of certain things and activities that has been known in this sport with these guys avoiding or wanting to get on bad substances when they know they’re not supposed to be taking it in the first place, .
That’s the thing about it. You take it in the first place, and you make up excuses, and then the blame is pointed at me. It’s starting to sicken me.
I don’t want to feel this way about boxing because I was once in love with it and it’s starting to make me rethink my career. Am I better out of this sport than in this sport because of this stuff that’s going on? Am I that dangerous to other fighters’ careers that they feel they have to do certain things when it comes to Deontay Wilder? I just want to be proven wrong, man. I just want to be proven wrong.
But then you have on the other hand, a man that has animosity, that have hate in his heart for me for no reason at all.
The ring is the judge and the people are the jury. And in the ring I prove my case. Outside the jury, they prove their case.
I’m so happy that I’m able to get my mandatory out of the way. It’s been almost three years and Bermane has just been focused on me instead of building his reputation; instead of building his career as a fighter.
He’s just been focused on this one man and his name is Deontay Wilder and I don’t understand it; I don’t understand it.
But at the end of the day, all fighters get what they ask for. They get what they ask for. And come November 4, he asked for it and he shall receive. We must do what we have to do. If he feels like he’s ready, then we shall see.
This time around, I don’t want no excuses. I can’t deal with the excuses no more, man. I’m tired of the excuses; I’m tired of being the blame.
I’m just ready to get this behind me and just past me and to see what’s next.
How important is it to you to try to set the record straight — to take care of him like you’ve done the other 37 opponents?
It plays hand-in-hand. The first time around, my heart desired the knock out. But in reality it was the best for me to be able to go 12 rounds. It was the best thing to ever happen to me in my career because even to that point, a lot of people doubted me.
A lot of people said what I couldn’t do but nobody says what I can and can’t do because they’re not me. They don’t train; they don’t bust their ass every day in the gym. Lay in the bed because you’re sore and you can’t really get a good position of sleep because your body is so sore. Only God and myself can do that.
So when Bermane was able to last 12 rounds, it was a blessing for me because I proved to so many people what I can do instead of them looking negative at me of what I can’t do.
So this time around it comes in, it makes it even better because now I can redeem myself. I showed you all what I can do. And now I’m coming back around completing what I meant to do in the first place. So it plays hand-in-hand.
If you could change something — if you could be 38 and 0 with 38 knockouts instead of 37 — would you take that? If you had a vote and you could change that, would you do it?
No, no, no because it’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing – my record – the things I’m able to do, my power is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because I know I’ve got the ability and I’m capable of doing so many great things for the history of boxing.
But it’s a curse because I’ve got so many guys that have kind of ruined my career a bit. It’s a curse to have so much power. It’s a curse to have a record like that because even the best, they get fearful of that. They get scared and frightened because they know that, damn, at this point in time this guy is very dangerous and he can end everything that I got going for myself.
And that’s what I’ve seen throughout my career. So it’s a blessing and a curse because if anybody else had my record they’d be looked on as a God.
Let’s face it. If I had their record, I’d be still be the same old me. And that’s the frustrating part about it.
Given your inactivity and the age factor how can you be better in this fight?
They’re not factors to me. Those factors are for people like you and the people that’s out there.
Age is nothing but a number. I can’t say that I’m not inactive. I mean when it comes to fighting to be in the ring, you could say that. But as far as being inactive, I haven’t been inactive; I’ve been in the gym all day every day.
And the fight with Rossy, that wasn’t even a fight that I wanted to take. I just took the fight just because. The past three years since I lost the fight, there’s only one fight that I’m interested in — which is the fight that’s happening on November 4.
I determined when I fought Rossy, I was still trying to digest the loss. I might have been there physically, but mentally or psychologically, it was not really the case.
When you look at it right now all that is in the past. That was then and this is now. And like people are trying to say that my inactivity is going to hurt me or things they be saying, I don’t believe so.
You’re talking about the past and what happened in the past, it’s not something that I’m interested in. So the first fight, we all know what happened. Everybody that knows me that knows how I fight, that knows Bermane Stiverne, they know that wasn’t me.
But hey, I’m not trying to look for excuses, but what I’m telling you is this second fight is going to be a whole lot different fight. There’s going to be a whole different ending.
What was the reason that there were no fights for you at all in the calendar year of 2016?
I was scheduled to fight in 2016. I got injured and I had to pull out in different fights.
I can’t remember which card it was going to be, but it was set. I was set to fight in 2016 two times. The first time I got injured, my ankle and I had to pull out. And then I came back. I got ready and I got injured again, so I had to pull out again. And that’s what happened.
I had some time to rest. I was actually in the wheelchair right before going to camp for Povetkin. I think I was in the chair for about 11 weeks. I don’t have any injuries. This fight right here has no excuses.
I’m 110% ready mentally and physically. I’m really happy that it happened the way it happened. There was just something there that I knew this was going to happen.
How do you avoid a letdown going into this rematch?
This is just another obstacle that I had to deal with, that I had to face. I put so much into it. Ortiz had been wanting it; he wanted this fight to happen. I never thought in a million years that he would do what he did.
No matter what they say, it was done; it was a banned substance. You can’t get around that. You all make mistakes in there because they tried to get their leverage. There are a lot of guys that are doing it though. I know each and every last one of them. There’s a lot of them doing it.
What’s the point of coming out and saying who’s doing it when at the end of the day, if you are caught doing it, what’s the punishment?
This is really nothing. When you can take care of that and get back in the ring and still be an actual contender or become a mandatory or something like that.
At the end of the day, money is money. Money comes and goes. Money comes and goes. It’s not everything. More money more problems at the end of the day.
Are you going to take time to either watch the Anthony Joshua fight, pay attention to the result of the Anthony Joshua fight, and if so what are you looking for and how much is it difficult to not look past Stiverne knowing that that’s the really huge fight in the Heavyweight Division that everybody wants to see?
Well, of course I’m going to look at it. I definitely look at the guys at the top of the division. Anybody say they don’t watch, then they’re lying. Of course I’m going to look and see what’s going on and see how this person did against this person, and so forth and so on.
The ultimate goal is to get Joshua. We’re not just going to be sitting up here and doing this and doing that. I don’t see what’s the difference between me and any other guy.
Joshua say he need more time; he ain’t ready. He wants to put himself in a better position. But you already fought a guy that got way more experience than I.
I don’t understand this sport when it comes to me. It feels like I’m better off not being in this sport than being in it. I don’t understand it.
All this stuff has just been a buildup for me. But I can handle it well though. I can handle it so well and I can’t wait. All this needs to be released. Unfortunately for Bermane Stiverne, come November 4th, it will be released.
I just want to prove to the world that I am the best. That’s all I want to do. That’s all I want to do.
I don’t care about who’s the A side, who’s the B side, where the fight’s going to be. I don’t care about that stuff, just me in the ring.
Bermane, you said earlier in the call that you knew all along that the Wilder-Ortiz fight would not happen. Can you tell us why you felt that way?
I can’t really tell you why, but it was just something that I believed that was going to happen. Knowing Ortiz, I know Ortiz since 2004. So, he’s always been who he is right now.
So I don’t know. I mean the first thought I had when I decided they were trying to have this fight going on and I finally made the decision to just move to the side and let them have the fight. And I guarantee you, this fight ain’t gone happen. And that’s exactly what happened. If I’m lying, my manager can tell you if I’m lying.
I handpicked Dominic Breazeale. They offered me a bunch of other fighters and I told them that for this to be a deal or whatever they want to call it, I want Breazeale.
And they gave me Breazeale. But, I always told my trainer, let’s get ready for Wilder because that fight ain’t going to happen. And that’s exactly what happened.
Bermane, you were saying earlier that your training camp for this fight has been different than your first training camp, when you fought Deontay the first time. Can you tell us what’s been different about it, and how it’s been better?
Just, the people that surround me. The intensity of the workouts. I feel better. Just the workouts and the people we decided to deal with. Everything is so different, man. I feel better. Obviously there’s a couple of mistakes that we made for the first fight. One thing I’m good at man, is not to repeat my mistakes.
What would it mean for you to be able to become the first person to beat Deontay?
This is something I’ve always said. That I would be the first one to beat him. I would be the first one to beat him, whether he likes it or not. That’s something that will happen November 4th.
It’s satisfaction. Something that should have happened the first fight. But things happen. And that was then, and this is now. This is a different Bermane Stiverne. So, a lot of people will want to base their opinion on the first fight. Some people will be very hurt and very surprised on November 4th.
How do you think it plays out in terms of your fight against Deontay being a harder fight the second time?
Well, I said that because Deontay, he been saying that he doesn’t want to fight me again because he won so easily. Or he made a statement and all that.
We all know, like I said before, anybody that knows me, knows how I fight and that night, it wasn’t me. It wasn’t me. Unfortunately, I lost the title because of my health. Not because he was better than me. And, that’s where we’re at.
I was saying the first time I fought Arreola. I tried to take him out the first fight. And we all know how Arreola’s a real fighter. True warrior. And who would want to fight him again? He was a tough task.
So, when they announced that I was going to have to fight him again that’s not something that I really wanted because of how hard the task was. But I pulled up my pants and went back to the gym and worked.
We all know what happened in the second fight. I knocked him out.
Wilder can talk about anything, all he wants, and I know it plays in the back of his head. He’s trying knock me out. It didn’t happen. It didn’t happen on my worst day. It didn’t happen when I was sick. And it sure won’t happen November 4th. That’s what I’m saying.
Deontay, how do you feel about what Bermane said about being sick and that being the reason that he lost the fight?
Well, I told people before the fight happened, I said, don’t make excuses. People don’t want to hear excuses. They want a winner and they want a loser. And if the person that wins, wins then it’s noted. It’s dated, what happened. The facts are the facts.
But the person that loses, nobody wants to hear the reason. Nobody want to hear an explanation of how you lost or why you lost. They just want to hear you say hey, I admit it, I lost. But I’m going to try my best the next time. That won’t be the last of me. I’m coming back. I promise.
People respect that even more. Because the thing about it, people don’t like a loser that contradicts themselves. One minute you’re good, you’re healthy. You’re talking so confidently. And then when the time to fight happens, all of a sudden something just so dramatically happens in the ring.
I’m at peace. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say he did get dehydrated and stuff like that. Well, come November 4th, he got an opportunity to redeem yourself.
And for that reason, I’m happy for him. He says he’s happy. So hey, I’ve been through a lot of happiness obtaining this belt. And it seems on his end he’s only suffered headaches and pain and heartaches.
So, if this fight brings some type of comfort or relief or happiness that shall come upon him, then may God be with him. But, come that night November the 4th, I don’t see anything being different. I don’t see – if anything, the only thing that’s going to be different is it’s much easier. It’s going to be a much easier fight.
When you get in the ring with somebody you’re fighting the first time, you get everything. We went 12 rounds, so we know each other. And we know what the outcome was.
So, the second time around, why would it be any different? If he feels that he has something over me; he feels that he’s seen something that he can exploit in this fight come the second time around, what do you think I have? What do you think I see?
It’s been almost three years. I’m better. My mind is better. My mind is a different state of being. I’m at peace. My mind is totally at a different state. I’m happy for him and, we shall see. He said, it’s no more excuses after this and, I hope it’s not. Because I’m tired of it, man.
If this fight happens the same way, the first time happened or worse, who looks like the fool at the end of the day?
You all can put this at the top of the headlines. Because the way I’m feeling about boxing right now, if Bermane Stiverne beats me, I will retire. You can put that down. I will be out of the way.
Boxing ain’t got to worry about me no more because it ain’t really doing no good anyway. Nobody want to fight. All I wanted to do was prove that I am the best. The best don’t want to fight so, what’s the point of me being in this sport?
If Bermane beats me you all don’t have to hear about me no more. I’m done. I’m done. That’s how serious it gets. It doesn’t get no more serious than that. So, let the games begin.
Bermane how could you say that you took his best shots when he broke his hand in the third round? And why do you say that he’s scared of you?
Everything that he gave me, I ate it like breakfast, as a sick man in the ring. You see what I’m saying?
I lost the fight; I lost the fight. But I’m tired of talking about the first fight. Of course, I believe I’m going to win. It doesn’t matter if you fight the same guy five times, who they put before you is who you fight. You don’t cry and talk about I want this fight, I want that fight. Whoever they put in front of you, that’s who fight.
I didn’t cry when they brought back Arreola. I took Arreola. I didn’t cry. I didn’t run. I didn’t talk, I took him. I shut my mouth and went back to the gym and fought him again for a second time. That’s what a true champion does.
Even though you’ve got a fight the same person three, four times, they don’t matter. A champion shuts his mouth and do what he’s got to do; fight. It doesn’t matter.
The man couldn’t knock me out. Nobody can knock me out. Nobody. It won’t happen. It never happened, even though it says on my record, nobody knocked me out, ever. And that will not happen November 4, whether it’s you or anybody else; anybody else. And right now, I don’t even feel like I want to talk to anybody. I want you all to come and talk to me after the fight. That’s what I want.
Any question, you all got to come and ask me after the fight. Because I bet you, the questions you have for me, won’t be the same questions you have, right now. I guarantee you that.
Everybody can talk whatever they want to talk. It doesn’t even matter. Me talking right now, him talking right now, it doesn’t even matter. It doesn’t matter. Words don’t matter. What matters is what happens on November 4th. That’s what matters.
He could say he could knock me out. I could say I’m going to knock him out. It doesn’t matter. It does not matter. What matters is what happens on November 4th. That’s what happens. That’s what matters.
Deontay, you heard the challenger there. Are you scared of him? And did he eat everything you threw at him like he was eating breakfast?
Well, the world knows that I’m not scared of Bermane. Bermane don’t have nothing that he possesses that makes me fear him.
In fact, not only just him, I’m not scared of no man on this earth. I’m too protected by God to be scared of any man. If I was scared, I wouldn’t be in this sport.
If I was scared I wouldn’t have called out every name; the best of the best. Who people said was the best. If I was scared I would never have done that. If I was scared I would never have said hey, I’m going to lose money to let this man step aside and let me fight who’s considered the fucking best in this sport if I was scared of a man.
Scared is not in my definition. I ain’t even scared of death, so why would I be scared of a human being? Because death is something that is promised to us that we cannot avoid.
We can only hope and pray that God extend our life on this earth. But death shall come. The only way we can deal with death is to prepare for it. That’s it.
So, why would I be scared? And for him to say he ate my punches for breakfast, then guess what. I hope you left room for lunch baby. I hope you left room for lunch. Because we don’t want to hear no excuses. I don’t have no problems fighting him again.
It wasn’t the fact that I had a problem. My big issue that was with Bermane was that he hasn’t fought in almost three years, compared to me. I didn’t think that was fair to him.
I didn’t think it was fair because I know what I’m capable of doing. I know what I’ve been doing. I’ve been very active but, he hasn’t. And that was the main reason.
If he felt like he’s ready, I don’t have no problems – and this is what it boils down to right now. He was my mandatory so, I couldn’t get around him. No way, form, or fashion, if we follow behind the WBC rules.
Nobody was trying to avoid him at all. I just wanted him to get more fights – it didn’t even have to be credible opponents. I just wanted him to fight more people so when the time would come with me, I don’t want no excuses. I don’t want people to say, well this and that. Or he didn’t fight nobody.
I didn’t want him to get discredited nor did I want to get discredited because, I know how it is. Look at it. I’ve done all the right things in boxing. Now, what have I done wrong?
And I still get criticized. I’m still the one that get the blame. I still, still, still, still. It ain’t the point of me not wanting to fight him. It’s the point of me wanting him to be in full health, spirit wise and body wise. That’s all.
That’s all. I didn’t have no problem. I enjoyed my first fight with him. And I’m going to damn sure enjoy the second fight with him as well, too. I just don’t want the excuses. I don’t have no more time for excuses.
Boxing has changed my point of view. And the love of this sport, with the things that are going on. And like I said, if Bermane beats me, you all don’t have to hear about me no more. I’m gone. I’m out of here. I’m retiring. That’s it. I might move to MMA or some shit. I’m out of here. And that’s facts.
So, come November the 4th, I hope he’s about what he says because I’m about what I say. I prove what I say. I say what I mean, and I mean what I say. And anybody know me knows, if Deontay say something, he means it. And that’s how it is. That’s how I’ve always been, and that’s how I always will be.
I fight with my heart. I fight with my will. Forget skills. Skills ain’t got me nowhere in life. But my heart, my will, my courage, me believing in me, that got me through every bit of life that I needed to get through.
And come November the 4, we shall see. We got one man saying one thing, we got the other saying another. But hey like I said, the ring is the judge. And the people are the jury so, we shall see. God can hear our prayers and he can answer our prayers.
I’ve tried to make the best out of this fight. I’ve tried to give him opportunities to build himself up. And here we are guys. Here we are.
So, hopefully once this is over with, when I beat him I can move on with my career and still go on to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. That’s all I ever wanted.
Or on the other hand if he beats me, then Deontay Wilder retired from this sport. And you all won’t have to worry about him doing another interview in boxing every again.
I was on a call with Anthony Joshua, who was entirely respectful of Deontay. Spoke very well of Deontay and said he’s very interested in fighting in 2018. Is that a sort of, you’ll believe it when you see it sort of thing, or is does this leave you encouraged?
If Eddie Hearn wants Anthony Joshua fight in 2018, he knows who to call. By the way, maybe if he really wanted that fight his promoter would be more respectful to Deontay instead of continuing to try to bad mouth him and belittle him.
If he really wanted to fight he’d stop talking about some ordinary guy named Dillian Whyte and stop calling out Deontay with an ordinary guy and start talking in real terms about making a unified heavyweight championship fight.
But right now Deontay has got to get past Bermane Stiverne. He’s got to do that on November 4. That’s not going to be a day in the park. And frankly, it’s not going to be largely because Deontay was preparing for an entirely different fight, once again.
And once again he got victimized by the politics, the cheating, the lack of professionalism on the part of so many people in this sport that don’t know how to properly fill out forms. It’s the third time a fight has been cancelled in 18 months.
Someone made a comment about Bermane Stiverne said he ate his breakfast. I wish the same person would have asked a different question.
How do you fight one fight in two years against a guy that knocked you down and subsequently gets knocked out, and barely do anything and you’re still the WBC mandatory? That would have been a better question.
But in the meantime, there’s nothing we can do about it. November 4, I’m worried about the fight because Stiverne has got nothing to lose and Deontay has got everything to lose.
People should come out and see an honorable heavyweight champion, an honest heavyweight champion and one who doesn’t cheat, defend his title at Barclays Center November 4 on a great card on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING starting at 9:00 pm ET. Get your tickets at Ticketmaster.com, Barclayscenter.com, or at Barclays Center. Thank you all for joining us.