The principals gathered together in NYC Thursday, to hype the Saturday card to unfold in Brooklyn, portions of which will run on Showtime.
Anticipation isn't sky high for the main event, pitting WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder against Bermane Stiverne, who has been out of the ring for 2 years and turned 39 Wednesday. But the proceedings got an adrenaline jolt when the old master, 86 year old Don King, showed up and put his inimitable and indefatigable stamp on the occasion. Stiverne, too, got into the spirit of things, talking like medicated madman, laconic but malevolent, promising that he's ready and willing to deal fatal blows to the Alabama boxer, and he won't shed half a tear when he succeeds.
King and Stiverne lifted the session from pedestrian to near premium. And guess what? I think two of the three fights to screen on the Showtime airing will over-deliver. Adrian Grandados and rugged and ready, and the Japanese boxer will not lay down for Sergey Lipinets, who is a terminator type, very driven and with bad intentions.
Here are quotes from the session:
BROOKLYN (November 2, 2017) – WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder and former world champion Bermane Stiverne went face-to-face and exchanged words onstage Thursday at the final press conference before they battle in the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING main event this Saturday, November 4 from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.
Presented by Premier Boxing Champions, the event features former world champion Shawn Porter taking on Adrian Granados in a welterweight world title eliminator. The three-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with unbeaten Sergey Lipinets battling Japan’s Akihiro Kondo for the vacant IBF Junior Welterweight World Championship.
Joining the fighters and press conference participants onstage was Hall of Fame Promoter Don King, who promotes Stiverne and predicted that his fighter would shock the world and deliver an upset on Saturday night.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, barclayscenter.com or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Thursday from the Edison Ballroom in Manhattan:
“Stiverne was the only man to survive the ‘Alabama Slammer’ and avoid a knockout. When I knock him out, then nobody will be able to say they made it through against me. He was nothing but a lot of lumps and excuses after the first fight.
“It’s been a long road for me. I’ve had my ups and my downs. The ups I’ve celebrated, but the downs have hurt the most. It’s all led me to here. All I ever wanted to do is prove to the world that I am the best. I am the baddest. I hit the hardest. I am the most feared. My record speaks for itself.
“Winner takes all. I am a man of my word. We’ve heard Bermane Stiverne say these same things before. We’ve heard it all before. What happened the first time? Everybody knows. Hopefully he doesn’t get dehydrated this time.
“This just turned up into a whole other level. The ambulance better be ready. The medical teams better be ready. The referee better be ready. They better have that towel to be able to throw it in because every blow is going to mean something. This just got even more personal.
“There’s nothing different that he can bring to the table. He brought everything he could bring the first time. He brought all his tricks – all his power. There’s nothing he’s going to be able to do this time. The only thing he’s going to be able to do is pick his spot on the ground where he’s going to lay at.”
“I do my talking and my walking in that ring. That’s what it’s all about. That’s why we’re here. November 4 the truth with reveal itself. That’s when it counts. When Deontay Wilder speaks, I mean what I say. But I’m going to show you, instead of tell you, on Saturday night.
“This will be an electrifying fight. That belt isn’t going anywhere. I will unify the division. I will be the undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.”
“Deontay Wilder has been trying to duck me. He’s been giving a lot of excuses about my career. He should be happy if I’ve been inactive. He should be jumping in the air. Everyone knows that means he’s scared. He knows what time it is.
“He already gave me his best. I had nothing last fight. But now I’m a very dangerous man. Everyone here knows what time it is.
“I feel great and I feel strong. There will be no excuses this time. I can guarantee you this. I’m 100 percent this time.
“Deontay said he fears for my life. Well, I don’t fear for his life. I’m going to do whatever it takes to grab that title. And I’ll walk away with a smile on my face.
“You caught me sleeping last time. Nobody is going to be sleeping this time. I’m going to be on you all night. It’s over for you.
“This is a fighter that I took him the longest rounds in any of his fights. He had never gone past seven or eight.
“He's like a third round or fourth round knockout guy depending on the level of his opponent. Anyone that would be a decent or strong opponent, he's not going to last. From rounds six through 12 he didn't do much. Everything was in the first six.
“His last fights that I've watched, I haven't seen any progress.
“Saturday, November 4 I will be two-time heavyweight champion of the world. No one can stop me. He can smile all he wants. But on Saturday I’m taking that belt home with me.”
“I’m glad to be back. I’m excited to fight once more before the year is done. This is really another tremendous fight card and I’m honored to be a part of it.
“I’m getting the seats warm this time before Deontay comes to close the show. You’re definitely going to want to be paying attention to this fight.
“I wanted to get back in the ring. Adrian Granados was also looking for a fight and was willing to accept the fight. It’s as simple as that. I’m a boxer and my job is to compete against the best. Right now, he’s the best challenge that I have.
“This is a great matchup. This is really fan friendly action everyone is going to see. I know I’m facing an aggressive guy who is going to come at me with everything he’s got.
“I enjoy every bit about fighting at Barclays Center. The energy is always great in that building. The atmosphere is really unbelievable. I’m happy to fight there again.
“The respect that Granados and I have for each other, that’s what boxing is all about. It’s about getting in the ring and competing. We wanted someone that was going to come here and fight me. We didn’t want someone who was going to run or lay down. We want to close the year out in fantastic form, and the best way to do that is by facing Granados.”
“I’m very grateful to be here and have this opportunity against Shawn Porter. I appreciate it and I thank him and his team. This is definitely going to be a great fight.
“I’m fighting for everyone back home and all the people that are with me every day. Everyone knows how dedicated we are and that will all come together on fight night.
“This is all about proving myself and showing that I belong with the best of the sport. I have to take an opportunity like this when it’s offered to me. There’s nothing to do now but get in the ring and get down to business.
“This is a tremendous opportunity. I’m coming to win, not lay down. I’m here to fight. We both have fan-friendly styles and may the best man win.”
“This is a dream come true for me. I had to work very hard and overcome a lot to get to this point. Now that I’m here, I want to give the fans a great fight.
“I’m going to go for the knockout and become a world champion. This is the thing that motivates me every day through this hard training camp.
“I am prepared for anything Kondo can bring to the ring. He has earned his right to fight for the title and I have to take him very seriously and be at my very best.”
“I’m going to do my best to win for all of my fans in Japan. I’m going to take this world title belt back home to Japan and I’m happy to have the support of my country.
“I’ve come a long way to get here. This is the mecca of boxing. I feel really relaxed and calm. This feels like a normal fight for me still.
“No matter what happens in this fight, I think that is going to come down to heart. I am determined not to lose in that area.”
LOU DIBELLA, President of DiBella Entertainment
“This is a terrific card from top to bottom. I love this show. Dominic Breazeale vs. Eric Molina, Amanda Serrano a pound-for-pound champion, and two undefeated local kids Chris Colbert and Titus Williams, all featured on this card. The show is truly loaded with talent and stars.
“Nothing gets bigger than the defense of America’s only heavyweight championship. Deontay Wilder defending his title against Bermane Stiverne, the only man that Deontay has not been able to knockout.
“This is a dangerous fight. Stiverne is big, strong and he can punch. This is Christmas for him. He has nothing to lose. He can walk out of here with the heavyweight championship of the world.
“Shawn Porter is fighting against a real deserving challenger. Shawn is a champion with or without a belt, and Granados always makes great fights and he’s going to give it 120 percent.
“Kondo is a very accomplished fighter, but he’s going to have his hands full with Sergey LIpinets. Whenever LIpinets gets in the ring, someone gets hurt. I think he has a chance to go very far.”
DON KING, Hall of Fame Promoter
“I want to thank all of these young men up here who are fighting for the crown. Stiverne has something in store for Wilder on Saturday night that will be a shock. It’s going to be the Fight of the Year. Unquestionably.
“Deontay has never really met Bermane Stiverne, so I’m going to introduce them. It’s going to be a fantastic night of fighting at Barclays Center. You will have a tremendous upset on Saturday night when Bermane Stiverne knocks out Deontay Wilder.
“After this happens, we can have a rubber match. It will be an exciting time for me on Saturday night and the start of a ‘November to Remember.’”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive Vice President & General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports
“This weekend’s telecast will be the second weekend of heavyweight title fights on SHOWTIME. We all know these two faced each other in 2015, but neither fighter went home happy. Deontay was impressive but he didn’t get the knockout. Stiverne is the only blemish on Wilder’s perfect knockout streak. Ever since that fight, Bermane has been asking for the rematch. On Saturday both men will get their wish. Deontay can send a message to the rest of the division and Bermane gets a second chance at a world title
“The first time they fought, everyone saw it as Deontay’s toughest opponent. Out of 42 media members, 22 predicted Deontay to win and 20 picked Stiverne. This is an all-action heavyweight fight with America’s heavyweight world champion.
“Sometimes a big fight can suck up the attention from the co-featured fights on the card. Both of these opening bouts could have been a main event and would be a main event on any other network. Porter and Granados is an intriguing matchup of all action fighters and if you haven’t seen Sergey LIpinets fight, I urge you to turn on the TV early and get to the arena, because this will be an entertaining fight.
“By the end of the night we will have done 29 world title fights this year alone. There is no other network that could put on that many high quality fights. We look forward to closing the year on a strong note on Saturday night.”
BRETT YORMARK, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment
“This Saturday will be our last Brooklyn boxing event of the year. It’s been an incredible 2017. It started with Badou Jack vs. James DeGale, then in March the Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia fight, which was probably the biggest we ever had at the arena. It hit new marks that we hadn’t seen before. This summer we had the Mikey Garcia vs. Adrien Broner fight and we’ve also seen the Charlo brothers fight at Barclays Center in 2017 and become stars.
“It’s been a great year full of memorable moments and I couldn’t think of a better way to end the year than with Deontay on Saturday night. When Deontay defended his title at Barclays Center last year, it was the first heavyweight title fight in the borough of Brooklyn in 115 years and we’re excited to have him back.”