By Felipe Leon
Photos: Big Joe Miranda
After thanking a slew of people including his trainer, cut man, manager and former world title challenger Samuel Peter, the new WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1, 21KOs) credited the fact that he doesn’t have cable in his Las Vegas home in helping him to knock out Christopher Arreola (35-4, 31KOs) last night in the sixth round to capture the vacant title. “I did my homework. Anybody that has been to my home in Las Vegas can tell you, I don’t have cable. All I did was watch Chris’ fights. I studied him. All I did was watch Chris.”
The post-fight press conference began with Dan Goosen of Goossen-Tutor presenting their horse in this race, the previously ranked #2 heavyweight in the world according to the World Boxing Council, Arreola of Riverside, CA. “Arreola fought his butt off. He gave everything he had. There were no losers here tonight.”
Almost as if on cue Arreola interrupted with, “I lost!”
Once properly introduced by his promoter Dan Goossen, Arreola humbly addressed the assembled media plus friends and family of both camps. “I first want to congratulate Bermane Stiverne on that beautiful right hand. I just can’t get away from that right hand. I think I was ahead on the cards. That strap looks beautiful around your waist but it would look better around mine. I hope everybody enjoyed this fight.”
With Goossen and Arreola’s turn at the podium over, that only meant that it was time for the legendary and colorful Don King to take the microphone. Rejuvenated at his eighty-two years now that he once again controls a part of the heavyweight crown, he began his nearly thirty minute monologue only after lighting up a cigar which he mentioned that he usually holds as a prop but this time it was real.
Like a jazz trumpet player on a roll, King scatted around subjects from the constitution, quotes from William Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln, problems in the Middle East and a history lesson on Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
After bringing up heavyweights Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Ken Norton, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis he introduced Stiverne. “I am exceedingly proud of Stiverne. He is destined for greatness as long as he keeps fighting for the people. The Haitian people can be proud now because now they have a heavyweight champion. The heavyweight division is back in business again.”
“It sucks that in this sport there is a winner and a loser,” Stiverne opened up with. “I don’t know Chris that well, he seems like a cool person but unfortunately it didn’t go that well for him tonight.”
“I came here with a mission because of all the things that have happened in my life,” he continued in his very methodical way of speaking. “I didn’t come to lose this fight.”
Stiverne mentioned that he hoped for Arreola to continue his career. “He is a bad man, I only beat him because I was smarter. I can’t take anything away from Chris, he is a true warrior.”
“Chris is best when his opponent is against the ropes,” Stiverne said of his strategy for the fight. “The plan was to let him get comfortable then surprise him.”
Stiverne, born in Haiti, raised in Miami and Montreal, living in Las Vegas and soon to be a naturalized U.S. citizen announced he was proud to bring back the belt to America. The man that holds the other three parts of the crown, Wladimir Klitschko, fights out of Europe. Klitschko has publicly stated that he would like to unify for the gold and green belt that his brother Vitali vacated. As far as Stiverne is concerned, he is not thinking of what is next.
“I want to enjoy this,” he said with a smile. “Obviously I am going to fight again but we will see.”
“I am living my dream,” Stiverne added. “A dream I had since Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson. I was in 5th or 6th grade when Mike Tyson lost that fight. I wanted to be a boxer so I can beat Buster Douglas. I am living the dream.”