Same song. Third verse.
The change came because Ortiz failed a drug test.
This will be Wilder’s fifth title defense. Three of those opponents came after scheduled fighters tested positive for banned drugs.
“(Chris) Arreola wasn’t a replacement, but we put that together quickly after Alexander Povetkin,” trainer Jay Deas said. “(Gerald) Washington was a replacement for (Andrzej Wawrzyk) and this guy, Stiverne, is a replacement for Ortiz.”
Of course, Stiverne (25-2, 21 knockouts) is the fighter from whom Wilder took the title in January 2015. He was the opponent the WBC mandated the Tuscaloosa native fight before promoter Lou DiBella brokered a deal to get Stiverne to step aside.
Now Stiverne gets the rematch for which he’s craved. In the meantime, Anthony Joshua, who holds the other heavyweight belts, has a mandatory fight this month against Kubrat Pulev.
“Then there will be no roadblocks to Wilder-Joshua after November 4th,” Deas said, noting that Stiverne was to face an opponent on Nov. 4 who, like Wilder, is 6 foot 7. “For us, we had to switch from a tall lefty to a shorter righty. We had to completely, completely change our camp.”
Rather than facing left-handed sparring partners, Wilder went against right-handers. “We’re certainly the ones who had to adjust,” Deas said.
Stiverne is the only man to take Wilder the distance in the champ’s professional career.
“Arguably, he gave Deontay his toughest fight,” Deas said. “He punches very hard. He’s certainly a formidable opponent. Any former champion would be. We have to be on point and block out all the noise.”
The loudest noise comes in repeated talk of unification with a Wilder-Joshua fight.
“There is no Joshua without Stiverne,” the trainer said. “This is his (Stiverne’s) shot, his last shot. We expect he’s going to try to make the most of it.”
The war of words has already begun. Wilder tweeted: “Stiverne said he’s going to make me feel his pain. Ha. Nawww Boy!!! I’m going to make you feel MY PAIN.”
Stiverne said he’s going to make me feel his PAIN. Ha,🤔 Nawww BoY!!! I’m going to make YOU feel MY PAIN.👿 pic.twitter.com/0NUbVaqeAP
— Deontay Wilder (@BronzeBomber) October 10, 2017