Heavyweight titleholder Bermane Stiverne is headed toward a mandatory defense against Deontay Wilder, a fight that probably will happen in November.
Since that is several months away, Stiverne and Wilder have plenty of time to keep up their smack talk before they lay hands on each other.
Stiverne is more of a quiet, laid-back type compared to Wilder, who has had all kinds of things to say about Stiverne. No problem, as far as Stiverne is concerned.
"He's not going to get under my skin," Stiverne said. "I think he's funny. Maybe he should think about doing a comedy act after I beat him? Friends have sent me stuff he's said and done. It's funny. He's like a little kid who needs attention, so he keeps opening his mouth.
“His trash-talking doesn't bother me at all. I saw some people who brought up what he's said. What am I supposed to do, hand my title to him? I guess he wants to entertain his fans. If he thinks his tricks are going to bother me, he's going to be in big trouble."
On May 10 in Los Angeles -- in an excellent action fight -- Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs) scored a sixth-round knockout of Chris Arreola in a rematch to win the world title vacated in December by the retiring Vitali Klitschko. The Stiverne-Arreola winner was obligated to face Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs) next.
Wilder, although a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist with a perfect knockout record, remains untested against a legitimate opponent. Camille Estephan, Stiverne’s manager, said when Wilder fights Stiverne, the difference in experience will show.
"Wilder is a clown," Estephan said. "No respect! What's he ever done to act like this? Look who he's fought. Bermane is going to expose him and shut him up for good. His actions are ill-advised. Wilder doesn't realize he's in for such a rough ride and a very big surprise. We're happy to fight him, mandatory or not."
Stiverne said he just doesn’t think Wilder is ready for him yet.
“Wilder's not a threat, but I'm taking him seriously. I take all my opponents seriously, but I'm going to teach that little kid a lesson,” Stiverne said. “It's a shame his promoter [Golden Boy] and manager [Al Haymon] are putting him in such a big fight like this so early in his career."
Stiverne has enjoyed the past few months since winning a title, including having boxing fans recognize him when he was at last week’s Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara fight in Las Vegas, where he lives.
"My life hasn't really changed too much other than my popularity growing," Stiverne said. "My Instagram followers went from 2,000 to 13,000 from one picture. There hasn't been one day I haven't done something in public. I expected change, but not like this. People used to look at me and ask if I played in the NFL. I've had people tell me they always thought I was a football player until they saw me fight Arreola. Places I used to stand in line to get in, well, I don't stand in line anymore.
"I try to stay on the down-low. I'm not out clubbing every day, or feel that I have to do something in public. I'm available, but closer to the fight, I'll shut down everything four to five weeks out unless it has to do with the promotion. I don't think it has fully hit me yet. It will when I go back to Haiti to meet President [Michel] Martelly."