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Nationalism Skews Coverage of Stiverne vs Wilder Title Fight

Posted on 01/05/2015

Commentary by Hans Olson

An observation on coverage of the upcoming WBC world heavyweight title fight between current heavyweight champion Bermane “B.Ware” Stiverne and Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, which takes place in Las Vegas on January 17.

I think the American media is missing the boat on the great story Stiverne has. All we keep hearing about is Deontay Wilder being the “next big thing” for America in heavyweight boxing, the man to “rescue” the division. Whether it actually needs rescuing is another matter.

All due respect to Deontay…he is a great fighter, and this is nothing against him. But who cares if he was BORN in America?

AMERICA IS NOT THE WORLD. Especially in boxing, an international sport.

What really bothers me is just the fact that Stiverne should be given better treatment than I believe he is receiving from the media. He’s first Haitian-born Heavyweight Champion. The first Québécois Heavyweight Champion. Now living in Henderson, Nevada…he is our American Heavyweight Champion as well (he also has ties to Miami). Truly a cultured, WORLD champion. Much like the current recognized champ Wladimir Klitschko.

As HBO’s Max Kellerman pointed out recently, the American media missed the boat on a great story with the Klitschko brothers being the first siblings in boxing history to hold portions of the Heavyweight Championship at the same time. Instead, there was much negative media sniping here about “Eastern Europeans” and a general lack of respect accorded to Wladimir and Vitali.

Again, the American sports media in general doesn’t want to give credit where it’s due, especially when it comes to fighters who aren’t from the good ol’ US of A.

Take for example, the rematch where Stiverne beat Chris Arreola on ESPN for the WBC belt. The entire preshow program was dedicated to Arreola, and how he could be the first American in a long time to win the belt. Also, he’d be the first Mexican-American to win the belt. Stiverne seemed mostly an afterthought. No disrespect to Chris either…but I felt that was unfair treatment of Stiverne even back then.

Maybe after a few more big wins, the American media will catch on to what a great story Stiverne is. . .but I wouldn’t count on it.

Albert Einstein once said, “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”

No place is that truer than in boxing.

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