When Bermane Stiverne began to speak at Wednesday’s final news conference promoting his heavyweight title-elimination bout Saturday against Chris Arreola at Citizens Business Bank Arena (on HBO), he spent the first couple of minutes thanking everyone for this opportunity.
Then the soft-spoken Haitian got downright mean.
“I’m calm and everything,” said Stiverne, who moved from Haiti to Florida when he was 11, eventually landing in Canada. “But if anybody was to cut me and see what’s inside of me. …”
Stiverne (22-1-1, 20 KOs) took some breaths, as if he was having difficulty getting out the words.
“Saturday night, I’m not here to knock you out, Chris,” he said, looking at Arreola on the dais. “I’m here to chop your head off. I will chop your head off. That’s what we do, where I’m from.”
Arreola (35-2, 30 KOs) actually welcomed that kind of talk.
“I’m a crazy (expletive) guy,” Arreola said, looking at Stiverne. “I like the fact that you want to chop my head off. It’s an honor, honestly. I’m right with you. Boxing’s about trying to knock somebody out. We ain’t here to throw jabs and 1-2 and run. This is not happening right here. This is a fight.”
Arreola turned his attention back to the reporters in front of him.
“He already made it a fight just by his words,” Arreola said. “Chop my head off? That got my attention. That’s good. I’m happy. Now I’ve got a fire in my belly more than I had before.”
Arreola turned his attention back toward Stiverne.
“Honestly, I’m going to (expletive) you up,” Arreola said.