Bermane Stiverne wasn’t expecting perfection Saturday in his first fight as the former World Boxing Council world heavyweight champion.
But Stiverne, who lost his title Jan. 17 to Deontay Wilder at the MGM Grand Garden, was good enough against Derric Rossy, banging out a 10-round unanimous decision at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Judges Glenn Trowbridge and Adelaide Byrd scored the fight 96-93, and Burt Clements had it 95-94.
“I didn’t feel like I was rusty,” said Stiverne, who lives in Las Vegas. “I was prepared, and I was able to adjust to him.”
Perhaps more important was Stiverne showed no ill effects of the severe dehydration that landed him in the hospital for two days after the Wilder loss. He fought at 254½ pounds Saturday, but moved OK and was throwing punches without problem.
“I feel good,” Stiverne said after being checked by Nevada Athletic Commission doctors. “All that drinking water before the fight definitely helped.”
Stiverne (25-2-1) was on his way to winning the first round, but he got careless late in the round and was knocked down by a Rossy right cross that caught him in the eye and had him off-balance and falling down.
He was more stunned than anything else. But it was a wake-up call for the former champ, and he went after Rossy, ratcheting up the pressure and landing a left hook to the body and the head consistently.
Rossy (30-11) can take punishment. He had his moments after winning the first round, but he wasn’t able to apply constant pressure in attacking Stiverne. He had an effective right uppercut, but didn’t throw it as often as he probably should have.
“He came in different than I expected,” Stiverne said. “He fought me on the outside and was holding a lot, which I didn’t expect him to do.”
Stiverne said the biggest adjustment was going to the body and using the right hook to consistently land to Rossy’s left side. By the 10th round, Rossy’s body looked like a ripe tomato from all the shots he had absorbed.
“He turned to me, and I was able to take advantage of that,” Stiverne said of working the body.
Don House, Stiverne’s trainer, said they have something to build on.
“One thing about this game, you’ve got to be consistent,” House said. “(Stiverne) started to get it going in the seventh round and finished the fight well.
“For our next fight, I want to get him down to 245. I thought he looked a little sluggish with that extra weight.”
As for that next fight, Stiverne’s promoter, Don King, is hoping to get Stiverne on the undercard of Wilder’s next fight, tentatively scheduled Jan. 16 at Barclays Center in New York.
“Bermane learned tonight that when you fight someone like Derric Rossy, who’s a runner, you have to go after him and take it from him,” King said. “He has to go in there and make it happen. Nobody gives you anything for free.”
In the main event, junior middleweight Jarrett Hurd remained undefeated and handed Frank Galarza his first loss with a sixth-round technical knockout.
Hurd (17-0, 11 KOs) was too quick for Galarza (17-1-2). His superior hand speed kept Galarza off balance and did not allow him to land any clean shots.
Galarza missed and paid for it in the sixth, as Hurd landed a stinging combination. Hurd kept throwing damaging blows, rendering Galarza defenseless, and referee Russell Mora stopped the fight 59 seconds into the round.
— Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him: @stevecarprj