Deontay Wilder v Dominic Breazeale Preview
By Sina Latif
Undefeated heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KO’s) will be defending his WBC belt against mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale (20-1, 18 KO’s) on Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
This will be Wilder’s ninth title defence against the hard-hitting challenger from California.
Fans love to watch heavyweight boxing with high hopes of witnessing knockouts, and Wilder v Breazeale is a fight which almost certainly guarantees a knockout, with the two men having a combined record of 57 KO’s from 62 fights.
The two knockout artists both stand at 6-foot-7 inches tall, and have both been involved in numerous dramatic fights, providing plenty of entertainment for the fans.
Barclays Center has become a home for both fighters, with Wilder set to make his fourth appearance at the arena and Breazeale set to make a third appearance.
Fighters often resort to trash talking in the build-ups to promote their fights, however the talking ahead of this bout took a turn for the worst when Wilder essentially made death threats towards Breazeale, stating that he expects the Californian to ‘make funeral arrangements’.
This is more than a heavyweight championship fight between the ‘Bronze Bomber’ and ‘Trouble’. This is personal. Both fighters have disliked each other since a hotel lobby brawl in 2017 following their fights on the same card with Wilder’s knockout of Gerald Washington and Breazeale’s KO win over Izuagbe Ugonoh in Birmingham, Alabama.
Wilder can enter any conversation regarding the most powerful punchers in heavyweight history. His colossal right hand, alongside his exceptional athletic ability, has helped him become a worthy champion. His unorthodox style has in fact made him one of the most exciting fighters to watch in boxing today.
However, his over-reliance to land that one big punch, as we have already witnessed, can be his undoing one day. The 33-year-old’s last fight against Tyson Fury ended up being a controversial draw, with many believing that the Brit deserved victory, regardless of having been knocked down twice. At the elite level, reliance on one shot is unlikely to guarantee victory.
Jay Deas, Wilder’s long-time trainer and manager, recognises this. In an interview with Blue Blood Sports TV regarding preparations for the Breazeale fight, Deas stated: “We just wanted to hone in on the basics and really make sure that every little thing is being taken care of. At the top level, most guys do the big things right. It’s those small things that make the difference between getting to the very top and not getting to the very top.
Deas was referring to Wilder ‘going back to the basics’. It seems that as a collective, Wilder and his team have realised that the Alabama native can no longer rely purely on pow-er amongst the elite of the blue-riband division.
Nevertheless, whether Breazeale is elite is another matter.
Attributes that Breazeale does possess, however, are durability and a warrior’s mentality. He has only ever been stopped by unified champion Anthony Joshua back in June 2016 and has already proved, particularly in a great fight against Ugonoh, that he can slug it out and overcome adversity to come out victorious when the going gets tough. Even in his sole defeat to Joshua, he displayed his heart by not going away without putting up a real fight.
Since that defeat, he has three straight KO victories against Ugonoh, Eric Molina and Carlos Negron.
The problem is, three fights in three years may not be enough in terms of momentum go-ing into a world championship fight. Fury is a special fighter who can get away with such lack of fights entering a huge fight. Not every fighter has the talent that Fury possesses, not by a long stretch. There was over a year’s gap between Breazeale’s victory over Molina and his stoppage of Negron.
However, maybe the genuine bad-blood between Wilder and Breazeale is the motivator needed to drive Breazeale to perform at his best and pull off an upset.
One thing is for sure, even if ‘The Bronze Bomber’ is to prevail victorious, he will have to work hard for the win. Breazeale is a very mentally strong fighter who will back up his op-ponent and is always game.
Boxing fans love to witness all-action fights and are intrigued by whether fighters can overcome pain and adversity to become triumphant. With two heavyweights with a combined record of over 90% knockout ratio, there is an increasingly high chance that one of them will have to overcome pain and adversity when on the wrong end of monster punches to come out as the victor.
Add legitimate bad blood to this intrigue, and May 18 can’t come soon enough!