Wilder and Breazeale Promise Fireworks
Deontay Wilder is seen as one of the most popular and talented boxers in the world today, and his ninth title defense on May 18 will put him up there with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis in terms of dominating heavyweight champions.
His challenger for the fight, Dominic Breazeale, however, doesn’t seem him that way.
According to Breazeale, he has seen a lot of Wilder’s past fights as champion, including his most recent outing against Tyson Fury back in December, and Breazeale says he sees Wilder pull off the same manners and plan for each fight. In fact, he thinks even with Wilder knocking down Fury twice in their December draw, that Fury won the fight.
“I don’t see any skills in him,” Breazeale told FIGHT SPORTS and other media outlets during a May 9 media conference call for the fight. “He hasn’t grown. He has a great right hand, but don’t we all in the heavyweight division? I’m the bigger, strong, better guy.”
Breazeale, who is now trained by Virgil Hunter, has experience in a world title bout before, as he challenged Anthony Joshua for the IBF heavyweight title in June 2016, losing by seventh-round stoppage. Since then, he has rebounded with finishes of Izu Ugonoh, Eric Molina and Carlos Negron, and feels he’s grown as a fighter thanks to the defeat, stating he learned more than that one loss than from any of his wins.
“The Joshua fight was a good experience,” Breazeale said. “I learned I was standing around taking damage a lot. Wilder’s got a great right hand, but so do I and I have a big left hook.”
Coincidentally, Wilder says for this fight he went to a different preparation plan. Rather than a continued focus on sparring and hitting mitts, the defending WBC champ “broke himself down” and went back to working basics and working a speedbag and heavy bag.
“I’m excited for May 18,” Wilder said. “It’s been a long camp, it’s been a hard camp, but it’s been a fun camp.”
There’s no love lost between Breazeale and Wilder, and it all stems back from a February 2017 incident at a hotel after a card that saw each of them score a win. Breazeale claims that Wilder and a big entourage confronted and attacked him and his family.
“[The incident] has been the motivation of this fight,” Breazeale said. “It motivates me when I get up every morning [and] when I get to the championship rounds. It’s been the biggest motivation for this camp…but I won’t bring antics into the fight.”
Wilder’s side of the story is different, however. Wilder claims his brother was told by Breazeale that he wanted to kill Wilder and his entire family. Wilder looked to confront Breazeale by himself before his team tried holding him back.
“A man coming after me and telling some bogus story. I don’t like that,” Wilder said. He’s like one of these guys who comes into your establishment, throws water on the floor and slips just to sue you.”
If there was one thing all parties agreed on, it was that the heavyweight scene in boxing is doing well for itself with depth in highly-talented boxers for the first time in over a decade. Wilder added that he feels a “fire is lit” under the weight class.
Wilder originally planned for his next title defense to be a rematch with Tyson Fury, but those plans went awry after Fury signed a co-promotional deal with Top Rank and ESPN. And no progress has been made on a potential undisputed title fight between him and WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua.
But Breazeale says by the end of their May 18 clash, Wilder will wish he would have a taken a fight with either of those two.
“The boxing fans always want to see the title holders fight each other,” Breazeale said. “[The heavyweight division today] is giving fans exciting fights. I’m excited to be where I am now, and I’m super excited to be the spoiler.”
Wilder warns Breazeale, however, that he is a whole other, better fighter when compared to Joshua.
“With this particular fight, I’m going to do what I said I’d do, but bring it in a painful way and on an elite level,” Wilder said. “Breazeale thought he was competing on the elite level against Joshua, but I’m a whole other person.”