Deontay Wilder and Dominic Breazeale don’t like each other. It stems from a physical encounter between the two fighters (or, at least, the two fighters’ camps) in an Alabama hotel lobby in 2017, and since then, Breazeale has tried to convince Wilder to meet him in the ring.
It’ll finally happen Saturday on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET. And the feud has turned nasty, especially when Wilder basically made a death threat toward Breazeale, saying “This is the only sport where you can kill a man and get paid for it at the same time. It’s legal. So why not use my right to do so?”
Wilder—who’s a -1000 favorite, meaning you’d have to bet $1,000 to win $100, while Breazeale is a 6/1 underdog—has been condemned for saying that. But aside from the callousness of that statement, there are plenty of reasons to watch the Wilder vs. Breazeale fight. Here are three of them.
1) Wilder’s right hand is still explosive: Aside from the power of Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs), Breazeale’s chin has to be questioned after he got knocked out by Anthony Joshua in 2016. Though Breazeale (20-1. 18 KOs) has won three fights straight since the Joshua disappointment, Wilder plans on testing Breazeale’s ability to take a punch. “I want to hurt Breazeale so bad. I’m going to keep my composure until that time comes Saturday night,” Wilder said. “I don’t believe Breazeale when he speaks. I’ve been in this game for a very long time. Someone like him is not going to beat me. The closest he’s going to get to this belt is in his dreams.” As for Breazeale, he’s also expecting a test of his chin. “Yes, Wilder’s going to throw some leather and make some contact by all means,” Breazeale said. “Boxing, it’s all about hitting and not getting hit. I don’t plan on getting hit a lot May 18 and if I do, I’ve been there. I’ve done that before. At the same time, I plan on putting on all the punishment. And if the right hand comes, so be it. I’ll deal with it. It’s part of boxing.”
2) Breazeale has shown resilience:
But to his credit, he’s come back and earned his shot at the title. He’s stopped his last three opponents, and though Izu Ugonoh, Eric Molina and Carlos Negron aren’t exactly household names, they’re solid heavyweights (as their combined record of 63-5 when they fought Breazeale would attest). “I’ve grown a lot in the last few years,” Breazeale said. “The Joshua fight was an eye opener. It was a good experience. I learned then that I was standing there a lot more and taking some damage that I didn’t need to take because of the big guy that I am.”
3) These guys really don’t like each other: Much of the time, pre-fight trash-talking is pre-manufactured to sell fights. It doesn’t appear to be the case for Wilder vs. Breazeale. “I don’t see any fundamental skills,” Breazeale said regarding Wilder. “I don’t see any successes on his part. He’s been champion for about four years. He hasn’t grown. He hasn’t changed. Yes, he’s got a big right hand but don’t we all in the heavyweight division? We all have knockout power.” Said Wilder: “He’s like one of these guys that will come into your establishment and waste water on the floor and slip on it just to sue you. What goes around comes around. This May 18, it will be my time. It’s punishment time. It’s judgment time. And I am the judge.”
My prediction: I wouldn’t mind taking that +600 on Breazeale and hoping for the best. But I think Wilder is going to blast him. I’m sure Wilder wants to take Breazeale out before the seventh round, which is when Joshua dispatched him three years ago. I’d go with Wilder by knockout in the fourth round.
Source: Josh Katzowitz