Deontay Wilder, still stinging from his draw against Tyson Fury in December, was due for a mandatory defense of his WBC title. His challenger was the chirpy Dominic Breazeale, a fighter that had plainly gotten under the Bronze Bomber’s skin. Breazeale and Wilder don’t have promoter-beef; they’ve have a long-running string of honest-to-god, out-of-the-ring encounters and bad blood.
The war of words escalated in the run-up to Saturday’s main event at Barclay’s Center. Wilder, never short on a good quote, said:
“Hey, Dominic Breazeale asked for this,” Wilder told the assembled media. “I didn’t go seek him, he (sought) me so if (death) comes, it comes. This is a brutal sport. This is not a gentleman’s sport. I keep saying this is not a gentleman’s sport. We don’t ask to hit each other in the face but we (do) anyway.
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“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?” he said. “His life is on the line for this fight and I do mean his life. I’m still trying to get me a body on my record.”
“If he dies, he dies,” Wilder said. “This is boxing. This is not a gentleman’s sport. This is a gladiator’s sport. And with bad blood, we know I possess the power.”
His comments seemed to earnestly take Breazeale off-guard, who accused the champ of barbarism and having a screw loose:
“I’m super upset. You never want to hear an individual — and I don’t care what sport it is but especially in the sport of boxing — who has the ability to put someone else in a bad state of mind or hurt them physically (talk like that). I don’t think he understands what he’s saying. He’s just not all there, if that makes sense.
“There is no way you can get behind a heavyweight champ who wants to put harm on another individual or take another man’s life or put them in a coma,” Breazeale said. “That just doesn’t make any sense and that’s not the barbaric state of mind that any champion should be in.”
It’s not a fight that needed heavy promotion to begin with. Both men are 6’7” American knockout artists — Breazeale entered with a 20-1 record, 18 KOs, and had just taken Anthony Joshua to seven rounds; Wilder entered with a record of 41-0-1 and 39 KOs in his 40 wins.
Deontay Wilder makes quite an entrance. pic.twitter.com/h7x2iI1StI— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) May 19, 2019
Still, last night both men got a chance to back up their words. And, for Breazeale, his nickname “Trouble” took on a whole new meaning. He got into it early in the first, and it was only a matter of when, not if, the Bronze Bomber would send him to bed.
We didn’t have to wait long.
IT'S OVER. WILDER KNOCKS OUT BREAZEALE I ROUND 1 pic.twitter.com/bJOAxBP2Hw— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) May 19, 2019
Considered the most devastating power puncher since Mike Tyson, Wilder may finally get his shot at Joshua for a unification bout...but not anytime soon. So far, the numbers AJ’s camp are throwing around are somewhat small for the gravity of the event — in the neighborhood of $100 million. Wilder has rejected those small paydays. And, the dates being thrown about are speculative at best, too (Dec. 2019). We’re almost certainly going to be treated to Breazeale-Wilder II and Wilder-Fury II first.
Wilder’s next fight? It will be with his lawyers — he has a meeting with the WBC Commissioner to address his pre-fight comments.
But, for now. Roll Tide