Deontay Wilder may have opened the door for his hoped for fights with Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury with his first round destruction of Dominic Breazeale on Saturday night. Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) left no questions in the minds of the 13,181 fans at the Barclays Center in New York, who the better fighter was with his knockout win over Breazeale.
Wilder landed a right hand that sent Breazeale to down in the first round. It was one of those type of knockdowns where you know that there’s no chance the fight could continue.
After the fight, Breazeale wasn’t in the mood to give Wilder a lot of credit for his victory.
“This was a situation where he landed the big right hand before I did,” Breazeale said. “I thought I was going to come on in the later rounds. I’ll be back and go for the heavyweight title again.”
It might not be that easy the next time for Breazeale to earn a mandatory unless he goes the WBO route. That seems to be the easy path for weaker contenders to get title shots. Hughie Fury went that route to get a title shot against former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker.
The first round knockout for Wilder enabled him retain his WBC heavyweight title for his 10th consecutive title defense.
“There’s been a lot of animosity and a lot of words that were said and it just came out of me tonight,” Wilder said about the bad blood that he had been him and Breazeale in the weeks and months leading up to tonight’s fight.
To be sure, there’s been a lot of anger between Wilder and Breazeale (20-2, 18 KOs) for well over a year. Tonight, was the end result of a lot trash talking that had been done. Wilder had promised this week that Breazeale was going to pay for what he’d said to him. The good news is Breazeale is fine, and wasn’t badly hurt in the fight. Wilder had said he wanted to add a body to his record. If Wilder was serious about that, he failed at his mission. Breazeale got up off the deck, and was able to walk out of the ring afterwards.
Shortly into the fight, Wilder landed a thudding right hand to the head that bothered Breazeale enough to send him to the ropes where he covered up. Wilder forced his shots in throwing a storm of punches that weren’t perfectly placed and thrown with less than the best form. Breazeale was able to sneak a right hand in between one of Wilder’s shots that hurt him. Wilder’s legs buckled and he backed off. Wilder was fine, and he threw a perfect right hand that dropped Breazeale, who tried to get back up, but the fight was stopped by referee Harvey Dock before he could make it to his feet.
“When I hit him with the right hand the first time, his body language changed,” Wilder said.
Wilder’s not kidding. The first big right hand that Wilder landed hurt Breazeale enough to send him retreating backwards to the ropes. That’s not a place where Breazeale needed to be. He obviously knew better than to go to the ropes, but he was too hurt to think clearly.
Interestingly enough, tonight’s knockdown of Breazeale was a similar knockdown that Wilder scored in the 12th round of his previous fight with Tyson Fury last December. The referee in that fight stood over an unconscious looking Fury and actually gave him a count. Surprisingly, Fury got back up at the count of nine. Many boxing fans believe that the referee gave Fury extra time by focusing on Wilder after the knockdown instead of standing over Fury to give him a count immediately. Wilder wanted a rematch with Fury, but he couldn’t get him to agree to take the fight.
This was a better version of Wilder than the one that fought Fury last December. Wilder was heavier at 223 pounds tonight compared to the 212 pounds that he weighed for the fight against the 255 pound Fury. The 6’7″ Wilder wanted to bulk up to 245 lbs., but he fell short of that number. Wilder fought Fury to a 12 round draw. What upsets Wilder is he feels that the referee should have stopped the fight with Fury in the 12th round when he was clearly knocked out. The referee chose to give a count to a fighter that had both eyes closed. The 223 lbs. that Wilder weighed for tonight’s fight with Breazeale would be plenty for him to defeat Fury in a rematch. However, Wilder will need to wait for Fury’s promoters at Top Rank to give the green light for him to take the fight with him. They’ve matched Fury against a weak puncher in Tom Schwarz on June 15. Although says Schwarz is a talented fighter with good punching power, the truth is the opposite. He’s not a big puncher, and he’s not considered a great talent.
“I understand what Tyson Fury did. When you get dropped on the canvas like that, I understand you have to get yourself back together,” Wilder said in talking about Fury wanting to perhaps he’s still the same fighter physically after the way he was knocked unconscious in the 12th round by Wilder. “But the rematch will happen, like all these other fights will happen. The great thing is all these fights are in discussion. The big fights will happen.”
Breazeale said he saw Wilder as a flawed heavyweight, who hadn’t adapted a fighter since he captured the World Boxing Council title in 2015. After tonight, Breazeale might be a believer.
The fight that the boxing public wants to see is a heavyweight unification match between Joshua and Wilder. Joshua is defending his IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titles next month on June 1 against Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden in New York. If Joshua wins that fight, then it’s expected that he and Wilder will begin negotiations again for a unification fight. There’s hope that the two fighters will be able to come to an agreement this time to finally give the fans the fight they want to see. If not, then Wilder could defend against Luis Ortiz in a rematch later this year.