Deontay Wilder, left, and Dominic Breazeale will battle for Wilder's heavyweight title Saturday night. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)Getty
Deontay Wilder and Dominic Breazeale dont 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.
Itll 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. Its legal. So why not use my right to do so?
Wilderwhos a -1000 favorite, meaning youd have to bet $1,000 to win $100, while Breazeale is a 6/1 underdoghas 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) Wilders right hand is still explosive: Aside from the power of Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs), Breazeales 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 Breazeales 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, hes also expecting a test of his chin. Yes, Wilders going to throw some leather and make some contact by all means, Breazeale said. Boxing, its all about hitting and not getting hit. I dont plan on getting hit a lot May 18 and if I do, Ive been there. Ive done that before. At the same time, I plan on putting on all the punishment. And if the right hand comes, so be it. Ill deal with it. Its part of boxing.
2) Breazeale has shown resilience: This is what happened when Breazeale fought Joshua.
But to his credit, hes come back and earned his shot at the title. Hes stopped his last three opponents, and though Izu Ugonoh, Eric Molina and Carlos Negron arent exactly household names, theyre solid heavyweights (as their combined record of 63-5 when they fought Breazeale would attest). Ive 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 didnt need to take because of the big guy that I am.
3) These guys really dont like each other: Much of the time, pre-fight trash-talking is pre-manufactured to sell fights. It doesnt appear to be the case for Wilder vs. Breazeale. I dont see any fundamental skills, Breazeale said regarding Wilder. I dont see any successes on his part. Hes been champion for about four years. He hasnt grown. He hasnt changed. Yes, hes got a big right hand but dont we all in the heavyweight division? We all have knockout power. Said Wilder: Hes 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. Its punishment time. Its judgment time. And I am the judge.
Deontay Wilder said Dominic Breazeale's life is in danger when they fight on Saturday. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)Getty
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.
Harold Lederman remembrance: Since HBO unofficial scorer Harold Lederman died at the age of 79 last Saturday, many observers around the sports have paid their respects and described what he meant to them.
Here was my thought.
My dad and I always used to get a kick out of @shotfighter26, when called to read his boxing scorecards on the @HBOboxing broadcast, would always say OK, Jim in that Harold Lederman voice. The only time I met him in person was in Indy for the second Forrest-Mosley fight ...
Josh Katzowitz (@joshkatzowitz) May 11, 2019
In the press room, I was asking Harold about Michele Piccirillo (for some reason). In that same Harold Lederman voice he used on the broadcasts, he said, OK, Josh and led right into his explanation. What a legend. Hell be missed.
Josh Katzowitz (@joshkatzowitz) May 11, 2019
HBO, meanwhile, released this tribute videoand its fittingly beautiful.