Heavyweights: America’s Breazeale Too Raw For Olympic Glory; What About the Pros?
By Charles Jay
Will Dominic Breazeale be able to do some damage in the pros? That’s a tough call, because he has a long way to go.
At the same time, he has come a long way in a relatively short period.
Breazeale is relatively inexperienced in boxing, having converted from the gridiron just four years ago. As such, taking a shot in the Olympics was going to be no walk in the park. And he did not have an easy task in his opening round super heavyweight bout against Russia’s Magomed Omarov. Breazeale, a native of Alhambra, CA, won this year’s U.S. nationals at 201+ pounds, went to the America’s qualifier in Brazil and earned his way to London.
He did not shine in his initial Olympic appearance, and in fact never really got untracked. Omarov was not the guy with an age advantage, as he is but 19 years old. And he has not been a factor for long on the world scene, having just won his first significant international event in 2011 with a victory at the European Championships.
However, there was a marquee triumph along the way for him. In the finals of that European tournament he scored an upset over he beat Roberto Cammarelle, who is not only the two-time world champion, but also the defending Olympic gold medalist in the super heavyweight division, and currently the #2 super heavyweight in the world as determined by AIBA (International Boxing Association).
This was a little over Breazeale’s head, and it showed, as he fell well behind on the scorecards early and dropped a rather non-combative 19-8 decision that leaves really no alternative for him but to salvage something out of a departure to the pro ranks.
Breazeale’s chances as an NFL quarterback ere probably not very much. Reportedly there were “feelers” from the new York Giants and Carolina Panthers, but nothing serious.
He started under center at Northern Colorado for a couple of years, but Breazeale’s chances as an NFL quarterback were probably not very much. He had the kind of size that made some scouts take interest; in two years after transferring from junior college he completed 245 of 423 passes for 17 touchdowns and ten interceptions, and his team had a record of 2-21 with him at the helm. Reportedly there were “feelers” from the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers, but nothing serious. He got an offer to try out with the British Columbia Lions in the Canadian Football League, he stood behind in California to get a “straight job” with the Department of Corrections. At 6’7″ and 265 pounds, he was imposing.
Out of the blue, he was contacted by a group called All American Heavyweights, backed by Michael King, formerly of the King World television syndication empire, and interested in turning athletes in other sports into pro boxers.
Breazeale trained under John Bray, a former U.S. national team member, and thus far he has been the program’s star pupil, winning the California Golden Gloves last year and using that as a springboard to get farther on the national, and indeed, international levels. Now the group will most likely guide him through the professional ranks, where he could have a lot of advantages with King’s bankroll. There are many in the pro game who consider him to have only limited potential, but Breazeale likes to think that he can do some catching up, since he’s, for all intents and purposes, done the unexpected already.