By: Sean Crose
“Going pretty good,” Mark Breland tells me of his fighter, Deontay Wilder’s, preparation for a December showdown with Tyson Fury. “Looking sharp.” Breland, a former Gold Medalist and world welterweight champ, is sometimes uneasy when a fighter looks TOO good in the earlier stages of training camp, for it’s unwise to peak too soon. As it stands, however, the man is satisfied with Wilder’s progression.
Both Breland and Wilder are aware of the fact that Fury presents a unique challenge. Not only is the former heavyweight king after Wilder’s WBC heavyweight belt, he’s also, like Wilder, undefeated and awkward. What’s more, Fury is the rare opponent who is actually taller than Wilder is. For Breland, though, the concern right now is “basically that little awkward stuff he (Fury) does” in the ring.
Photo Credit: Mark Breland Twitter Account
Anyone whose seen Fury fight knows that he likes to play an elusive game by engaging in herky-jerky movements. “He tries to throw you off,” Breland says of the Englishman’s style. “He tries to get a rise out of you.” Breland’s aware of the fact that it’s a strategy that has worked for Fury on a large scale. “He’s not as stupid as people say he is,” Breland states.
It’s common knowledge Fury likes to get inside opponent’s heads before a fight even begins. Breland agrees that one of the reason’s Fury stunned then champ Wladimir Klitschko back in 2015 was Fury’s acute use of mind games before the bout. Men like Fury, Breland argues “want to see what they get out of you.”
Breland, who himself was always a cool customer in the ring, is preparing Wilder as much for Fury’s mind games as he is for the exchange of punches. “He’s going to try everything in the book to frustrate you,” he says of Fury. Breland isn’t impressed with those who run wild in this era of smack talk.
“These guys,” he says, “take it too far.” Breland advises that one should let the adversary do what he wants beforehand. “Just don’t hit him,” he says. “When you hit him, it’s a lawsuit.” So far, Wilder has seemed impervious to Fury’s taunts, which perfectly suits his trainer. Breland, however, is preparing his man for any contingency.
“I honestly think,” he says of Wilder, “if he catches him, he’s going” to knock him out. Yet Breland is ready for Fury to try to up the frustration level when he meets Wilder in the Staples’ Center ring on December 1st. “It can be a long, drawn out fight,” Breland states. Not that he’s worried. “Don’t get discouraged,” he points out. “He’s not doing nothing and you don’t have to do nothing.” In other words, don’t take the bait.
“Just keep tapping him with the jab,” Breland says. “Anything with Fury is mental.”