By: Sean Crose
“I thought Fury won that fight,” heavyweight contender Dominic Breazeale said on a Thursday conference call, referring to last December’s Deontay Wilder – Tyson Fury title matchup. Now it’s Breazeale who will be facing Wilder, for on May 18th, the two men will face off at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center for Wilder’s WBC belt in a bout that will be aired live on Showtime. Although some see the 40-0-1 Wilder as perhaps the best heavyweight on earth, the 20-1 Breazeale isn’t particularly impressed. “I don’t see any fundamental skills,” Breazeale said of his foe. “He hasn’t grown. He hasn’t changed. He has a big right hand, but don’t we all in the heavyweight division?”
After having a searing incident in a Birmingham hotel lobby with Wilder and his team several years ago, Wilder made it clear that he’s used the experience as motivation for the May 18th bout. “It’s been the biggest motivational tool in these last ten weeks of camp,” he told me on the call. Still, the fighter indicated he’s not going to let the memory of the incident take away from his game plan. “I’m not going to take any of that emotion and crazy antics into the fight,” he added. “If you do that, you already lose the battle.”
As for Wilder, the WBC champ claimed he went back to the basics for the upcoming match with Breazeale. “It got to the point I had to stop training so hard,” he said on the call, “my doctor advised me to stop training so hard.” The hotel incident has clearly motivated Alabama’s Wilder, as it has Breazeale. According to Wilder, Breazeale has falsely presented himself as the victim of the chaos of that evening. “What goes around comes around,” Wilder said. “Come May 18th it’s punishment time.”
There is little doubt that Wilder can promote a fight. Whether he’s speaking of himself (“I have the heart of a lion. I am a king.”), PED use (“I’m natural. I feel like I have the right to speak my peace”), or the boxing game in general (“It’s a brutal sport that we’re in, and I love it.”), the man makes people take notice when he talks. Still, his anger with Breazeale certainly came across as legitimate on the call. He described his opponent several times Thursday as someone who would enter a business, spill water, then slip on it in order to bring about a lawsuit.
“I want,” Wilder said, “to bring the pain.”