Monday, 24 December 2018 13:14

Dominic Breazeale should be next for Wilder

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It’s often said that good things come to those who wait.

Heavyweight contender Dominic Breazeale should have to wait no longer for his opportunity against World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.

Since suffering an 7th round knockout to Anthony Joshua in 2016, Breazeale has rebounded nicely, delivering spectacular knockouts on national TV — including one in his victory Saturday over Carlos Negron. He’s done what he’s needed to justify his mandatory status as the next challenger for the title.

Yet mention of his name as Wilder’s next opponent elicits a groan and collective sigh from boxing fans and those with great boxing knowledge.

Some see him as a strong athlete, but with limited skill, someone who is tailor made as another KO victim on a Wilder highlight reel.

That belief is understandable. While Breazeale has shown a solid chin, great heart and knockout power, his opposition has been limited in comparison to Wilder’s. At times, he leaves himself wide open for counters, especially when missing with right hand leads. However, as with any sport, no one truly knows what will happen until both men get in the ring.

There are many names who fans would love to see beside Wilder’s on future fight cards; most notably Dillian Whyte or Anthony Joshua. Both those fights would be tremendously entertaining, but a fight with Breazeale makes the most sense in the immediate future.

He’s arguably far more well-known in the U.S. than Whyte, and there seems to be more to work out with Joshua before he and Wilder meet for heavyweight supremacy. Breazeale is certainly a more credible opponent for Wilder than Chris Arreola was in 2016 or Bermane Stiverne in a 2017 rematch.

Although Breazeale would be a huge underdog, he seems unfazed in that role. As detailed in an article I wrote for the Greeley Tribune, Breazeale was the starting quarterback for the University of Northern Colorado during a time of transition for the football program. The Bears, once back-to-back national champions at the Division II level, were transitioning to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level in 2006 and 2007. Breazeale persevered through some frustrating times and eventually threw for more than 200 yards against Montana State to give the Bears their first victory in the Big Sky Conference in school history.

Breazeale (20-1, 18 KO) has been described as steady and a man of character who wants to be the best at what he does. Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that he has gotten back to winning following a high profile setback to Joshua. While he does have areas that Wilder can exploit, his KO power and consistent desire to be the best should be enough to get him the opportunity he’s been working towards.

Above all, boxing is a business and marketability does have its place. However, winning matters just as much. Breazeale has done that, and it has put him in a position to no longer be denied.

Make no mistake, a win against Wilder would be a long shot for Breazeale; it would be the equivalent of completing a Hail Mary pass. But he deserves a chance to launch the ball and see what happens. And it should happen sooner rather than later.






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