12 Rounds With … Dominic Breazeale

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Heavyweight contender talks about how fighting is in his family's DNA and how he plans to dethrone heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.

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Breazeale vs Ugonoh Highlights: February 25, 2017

Heavyweight contender Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale has been seeking a title shot against champion Deontay Wilder for more than a year. His desire to face Wilder increased following impressive stoppages of Izu Ugonoh and Eric Molina on the undercards of the WBC champ’s title defenses last year.

While the wins didn’t solidified Breazeale (19-1-0, 17 knockouts) as Wilder’s mandatory challenger, they propelled him into the WBC’s No. 2-ranked position. Being so close to his long-awaited title shot has whetted Breazeale’s appetite and has him eagerly awaiting the call that will place him in the ring across from Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs).

When that call arrives and the offer to challenge Wilder is presented, the 32-year-old Breazeale—who fell short in his title bid against Anthony Joshua in June 2016—vows to immediately accept it. And he is very confident of dethroning Wilder.

Since the death of his mother, Christina, who die from a heart attack in December 2015, Breazeale’s determination to become world heavyweight champion has increased. Shortly after his mother’s passing, the former starting quarterback at the University of Northern Colorado, learned that his father, Harold Lee Breazeale, was an amateur boxer. The elder Breazeale, however, was incarcerated for much of Dominic’s childhood. He died eight years ago.

Though Harold Lee Breazeale did not play an influential role in his son’s life, his success as an amateur boxer left an impression on the California native as he now knows that boxing is deep in his genes.

What have you done, conditioning-wise, since your last fight?

I’ve been treating my situation as if the phone is going to ring at any moment or any day and that I’m going to be fighting this weekend, so I’ve continued to stay on my P’s and Q’s. I’m an individual who knows that boxing isn’t going to last forever, and I want to end it as soon as I can and as fast as I can.

Of course after every fight I take a couple of days off—usually about 10 days—to enjoy the family. Then, I get back to the drawing board. Boxing-wise, I’ve been with my trainer, Manny Robles, at Legendz Boxing Gym in Norwalk, California.

Of course, we’re always working on right-hand power, a good jab, balance, good general fundamental technical skills and things like that. We’ve been doing a little sparring with light heavyweights and cruiserweights to work on the speed and defense.

Strength and conditioning-wise, my trainer, Darryl Hudson, has been doing a phenomenal job. We’ve been doing plyometrics and hitting the tracks, working on speed and agility. We’ve been doing a ton of Olympic lifts like power cleans, deadlifts, squats and a more structured core workout.

Was it helpful to have sparred Gerald Washington in advance of his loss to Wilder?

Gerald and I spar a lot, and we always give each other good rounds. Prior to him getting his call for Wilder, we did so again. It was a last-minute call, so he didn’t get a lot of time to prepare for Deontay. But I thought he did well for the first two or three rounds.

Gerald boxed really well and was giving Deontay a ton of problems, but then, little by little, with the experience that Deontay has, he started picking Gerald apart and landing his shots. But when I was getting ready for the Izu fight, Gerald was a big help, being that I had a big, well-conditioned fighter in front of me.

What did you see from ringside in Wilder's victory over Washington?

Sitting at ringside and watching what Gerald was able to do with Deontay for the first couple of rounds, I definitely knew at that point that I could beat Deontay. I was literally champing at the bit. I thought maybe the first round was a flaw, but when Round 2 came, Gerald was still doing it.

I was thinking that when I get my opportunity against Deontay,  it’s going to be an easier day at the office than it was against Izu or Molina. Deontay is very awkward, which is crazy knowing that he’s gotten so far being a former U.S. Olympic bronze medalist in 40 professional fights and doesn’t really have any fundamental skills.

What do you mean?

You would think that he would be more under control when he’s gotten somebody hurt, but he’s almost like a street fighter in there. You get a lot of people making fun of the heavyweight champion of the world.

You also have individuals who don’t even know who he is. That’s because of the fact that his art is not as honed-in as it should be, if that makes sense.

If Deontay Wilder ends up fighting Anthony Joshua, I’ll be rooting for Wilder because I want my payback and the only way for me to get that is one-on-one inside of the square. Heavyweight contender Dominic Breazeale

How beneficial was fighting on two of Wilder’s undercards, and what are your thoughts on his stoppage of Ortiz?

I’ve paid close attention to Deontay’s last three fights, and I’ve seen a lot more weaknesses than I’ve seen strengths, particularly when he has someone hurt. When you smell blood, you’re supposed to go in for the kill, but his fundamental skills aren’t there and he falls apart.

With his big, wild, looping shots, Deontay is so unorthodox that it’s not even funny. It’s almost like a circus act. Strength-wise, we all know that he’s got a big right hand, but at the same time, I don’t know if he’s ever knocked anybody down or knocked anybody out who has been tested or has a chin.

How do you see yourself matching up with Wilder?

Well Deontay and I are about the same height, but I believe that what he weighed for Ortiz was at 214. You’re 14 pounds away from fighting at cruiserweight, so there is no way in hell that you should be getting any respect from anybody who is above 230 pounds.

I respect anybody who gets into the ring. But when you’re talking about me at 6-foot-7, 250, or Anthony Joshua at 6-foot-6,  254 pounds, those are two big, heavy-handed guys who get respect the first time that they hit somebody in the first-or second round.

Deontay has shown me nothing that I go into the gym worrying about. It just seems like Deontay Wilder, time and time again, has been getting lucky to land that right hand because he’s just been lucky to fight guys who haven’t had their chins truly tested.

Given Wilder could be on a collision course with Joshua—and you’ve lost to Joshua—who would you rather face?

I won my last fight to become the WBC’s mandatory. Deontay Wilder has the WBC title, and that’s the one that I want. If Deontay Wilder ends up fighting Anthony Joshua, I’ll be rooting for Wilder because I want my payback and the only way for me to get that is one-on-one inside of the square.

But at the same time, if Joshua-Wilder does happen, I’ll call [Joshua’s promoter] myself and I’ll tell him that I’m coming to camp to spar with Joshua because I want to help him put the baddest beat-down on Deontay Wilder possible.

You discovered after your mother’s passing that your father, whom you never met was a boxer—meaning the sport’s in your blood—and now your youngest son, Dominic, wants to box?

I’m not sure if it’s because he feels as if his back is against the wall or he’s being treated like the younger brother or what have you. But he’s the aggressive one who is not taking anything from anybody. He’s always ready to fight at the drop of a dime.

It’s one of those things that when your 4-year-old comes to you and says, “Dad, I want to learn how to box,” you think to yourself: “Well, why is my son thinking this way? Who’s threatening him? What’s going on?”

But that’s just his mentality. He’s eager to learn self-defense and how to stand up for himself. It’s going to help him when it comes to the times [when] his older brothers are gonna pick on him. It’ll be his way to get back at them.

For a closer look at Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale, check out his fighter page.

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