Dominic Breazeale had to overcome early adversity, but he powered up to pass a stiff test against veteran heavyweight Amir Mansour.
Breazeale was dropped for just the second time in his career Saturday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles, but the former U.S. Olympian rallied to gain a technical knockout and remain unbeaten when Mansour was unable to continue after the fifth round.
Dominic Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs) landed a combination against Amir Mansour (22-2-1, 16 KOs) late in the fifth, catching the 43-year-old southpaw with a head-swiveling left uppercut and a right hand to the jaw. Following the round, Mansour told his corner, “I can’t close my mouth,” and referee Raul Caiz Sr. then waved an end to the bout.
"I didn't know what happened,” Breazeale said. “Shows I have punching power after all.
“As the rounds went on, I noticed that he was breathing a little harder and that ever time he came in with his right hook, he was leading with his head. I was able to catch him with the left uppercut and the right, which I think was the deciding factor.”
After the fight, Mansour posted on his Facebook page that “around the second round, i got hit with my tongue positioned in between my teeth. My mouthpiece is fitted for my upper teeth only. Anyway, I bit my damn tongue almost completely in half. (Yes it was painful) so then my damn tongue swelled up so bad that I literally could not breathe, not to mention swallowing so much blood. ... Got a pretty decent injury to my jaw as well, getting that checked out.”
The 6-foot-2 Mansour was the early aggressor despite giving up about 35 pounds to the 6-7 Breazeale as he stormed across the ring at the start of the fight and maintained control into Round 2, when he worked inside to land some heavy left hands.
In the third, Mansour scored a knockdown with a short right hook in the first minute of the round to further his early dominance, although Breazeale quickly steadied himself and landed a nice right uppercut shortly before the bell.
“I had my glove down [on the knockdown] and he hit me right on the button,” Breazeale said. “It was a temple shot, and of course, I was hurt, but I’ve been on the canvas before, so I knew I could bet back up. I was fortunately able to compose myself, recuperate, recover and go back to work.
“The game plan was to come out and be a big, long guy, half-stepping here and there. When he put me on the canvas, I felt like I owed him something and wanted to drop him, too. A lot of times, I have so much fighter in me, I become like a backyard brawler with a little bit of technique.”
Before Breazeale landed his crushing blows at the end of the fifth, Mansour caught his bigger opponent with some hefty body shots of his own as he drove the 2012 Olympian against the ropes.
Mansour outlanded Breazeale at the time of the stoppage, connecting on 73 of 295 total punches (24.7 percent) according to CompuBox, compared to 69 of 232 (29.7 percent) for Breazeale. The discrepancy was even larger in power punches, with Mansour outlanding Breazeale, 64-48.
“I’m a little bit upset with myself that I trained my butt off to use some fundamental boxing skills,” Breazeale said. “But every time I got hit with a shot, I just wanted to go to war.
“It takes a real man to take a big shot in a fight, go down and get back up. My overall assessment is that I’m a bad SOB, but I could never have predicted the ending.”
For complete coverage of Breazeale vs Mansour, visit our fight page.