The bad blood between heavyweight boxer Deontay Wilder and his upcoming opponent, Dominic Breazeale, appears to have reached dangerous levels as the men prepare to square off Saturday at the Barclays Center in New York.
“If he dies, he dies,’’ Wilder told USA TODAY Sports. “This is boxing. This is not a gentleman’s sport. This is a gladiator’s sport. And with bad blood, we know I possess the power."
WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39 knockouts) is coming off a draw against Tyson Fury. (Photo: Al Bello, Getty Images)
Wilder (40-0-1, 39 knockouts) is coming off a draw against Tyson Fury and said he has no intentions of letting Breazeale (20-1, 18 knockouts) survive the scheduled 12 rounds.
“Man, this fight, with the bad blood we got, I don’t see this fight going long,’’ Wilder said. “I’ll be surprised if this fight goes past three rounds. I don’t like this guy. I don’t have no good intentions for him. I wish the worst on him.
The bad blood stems from an incident Feb. 27, 2017, when Wilder fought Gerald Washington in Birmingham, Alabama, and Breazeale was on the undercard. That night, Wilder scored a technical knockout against Washington in the fifth round and Breazeale, who knocked out Izu Ugonoh in his undercard bout, had been rooting for Washington.
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“That’s OK,’’ Wilder said. “Everybody has their own people that are their friends, so I understand.’’
What is not OK, according to Wilder, is Breazeale made threatening remarks to Wilder’s brother later that night at a Birmingham hotel.
“He told my brother, and it was confirmed by other people that was around, that Breazeale made the statement that ‘I’ll kill you. If my family wasn’t here, I’d kill you and your entire family.’ ” Wilder said. “And I don’t take threats lightly.’’
So, Wilder said, he later tracked down Breazeale.
“I just put my hand in Breazeale’s face and I told him, ‘Never come to my city threatening my family ever. Don’t ever do that,’ ” Wilder said. “And it escalated from there. His coach started pushing and shoving and that’s when my team came in. They entered the building and then it was a whole scuffle.
“When it became a whole scuffle, not only was Breazeale running around, but his wife was running around as well, like she was Xena the Warrior Princess, screaming and hollering and doing what she’s doing.’’
Wilder said he’s angriest about Breazeale claiming Wilder endangered Breazeale’s wife and children.
“The thing about it, in America if you want to get people on your side, add women and children in there," he said. “And that’s what he’s tried to (do).
“Breazeale is an opportunist. He’s one of these guys that will waste water or ice in your establishment or business and slip on it on purpose just to sue you. That’s what type of person he is. For that reason, I got bad blood.
“And in boxing, you can be able to harm a man to the point of killing a man and get paid for it in the same night. If it happens, I’m not going to apologize. He’s been asking for this all along.’’
Although Wilder is the favorite on Saturday, Breazeale told Sky Sports he believes he is the fan favorite for the fight.
"Hands down without a doubt. A win for myself is a win for the world," he said. "Nobody no longer wants to see Deontay Wilder as WBC heavyweight champion."
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