If I were in charge of promoting undefeated heavyweight contender and 2012 Olympian Dominic Breazeale, I’d be breathing a big sigh of relief after Saturday night. He escaped the Staples Center with his perfect record in tact and he’s given his publicists at least a little bit to work with. Against the toughest opponent of his career, Breazeale hung tough, weathered an onslaught and found the big punch he needed to seize a victory after falling far behind on the cards.
Still, for the first four rounds of that fight, Breazeale looked nothing like a future heavyweight champion. Against a much older and smaller opponent, he was out-hustled and roughed up. Mansour dropped him hard in Round 3.
Dominic Breazeale deserves credit for surviving that third round. And in the fifth, he put together some very good combinations and landed solid punches, including the looping right that casused Mansour to bite through his tongue, leaving him unable to close his mouth and forcing him to quit on his stool prior to the start of Round 6.
It shouldn’t be too surprising, though, that Breazeale struggled with Mansour. The rugged 40-something is not exactly an elite talent in the division, but he is an entire level or two above anybody Breazeale had previously faced. He’s a bruising, intense fighter and it is actually understandable that an inexperienced boxer like Breazeale might start slowly against him.
Breazeale actually looked a bit more polished than Charles Martin did a week ago, when he “won” the vacant IBF title from Vyacheslav Glazkov, via injury default. Martin and Breazeale were scheduled to fight last December, before Martin pulled out for the Glazkov bout. I expect to see the two finally fight each other in the late spring or early summer.
It’s a fight that makes perfect sense. Breazeale and Martin are both big, athletic guys who can punch but lack the polish to face true, top contenders at this point. It’s actually a fight I would look forward to.
The fact that the IBF so-called world title would be at stake is an absurdity, of course. But we can’t let alphabet-soup shenanigans take away our enjoyment from an otherwise interesting bout.