It took less than three minutes in the ring Saturday night in Brooklyn, New York, for Deontay Wilder to make good on, not only destroying contender Dominic Breazeale, but also taking full control of his leverage in the short-term heavyweight championship picture.
Make no mistake.
Wilder’s emphatic one punch devastation of Breazeale screams figuratively, “Wilder is THE Man.” And, whether Anthony Joshua is undefeated (he is), whether Anthony Joshua holds the other three heavyweight belts (he does), he can no longer have any credibility, if he continues to duck Wilder.
Not after Saturday night.
Not after Wilder matched Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Muhammad Ali’s second reign as heavyweight champions, with his ninth consecutive successful title defense.
Not after Wilder talked for two months about what he was going to do to Breazeale, whom Joshua took seven rounds and a couple of hundred punches to beat, and then delivered by landing one nuclear right cross.
It was clear a year ago that Wilder wanted to fight Joshua, and reportedly offered to take less money than Joshua for the fight to be in New York. Joshua declined and stayed in London to fight Alexander Povetkin late last year.
Then came reports in late February that Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing wanted a deal with Wilder to fight someone else first for them, and on DAZN streaming service and then, fight Joshua this fall.
Now, with Joshua slated to make his us debut in two weeks at Madison Square Garden for Matchroom and on DAZN, Wilder has already all the leverage he needs.
He just scored a knockout that is going to be replayed for days, and maybe weeks, on the internet. A knockout that was the lead story on ESPN SportsCenter, the premiere national sports program in the country, at midnight eastern time Saturday night.
It’s not confirmed. But, I don’t think SportsCenter has ever shown an Anthony Joshua highlight.
And, that sarcastic jab is actually THE point for Wilder, and what he just did.
It’s Wilder, who can now dictate when and where he wants Joshua. And, Joshua can’t have credibility any longer continuing to fight lesser fighters.
Oh, and let’s not forget Tyson Fury.
The man who lasted 12 rounds with Wilder last December, and who got up from that same right hand in the 12th round that night that startched Breazeale. It salvaged Fury a draw.
Still, Fury could not look more foolish now, for not having agreed to the rematch that was put in front of him by Wilder and Haymon promotions/Premier Boxing Champions.
Instead, Fury chose to walk away from the lucrative rematch and sign with Top Rank and Bob Arum. So now, he is now fighting a complete “no-name” later in June that will garner him absolutely no leverage for a possible rematch with Wilder.
Fury’s only hope is that Joshua frustrates and continues to delay Wilder for another six months to a year.
However, if Joshua continues to duck him, then, Wilder would likely be content to rematch Luis Ortiz, who he defeated in a wild first fight, probably this fall.
And, then, Wilder would wait for Joshua to lose more credibility by not fighting him for the Undisputed Championship.
Sooner or later, the public takes sides.
And after Saturday night, at least with the U.S. fight fans, media and in the country where the most audience and money are, Wilder is the guy in charge.
And, Dominic Breazeale, who’s been in the ring with Joshua, can verify that.