Mark Breland has broken his silence as only he can.
Much has been said of the 1984 Olympic Gold medalist and former welterweight titlist, who until earlier this year has served as an integral part in the career of Deontay Wilder. That relationship changed for the worse following Wilder’s stoppage loss to England’s Tyson Fury in their rematch this past February at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Breland was the one who literally threw in the towel to rescue Wilder from absorbing additional punishment in the relatively one-sided affair.
The move was viewed as one of compassion by most observers, though considered an act of betrayal by the one who has final say in who stands tall with the team moving forward.
“In the midst of it all, you still couldn’t keep this king down,” Wilder (42-1-1, 41KOs) stated in an Instagram video otherwise dedicate to accusing Fury of having cheated in both of their fights, but also addressing the actions taken by Breland. “You would’ve had to kill me. In the end, it took a crap-in-a-bucket referee [Kenny Balyess] and a disloyal trainer to throw the towel in just to stop me.”
As reported on October 2 by BoxingScene’s Dan Rafael, Wilder relieved Breland of duties as part of his corner. The former heavyweight titlist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama in a separate interview with a YouTube-based podcast has since accused the former champ-turned trainer of spiking his water bottle, as the cause for weakening his legs prior to the fight.
None of it was directly addressed by Breland, though he did go on the record for the first time since the conspiracy theories have run amok throughout social media and the boxing community.
“Anyone who really knows me, knows I wouldn’t go back and forth with anybody (unless) it’s in the (r)ing,” Breland said in a released statement on Monday. “I’ve been boxing since I was eight years old. So, I didn’t give a big portion of my life to the sport; I DEDICATED MY ENTIRE LIFE TO THIS SPORT! But I have never seen the things I’m seeing now in ALL of those years!
“I’m only on social media because of my girl. We went somewhere and there was a picture of me and she said, ‘This is one of the reasons you need social media in this day and time.’. She said, ‘There are people who have deep admiration for you and social media is a way to give them some access to you.’ She asks me all the time am I tired of it? Do I want to go back to life without it? I always say no because the amount of support, love and gratitude I get [lets] me know all the hard work I put into my career was worth it!”
The closest to a response from Breland—arguably the greatest to ever come out the United States’ amateur boxing program—came in the form of a meme-level caption allegedly owning up to spiking his water and having been glad to do so in light of being fired.
In addition to the timeline not marrying up to the ridiculousness of such a claim being true, the Brooklyn native still felt the need to address that issue as well.
“I looked at & read thousands of videos texts & comments & I would put up a thousand of them if I could because so many of them was 100% strong but I can't. But I do have a file for ALL of them that moved me. I THANK ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR WORDS!
“Let me add this last. The Twitter pic that’s out there is not from me. It’s not how I speak and there’s nothing funny about this show that’s going on! Stay well & I’m still standing!”
Breland has since been replaced in Wilder’s corner by one time former foe and longtime sparring partner Malik Scott. Jay Deas continues his same role as head trainer and co-manager of Wilder, roles he has maintained since the 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist and former heavyweight titlist first donned a pair of gloves.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox