By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Deontay Wilder draws criticism each time he discusses his supposed desire to literally kill one of his opponents in the ring.
That hasn’t stopped the WBC heavyweight champion from continuing to push that narrative. He bluntly discussed the possibility of killing Dominic Breazeale on Saturday night while talking Tuesday night with a group of reporters and videographers at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn.
“His life is on the line for this fight, and I do mean his life,” Wilder said. “I’m still trying to get me a body on my record.”
The 33-year-old Wilder didn’t back off his remarks when he was reminded that many fans are turned off by him stating that he wants to kill an opponent even in an unusually dangerous sport in which participants realize death is potentially an unintentional consequence.
“Hey, Dominic Breazeale asked for this,” Wilder explained. “I didn’t go seek him, he seeked me. So, if it comes, it comes. This is a brutal sport. This is not a gentleman’s sport. I keep saying this is not a gentleman’s sport. We don’t ask to hit each other in the face, but we does anyway. You can ask any doctor around the world, and he’ll tell you a head is not meant to be hit. Anybody can go. And on this particular time, we have bad blood against each other. This is the only sport where you can kill a man and get paid for it at the same time – it’s legal. So why not use my right to do so?”
The bad blood to which Wilder referred stems from a February 2017 incident at a hotel in Birmingham, Alabama.
Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs), of Eastvale, California, each scored a knockout earlier that night at nearby Legacy Arena. Wilder’s younger brother, Marsellos Wilder, and Breazeale got into an argument at ringside and later a physical altercation at The Westin Birmingham.
Breazeale alleged that Marsellos Wilder punched him in the back of the head, in front of Breazeale’s wife and children. Deontay Wilder arrived at the hotel after that altercation and went after Breazeale, who later filed a lawsuit against the champion he’ll challenge Saturday night.
Showtime will air Wilder-Breazeale as the main event of a tripleheader Saturday night from Barclays Center in Brooklyn (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
The network’s three-bout broadcast also will feature WBC featherweight champ Gary Russell Jr. Russell (29-1, 17 KOs), of Capitol Heights, Maryland, will make an optional defense of his 126-pound championship against Spain’s Kiko Martinez (39-8-2, 28 KOs).
In the televised opener, junior welterweight prospect Juan Heraldez (16-0, 10 KOs), of North Las Vegas, Nevada, will encounter veteran Argenis Mendez (25-5-2, 12 KOs, 1 NC), of Yonkers, New York.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.