WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) destroyed Dominic Breazeale (20-2, 18 KOs) in the opening round of Saturday night’s Showtime Championship Boxing main event. Known as a tremendously hard puncher, Wilder belted Breazeale with a right hand that crashed him to the canvas. Somehow Breazeale was able to get back to his feet, but he was wobbly and the fight was stopped anyway.
Despite the fact that Breazeale didn’t actually beat the ten-count, he insisted in a post-fight interview — this was not on the Showtime broadcast, but later on in the evening — that this was a premature stoppage.
“I think the ref stopped it a little early because I could hear him saying seven and eight, but that’s boxing,” said Breazeale (via Bad Left Hook). “He did his job and kept us safe for our next fight.
“I got on my feet and had my legs under me. It’s the heavyweight division so there’s going to big shots from guys with power. This was a situation where he landed the big right hand before I did. I thought I was going to come on in the later rounds. I’ll be back and go for the heavyweight title again.”
Well just for the sake of clarifying things, here’s Breazeale’s position when referee Harvey Dock said “eight.”
...And then here’s Dock after he’s said “ten” and Breazeale still has a knee on the mat, aka “he didn’t get up in time.”
Even when Breazeale got to his feet — late and after the bout was waived off — he stumbled backwards towards the ropes. In other words, his legs were under him only on a technicality.
This is probably another great reason why there shouldn’t be interviews with concussed fighters even if it’s a little further out from when they were brutally knocked out. This is almost reminiscent of when Marlon Starling was knocked out by Tomas Molinares — the result was later overturned because the punch was thrown and landed after the bell — and HBO’s Larry Merchant interviewed Starling in the ring about what happened, and he denied ever being knocked down.