Dominic Breazeale is at an interesting crossroads entering year nine of his professional boxing career. The thirty-five year-old two time heavyweight title contender is making his first ring walk since May 2019 tonight at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. The converted collegiate quarterback and 2012 boxing Olympian has carved out a successful career that saw him challenge hard punching titleholders Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. Ultimately he was defeated by TKO in seven rounds against Anthony Joshua but showed loads of heart and was flattened in a destructive knockout against Deontay Wilder. I was present at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York the night Breazeale faced Wilder and there was bad blood between the two fighters. Heading in I felt Breazeale’s defensive liabilities and plodding nature would see him defeated by stoppage but was shocked to see it over inside the opening three minutes. Where did that leave Dominic? He had faced the best and came up short, the best guys are still in the same place. He can’t go up in weight, there is not a division above heavyweight, at 250+ he isn’t going down to cruiserweight. He is at that crossroad where he is unlikely to fight for another title let alone win one so he is now going to be in a position to gatekeep for the division and separate the contenders from the pretenders.
Breazeale has employed Abel Sanchez as his new trainer and in his recent interview with Ray Flores on PBC Timeout he is giving off the impression of a reinvigorated career. He has promised to knockout his opponent Otto Wallin and is praising his training camp. He has claimed the boxing has become his life and not a job and that he is building in great new training habits with Sanchez that were viewed as just a process before. Breazeale has always had a soft type of physique and he is saying he ran more in this camp than he has in his entire career. He mentioned camps were usually him trying to flatten his stomach and lose weight to prepare while this camp has been more of a method of preparation. Have we heard this a million times over with other fighters, sure, but Sanchez is a pretty good trainer. If there has ever been a fault with Breazeale it is a leaky defense and a slow plodding style. What he has needed is a more relaxed and fluid style with a tighter defense. We know he can punch, he even momentarily wobbled Wilder and we know he can take a punch, we saw this against Joshua and Izuagbe Ugonoh.
Breazeale weighed in at 261 which is heavy for him but he has not fought in a long time but he looked like he was in pretty good shape in comparison to other weigh ins. I am excited to see what he brings into the ring and if all of his talk of a renewed passion takes him to a better place as a fighter. Otto Wallin is an interesting task as he is a skillful southpaw with a decent punch. He only has 14 KO’s in his 22 fights and does not have a list of well known opponents so his exposure is a little small. What we do know is that he went 12 rounds with Tyson Fury and rocked him in the final round and was very competitive with Fury. He also managed to land more punches than Klitschko and Wilder did, his connects are about what the two champions landed on Fury combined. Fury did sustain a massive cut in their fight early on and I cannot say for certain whether this flattered his performance or if Wallin is that good. Since the Fury fight Wallin stopped Travis Kauffman who suffered an arm injury and though he is a known PBC fighter he isn’t a world beater by any means. Lets see if Breazeale is going to make a last run and if Wallin has the right stuff.