“It was a great fight.”
That’s what they’ll say when asked about the TV opener for the debut of Premier Boxing Champions on Fox as heavyweight fighters Dominic Breazeale and Amir Mansour went to war for 5 rounds in a scheduled 10 rounder at the Staples Center in Los Angles.
They won’t focus on the lack of technique in the fight or the fact that Breazeale looked pretty awful physically and nothing like the highly touted athlete he’s always been billed as, but instead the fans in attendance and the audience at home will tell you that it was fun to watch.
Although Breazeale earned the victory after making his 43-year-old opponent quit in between rounds heading into the 6th, it was a hard-earned victory as the former Olympian Breazeale was thoroughly tested in the first couple rounds.
Mansour started the fight off hot and somewhat aggressive. Breazeale ate some hard shots in the first round but was actually staggered a bit in the second round. Mansour found success at a distance and was able to get in and out at will. Breazeale failed to initiate his jab early on and could not keep the fight at his range.
Taking nothing away from Mansour, Breazeale seemed slower and less agile than usual. Breazeale missed huge shots consistently and in succession as four punch combos would simply whiz by like an oversized horsefly.
In the 3rd round, Mansour put Breazeale down, this after Breazeale was having some success in the round. Mansour caught Breazeale with an over-the-top right thrown with precision. Breazeale beat the count, but he was definitely hurt. He managed to hold on and survive the round.
In the fourth, with Breazeale on some unsure legs, Mansour slowed down, giving his opponent an opportunity to capitalize. And capitalize he did as Breazeale came back to win the round. He landed some hard shots on Mansour, but nothing that suggested he was on his way out, and nothing he hadn’t previously handled.
The fight turned epic in the fifth round as both fighters had their moments and tried to one-up the other. For the first time, Mansour looked significantly hurt by a Breazeale shot, although it was clear that Mansour was gassing a bit—Breazeale had started to look gassed way back in the 2nd.
Mansour got caught on the chin with a straight right hand from Breazeale, but lucky for him it was at the end of the round. The round was so brutal that neither fighter could say they left the round with a true momentum because they traded moments like they traded shots.
However, while Mansour sat on his stool waiting to answer the bell to start the 6th, referee Raul Caiz Sr. waved off the fight with what seemed like mysterious circumstances surrounding the decision.
A replay showed that Mansour admitted that he could no longer continue due to an injured jaw.
“That’s it. I can’t close my jaw,” Mansour told his trainer on camera in between the 5th and the 6th.
Breazeale deserved to win, but he did have a bit of luck on his side, which, I guess, is something that could be said for every great professional athlete at some point in their career. It’s hard to pinpoint what Breazeale has to do to become a better fighter because some of his issues in the fight are simply based on genetics and pure talent.
That said, Breazeale could implement some of those agility drills he used in football. In fact, a football strength and conditioning coach would help solve some huge issues in his actual technique.