Joshua vs. Breazeale – When IBF heavyweight title holder Anthony Joshua 16-0 (16) defends his title against Dominic Breazeale 17-0 (15) this Saturday night at the O2 arena in Greenwich London, most observers are probably thinking and hoping there’s a chance they’ll see a George Foreman vs. Ron Lyle slugfest. And why wouldn’t they when you have two big guys facing off that have combined to win 31 of their 33 total bouts via stoppage.
It’s been 40 years since Foreman, the former world champion and Lyle, one of the stalwart contenders of the early through to the mid-seventies, touched gloves on that late Saturday afternoon back in January of 1976. The fight only lasted five rounds but the sustained action and big punching, especially during the fourth and fifth rounds, were unforgettable. Midway through the fourth round Lyle dropped Foreman and George was visibly hurt. Foreman got up and took it to Lyle and dropped him. Lyle beat the count and both guys looked dead tired, but somehow Lyle found the reserve and dropped Foreman for the second time late in the round with a beautiful right uppercut. Foreman beat the count and looked all but done walking back to his corner. George came out for the fifth round and must’ve realized that if he didn’t end it in this round he might not make it through the sixth. In a demonstration of sheer heart and brute power Foreman rained punches on Lyle’s head and face. Ron finally collapsed and went down in a manner in which there was no need to count because he was finished. The bout produced four brutal knockdowns. Lyle authored the first and Foreman authored the last.
That was a fun stroll down memory lane; however don’t expect a new memory produced by the Joshua-Breazeale clash on June 25th. And the reason for that is both George Foreman and Ron Lyle were world class fighters. Foreman is one of the all-time greats and had Lyle fought during an era minus Muhammad Ali and George, it’s a very safe bet he would’ve won at least a piece of the title during the Holmes, Tyson, Holyfield, Lewis and Klitschko eras. That’s something that I’m sure will never be said about Dominic Breazeale when he retires from professional boxing.
Breazeale’s opponent Anthony Joshua has all the talent and ability in the world. Joshua is big, he can punch with both hands and he also puts his punches together like a first rate pro. When Anthony cuts loose with everything he throws he looks the way a pro should regarding his form and accuracy. Sadly, that can’t be said about Breazeale even in jest. At the risk of sounding like Howard Cosell, Dominic is slow, cumbersome, ponderous, can’t punch, is easy to hit, has an unimaginative offense and loads up and telegraphs mostly every meaningful punch he launches. And that’s being nice. Sure, he’s big and might even possess some strength, but it’s not the kind of strength that translates into ring strength or world class punching power. Not even close.
What we basically have in Joshua vs. Breazeale is a world class pro meeting a third tier or regional talent. Granted, they may have the same amount of bouts under their belt as pros, but they are worlds apart and it doesn’t take a sophisticated eye to see it. If pushed to name a single trait or thing that Breazeale does that is remotely average, other than being big, I must submit that I can’t because it doesn’t exist. How long will it take for Joshua to realize that? I expect that once they’re in the ring and feel each other’s confidence and presence, Anthony will become the predator and Breazeale will acknowledge that he’s the prey. And that will force him to do one of two things – freeze or go all out and try to get lucky and catch Joshua with a hay-maker to salvage his almost non-existent chance. Either option gets him knocked out. Hopefully Dominic doesn’t get hurt and his showing isn’t so bad that he can’t recover and attempt to regroup and earn another title shot.
The bottom line here is that Breazeale isn’t ready for Joshua, let alone ready to beat him, and in all honesty he’ll never be. Anthony holds every advantage over Breazeale, as a fighter, that one could hold over another. Joshua also knows the boxing world will be watching and a sensational showing is imperative for him if he wants to remain the most talked-about fighter in the heavyweight division. In order for that to happen he must make quick work of Joshua, and I think he will. The fight should resemble Joshua’s last bout on April 9th when he knocked out Charles Martin to win the IBF title.
Speaking of Charles Martin, he and Breazeale would be an evenly matched contest that I’d favor Martin to win. As we saw, Joshua only needed 4:32 to dispatch Martin; expect the same Saturday night against Breazeale. No, watching mismatches like Joshua-Martin and what I expect Joshua-Breazeale to be aren’t the most thrilling bouts to witness because they’re so one-sided. But in Joshua’s defense, he may be that good.…I said he may be that good. As of now the answer isn’t a given but what we’ve seen looks quite promising. Also, as long as Joshua stays busy like he has been, he’s allowed to take fights like the upcoming one with Breazeale. It’s a given there are some big fights for him on the horizon. By staying busy he’s doing himself a service and keeping his name in front of the public.
I don’t expect to see any drama or intrigue between Joshua and Breazeale Saturday night. The title won’t change hands, all that we’ll see is what it looks like when a world class fighter and talent meets a regional fighter and talent…..and I doubt that it will be pretty, although it should be decisive and final.
Joshua vs. Breazeale
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com