By Frank Warren
Those of us in need of a little respite from England’s travails and a European Championship that has been less than gripping, as of yet, will be relieved to have some boxing back on the box this weekend – at a price, of course.
Anthony Joshua, by his own admission, continues his ring education against the American Dominic Breazeale at the 02 in a contest where once again the judges are unlikely to be called upon to tot up the scores after 12 hard rounds. The referee will be the one doing the counting up – one to ten after two or three rounds, I strongly suspect.
So is Breazeale, known as ‘Trouble’, capable of providing Joshua with a spot of bother? The formbook, not to mention the bookmaker’s odds, suggest not. Doubtless we will be reminded on numerous occasions this week that we are about to witness a match-up between two towering heavyweights, with near identical records, who represent the future of the sport.
True, the records of the pair (16-0 Joshua / 17-0 Breazeale) and physical attributes are pretty similar, as is the KO-ratio (16/15), but that doesn’t really paint the full picture.
A quick glance at the Coral odds tells you what you need to know. Put 20 quid down on Joshua to triumph and you will be the happy recipient of a one pound coin. Put down the same amount on Breazeale and you would be quids in to the tune of £180 if a genuine upset did happen to occur.
You would probably be better off saving your score to fund the pay-per-view to watch George Groves vs Martin Murray, which should be a good one and more of an attraction than the main event.
It is clear that Coral don’t fancy the 30-year-old Breazeale to make the second half – quoting 33-1 for Joshua to win in the seventh and 80-1 in the unlikely scenario of it ending in the 12th. If you really fancy Breazeale to splosh big Josh, then pick a round and get 100-1. Generous? Maybe. Realistic? Not in the slightest.
Last time out, Breazeale defeated Amir Mansour, an American who goes by the stage name of ‘Hardcore’. Mansour did not emerge from his corner for the start of round six, however, the southpaw did send his fellow countryman crashing to the canvas in the third.
Prior to that, Breazeale laboured to a debatable points decision over Fred Kassi, who provided a decent enough test for Hughie Fury at the end of April.
Barry Hearn was spouting off again this week, saying he thinks he has the best heavyweight on the planet for the next ten years. If he really thinks this to be the case then let him prove it.
Joshua holds a version of the world title, so it is not like he is some sort of novice, he is an Olympic champion who should be taking on seasoned and credible challengers by now. It is telling that Dillian Whyte has been drafted into the fold so they can simmer and ultimately reheat a return between the rivals.
Entertaining it might have been for a while first time around, but Joshua should be moved along swiftly from British title level so we can see how good he really is.
Money is no object, we are told, with Sky apparently upping the ante where boxing is concerned with the proceeds from previous pay-per-views. I thought that was what we paid our subscriptions for but, if this is the case, put up the money for a genuine and durable contender to offer more than just token resistance.
Tyson Fury considers the likes of Charles Martin and Breazeale as ‘big old lumps who can’t make it in basketball so turn to boxing’ and he might just have a point. Don’t be surprised to see Joshua bounce Breazeale onto the deck in less time that it takes to make his entrance to the ring.
More from Frank tomorrow