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Killing someone in the ring? Deontay Wilder says it’s legal, but opponent says it’s crazy

Deontay Wilder Media Workout
Deontay Wilder works out for the media at Churchill Boxing Club in November.
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images)

Deontay Wilder moved his mandatory heavyweight title defense against Eastvale’s Dominic Breazeale to a place beyond standard boxing promotion this week.

Wilder, in a post-workout session with reporters Tuesday in New York, said that boxing can still reach back to its most savage roots.

“This is the only sport where you can kill a man and get paid for it at the same time. It’s legal. So why not use my right to do so?” Wilder said after previously explaining, “Dominic Breazeale asked for this … this is not a gentlemanly sport.”

Wilder, the unbeaten World Boxing Council champion from Alabama, arrives at his Showtime-televised showdown at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center with Breazeale aggravated by failed talks with fellow unbeatens Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, and a 2017 verbal exchange with Breazeale at a hotel lobby in Alabama following a card where both men posted knockout victories.

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“Crazy shenanigans,” is how Breazeale characterized Wilder’s “kill” talk. “We’re not in a word battle. We’re in a physical fight. We’ll lace them up and throw hands. He can say all that he wants to say. He’s a mental case. He has to hype himself up. He’s realizing I’m not going to react to his words … it’s very uncivilized, not in my character and not right.”

Wilder (40-0-1, 39 knockouts) was left to settle for the match with Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs) after Fury balked at an immediate rematch of their Dec. 1 draw at Staples Center. In that bout, Fury outboxed Wilder but was knocked down twice — including in the 12th round when he rose from near unconsciousness.

Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) settled on a co-promotion deal with Bob Arum’s Top Rank, and will fight Tom Schwarz on June 15 on ESPN.

Wilder maintains from “hearing a lot of things from people close to [Fury],” that Fury suffered a concussion on the 12th-round knockdown and was advised by his family not to rush back to Wilder.

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“Getting dropped to the ground, getting knocked from your senses … I understand [reluctance] because this is a dangerous sport and you have to be willing to risk your life in there,” Wilder said. “If he felt like he beat me 10 of the 12 rounds like they’ve said, then why wouldn’t the person take the rematch knowing, ‘I beat him by a wide margin, it wasn’t even a close fight?’ The only one talking about a rematch is me, because I know the truth.

“That’s the best Fury you’ll ever see. And that wasn’t the half of Deontay Wilder. It was just about me trying to knock him out. All eyes were on me, and I tried to do something I’m used to doing, but I wasn’t patient.”

Turning from Fury to Breazeale for his ninth WBC title defense wasn’t as difficult as it might seem, Wilder said, pointing to his ability to move beyond three opponents who forced him to reschedule plans because of positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs.

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“Without the bad, you can’t have the good,” Wilder said.

Wilder is expected to try to top Joshua’s seventh-round technical knockout of Breazeale in 2016.

“I love getting mandatories out of the way because they [say], ‘I want it, I want it,’ but be careful what you wish for. You ask and you shall receive,” Wilder said. “I want to thank him for coming to see my city and causing the chaos he did. It relit my fire. I’ve never wanted to hurt a guy this bad since [the first title] fight in 2015.”

There has been speculation that Wilder’s manager, Al Haymon, has lined up Adam Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs) and a rematch with Cuba’s Luis Ortiz for Wilder should negotiations with Fury and Joshua fail. The WBC on Wednesday moved to arrange a meeting later this year between Fury and fellow Englishman Dillian Whyte that would point the winner to Wilder in 2020.

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Joshua fights Andy Ruiz of Imperial, Calif., in his June 1 U.S. debut on DAZN. While Wilder expressed frustration over Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn “trying to move the goal posts” after Wilder agreed to two flat fees and a 60%-40% split of purse money for a Joshua bout, he sounded a hopeful tone for the future.

“I promise the fight will happen. With Joshua, no one’s going to know, and once it goes quiet and we settle our differences behind closed doors and do what we’ve got to do, it’s going to happen,” Wilder said. “We don’t want things in the public so much.

“There’s so much anticipation. It’s itching people. With patience comes time. Let us work.”

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire


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