Deontay Wilder Channels Ivan Drago For Dominic Breazeale Fight: 'If He Dies, He Dies'

The undefeated heavyweight champion quoted the "Rocky IV" villain with a chilling message for his opponent in Saturday's title fight.
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Deontay Wilder

The beef between undefeated heavyweight boxing champ Deontay Wilder and challenger Dominic Breazeale has been ratcheted up to dangerous new levels ahead of Saturday's title fight in Brooklyn.

Using an iconic line famously uttered by Rocky IV villain Ivan Drago, Wilder revealed that he won't lose any sleep if Breazeale doesn't leave the ring alive. 

“If he dies, he dies,’’ Wilder told USA Today Sports. “This is boxing. This is not a gentleman’s sport. This is a gladiator’s sport. And with bad blood, we know I possess the power."

UFC fans will recall that Conor McGregor also famously quoted the fictional Russian power puncher before he got mauled into submission by real-life Russian destroyer Khabib Nurmagomedov during the wild main event at UFC 229

But there's arguably even more bad blood between the 40-0-1 Wilder, who is coming off a draw against Tyson Fury, and the 20-1 Breazeale. Their disdain for one another dates back to a much-talked about 2017 confrontation. 

Per USA Today Sports,

The bad blood stems from an incident Feb. 27, 2017, when Wilder fought Gerald Washington in Birmingham, Alabama, and Breazeale was on the undercard.

That night, Wilder scored a technical knockout against Washington in the fifth round and Breazeale, who knocked out Izu Ugonoh in his undercard bout, had been rooting for Washington

“That’s OK,’’ Wilder said. “Everybody has their own people that are their friends, so I understand.’’

What is not OK, according to Wilder, is Breazeale made threatening remarks to Wilder’s brother later that night at a Birmingham hotel.

“He told my brother, and it was confirmed by other people that was around, that Breazeale made the statement that ‘I’ll kill you. If my family wasn’t here, I’d kill you and your entire family.’ ” Wilder said. “And I don’t take threats lightly.’’

Wilder doubled down on his controversial comments in a separate interview with reporters at a media event in New York. 

“I am still trying to get me a body on my record. This is the only sport where you can kill a man and get paid for it at the same time. It’s legal," Wilder said. "So why not use my right to do so?”

Breazeale responded by letting the threatening remarks roll off his back, according to Boxing News 24.  

"Wilder has said some crazy stuff. I don’t think he means it,” Breazeale said. 

“I think he’s in a situation where he’s got to talk, because he’s not comfortable with what he’s doing. He’s got to build himself up by saying ‘I’m going to do this and I’m going to do that.’ I know he can’t have a body on his record."

"Let him say what he wants," Breazeale added. "That’s like a little Chihuahua barking and barking."

We'll see if Wilder's bark is as bad as his bite on Saturday night, when the hard-punching "Bronze Bomber" squares off against Breazeale for Wilder's WBC world title at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Showtime starts broadcasting the action at 9 p.m. EST.