ON Saturday in an exciting supporting bout to Danny Garcia’s commanding points win over a very tough Robert Guerrero, heavyweights Dominic Breazeale and Amir Mansour put on quite a slugfest.

Former Olympian Breazeale, unbeaten at 16-0 (15) going in, survived some torrid moments and had to come back from a heavy knockdown and an even heavier points deficit to force Mansour, 22-1-1 (16) entering the bout, to remain on his stool at the start of the sixth round. The big talking point after the fight was the fact that established tough guy and warrior Mansour “quit”. After being so dominant in almost the entire fight – winning rounds one, two, three and four with his relentless pressure and effective punching, dropping the taller, younger Breazeale in the third – Mansour’s apparent capitulation was as surprising as it was disappointing.

However, it has since been confirmed how badly injured the 43-year-old southpaw was in the fight. Initially, it looked as though Mansour had been forced to stop fighting because of a damaged jaw. The jaw was indeed damaged – fractured – but the nasty injury Mansour suffered to his tongue was far worse.

Here in his own words on social media, Mansour explains with graphic detail the mouth injury he picked up:

“I know that many of you are wondering what happened. Around the second round, I got hit with my tongue positioned between my teeth. My mouth-piece is fitted for my upper teeth only. I bit my damn tongue almost completely in half. So then my tongue swelled up so bad, I literally couldn’t breathe, not to mention [I was] swallowing so much blood. [I had been] battling a cold, so breathing through my nose wasn’t working. I was suffocating  – literally.”

Later yesterday [Sunday] Mansour confirmed, after a five hour stay in hospital, that he indeed had a fractured jaw and his tongue needed 36 stitches. It does seem gravely unfair, then, to call a fighter who suffered so much pain and injury, a quitter.

Mansour landed his best shots during the all-out attack he launched on Breazeale, scoring with lefts and rights, mostly hooks. Breazeale, aside from the knockdown in the third when a right hook to the top of the head sent him down, took everything that came his way. Indeed, Saturday’s winner deserves credit for his heart and for not being overwhelmed.

With a number of notable young and unbeaten American heavyweights now on the scene, Breazeale supporters point to the man known as “Trouble” as a genuine world title contender. Mansour’s fans may point to the number of times Breazeale, 30, was hit by a man so much shorter in height (6’1” for Mansour, Breazeale standing six inches taller), and older than he is, but it seems certain Breazeale will engage in bigger fights down the road.

Mansour will of course need a substantial amount of recovery time before he, a crowd-pleasing operator who looks far younger than his years, can be ready to fight again.