By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns, with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards discussing junior middleweight contender Michel Soro, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., the showdown between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko, Andre Berto, Frankie Gomez and more.
Hope you're doing well.
Soro fought this past weekend in France. He blasted his opponent. For some reasons, nobody talks about him although he's clearly a top 6 JMW. Is it a promoting problem or his style? He knows trains with Sanchez in Big Bear and I think he could probably beat any champs at 154. What do you think? I remember you said great things about him.
Concerning labels and styles:
It's sometimes hard to define a boxer's style cause it falls into different categories. Could you try to give all the styles you know with a current and past boxer as an example?
Ex : Boxeur - Puncher, Counter - Puncher, Pressure Fighter, Brawler, etc etc.
To be honest, I like Chavez Jr, so I always try to defend him.
I know you're not high on him. But I think too much of Chavez's problem comes from being compared to his great father. Nobody ever gave him a break. I mean, what could he do? He was not brilliant but at his best was really tough and solid.
I read that you recently said it was a 70/30 for Canelo because Chavez was now serious. Even though he is, he's still far from his peak (when he defeated Lee in 2012). So I wonder what would you think if we took the 2012 Chavez? I know he's limited and less flashy and brilliant than Canelo, but he was a 180 ish lbs pressure fighter with an incredible chin and beautiful body combos at this time. He would even cut the ring. He stayed low and during this fight was tough as hell. He was fighting more often and kept improving with Roach with every fight. I wondered how far he could have gone. Even if he had flaws, a heavy, motivated, big pressure fighter who has great stamina and goes a lot to the body probably causes trouble to most of the MW of the last 10 years.
Well, to be clearer, if now you give him 30% chance after 4 lackluster performances, a break, and the weight situation, I wonder how much chances you would give to the 2012 version of Chavez if he was facing today's Canelo at 160.
I enjoyed watching Porter's fight. His determination is beautiful. In my opinion he's too often overlooked because of his limitations and his style, and I often read that he's a second tier fighter. Good, but not great. However, depending on how you scored the fights, the Thurman's one and the Brook's one were really close and competitive which means he could, in theory, be undefeated. Yet people don't seem to consider him as a real treat (on most forums). What do you think of Porter vs Spence, Pacquiao, Khan and Garcia?
I also wanted your opinion on Frankie Gomez. This guy seemed to be the real deal and he disappeared. His fight against Herrera really impressed me. What do you think of him?
Last, I wanted your opinion on the inside fighting. It seems that this art is slowly disappearing. So many great fighters of the past were brilliant on the inside and could stay there and trade for hours. It seems that today's fighter try to avoid it more.
Thanks a lot. Always a pleasure to read you.
Bread’s Response: Michel Soro is no joke. He could be the best fighter at 154. He just never gets a chance to prove it. He’s strong, he’s fast and he can concentrate under fire. Soro is one of the best counter punchers in boxing. He’s a legitimate sharpshooter. But he doesn’t have the push behind him over here in America. So you know how that goes.
There are lots of hybrid styles that are hard to categorize. For example there are several type of boxers. Ray Leonard and Ivan Calderon are both boxers but they function differently. Leonard is an attacking athletic boxer and Calderon is a pure boxer. Too many to name so I will keep it simple.
Boxer as in a pure boxer Willie Pep. Boxer Puncher Terry Norris. Pressure Fighter Roman Gonzales. Brawler Iran Barkely. You also have technicians like Marvin Hagler and Julio Cesar Chavez who usually do the hunting but they are boxing while doing it.
I never thought Chavez Jr was great, just very good. I think he’s gotten the opportunities he’s had because of his father also. So he has to take the good with the bad. Let’s remember he almost lost his championship fight vs Sebastian Zbik. A fight that was “given” to him. Zbik was no world beater. I still would favor Canelo to beat the Chavez of 2012. Canelo may be a great fighter in the making. Chavez will never be that.
I hold Shawn Porter the fighter in high regard. Because he is not Jorge Linares in style doesn’t mean he’s not the goods. I think Porter gives them all hell. No one is going to beat that kid easy.
I think Frankie Gomez has some serious talent. But something may be going on behind the scenes. He’s extremely inactive. I have no idea why.
Infighting is why Shawn Porter gives everyone hell. I think it’s an lost art. Fighters today depend more on athleticism. They also train with fancy pad routines. So therefore infighting is not prevalent. But I love a guy who can work inside and score points. The best current infighters are Errol Spence, Shawn Porter, Roman Gonzales, GGG, Andre Ward, Canelo Alvarez, Badou Jack, Leo Santa Cruz and Lamont Peterson.
Andre Berto's biggest problem is his weak legs, everybody knows this. He's top heavy with that real muscular upper body. Shawn Porter was going to run over him everybody knew it.
Berto can recover if he strengthens those legs, or drops down to 140lbs or 135lbs. Berto gets overwhelmed and overpowered by the top guys at 147lbs.
I'm wondering about the Charlo's too, but they're going into their primes, so that can answer a lot of questions. Canelo is the same age as the Charlo's and he's definitely going into his prime.
Chavez Jr's technique is sloppy compared to Canelo's, that'll be the difference in the fight.
Canelo's team seems to have worked out the late fight stamina problems Canelo used to have. It's going to be a long night for Jr. Canelo has more belief in himself too.
Chavez Jr. is pulled in too many directions, when all he wants to do is be his own man and come out from under the shadow of the greatest Mexican fighter of all time...his father.
Bread’s Response: Berto does have a disproportioned body. He’s gifted with explosiveness but it’s unbalanced because of his big upper body and skinny lower body. But at this point it is what it is. He’s in his mid 30s. He can’t go down to 140 or 135 after fighting 13 years at 147. That could really hurt him.
Yes. Chavez is a dog when he’s motivated and gets going. But if you really look at his career fights. He’s only been lights out one time. And that was against Andy Lee. Canelo has been lights out several times. Unless Chavez reinvents himself and turns into his father, I think he will be game, conditioned and good. But Canelo may be great. Canelo should win.
Bread you show a lot of class when you have had opportunities to make valid excuses. In this part of town it’s common knowledge that the Charlos are on drugs. Jermall turned down VADA against your fighter and he postponed the fight for several months. All of the sharp betters were taking Williams because of his fundamentals and skill level but we didn’t know there was no drug testing. You could see Williams class during the fight because he hit Charlo at will. The problem was it was a junior middleweight against a light heavyweight. Charlo’s physicality looked monstrous. I watched the post fight press conference and you guys never made an excuse. Keep fighting the good fight, your kid will be champion one day. One of the sharps told me that he saw Charlo vs Michael Finney who is an average white kid from Vegas. He said Charlo was big and heavy handed but nothing special. Finney went the distance. He told me after the Williams fight to never bet against Charlo again if there is no drug testing. The big Charlo is now big, explosive and overwhelming. That was Williams fight to win on a level playing field.
Now you have the other one Jermell who left Ronnie Shields. The one who just beat Charles Hatley. He used to run around the ring and barely throw punches. He fought like that because he was chinny. Now he walks through punches and does not get tired. There is no way Derrick James is that much of a better trainer than Ronnie Shields. Shields has the better punching Charlo. Even if James has Jermell sitting on his punches better, how can anyone explain developing an iron chin after almost 30 fights. When has that ever happened? I know you won’t go there but no one should fight them if there is no testing. This performance was predictable because he had to keep pace with his brother who just had an enhanced performance.
I will disagree with you on them beating GGG. GGG makes everyone do VADA. I do agree they can beat Lara and Andrade. But Lara won’t fight them because he knows they aren’t the young kids he once toyed with in the gym. Andrade does not have the power to make them test and he’s too sloppy fundamentally. Andrade is talented but you can see he’s clean. He gets tired and he can be hurt. Both brothers knock him out.
Here are a few guys who I think are cheaters and have been cheating. Lucian Bute had a late career renaissance. As soon as he got popped he went back to being chinny and was just knocked out. Jesse Vargas is another one. He had pimples everywhere when he fought Sadam Ali. No way was that supposed to happen. He was just like Jermell. A non puncher who went the distance with everybody then he turned into a killer. Pacquiao made him test VADA and he went back to being average. The next two guys get passes from everyone. Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Cotto. Marquez’s PED use is so blatant. He tried to put the testing off against Tim Bradley but he couldn’t. He lost. No one cares he’s a cheater because they think Pacquiao is a cheater. Pacquiao probably is a cheater but he’s been performing well under VADA for the last 4 years. Marquez disappeared from boxing as soon as he was forced to test. Next is Miguel Cotto. Cotto was beat to a pulp by Floyd, Pacquiao and Margarito. He reinvents himself as a middleweight and wins the lineal title and goes on a nice knockout run. He also takes some huge shots against Canelo and was never hurt. Cotto is in his mid 30s. How does that happen and no one questions it especially from a guy who took career ending beating back in 08 and 09.
I know there are things you can’t say but you can say what signs or tip off factors you see in PED users. The sharps depend on your insights. Also where can we go to find out who is testing VADA?
Bread’s Response: I don’t get into my personal career in my mailbags. So you’re correct I won’t comment on certain things.
I usually go to VADA’s twitter page to see who is being tested for upcoming fights. They usually post it up.
I personally think Derrick James is one of the top 10 trainers in boxing. He doesn’t get props because he is sort of new on the scene and he doesn’t have a huge stable of fighters. But let me tell you something that will work for him because he will be able to give his guys the detailed one on one attention they need. If Spence beats Brook like I think he will, James has a chance to be Trainer of the Year.
I will comment on Bute because he has tested positive. I don’t think it’s fair to openly speculate on a fighter who has not tested positive. But I positive test is not speculation it’s a fact. When I saw Bute’s performances against Badou Jack and James Degale I knew in my heart something wasn’t right. I talked to a prominent person in boxing and he agreed. I’m also glad he was caught and the official decision of the Badou Jack fight was changed. And yes you are right as soon as Bute was caught he was knocked out in his next fight. Karma!!
Here are some signs you can pass on to the sharps. Fighters who take off for prolonged periods of time, especially after huge victories. Economically it makes no sense to take off after a huge victory because you lose momentum. But they know they can’t chance fighting too often because it screws up their PED cycle.
Next watch out for fighters who are the A side to big fights but never bring testing up. Think about that quietly. Ask yourself what fighters don’t ever ask for testing when everyone knows they can get it if they wanted to. Take your emotions out of it when you do it.
Then you have to look for fighters who drastically improve in short periods of time. The human body is made to improve gradually. For example if you max bench press 200lbs. You won’t go to 300lbs in one camp. If you’re best mile time ever is 7 minutes. You won’t go to 5 minutes in one camp. And you won’t see Maurice Blocker turn into Tommy Hearns in one camp unless something is not right.
I also watch out for older fighters who turn their careers around late with unexplainable performances. When I saw Erik Morales take Marcos Maidana and Danny Garcia to the brink at 140, I quietly wondered what was going on. Morales was in his mid 30s and 20lbs over his best weight. Then after he tested positive the quiet whispers became loud accusations.
You also have to watch the fighters who come from huge weight loss and look like monsters on fight night without losing anything. Your body can only legally do that but so many times. I think it’s one of the things that burnt Chavez Jr out at 160. The fighters who juice and do this usually have a thinner skin texture and their bodies have a dense glow through the skin. An admitted PED user taught me that a few years ago.
Last but not least. Just listen to these guys talk. A person will tell on themselves if you listen good enough. When fighters become infatuated with their new found gifts they can’t stop talking about them in interviews. Just listen. For example a great HOF once said after his rematch with another HOF that he couldn’t feel the punches in the rematch. Later we found why he couldn’t feel the punches because he was PEDs. Listen…..
Break down Joshua vs Klitschko. Who wins and how?
Bread’s Response: What an event. This is a true super fight although Wlad is coming off of a loss. First off let’s give Wlad props. For a guy who’s heart has been questioned he truly does not care who he fights. He’s a HOF in my opinion.
I like Joshua in this fight but not with a speeding bullet. I think Joshua is a little too young, snappy and composed. He right hand is a laser and he understands how to land it. He also fights with his hands up and he has a sense of real confidence. IT’s not carelessness or fake bravado. He’s just a confident young man. He has all of the traits of a kid who will respond correctly when pressed.
Wlad is one of the greatest offensive fighters I have ever seen. His hook of the jab is unreal. His 1-2 combo could be the best in history. At least top 5 in the heavyweight division. Wlad’s Achilles heel is his toughness temperament. While he will fight anybody it’s painfully obvious he does not like being hit or take punishment well.
The reason I’m not picking Joshua with a bullet anymore is because his stance is a too stiff. His front leg is locked and his weight is too far up front. He’s not back in his stance like the great jab, right hand heavyweights of the past. Look at Lennox Lewis’s stance. Then look at Joshua’s. Joshua can be countered easy with a simple jab because his head is leaning over his front knee. He has to be very neat in this fight.
Joshua and Wlad are both dictators but Joshua is more of an alpha male. I think he’s going to hit Wlad early with a big shot and put him in survival mode. I like him to jump on Wlad early and clip him. Unlike others I also think Joshua can win late. He’s a calm man. Wlad gasses at times because of his anxiety. What Joshua has to be careful of is tipping off his attack to the more experience fighter. Wlad can knock him out. But I think Joshua can win late or early. Look for him to initially hurt Wlad with a right hand on the side of the ear as Wlad turns away. That will be the beginning of the trouble.
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