By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards discusses Adrien Broner, Manny Pacquiao vs. Amir Khan, Lamont Peterson, Tony Harrison vs. Hurd, the subject of chins, Errol Spence vs. Kell Brook, and more.
What do you think of the fights this weekend? Do you think Broner will ever reach his potential? Can Peterson be a player at 147 and what do you think of Marcus Browne’s chances vs Adonis Stevenson?
Bread’s Response: First off I want to say I feel really bad for Adrian Granados. That kid has lost 5 MD or SD decisions and he has 2 draws. That’s absolutely insane. That means in 25 career fights there were 7 times where he didn’t get the benefit of the doubt. 7 times! That’s almost a third of his career. Whoever does not believe there is an A side and B side in boxing is very misinformed.
As for the fight itself I thought it was very close and could have went either way. I’m not suggesting Broner got a gift. It’s just that I feel gutted for Granados because he never gets these close calls. On top of that he had to give up 5lbs which is a lot in boxing. It was actually a good action fight. Both guys landed some big shots. I think Broner’s defense does not match his workrate. Guys like Whitaker and Mayweather can get away with low punch outputs because they quell your offense and don’t get hit often. Broner gives up too many points for his low output. All in all it was an excellent TV fight. Lots of action and the crowd was into it.
Lamont Peterson did his thing. He was a solid professional just like he always is. Well conditioned, smart, strong and well rounded. That was a solid performance. Of course he can be player at 147. He is one right now.
I was very impressed with Marcus Browne. He fought a very good fight. Thomas Williams is much more battle tested and Browne looked like the more experienced fighter. He was sharp, strong and accurate. I think he has a big future. But I don’t think he should face Adonis Stevenson just yet. Stevenson is a lot better than people realize. I know people criticize him but he’s one of the 20 best fighters in the world. Browne needs some more seasoning before he messes with Adonis. The key now is to get the building fights that will prepare him for the champ. Browne’s matchmaking can’t be random it has to be purposeful.
I am torn on this subject. I hear people say that you can’t teach punching power and chins. But I notice fighters doing exercises to increase their power and ability to take a punch. What’s the point if you can’t improve those areas?
Bread’s Response: I’m sorry for taking so long to answer this question, you sent it weeks ago. But I had this conversation this weekend and I thought it was appropriate to answer now.
Let’s start with punching power. Scientifically speaking the impact force or punching power equation is different variations of (velocity x mass). There are other factors but that’s the most simplistic formula. So let’s think about this. The speed in which something is launched and the mass of that object determines the force of the landing. So in a nutshell if a fighter’s fastest punch is say 35 mph. And that fighter learns to increase his speed up to 40 mph. Then in essence the fighter will punch harder. Before anyone debates this it’s fact not an opinion.
Let’s go deeper about other factors. Let’s say you drop a 20lb steel weight off of a 20 ft landing. Then you drop a 20lb plastic weight off the same 20 ft landing. The steel weight will do more damage to the ground. The reason being is because it has less give upon impact. It’s also harder and more compact. I bring this up because if you look at the best puncher in boxing, GGG. His workouts consist of neck work, wrist work, hand work and forearm work. We will talk about the neck work later. But there is reason why he strengthens his hands, forearms and wrist. As a fighter you want hard hands. You want strong forearms and wrist to lock up and not give upon impact. I will bet you a million bucks that Mackey Shilstone or any of the other leading conditioning gurus won’t repeat you can’t build or teach power….
You won’t ever be able to turn Ivan Calderon into Joe Louis. But you can increase a fighter’s speed, mass and sturdiness upon impact. So despite the myth you can increase punching power.
Next up can you teach a chin? Or in Layman’s terms can you increase a fighter’s ability to take a punch. Again the answer is yes. Again I will use GGG as example. Do you notice how much he works his neck and jaw? Do you think he’s doing that for show? When a fighter is kod it’s because his brain slammed up against the wall of his skull which causes a concussion. So if your neck and jaw is stronger and you can minimize that jarring impact, in essence you can increase your ability to take a punch.
You have to also look at few other things. Often times fighter’s like Marvin Hagler take good shots for various reasons. Obviously you can be predisposed to taking a good shot or not (genetics). But there are also other factors. Positioning and awareness are just as important. Hagler always kept his hands up, chin tucked and head centered in his shoulders. Hagler had a really strong core, neck, shoulders and back. When you are positioned correctly your entire body can absorb a punch. So it makes it easier to take. Now look at the video of Mike McCallum’s ko of Donald Curry. Curry is pulling straight back with his chin up in the air. His chin is not centered and lowered in his shoulders, his core and chest aren’t lowered and braced for impact. So McCallum gets to hit ALL chin. Curry couldn’t recover from the shot because his chin and nothing else had to absorb it.
I will go deeper. Let’s look at Marco Antonio Barrera, Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins and Andre Ward. Barrera was stopped by Junior Jones by a punch he never saw. He was too eager. Barrera was about 23 at the time. He revamped his boxing skills and became more AWARE in the ring. If we judged Barrera on that one small microcosm early in his career than we would call him chinny. He went on to have one of the more dependable chins of the 2000s.
Oscar De La Hoya was dropped hard in back to back fights early in his career. He got up to win both fights. But Oscar got stronger increased his awareness and went on to face huge punchers in his career and never had chin problems.
Bernard Hopkins is known to have one of the best chins ever. But Hopkins was dropped multiple times and hurt by a fighter named Segundo Mercado in their 1st fight. Mercado kept countering Hopkins’s right hand. Hopkins increased his awareness to an all time level. Became a smarter , stronger and more aware fighter and went on to have the most dependable chin of the last 2 decades.
Andre Ward was dropped by Darnell Boone and severely hurt by a club fighter named Kenny Kost. I can remember people calling Ward chinny. But Ward never saw either punch he was hurt with. Ward has developed into one of the most mentally sharp and focused fighters in history. He was dropped by Kovalev but he saw that punch and was able to recover quickly. Ward has also visibly increased the size of his neck. His chin is super dependable nowadays.
Boxing is a sport that thrives on primitive thinking. We repeat myths as the truths and debunk the truths as myths. The ignorance that dominates boxing is actually sad. Again I will bet you that no fighter who has been stopped or hurt will tell you that you can’t increase your ability to take a punch.
The labels of who can take a punch and who can’t is really intriguing. In my opinion there are many levels and categories. I have seen fighters like Mike Tyson who I felt could take a good punch get stopped in all of his losses. I felt Tyson could take big single shots. His problem was he came apart when he took beatings. To me that’s a lack of “toughness” not a lack of a chin.
Then you have guys like Tommy Hearns and Amir Khan who are known as chinny. But they display physical toughness. As long as you don’t hit them on the button they respond like champions and fight through punishment. Look at Khan vs Peterson and Maidana. He can take punishment you just can’t hit him clean on the kisser. Watch Hearns in Barkley 2 and his fight with Virgil Hill, same thing. Those are two guys who are tough but they just don’t take clean big shots well, the exact opposite of Mike Tyson.
Then you have guys like Naseem Hamed. Hamed was never stopped as a pro. But he took a punch funny. He wobbled, went down and just looked weird when hit. I think it was because of his positioning. His chin was up in the air, it was not centered in his shoulders and it caused some tough moments for him. Although he was never stopped I always viewed him to have a shaky chin.
Did you know that in drunk driving fatalities the person who usually lives is the drunk driver? The reason being is there body is relaxed. Guys who can take a punch well usually have 2 qualities. Relaxation and focus. Roberto Duran despite being kod by Tommy Hearns had a granite chin. He was always relaxed and aware. James Toney had the same exact traits.
For the record you can increase punching power and the ability to take a punch. Don’t let anyone convince you, you can’t.
I read ur initial breakdown of Spence vs Brook. I was wondering. Are there any recent examples of a fighter gaining a similar amount or percentage of real weight (muscle)that Brook did, then having to lose it and still be successful in a high caliber fight in their next bout?
If it werent for this i would favor Brook.His style n strength may create opportunities for him to run Errol into some big shots. Spences steadiness n predictability coupled with his lack of head slots n fast defensive reflexes may play right into Brooks style.
I just feel Brook losing that weight is gonna take too much out of him.
Oh and I cant wait to see J Rock again! One of my favorites!
Bread’s Response: I can’t think of one example in the very next fight. But before we go too crazy we would have to figure out how much actual muscle Brook gained. I think he did but I don’t know he did. Lots of times fighters in this era who walk around super heavy just don’t cut weight when they move up. Brook obviously walks around in the high 170s low 180s. So he just stopped at 160 when he was cutting. You have to remember 90% of the top level guys in this era walk around heavier than 15lbs over their weigh-in weight.
That being said I think he will struggle to make 147 because he always does and he hasn’t made it in a very long time. But I don’t want to give him a built in excuse. He’s choosing to fight Spence. And he obviously has a rehydration process that he trust. Also note Brook has not lost at 147lbs.
Hurd vs Harrison is a really good fight. Can you break it down for me? I want to bet but it seems close.
Bread’s Response: It’s close but Hurd is the favorite and most are going with him. I personally wouldn’t bet on this fight. I would just enjoy it. I think it’s closer than most people realize. Both guys are coming into their own but are unproven vs elite fighters.
Harrison has a loss but he was outboxing Willie Nelson in that loss. He wasn’t dominated. He does not have a lack of skill or application. People call him chinny but I will reserve my opinion on that. I think a bigger issue may be his stamina. He seemed to tire in a few fights. I’m not so worried about his chin, offensive fighters get hit and hurt.
Hurd is a really good fighter but he’s been matched with a certain style that has made him look spectacular. I’m not saying he’s not spectacular but I would like to see it vs the urban rhythm that’s not coming right to him.
Hurd is the more relaxed fighter. So he will probably think clearer as fatigue sets in. These guys are similar in height in reach but Harrison is quicker and sharper from long range. Hurd is murder on the inside but I don’t view him as lighting fast from the outside. Both are not hard to hit. While Harrison is the sharper boxer I think Hurd is physically stronger and a better puncher.
I can see two scenarios. Harrison outpointing Hurd but having to overcome some shaky moments. Or Hurd catching Harrison late and stopping him. Enjoy the fight.
They are reports that Manny Pacquiao may be fighting Amir Khan. What are your thoughts on that fight?
Bread’s Response: As a boxing fan you would like to see Khan be more active and not go straight into a fight like this. It’s starting to feel a little James Kirklandesque but it is what it is.
As for the fight itself I think Khan has a great shot to win. Southpaws don’t really trip him up and he’s sparred Manny numerous times. In a fight you only have 15 minutes to figure out the opponent. Five, 3 minute rounds. If you lose anymore than that you get a draw or a loss. Manny’s gift is 99% of his opponents can’t figure out his rhythm. Khan has seen it before…The problem for Khan is that Manny has a higher IQ and better processing ability and Manny has seen him before also..
I think Khan is faster at this moment but Pacquiao hits harder and has better timing. For Pacquiao to give up the height and reach that he gives up at welterweight and still be operating at a such a high level is simply amazing. Pacman would be giving up height and reach again vs Khan.
Call me crazy but I think this fight is only 55/45 in Manny’s favor. Khan is very tough to outpoint if you aren’t hurting him. I haven’t seen Khan lose 10 rounds in his whole career that he was not visibly hurt in. We shall see..
What do you think of Andre Ward claiming the media does not treat him fair and contemplating retirement? He claims HBO forced him to fight Kovalev but they gave him a job. They didn’t have to give him a job. I like Ward but he seems to make problems out of nothing. Everyone can have their opinion. Most think he lost to Kovalev. Fight him again and beat him like Floyd did Castillo! Who do you like in the rematch.
Bread’s Response: I don’t know what went on behind the scenes in the negotiations to the fight. What I do know is things can be manipulated against fighters and the public does not have any idea of how deep it can get.
I love HBO’s broadcasting team. They are still the best in my opinion. But you can see the divide in the Ward vs Kovalev fight. Without naming anyone you can tell who wanted Ward to win and who wanted Kovalev to win. I think Team Ward may be a little upset over that because the narrative of a fight can sway public opinion…..
I was shocked to hear Ward talk about retirement but he’s been doing this a long time. Fighters have a right to walk away when they see fit. I happen to like Ward. He doesn’t curse or say repulsive things in interviews. He shows good sportsmanship. He fights stiff competition. He trains hard. I actually think a guy like Ward would be a good spokesperson for a boxer’s union. An Olympic gold Medalist and Hall of Fame fighter who is well spoken and is financially secure. I think he fits the bill.
Boxers go through a lot. Everyday is not the same. Some of these media members and social media trolls go too far. The disrespect is at an all time high. Ward got a lot of flack for winning a close fight he showed a lot of character in. I saw some cruel things being said about him. He’s a human being...Maybe he just felt that way on that day. I personally think he’s done in 4 or 5 more fights anyway.
As for the rematch. As a fan I would love to see it. I sat on the edge of seat in the 1st fight. Legacy would be on the line again. I think Ward is a prideful dude and I think he’s going to fight Kovalev again. He wants to erase all doubt about who won. I don’t know when but I think he will.
As for how it goes. In an immediate rematch or a rematch that is close in date to the 1st fight I always ask myself who fought over their head in the 1st fight. Can he fight that good again? For example Floyd vs Maidana 1. We have never seen Maidana that good before or after that fight. In the rematch his punch output was not the same and he didn’t have the same vigor. He fought a little over his head in the 1st fight.
Look at Santa Cruz vs Frampton. Frampton has always been excellent but a little hot and cold. He was lights out two fights in a row with Quigg then Santa Cruz. I picked Santa Cruz to win the rematch because I couldn’t imagine Frampton being that “on” again in the rematch. Also look at Duran vs Leonard1. Duran may have fought the best fight ever! Literally that was a transcendent performance. But he couldn’t do it 5 months later.
In Ward vs Kovalev I ask myself who can fight better. Who can be more “on”? Who was over their head in the 1st fight? I don’t think either guy fought over their head. Both have room to improve. Kovalev tired and Ward just wasn’t as sharp or fluid. Ward competed with grit, experience and physical toughness.
But from what I saw Ward has more room for improvement. Kovalev was lights out the first 5 or 6 rounds of the fight. Ward was never what I would call lights out. So going by my thought process I think Ward would do better in the rematch and have a slight advantage. But it would still be razor close. Razor close because surprisingly to me Kovalev was the more dominant athlete from a physical stand point. He was the faster sharper puncher with more range. He also hits harder and their physical strength is about even although it’s in different places. It’s really a testament to Ward’s greatness that he’s able to compete on an even level with Kovalev.
Shawn Porter is the most f***ed over fighter in PBC. He has to take tough fights time and time again. Now he can’t get the fight with the most protected fighter I have ever seen in my lifetime in Andre Berto. Berto has been able to avoid over a dozen losses in his careful because of careful matchmaking. Do you think this fight gets made and if it does who wins?
Bread’s Response: Seems like you’re a Shawn Porter fan and not so much a Andre Berto fan. I won’t get into any negativity about Berto, everyone can have their opinion. But what I will say is Porter catches some tough breaks. He fought Broner at a catchweight that benefitted Broner. Porter was a 165lb amateur. The fight at Broner was at 144. He won the fight anyway then was off a year before fighting Keith Thurman in a really tough fight.
Porter is an aggressive pressure fighter. That style does not last long. Him being off a year in his prime is rough on his skillset. Now it’s going on another year after Thurman and he’s off again with nothing set up. To top it off no other American welterweight of note has fought Kell Brook except guess who, Shawn Porter. I would love to see Porter get active while he’s still in his prime and get some big fights. In fact if you look at the welterweight division nobody in the division besides Pacquaio has fought two prime level fighters of the caliber of Brook and Thurman besides Porter.
I really don’t know if this fight gets made. Hopefully it does. It’s a high contact fight between fast, high contact offensive fighters. It’s a can’t miss FOY candidate.
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