By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Manny vs. Jeff Horn, the rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev, Mikey Garcia vs. Adrien Broner, Terence Crawford, Mayweather vs. McGregor and more.
Just got done reading your mailbag. As I've stated to before, I really appreciate your insight and the work you do. I'm a little annoyed that some of the fans say you're biased toward African-American fighters. The vast majority of fight fans are biased toward their own, whether it be by race, ethnicity, nationality, geography or whatever, but I think for the most part you're very objective in your analysis.
My real reason for writing to you this time is to ask you about holding in boxing, especially after the Ward-Kovalev fight. I agree with you that Ward is mentally stronger than Kovalev and that his game (Ward's) is to wear you down and break your will, but I think that one of the major tactics he used against Kovalev (and others) was holding too much. You even stated in the mailbag that against Allen Green Ward "just smothered everything and held Green on the ropes the entire night." I find excessive holding to be a dirty tactic and think that fighters should be penalized for doing so. Why is it that some fighters that are considered to be great tacticians and some of the smartest fighters out there are also some of the dirtiest? This kind of bugs me. I get it that winning is the most important thing and not necessarily putting on a Gatti-Ward type fight every time out there, but how can a fighter be referred to as an all-time great or even contemporary great if one of his major tools is really and illegal tactic? This is why I'm not high on Wladimir Klitchsko at all. Not trying to overstate things, but the older Wlad was something of a better version of John Ruiz.
Another way of looking at it: if Ward could beat Kovalev (or Kessler for that matter) without using those tactics (which I think he could), why doesn't he just beat them straight up? I could name a few other fights that I thought holding was a major, major tactic that helped a fighter win, but I'll leave it at that.
Bread’s Response: I find it ironic that people say I only support my own, when some of those same people criticized me for thinking highly of Manny Pacquiao and GGG. Last time I checked I wasn’t a white or Filipino guy. Those are just people who don’t like Ward and they need to associate a negative label with my reasoning for thinking he’s a great fighter. So they find something we have in common, our race. See how that works. But thanks anyway.
I’m not a big fan of holding but clinching is not an illegal tactic. When it becomes excessive and disrupts the fight then it becomes holding which is illegal. I understand that a tactful clinch is important in certain styles. See Holyfield vs Tyson.
I didn’t think Ward held excessively vs Kovalev. But he does use a clinching tactic to muscle him. He did do some holding vs Kessler and it frustrated the crap out of Kessler….Then he started cracking Kessler out of the clinches because Kessler didn’t know whether he was going to hold or punch. I get what your saying but I think he is beating them straight up. I just think that rough house clinching and maneuvering is apart of his game and as of right now as long as it’s not excessive then he’s not breaking the rules.
Once a fighter is KO'd he can always be KO'd! Until then he may never be KO'd.
Same holds true for dominant punchers like Kovalev, once he was beaten he can always be beaten. Krusher was so used to walking over everyone he beat and Ward wasn't having it.
Ward's non-linear style, experience and pedigree was a huge factor in him beating Kovalev.
If Krusher steps to Stevenson now he'll get stopped. Because Ward has exposed Kovalev.
I think Kathy Duva fights Krusher against a lesser opponent to build him back up. His aura of invincibility is gone.
There was also a lot of discord in Krusher's camp, John David Jackson will take a lot of heat and may be out as Krusher's coach.
Bread’s Response: You have a great point. Very few feared punchers have lost by KO and came back to be just as good. Joe Louis, Nigel Benn , Ruben Olivares and Julian Jackson are a rare few. They weren’t just punchers they were intimidators. It’s a rare occurrence. Especially when the losses come in big fights.
As much as some of Kovalev’s comments have bothered me I can’t help to feel bad for the guy. He’s a fighter at heart. In this era where talented fighters found ways to not make fights, Krusher made every fight we wanted him in most times as the B side in his opponent’s back yard. You have to respect that. Now he’s faced with fighting Stevenson in his backyard. And yes I agree timing is important. If the fight happened next I think Stevenson would win. How ironic because if the fight happened 2 years ago I thought Kovalev would win. Timing!
Here is the problem. Kathy Duva is one smart lady. She knows the budget. She may not have the budget or time to constructively build Kovalev back up. He’s 34 and there are some tough fights above and below him. He could lose to about 6 or 7 guys in the division right now. So from a promoter’s perspective if he’s going to lose it may as well be for the most money possible. I hope he bounces back let’s see the road he takes. It will be interesting.
Hey man, hope you’re well. Seems like we’ve had a great year or so for boxing, with the best fighting the best and some big fights getting made. What I’d like to know is this: Where do you see boxing going in the next 15-20 years. Is the number of casual fans going to keep depleting whilst the purists grow ever more ehh exclusive in their biases and whatnot? Or do you foresee some kind of resurgence or renaissance? Like to say, are we due another Golden era, somewhere down the line? I could see Mayweather-McGregor hopefully bringing some new appreciation to the art and craft of boxing, and how things have developed over here in the UK is interesting, packed out arenas, lots of new fans jumping onboard, admittedly some of them are in it for the beer-drinking, chorus-chanting, ehh spectacle of the thing, but I don’t think that’s all bad. I’d just like to see more appreciation like I say for the craft, and for the poetry, whenever it appears. It’s a beautiful thing, sad to see it lost on so many. Anyway, that’s an awful sombre note to end on... Hit me back, Breadman, big respect for ye!
Bread’s Response: What’s up Declan, how are you. I see boxing doing just fine in the next 15-20 years. The reason people think boxing is dead is because people keep repeating boxing is dead. If you say something enough you will start to believe it. Boxing is not dead. And it was never on life support.
I think Mayweather vs McGregor will bring some mainstream attention that the sport needs. But I think Mayweather and McGregor both have a big responsibility. There can be no BS in this fight. No Holyfield vs Tyson bite incidents. No Mayweather vs Ortiz controversial KO incidents. This has to be a hard fought integrity filled fight. Too many people will be watching that don’t understand boxing. They only see what’s on the surface. On that night the surface needs to impress them. I’m hoping for an exciting shootout and a KO. I never say that about a fight but because of the platform and the MMA crowd this fight really needs to be exciting.
It's been a while Breadman. Good to see all is well. A while back I was reading a mailbag and someone asked you about a hypothetical fight between Floyd Mayweather and Terrence Crawford at 140. At that time I believe you said we did not yet know enough about Crawford to make judgment. Well I believe we do now know enough about Crawford to get your opinion on this fight. Please hear me out for a moment. At 140 Floyd fought Chop chop corley, Henry Bruseles, and Arturo Gatti. Floyd won by UD, TKO, and RTD respectively in those fights. The win over Gatti netted Floyd the WBC title. Floyd was 27 going on 28 by the time he got to Gatti. At 140 Crawford has beaten Thomas Dulorme, Dierry Jean, Hank Lundy, Viktor Postol, John Molina Jr., and Felix Diaz. All of these fights were fights in which Crawford either won titles or retained titles. It's easy to sit here and compare opponents, but I won't just to save time. Just from seeing these two guys at 140 in the fights I mentioned and given that Crawford is the around the same age Floyd was when he was at 140, who are you picking and why? As far as this Broner vs. Garcia fight I think boxing is in for a real treat with this fight. These are two young, in their prime fighters who aren't going to back down from each other. It could end up being a classic. I know Vegas is picking Garcia and many people in the sport and media are picking Garcia, but I feel if Broner is in great shape and is completely focused that he will win the fight. He is going to need to throw a bit more than he does, but I just think that Broner has advantages is both athleticism and physicality. Hopefully Broner can make the weight comfortably and not be weight drained. That would really ruin the fight IMO.
Chris from Chicago
Bread’s Response: Crawford is a supreme talent and one of the best 3 or 4 fighters in the world. But I don’t want to measure him vs an all time great at this moment. It’s too early bro. Do you remember a fighter by the name of Donald Curry? In 1985 you could match him hypothetically with Kid Gavilan and Ray Robinson. In 1986 you would look foolish. I won’t pick that fight because it’s not fair to Crawford or Mayweather. These things take time my friend.
Garcia vs Broner would have been a legacy defining fight two years ago. Now the oddsmakers think Garcia carves him up. I just don’t know about this fight. You have to ask yourself is all of these years of party living going to catch up to Broner? Can he make up for it in one camp? How good is Mikey Garcia really? Who is the best fighter that Garcia has faced and can he handle an elite level athletic urban fighter? Garcia hasn’t faced many fighters of this ilk. I have also been wondering why are the odds so wide in Garcia’s favor. Broner is bigger, faster, more athletic and more battle tested.
Weight is always a concern in Broner’s fights. Once you put on a certain amount of weight there is a science to taking it off properly and putting it back on in order to perform. Overtraining and weight depletion are huge factors in the odds I assume.
Broner does have advantages in athleticism and physicality. But let’s remember this is boxing. I think Mikey Garcia is the better natural boxer, better technically, a better puncher and is fresher physically. I expect a great fight.
As always I have to give you props and praise for your insight.
As your mailbag will show I predicted Ward would win because he is cerebral and computational like Floyd. But as I heard all of the post fight interviews it finally clicked what you said long ago "Ali wouldn't have lost to Tyson because he had too much character". I saw in real time how the dimensions of a boxers character are revealed during a camp and training. Very easy to see with Ali but difficult sometimes to see in the present day. But when Andre Ward said in the preflight I came here to do three things 1. Glorify God in all things that my team does. 2. Leave the ring with my belts. 3. And make it home healthy to kiss my wife and kids I said wow that brother is willing to die in the ring and he is focused on all the right things. Then after when he said "kovalevs continued complaining about the decision since November revealed his character" and that him complaining on border line shots during the fight showed mental weakness in the post fight interviews it showed me that the character of a boxer matters immensely. Thank you for enlightening me and kudos to Andre Ward for reminding us how impactful a focused, disciplined, emotionally intelligent man of God can be.
Also you talked recently about Errol Spence' workrate is the same as his fight rate. Ward said the same thing in one of his interviews "I was tired but I'm used to working when I'm winded so I kept going". Love your knowledge as it always reveals itself in a fight or two.
After watching Errol Spence and Andre wards work I have to ask who are the top 5 body punchers today? Who are the top 5 since 2000?
Bread’s Response: Character is the greatest asset a fighter can have. Your character always comes out in a boxing ring. Often times your character is why you lose. For example a fighter like Kovalev is antsy, upset and likes to be in control of his team and camp. Which shows trust issues. So in his fights with Ward. He gets off to good starts. Becomes slightly unraveled when Ward becomes steadfast and doesn’t go anywhere. And then because of his trust and control issues he starts making calls during the fight. Turning his back on his opponent. And constant negative body posturing. I know some of the blows were low but all of them weren’t. I saw him turn his back and complain on routine good shots.
Now most fighters will give some sort of physical notion when they are fouled. I get that. But you can’t go overboard with it. Remember the Brandon Rios vs Anthony Peterson fight. Rios pushed right through blatant low blows and forced the DQ.
Ward’s character is even keeled. Steadfast. Resilient. Disciplined. And it always shows in the ring. If he’s going to lose which anyone can. It won’t be because of a character flaw.
Errol Spence hits the pads and heavybag the same exact way he fights. He throws the same punches at the same rhythm. If someone is going to beat Spence it will be the fighter that can break that his rhythm. Errol will most likely be the fresher fighter in his battle of attritions because his heart rate is more used to fighting at his pace. It’s not always a faster or harder pace but it’s his pace.
Top 5 body punchers in boxing are Errol Spence, Canelo Alvarez, Roman Gonzales, Gennady Golovkin and Andre Ward.
How do you think Ward does with Tony Bellew? Could Ward beat the current lot of cruiserweights? What would it do for his legacy?
Bread’s Response: I would favor Ward over Bellew. But Bellew has been RED hot lately. Red Hot! He also seems to be punching like a mack truck since he moved to cruiserweight. I like Ward to win the fight if it happens but he will have to be careful. I just did some research on Bellew and I found out he was a stand out heavyweight amateur. There will be a distinct size advantage in this fight. I say Ward by unanimous decision in a smart careful fight.
Defeating Bellew would enhance his legacy….. Ward is already in the Hall of Fame. Can he beat all of the cruiserweights? I don’t know. He can beat most of them but I wouldn’t say he could beat all of them. There are some huge punchers at cruiserweight and Usyk presents and stylistic problem. Let’s see how he performs vs Bellew if they fight.
What up bread man. I been reading your blogs for a while and I really appreciate your ability to predict fights. I wanted to ask you about 2 matchup. I wanted to know which upset you think is more realistic. McGregor somehow landing a shot and beating Mayweather or Ward beating Joshua. I remember when Bryant Jennings was fighting Klitchko you talked about how short heavyweights can be successful but I think Joshua is way too big but also too skilled. I Give both of them as little a shot aloud factoring in the unpredictability of boxing. I think when talking about predictions for Mcgregor I think it makes more sense to ask if you think Mayweather will go the decision or what round he stops him lol.
Also, I thought Manny should have got the nod but I wasn’t too upset at the decision. I thought Manny lost a lot of rounds clearly (not 7 of them). I think the energy of the crowd when horn engaged is definitely enough to change how it looks. Im not sure if Manny showed his age or was just complacent after the 9th. I was kind of upset Manny couldn’t put his foot on the gas and get him out of there because once it got started I didn’t see Australia giving Manny the decision. Obviously they were going to like what they saw from Horn because it’s their fighter and its big business for Australia. They already likely got the rematch and probably other big fights in Australia because of the decision. Not happy but definitely not surprised. that being said 117-111 is pretty disgusted. Thanks for doing the blog and I hope you enjoy your fourth of July! I hope to see you and J-Rock back in there soon!
Bread’s Response: Ward has a better chance of beating Joshua. Anything can happen in a fight but if you’re talking %, then Ward’s chances are better. What’s odd to me is the odds on Mayweather vs McGregor are not outlandish in Mayweather’s favor. That makes me wonder about a few things…..hmmmm
I was watching your Twitter page and it made my stomach curl when you tweeted they were going to give Horn the fight. I know you’re at about 80% with your predictions and I’m an admitted Pacquiao fan. What a call!
I’m writing in for a few reasons. I wanted to know if you really thought Manny lost or did you just think that Horn would get the call. I also want to know what’s up with ESPN boxing coverage. Not only is Dan Rafael the most disrespected boxing scribe in the world, his opinion seems to be bought. Now on top of the horrible Rafael, they have horrible announcers and analyst. Stephen A. Smith goes out of his way to challenge the accomplished Tim Bradley. Bradley may not be a great commentator but he knows what he’s looking at. Then we have Teddy Atlas who calls a completely biased fight. He led the world to believe Pacquiao was dominating when in fact it was a close fight. When did Atlas become so much of a Pacquaio fan. I now have to wonder if his opinion is bought like Rafael’s is.
Bread’s Response: Yeah man the writing was on the wall. Out performed expectations + home town crowd+ upset. We saw the same thing in Roman Gonzales’s last fight minus the crowd.
Again you guys know I don’t score fights at home. But I will say I agreed with Tim Bradley. I didn’t see a fight where Pacman dominated. I saw a fight where he landed the cleaner punches but I also saw Horn have better Ring Generalship.
Let me explain. In most of Pacquiao’s fights his opponents have to adjust to his unique rhythm. In this fight he was forced to adjust to Horn’s. Horn was swaying in and out on the balls of his feet, then he would bull rush Manny with punches. If the punches didn’t land he would rough Manny up with his head and clinching. He fought a chippy fight.
We were all expecting Manny to clip him with something on the way in and KO him. But it didn’t happen. You can’t score a fight on what you think is going to happen.
I also think highly of Pacquiao but he wasn’t dominating that fight. Stylistically Manny has evolved into a really crafty boxer. But he still fights off of the bounce and not the step. Manny has not developed an inside walk down game. He punches to the body but he doesn’t work the body. That’s where he went wrong. His punch selection was poor. Manny kept trying to land the homerun and Horn was aware.
Naked eye I think Manny may have edged it but it was not by the margin that ESPN said. But again I wasn’t scoring. I also agree with Bradley that Horn won’t be easy for anyone. Last but not least the 117-11 for Horn is a little scary, neither guy won 9 rounds.
How do you think Horn matches up with the rest of the division? Is Manny shot or has he just slipped? What can we do about better judging? I thought Robert Easter, Jahmontay Clark and Jeff Horn all got hometown decisions.
Bread’s Response: Again I agree with Tim Bradley. I think Jeff Horn is a capable fighter. I don’t agree with Teddy Atlas who called Horn a C class fighter. I don’t think he’s Jeff Fenech but he can fight. Horn is awkward, he’s strong, and he’s going to be very confident from this point on.
Any fighter who is not comfortable consistently backing up their opponent will have trouble with Horn. Because his jumping in and out is unpredictable and on top of that, he doesn’t mind using his head and flat out choking you in a clinch.
I think Errol Spence backs him up with a tight defense, jab and body punches and stops him. I think Terence Crawford does the same, I have seen him fight that style.
But you guys are going to call me crazy but I think Horn gives everyone else a tussle. I wouldn’t pick him to beat any of the top guys but I don’t think he gets dominated by anyone else except those two. I also think Manny struggles with him in a rematch.
Manny is definitely on the down side but I’m telling you guys he’s not that far gone from the guy who just dominated Bradley and Vargas. He was able to do that because they fight conventional. Horn was unpredictable.
I think the judging this weekend was off. I saw 3 close fights and instead some of the judges scored it overwhelmingly in one fighter’s favor.
First off judges have to stop getting paid by Promoters. Judges need to be state employees on salary. I also think judges need to re qualify yearly. They need to be graded by esteemed panels. They can’t rest on their laurels of experience. Performance is more important than experience. How well you do something is more important than how long you have been doing it for.
When judges turn in scorecards that are too far off from consensus opinion they need to explain their reasoning specifically. A finding has to be rendered if this judge is corrupt or incompetent or just had an off night. Then after the finding a punishment needs to be in place.
I also think there should be 5 judges. One on each side of the ring so all of the angles can be factored in. The 5th just should be able to watch the fight on a monitor with no commentating but sound. He can hear, referee instructions and punches landed but no influential commentary. Nothing is full proof when you have subjective scoring but I think this would greatly help.
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