The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Badou Jack, top trainers past and present in boxing, looking back at Robert Duran, the skills of heavyweight Joe Frazier, and more.
I was watching Jean Pascal vs Badou Jack on YouTube. It came up on my feed and I was curious (having not seen or heard about the result).
Man, I really feel for Badou Jack. I feel like he would do better in a 15 round era because he seems to start so late. He doesn't start to get rocking until the middle rounds. Like round 5. I feel like he would be a good rematch fighter, too, but I don't think he ever has had any rematches. That's surprising. He seems like the kind of guy with a style that would play out well in rematches. He could pick up where he left off. He catches his rhythm or figures out his guy's rhythm too late. If he had a big punch his woes would be less apparent.
What could he do to start sooner? Jab more to take the other guys game away so he can't get points early on Jack? Move more? He has the habit of standing in front of his opponent and getting hit, or giving him something to punch even if some are blocked. He doesn't have a style that gives him the benefit of the doubt for EVERY close round like others (Canelo...).
I feel like these reasons a big part of his close losses and 3 draws. You don't see that many draws today, but I feel like he has all the ingredients behind him to win (stable life, Mayweather' mentoring, seems like a good structure, his futility of temper is admirable).
What can Jack do at age 36 or so to see the close ones break his way?
Thanks for your time.
Bread’s Response: I love Badou Jack. He’s an incredible fighter and person. I have actually had this conversation with boxing insiders. I think boxers live and die by their gifts. Jack has excellent balance. He’s steady. He doesn’t stand out in any areas but he’s not deficient in any areas either. He has that calm presence to him. But he’s not a charismatic fighter. He doesn’t have that IT offensive factor that WOWS anyone. So while he never loses bad. He never wins BIG, at the top level.
Can you imagine if all of Jack’s draws were wins. And all of his close losses were wins. He would be a HOF. I really feel for him. His performance vs Adonis Stevenson was awesome.
I think one of the reasons Jack starts slow is because he isn’t offensively dynamic. He has hands up basic defense. He keeps it really simple and it takes his eyes some time to warm and catch his opponent’s rhythm.
I think the boxing ring is a TRUTH machine and what we see is what we get with Jack. But if I had to try to get him to start faster I would do two things. One I would give him some mental processing drills. Believe it or not, they help. The difference in Jack being a solid fighter for this era and a HOF is maybe 4 rounds in 4 fights. If he processed 1 round faster he would have 4 more wins. That’s huge in an era where fighters fight between 30 and 40 times. Fighters who have elite processing skills for the most part don’t start slow. Loma and Floyd come to mind. They don’t try to blast you out early but they adjust quickly.
Physically the morning of the fight I would have Jack shake out and do some 70%-80% sprints. Nothing heavy or draining but a 10 minute warm up. Maybe 3 or 4 sprints at 70%-80% speed, then a cool down stretch. Jack has to keep his blood flowing.
Watching the “No Mas” fight the other day. Something about what Duran did after quitting caught my attention. After he infamously said “no mas”, the ref waived the fight off, and Leonard celebrated his victory. The camera cuts back to Duran, and he’s raising his fists in a fighting stance. What’s that about? One minute, he was turning his back on SRL and waving his hand in disregard. The next, his body language is like “Just kidding, let’s go”. What gives? Did he have a change of heart? After quitting, I wonder if he thought to himself “What did I just do?”… I sincerely doubt Duran had completely thought that through. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but when I saw Duran strike that fighting pose, it caught my eye.
What do you think, Breadman?
Bread’s Response: No you’re not reading too much into it. I observed the same exact thing as it happened. Fighters go through much more mentally than anyone can imagine. I think Duran was caught in a PARADOX. I think he was aggravated that Leonard was moving and taunting him. I think he was aggravated that the fight was NOT going like the first fight that was just 5 months earlier. I think Duran had given so much of himself in the first fight that he subconsciously knew he needed a KICK(surge of effort) that he just didn’t have. If you notice Duran never won another fight vs an elite mover again. He won fights where a fighter attacked him but not any where he had to be a tracker.
I think he was frustrated, confused and dominating. Duran is a WARRIOR. He’s not yellow. He’s not a coward. He took way worse beatings than he did vs Leonard in the rematch. Duran made a MISTAKE. Duran didn’t think it out. He reacted out of frustration. He reacted out of pride. Leonard was making FUN of him and it drove him crazy.
I often say this it’s not always what you think, it’s what you do. Ali thought about quitting vs Frazier. Holyfield has said that any fighter will quit under the right circumstances. We just saw Yuri Gamboa want to quit vs Gervanta Davis then keep fighting and turn in one of the more courageous performances you will see for an aging outgunned fighter.
Duran knew what he did. Most of all he let down his Ray Arcel. His trainer. Arcel was so disappointed he vowed to never work with Duran again. Disappointment is one of the strongest emotions in sports. They reconciled because Duran showed contrite. Arcel forgave him and Duran went on to resurrect his career vs Davey Moore, 3 years later.
Duran QUITTING vs Leonard is deeper than people think. But for Duran at that moment it wasn’t. That’s what people don’t understand. It was just a moment of confusion and pride all mixed together under the stress of a hard fight he was losing.
Personally I FORGIVE Duran for quitting. I don’t forgive every fighter for quitting. But I think someone like him deserves forgiveness. He’s done enough before and after that No Mas fight to earn forgiveness.
There's 3 things I don't like to hear when it comes to boxing:
- Punchers are born not made: i read a boxing book by Jack Dempsey where he admitted to being feather fisted when he started out and took it upon himself to develop into a power puncher and he explained what he did.
- MMA is doing a better job than boxing: for the all out brawls and injuries MMA fighters go thru they're not paid adequately, even the stars. Boxing has a long and illustrious history that MMA will never match. Too many fights, too few memorable.
- Losses in boxing don't/shouldn't mean anything, a loss in boxing especially for certain fighters means a big deduction in pay which you may never recover even if you're a big name. So losses in boxing aren't good.
Bread’s Response: Hey Rob. I agree with you 99%. I have talked about each of these things.
Punchers can be made. Developing explosiveness. Strength. Leverage. Identification of the sweet spot. Force x Velocity=Power. Fighters chopped wood for a reason. Fighters throw a medicine ball for a reason. Why hit a heavy bag if you CAN’T develop power. Why waste your time?
I’ve never said you can’t develop power and I never will. I don’t care what great trainer says it and I don’t care who he’s trained. I’ve actually felt fighters punch harder as camp goes along. It’s an outdated and ridiculous concept that power can’t be developed.
I don’t comment much on MMA because I don’t watch it or follow it but I do respect those great athletes. That being said boxing has been around too long to be compared to MMA. It’s apples and oranges.
Here is the slight disagreement. No fighters WANTS to LOSE. But some fighters learn from a loss and become better. Some fighters take inventory and they raise their games. It’s not uncommon for a fighter to get better AFTER a loss. But I agree often times, the pay goes down. The self esteem goes down. The treatment is different. Losing is not something that every fighter can overcome.
The last two Saturdays Joe Frazier was mentioned.always a welcome topic. ou answered a writer saying that MANY don't realize how good Joe was.VERY true!
As you said,Joe's peak was brief due to his style and the presence of Ali and Foreman.
Those who haven't realized how good Joe was should ALSO know what he had to adjust to along the way.It makes his story even MORE special.You and many serious fans,of course,know the story.The reason for writing is that some still don't know.
Young Joe suffered a broken left arm,couldn't get proper treatment and it healed imperfectly.He could no longer straighten it out.That never diminished his bomb-like hook,but was an obstacle to jabbing.Then,early in his career,he suffered an eye injury.He fought on,with good vision in just one eye.This diminished his depth perception and ability to see punches coming.Of course,he found a way around eye exams and remained licensed to fight.
It's extremely impressive what he achieved.It's intimidating to imagine Joe with two perfect arms,two good eyes with the assets he had anyway.Would he have developed hooking off the jab while taking less punishment? He may have had a longer peak and answered the 15th round bell in Manila.
Other great fighters with physical challenges come to mind:Harry Greb (one good eye); Tommy Loughran (injury prone right hand); Gene Tunney (brittle hands); Evander Holyfield (heart condition) I know that's not complete.
Thanks so much,
Bread’s Response: I don’t think Joe Frazier’s peak was short. It was about 3 years. From 68-71. He didn’t lose his title until 1973. The problem is he turned out to be the 3rd best heavyweight of his era. The problem is his style didn’t promote longevity. The problem is all of his losses have come to Ali and Foreman. But let me tell you something. There are maybe 4 or 5 men in the history of boxing who could have beaten Frazier on March 8th, 1971. Frazier was special.
As for his injuries. I understand where you’re coming from but I try not to over analyze. Maybe Frazier doesn’t work on his hook as much as he did if he could jab. Maybe Frazier doesn’t rely on his inside game so much if his eyes were better. Maybe he’s more well rounded but not as effective. You know the saying, “Fear the Man that practices one thing, 1000 times. Instead of the man that practices a 1000 things, one time.”
So it’s hard to say if Frazier would have been better. It’s possible but I try not to over think things in that way. Sometimes overcompensation because limitation can make a fighter better. Mike Tyson had asthma. So he became the best early round fighter in boxing history.
Can you give a top 10 P4P trainers? Not the most known trainers but the 10 best trainers in boxing? I’m interested to hear your list and the WHY..
Bread’s Response: There is really no way to accurately give the 10 best trainers in boxing because there is no way of knowing what actually goes on in the gym. Some trainers own their gym so they get FED fighters and the environment is perfect for success. The promoters constantly give them work. That doesn’t necessarily makes them the best it makes them the most resourceful.
But I can tell you who I like. In fact I will tell you I like and think highly of past and present.
Emanuel Steward, I love. I love his pad work. It works the rhythm of a fight. Real punch sequences. He gives you cardio plus you’re learning.
I also love Steward’s business and health mind. He cooked for his fighters way before there was thing called nutritionist. He talked about how watermelon was good for recovery. He managed his guys not because he had multiple degrees in sports management but he knew boxing and he had common sense. Steward said he did the deal for Leonard vs Hearns in airport. Can you imagine doing the biggest deal in boxing history in your 30s? Awesome!
Like Eddie Futch. I love Futch’s work against athletic fighters. Futch did wonders against Roy Jones and Muhammad Ali. Look at Montel Griffin’s performance vs Roy Jones from fight 1 with Futch, to fight 2 without Futch.
Look at Futch’s work with Ken Norton and Joe Frazier against Ali. Futch gave Ali his first 2 losses. He really understood how to disrupt his jab with Norton and how to counter his uppercut with Frazier.
Georgie Benton. He always talked about hitting a fighters arms. He talked about being carried too fast. He was a great trainer. Everybody from the 84 Olympic team that went to him won a title except Tyrell Biggs who had to face a prime Mike Tyson.
Currently I have a few guys.
Virgil Hunter because of his calm approach. Hunter understands life. And life is interconnected to boxing. Look at Hunter’s work in getting Ward through the 1st Kovalev fight. Look at how Ward developed an inside game despite having one of the best jabs in boxing. The crazy thing about Hunter is I think his best work was with Alfredo Angulo vs Erislandy Lara in a losing fight. Angulo fought so well that night despite giving up loads of talent and speed to much a superior boxing. It’s not always the wins and losses but the performances count.
I haven’t seen this next trainer in while but I like Tom Yankello. He trains out of the Pittsburgh area. That guy really knows the game. His work with Paul Spadafora was top notch. Spadafora was not a big puncher. He was not overly fast. But he boxed right in front of his opponents and he didn’t run. That’s the hardest style in boxing to master.
Often times in boxing race lines are drawn as far as who can train and what styles they can train. I never get into that because it causes you to subconsciously underestimate. Spadafora was slick for real and he was a white dude. Yankello knows his stuff and he’s very underrated.
Brian Mcyntire and his crew are excellent. Terence Crawford fights one very style imaginable. He can walk forward. He box right or lefty. He can finish. He's a class body puncher. He has a world class jab. He has great stamina. He has an inside game which many don't in boxing. And I've seen him stop his opponents with every punch. Did I mention he makes the best mid fight adjustments in boxing. That all can't be natural. His trainers deserve some credit.
Derrick James. I like James’s demeanor. I like James’s outlook. Training is much more than just training. Those who know. Know. You take on more roles than training for 2 hours a day.
James had excellent pad work. It’s not fancy but his fighters fight at the exact rhythm of his pad work. Therefore their heart rate stays the same. Down the stretch Jermell Charlo and Errol Spence both have pulled out wins because they train at the same pace they fight. That’s James.
Justin Gamber is another guy I’ve watched from afar. He’s really good. His work with Caleb Plant is excellent. I saw Plant as a prospect and he didn’t blow my socks off. But they just kept working and working and I noticed the improvement all the way. So much so that I bet Plant to win his title as the underdog. Plant has a chance to be a P4P guy in his next 3 fights. That’s how good he’s become.
Ben Davison is also good. He’s in his 20s and the job he did with Tyson Fury in the 1st Wilder fight is underrated. He got him through 2 knockdowns and a long lay off. Davison caught heat about the style Fury used that fight because of the success in the rematch but that was his more natural style and that was the style that Davison coached on THAT night. Davison is the truth.
Eddy Reynoso is a real defensive coach. Everyone can't do his defense because it takes a lot of head movement and catch? shoot moves but Canelo has perfected it. The reason Canelo's stamina actually looks better is because he can relax on defense and not give up too much because he can block and slip so well.
Javon “Sugar” Hill, Freddie Roach, Nacho Beristain and Nazim Richardson are all class but you guys already know that. I'm typing fast I know I forgot some good trainers. Sorry.
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