By Stephen "Breadman Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as HGH, Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin rematch, Miguel Cotto, Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter, Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury, and more.
Thanks for your thoughtful mailbag answers. You know, you get what you give, and because your answers are balanced and detailed, you get respect from all these thoughtful fans that write in. Thanks for doing this.
You see the open workouts for GGG vs Canelo 2? I watched the one from last year right before and compared to the second which I caught live. GGG looked more comfortable anf relaxed this time around. Last year it almost seemed like the scale of the event was preoccupying. Was not a long workout, but he looked ready to go, mentally and physically. I think he takes care of himself. Abel said he only has GGG spar 80 rounds tops when getting ready for a fight (Carl Frampton by contrast admitted to sparring 200 until he recently reduced that number - might shorten his career that many rounds). When Canelo did his workout he seemed relaxed which wasn't different from last year, but he didn't remove his shirt which, to me, is curious, since that seems typical for fighters, and more specifically, for him (if we look st the historical pattern). Especially since the commentators noted that how long Canelo spent in the ring, I wonder what this all means. Like he wanted the validation but didn't want to reveal the decreased muscle mass.
Seems like the media is on Canelo's side too. He was interviewed a couple weeks agi and the interviewer noted how people think he lost mass but then the interviewer said to Canelo "doesn't look like it to me" and Canelo agreed. Then, yesterday, during this recent open workout the commentators said Canelo didn't remove his shirt because he was being modest, and that he looked exceptionally fast and well conditioned during the workout. Watch it, I wasn't that convinced. You ever hear the Shakespeare quote: "methinks the lady doth protest too much"?
I dunno man, maybe I read too much into it, but I think there's a clue or two here.
What do you make of all this? Does it even matter? Canelo may arguably be faster and have better conditioning with his lighter frame and he knows how to stand in front of GGG and not get hit clean. GGG by contrast has suffered another year of age and, thus, slippage. Has your opinion clarified as to a prediction? I recall you saying that you would wait until it got closer to the fight.
Thanks for your time.
Bread’s Response: Thank you. I pride myself in being a fair and honest man. “A man loses credibility on a subject when he’s openly bias.”
I’ve seen some open workouts. But I try not to over analyze. You never know what’s going on with a fighter on that day. Sleep, other workouts, weight etc. all play a part in how a fighter looks. I know these things but some people act like they don’t exist. I have noticed that GGG does look relaxed but he’s a grounded person. So I expect that. 80 rounds sparring for GGG. I didn’t hear Abel Sanchez say that. Are you sure? In an 8 week camp that’s only 10 rounds per week. And most fighters spar 3 times a week. So that’s an average of about3 rounds /session. Are you sure you got that right?
Canelo is a Gamer and up until the positive test, he was one of my favorite fighters. Canelo can fight is butt off and he’s taken some super tough fights that he didn’t have to take. But I have noticed also the media has taken his side which is absurd to me. GGG did nothing wrong. Not one thing. They lob Canelo and his team softball questions or ignore the elephant in the room consistently just to have access to him. But the truth is no fighter in history before a fight this big, in his prime, has officially tested positive twice for a banned substance.
I have also noticed Canelo looks leaner which is not the worst thing for him. But it can be for various reasons. Maybe lack of PEDs. We can openly say that now. Or it can be a strategy to carry less bulky muscles. I don’t know but I do know there is a slight difference in his physique. Canelo was jacked up muscularly vs GGG and Cotto in their fights.
But this doesn’t mean Canelo will lose. I’m telling you guys he’s live. PEDs may or may not have helped him. But I know his skill level and reflexes did. I believe Canelo is irritated, aggravated and out to prove he can win CLEAN. I think he’s going to try to knock GGG’s head off early. I believe he’s going to try to run GGG into a vicious counter. Mark that down. I still don’t have a pick yet it’s that close in my mind’s process.
long time reader, first time writer.
I have noticed a renascence of Margarito questions lately and in the spirit of cheating environment I have wondered what would it feel like if I were Cotto.
Hear me out: After the Margo fight it was common to see Cotto's face disfigure and contort into a bloody mess , so I feel that took away from him in his prime because he bruised so easily after that fight. (Mosley hit MUCH harder than Margo and he just cut Cotto in the 12th I believe)
Also, again on the cheating...
all this refusal to test by Pac;
the wraps vs Margo
and now the PED scandal with Canelo....
How would YOU feel if you were Cotto?
I do acknowledge that the severe bruising stopped pretty much with the advent of Roach (I don't know why, but it's true...see the Canelo fight -no bruising and no swelling) and that somehow he did lengthen his career through Roach but I think his prime was stunted and some of his losses are questionable.
Lastly, why do people not acknowledge the fact that it was not Sergio Martinez' knees that gave out but the first few blows (if not the 1st) to the temple that gave Maravilla a concussion and was not able to recover?
This, sadly has taken from Cotto's victory over Sergio in the eyes of the boxing crowd.
Bread’s Response: Good question. I will take this one by one.
Who says Mosley hits way harder than Margarito? I think they punch differently. Margarito is a heavy handed bruising puncher. Mosley is a fast choppy puncher. It’s just different. Mosley will cause more shock but I think Margarito will bruise you more. If you look at Mosley’s fights, who did he really bruise up at welterweight?
Pac didn’t refuse to test against Cotto. See that’s how a myth gets started. From my knowledge Pac didn’t want to do USADA vs Floyd. Cotto fought Pac in 2009. Floyd fought Marquez in September of that same year and to my knowledge there was NO USADA testing. At that point in time no one was doing that until Floyd did it the next year vs Shane Mosley in May of 2010. Cotto was the champion. I don’t believe he asked for it either…. I won’t give him the Pac excuse because he went to Pac’s trainer after he lost to him. If he thought Pac cheated him why would he go to his trainer after they fought? And if we are going to play the suspicious game then one can question Cotto’s run from 2013-15. He looked rejuvenated after being declared shot by the media in 2009. It still amazes some he took the shots he took from Canelo and was NEVER stopped or dropped.
I will give Cotto the wraps vs Margarito. It’s never been proven. But it’s also never been disproven.
I will also give Cotto the Canelo suspicion. Canelo did test positive twice. You always wonder if that was the first time he had Clen in his system. That’s a reasonable suspicion.
But listen let’s not have a pity party for Cotto. He’s a fighter. If you start feeling sorry for yourself you start creating barriers and making excuses. No one really knows what any fighter is doing. Cotto has had a great career and he’s going to the HOF. He’s also made a lot of money. Some made excuses for Cotto about catchweights and PEDs etc. But Cotto went to Pac’s coach and then he used catchweights consistently. I never thought it was a big deal he fought Daniel Geale 157, Canelo 155 or Sergio Martinez 159 at catchweights. Just like I didn’t think it was a big deal Pac fought Cotto at 145.
Everyone tries to discredit Cotto’s victory over Martinez and I think it’s just wrong. That’s one of the best WINS of the decade. A guy who starts at 140, wins the lineal middleweight title from a fighter who was reigning for 4 years. Martinez was the prohibitive favorite. People say Martinez was past it, but Cotto had lost 4 out of 6 fights from 2008-2012.
I picked Cotto to win the Martinez fight. I just thought he was better and Martinez made too many mistakes with his hands down that he got away with bigger slower fighters that he wouldn’t get away with vs a quick sharpshooter. Martinez was NOT limping going into that ring. What happened was Cotto and Roach saw that Martinez brought his jab back low and Cotto followed it back with a hybrid jab/hook that he worked on in camp. He hit Martinez on the temple and knocked his equilibrium off. After that happened Cotto threw him to the ground a few times and when your balance is, off old leg injuries get flared up. You’re correct Martinez was concussed early and never recovered. Cotto didn’t hit him in the LEG with that hook. Cotto deserves 100% credit for that win. He had more wear and tear on him, he was the smaller man and he still won.
Martinez avoided GGG his major threat in his division. And he was calling out a smaller bigger name in Cotto, Mayweather and Pac. So he got one of those names and lost. It’s no indictment on Martinez. He’s a fine a fighter and fine champion. But that’s what happened. He wanted a smaller guy that he perceived as easier than GGG. Well he misjudged Cotto, just like Oscar did a few years before him when he picked Pac instead of fighting the bigger Margarito. It happens sometimes.
Boxing is a prideful sport and many can’t admit they were wrong. I practice on admitting I was wrong so it doesn’t become difficult for me. People called Cotto shot and picked him to lose vs Martinez then after he won, they said oh it must be Martinez’s leg. That’s BS.
I pray you and your family our doing well and I pray all the people who read your mailbag and their families are doing well. Breadman you are the epitome of class but we live in a classless society. I’m guilty of the name calling you discussed in your last mailbag but the reason for it is I’m clapping back at the fans of the athlete. I call Floyd Fraud instead of Floyd because I get tired of his idiotic fans telling me this guy is the TBE. Stop the madness. I have to clap back at them. If you feel he is the best, you have the right to be ignorant and foolish but don’t expect me to follow suit. Whenever I’m talking boxing with someone the Fraud fans always jump in and I’m tired of them and their stupidity. So I’m really going at them when I call him out of his name. I’m sick of these fools. I feel the same way about Yellow Canelo fans who get upset because you don’t worship at the altar of Canelo. You have the right to like both of these guys and you can ride their jock all you want but don’t expect me to do it or go along with your propaganda. The fans of those two offend me so I try my best to offend them. You have been in the hood long enough to know that trash talking is part of sports and and as American as apple pie. You appear to be a guy who takes the high road but I’ll get down and dirty and go in the gutter with folks if I have too.
God bless and take care,
Blood and guts from Philly,
P..S, Kevin Durant is the Fraud of the NBA just like Mayweather for doing the most cowardly move in the history of the NBA .He may win a few championships but he is not a true champion and had all my and other s contempt. Just like Fraud ducked Pac Man until he got knocked out by Marquez. This guy leaves a team he had down 3 to 1 and he chokes along with West brook and then he joins that team. Disgraceful. The guy is not a competitor. I hate when they compare this clown to King James. Who when Boston formed their big 3 and he couldn’t beat them, he went and formed his own big 3 with D-wade and Bosh to beat Boston. LeBron didn’t turn into a little b---chi and join Boston. Durant could have joined any other good team like San Antonio (with Khawi and Lamarcus)and it wouldn’t have been a problem but not the team that beat you. Take care.
Bread’s Response: I understand how it is to argue with obsessed fans. I don’t engage but I have them try to bait me all the time. But it’s one thing to argue with them and insult them. It’s another thing to insult the fighter on social media or refer to the fighter in general by a derogatory nickname. I just don’t like it but to each his own.
You know basketball is my sport. I had some game back in the day.
I really respect Kevin Durant. His demeanor and his candidness has really won me over. I think he’s a fabulous player. He’s really pushing Lebron for the best player in the league. Durant is probably top 15 ever right now.
But if I’m fair and I am fair. What he did by going to Golden State was the most non competitive things I have ever seen or read about in sport’s history. That really doesn’t sit well with me. People say what he and Lebron did was the same but that’s absurd. Lebron went to losing teams during his free agency and made them winners. Of course Lebron checked to see what kind of roster he had to work with. But it would only be the same thing if Lebron went to Boston who beat them in 2010 or went to Dallas who beat them in 2011 or the Spurs who beat them in 2014. Durant went to his teams biggest rivals in their conference that they almost beat the year before them and joined them. James never did THAT? As a basketball fan and Durant fan, I can’t get over that move. In his prime he willingly went to the best team in the league because he couldn’t beat them. It’s just never been done before by such a great player. No one has ever done that! It’s just bizarre in my opinion. I don’t think Durant is a fraud he’s the real deal. But I do think he’s cherry picked his chips for sure.
What's up Bread?
Who do you favor if Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury fight next? Did you see Fury's most recent fight? If so, did his performance alter your view of the matchup at all? I believe that Fury is rounding into form but he needs to bring more to the table (and less weight into the ring) if he wants to pull off the upset. Fury is extremely nimble for his size but you mentioned how the "Bronze Bomber" comes in light whenever he feels threatened and I think Wilder's relative lack of size (214 lbs. last time out) will negate Fury's usual mobility advantage. I look forward to reading your thoughts.
William in West Palm
Bread’s Response: I favor Wilder 60/40 or 65/35. Fury is rounding into form. But here is the thing about non punchers and all around fighters. You can’t really assess them until they get in with the elite. See the Vernon Forest and Shane Mosley. Mosley looked better. See Bernard Hopkins and Felix Trinidad. Trinidad looked better. See Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. Tyson looked better.
We have to see Fury in with certain guys because he’s not offensively dynamic. He’s a good all around boxer with nimble feet. So that doesn’t always show up on the eye ball scale. It shows up in the head to head matchups though. Fury is live in this fight. Wilder has lost rounds and been outboxed for long spells by lesser boxers than Fury.
Hey Bread, been reading a couple years now, first time writing in.
I was out recently walking the dog and managed to trip while throwing it a stick and managed to fall and stab myself in the face. I know, idiot of the year etc. It looked like I'd been headbutted by Pinhead.
It got me thinking though: which boxers in the last 20 years showed the highest pain threshold, or willingness to push beyond whatever pain their body was experiencing? Vitali against Lennox? I thought Maidana looked in agony when dropped by the bodyshot vs Khan but pushed himself through it. How about Danny Williams knocking out Mark Potter while he had a dislocated arm?
From Abosworth, Maryland
Bread’s Response: Last 20 years. Pain. Man I don’t know. Getting clipped doesn’t hurt it’s more of a buzz. I would put Maidana up there, that liver shot Khan hit him with was knob knocking. Right on the money. Ward hit Gatti with one too and he got up and won the last round. I still can’t believe that. Margarito hit Pac with a nasty one. And Forest hit Mosley with one so bad, Mosley yelled but he kept fighting.
I can’t say who has the highest pain threshold because fighters often hide pain. They often act like nothing bothers them. If you twist my arm I will say James Toney since 1998. Over the last 20 he seemed to take the most punishment with a straight face and still win or compete.
What's up Bread?
I recently rewatched highlights of Danny Garcia's and Shawn Porter's respective fights with Keith Thurman to compare the two against a common opponent and possibly identify weaknesses since they both lost to "One Time". After doing that I came away with the following:
1. Shawn Porter has a good jab when he decides to utilize it. I don't see it as elite but he did have some success getting on the inside with it against Thurman
2. Danny Garcia has a very good chin and he also maintained defensive responsibility and awareness when Thurman rocked him (I forget what round it was but it was early and Danny was able to successfully fend off the incoming when Keith followed up)
3. It seems like when things get difficult Shawn Porter fights harder (Thurman was able to counter effectively because of this) while Danny Garcia fights smarter (Thurman was just a little quicker on the draw).
Do you have any additional observations of your own? I don't wanna get too long-winded because this is truly a 50/50 fight that will answer important questions such as: 1. Can Shawn Porter get that signature win against a top guy (he has fallen just short against Kell Brook and Keith Thurman), and can Garcia do what those aforementioned fighters did. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
William in West Palm
Bread’s Response: 1. Shawn’s jab is actually better than Danny’s. It’s real good, Shawn just sometimes gets away from it. The Herrera fight keeps going in my mind. He really outjabbed Danny. Danny will have to defend that jab better if he wants to win this fight.
2. Danny has one of the sharpest minds in boxing. Speed is in the body, quickness is in the mind. Danny’s mind allows him to be elite without being an elite athlete. Shawn is more athletic but Danny’s mind is sharper in a fight. It’s why Danny is able to adjust in a fight better and clip more athletic fighters like Khan. Again you’re on point.
3. Bingo you’re right again. Shawn will grind harder when things get rough. He will outhustle and outwill his opponents. Shawn is predictable but he has heart for days. Danny on the other hand will adjust mentally. Thurman was just a little quicker and that’s why he edged it but Danny keeps you thinking. Both have advantages in different places.
This is a really a big fight for the legacies of Garcia and Porter. It’s really a 50/50 even match up. I slightly lean Danny because Shawn is prone to cut and A side factors but this is a really a pick em fight. I don’t know definitively but Danny’s quicker mind as far as processing may be the big factor in landing clean shots in a tough fight.
I also want to point out that Shawn Porter is an intelligent kid. He has a brawling style because that gives him the best chance to win but he’s smart. Something tells me he’s going to try to box Danny because boxing Danny has given him his hardest moments in his career. It’s not that he can’t handle boxers because he’s only lost 1 fight, but it seems that it’s harder on him if you move away from him than it is if you move towards him.
Hey Bread - I've noticed an almost daily back-and-forth between the camps of GGG and Canelo lately. Canelo is responding personally , which seems out of character for him, which makes me wonder: Is Abel Sanchez softening up Canelo for GGG come next month? The best thing for an aging GGG is for Canelo to come out good an mad isn't it?
Bread’s Response: I don’t know about softening up. But GGG has to be prepared to cut the ring off if he has too. You can’t tell a fighter how to fight you. Canelo may or may not move. I don’t know. But I do have a gut feeling Canelo is going to go for an early KO.
Hi Bread - hope all has been well. I know you’ll probably have a lot of questions on Wilder/Fury, so I’m hoping you can squeeze a Canelo/Golovkin one in, as well.
If you were the trainer for each fighter (Canelo and Golovkin), what strategic adjustment would you focus on for the rematch so that the fighter is victorious?
I’ve read that both fighters have publicly said that they believe they don’t need to adjust much - which, if how they truly believe, I think is a bad mindset to have. Both guys can benefit from alterations to their game plan. What is the most important thing for each guy to “fix” or “add”?
Additionally, I remember when Browne-Kovalev was originally announced, you came out and said not to be surprised if Kovalev was shocked and beaten. That outcome happened as you predicted (albeit, versus the replacement opponent to Browne). As you said, age is a huge factor... are you getting a similar feeling in the Canelo/GGG fight? I.e is Golovkin vulnerable to a similar shock KO vs. Canelo due to warning signs you’re seeing in his previous fights due to, let’s say, age. Similarly, how will Canelo’s promise to come in “leaner” impact his game plan? Will that make him more vulnerable in the rematch (presumably lower power)?
Thanks in advance,
Bread’s Response: GGG has to fight at a lively rhythm. He has to adjust to Canelo’s slipperiness and be able to isolate him and trap him more. GGG has to find a way to land more than his jab consistently. If he can hit Canelo with his power punches especially to the body consistently he will win. GGG’s mindset has to be vicious. He has to carry Canelo fast like Marvin Hagler did Tommy Hearns and like Aaron Pryor did Alexis Arguello. Vicious.
Canelo has to condition himself to just be more consistent. He takes off for too long during rounds and it cost him. If he can find a way to stay consistent and score points without visibly taking off rounds, he can win. It’s more simple for Canelo as far as adjustments because he fought the better fight the 1st time. He just couldn’t keep up the intensity round after round. That’s why I think he will go for an early KO because he knows his stamina and he knows what was or wasn’t in his body in the 1st fight.
Hey Bread,??You mentioned Mike McCallum twice in your last mailbag and it sorta got me triggered as I always wanted to ask you about The Bodysnatcher! I must admit that McCallum is probably my favourite boxer ever which is probably a bit weird considering my background (I'm from eastern Europe & only discovered my love for the sport during this decade). But let me say this - Mike was the real deal! To this day I'm still studying his style & career and here are some things that I think are worth sharing. In first draft of this e-mail I wanted to cover all topics, but it's simply impossible! So allow me to stick to his prime years - let's talk about The Bodysnatcher in the 80s. All in all it always comes down to one thing - was he really ducked by the Fab Four (Hagler, Hearns, Duran & SRL) or the big fights just didn't "come about", as Marvin Hagler once said? Could he hang with those guys back then? Allow me to make my case first.??1) McCallum's first big fight was in 1982 against Ayub Kalule (40-2). Kalule was a former world champion at 154 and he was defeated only by SRL (got stopped after fairly competitive eight rounds) and just recently by up & coming Davey Moore. At the end of 1981 he was ranked #2 by the ring in that weight. For Mike (16-0 at the time) it was truly a coming-out party - not only was he fighting a former world champion, but for the first time in his pro career he was facing a southpaw. Nonetheless he dropped Kalule in the very first round via countering right uppercut. He won all the rounds and Kalule was almost out on his feet at the end of round seven - that's when the fight was stopped. It's worth considering that Kalule was only 28 at the time (Mike was 25) - he was probably not even past his prime! Yet MMC looked better than SRL and Moore. What's even more intriguing is that 3 years later Kalule was able to beat Sumbu Kalambay in Italy - and Sumbu is the first guy that beat Mike! Still - kudos to Kalule for taking a fight with a young gun like Mike shortly after losing championship fight.
Soon after that Mike won his WBA belt at 154. And here is the first tiny crumb suggesting that one of the Fab Four may have ducked him. McCallum was scheduled to fight Roberto Duran (WBA junior middleweight champion at the time) as the #1 challenger, but Duran vacated the title and fought Hearns for his WBC belt & bigger purse instead. Mike himself said that he parted ways with Manny Steward because he went behind his back & secured Duran fight for Hearns and not for him (as he was promised). He also claims that he tried to secure a fight with Hearns many times & was constantly rejected - even more so after he beat other Kronk fighters in Braxton & McCrory.
?2) So Duran vacated & McCallum won the WBA belt in 1984 – on the 19th of October (after 15 rounds with tough Sean Mannion... on the undercard of Hagler vs Hamsho!) and on December the 1st (!!!) he was back in the ring. He made his first defence in Italy, facing Luigi Minchillo (45-3). Just in February Minchillo fought Hearns who was still WBC & The Ring champion at the time. Tommy won by UD, but afterwards said that it was the most intense fight of his career. He was cut in the early rounds and the Italian just wouldn't go down. It's worth mentioning that Minchillo also went the distance with Duran in 1981. McCallum said from the start: his aim was to stop Luigi, to do something that Hearns & Duran could not do. And he did just that! Minchillo was applying pressure from the start, but Mike was the more precise puncher. His pin-point body punching was the key - visibly tired Minchillo didn't come out for the 14th round??After the fight with Minchello McCallum once again said he was ready to go up in weight and challenge Hagler. Hearns was still "The Ring" champion and Mike was #1 in junior middleweight. As we know Hearns fought Hagler next, but what could have happened if he fought McCallum instead? How do you see him against that version of Tommy? Personally I think A LOT depends on the distance. If they fought 15 rounds then this fight may have had the similar outcome to Hearns vs Leonard I. In that case I see Tommy outpointing Mike in the early rounds, but I think McCallum's constant bodywork & precise punching would have made his opponent vulnerable later on. I see a late stoppage here, possibly with Tommy up on the scorecards. How do see this fight going if they fought in late 1984/early 1985?
3) With Hagler things are way more complicated. I don't think Marvin ever ducked anyone - the timing was just off with these two. Mike claims that Marv said he had all the respect in the world for him yet McCallum is still visibly angry that they never fought. But it's pretty simple if you look at it - Mike's first fight at 160 was in 1988, almost a year (!) after Hagler lost to SRL. He was pretty much out of the picture at that time. Can we be angry at Marvin that he didn't pick McCallum? I don't really think so.
There were a lot of killers in his weight at the time, but here's the deal - after Hearns & before SRL Hagler had this one fight. And that's where it gets interesting - in 1986 he fought a guy from 154 who wasn't half as accomplished as McCallum! He picked John "The Beast" Mugabi who was highly ranked and 25-0 and was also the #1 contender to fight... Tommy Hearns! There was a backstory there that could have possibly led to Hagler vs Hearns II. So can we REALLY blame Marvin Hagler for picking this guy instead of proven champion who was also undefeated but wasn't that much of a slugger? I have no idea, but I really don't think so. ??What's your take on that situation? Let's go wild here for a minute and assume that McCallum fought Hagler instead of Mugabi on that day - how do you see this fight playing out? Can a prime McCallum beat a slightly past prime Hagler? I don't know about that, but that would've been a hell of a fight, that's for sure!??4) When it comes to SRL it's also complicated. Mike claims he always wanted to fight him - he fought & beat his brother Roger in the amateurs and because of that Ray never wanted any part of him. The biggest link between MMC & SRL is Donald Curry. He was supposed to fight McCallum in 1986 - before losing for the first time in his career. Apparently back then he had second thoughts about moving up from welterweight, so the fight happened in 1987 and it was kinda big deal. Mike was the man at 154 for almost 3 years yet he was described as "The Unknown Champion". All the talk was focused about SRL vs Curry court case. Mike won & finally went to 160 after that, but he lost a close fight in Italy against Kalambay and the momentum was gone. After Hagler SRL was looking for opportunities & big fights - I don't think that fighting McCallum was it at any point. Is that the case? ??So my final view regarding Fab Four & McCallum looks like this:??- Duran - was at one point supposed to fight McCallum, but went after bigger name & bigger payday. Is that ducking? Not in my world, but can you blame Mike for putting it that way? Not really!?- Hearns - they were both champions at 154 for a long time. I can believe Tommy wanted no part of Mike. He never pushed for that fight, but there are no clear signs that he ducked The Bodysnatcher either.?- Hagler - McCallum was never at the same weight as Hagler during his career, but I have no doubt that Mike wanted that fight. Can we blame Marvelous Marvin for not picking him? Again: not really!?- SRL - they were never really on a collision course. I can believe that Ray wanted bigger fights at that stage of his career. Was there ducking involved? Again: not really!?
?My conclusion is that Mike McCallum must have been one of the unluckiest guys in boxing history! Was he badly managed? Probably too, but that's whole other story... So here are (finally!) my questions (I left some of them up in the air earlier) to you Bread:??- Do you believe that Manny Steward really went behind Mike's back & secured Duran for Hearns instead? Is there more to this story??- Do you believe that Manny Steward saw something in The Bodysnatcher that made him think that he shouldn't let Tommy near him? We know they sparred together – what do you take away from that footage??- Was Mike staying at 154 for too long? What are the other things that he should have better on his part??- What would have happened if Mike McCallum and Tommy Hearns fought in 1985? (let's say that Tommy fights Mike in big unification showdown at 154 instead of going up in weight & challenging Marvin Hagler). How do you see this fight going??- Let's assume that Duran holds on to his WBA title & fights hungry challenger Mike McCallum in 1984 instead of going after Tommy Hearns. How do you think this one ends? I see a similar grueling fight to Hagler vs Duran!?- Apparently Marvin Hagler picks Mike McCallum in 1986 instead of John Mugabi - what happens? ?- SRL wants a piece of Mike after his KO over Donald Curry. Let’s say fight happens in early 1988 – who wins and how?
OK, this is enormous at this point. I have many more questions regarding Mike McCallum and if it's OK with you I will get back to you later to talk in general about his career and some missed opponents & opportunities in the 90s. ??Have a great day and keep up the good work!?Best wishes,?Casper from Poland
Bread’s Response: Ironically Mike McCallum is a fighter I study often. Just last night I watched him vs Donald Curry. There is a myth that Curry was dominating him and lighting him up. Curry landed some BIG flashy shots but McCallum was digging some nasty body work into Curry and I believe it caused Curry’s lack of concentration on pulling out that got him caught. Curry was avoiding a body shot right before he got caught with the big left hook over the top.
From your comments you weren’t watching boxing during that time but you did a good reasonable breakdown of the events as they transpired.
Ok here is my take. I actually agree with you and it’s one of the best emails I ever got about a myth. The fighter who was less marketed always claims he was ducked. There is always a myth around that fighter if he has more popular contemporaries around him. Sometimes it’s true most times it’s not. Charley Burley, Aaron Pryor and Mike McCallum all claim that their more popular contemporaries ducked them. This has taken on a life of it’s own and I’m glad you researched it.
“They” say Charley Burley was ducked by Ray Robinson. “They” say Robinson never gave Burley a title shot. But “they” forget to fact check and see that Burley retired in 1950. And Robinson didn’t win the middleweight title until 1951. Burley was older than Robinson and Burley was a full fledged middleweight when Robinson won his 1st title at welterweight. So in reality anybody CAN choose to fight in a non title catchweight fight but what “they” call a duck and two guys missing each other is all together different.
“They” say Ray Leonard moved up from 132lbs in the amateurs to avoid Aaron Pryor. “They” say Leonard never offered Pryor a shot. But what “they’ forget to tell is that Leonard is bigger than Pryor. Leonard and Pryor are about the same age and turned pro about the same time. Pryor turned pro at lightweight and Leonard was a tweener between 140-47 and he had 4inches of height on Pryor and 5 inches on reach. Leonard would go on to fight all the way up t super middleweight. So as a teenager it’s conceivable for him to outgrow the smaller Pryor who only moved up to 140lbs as a pro because he couldn’t get a shot at 135.
“They” also forget to say that Leonard offered Pryor a shot. In a small window when the fight could have happened in 1981 Leonard offered Pryor a shot after he won his rematch vs Roberto Duran in November of 1980 . Pryor admits at his fight with Lenox Blackmoore on youtube. Pryor has one of Leonard’s old trainer’s Dave Jacobs sitting in on the interview. And Jacob’s Pryor’s new trainer tells Pryor on national TV to leave Leonard alone and stick with the smaller guys. It’s a fact. “They” also forget to say that Pryor never moved up from 140 and Leonard fought 3 HOF in less than 2 years at 147 and a great junior middleweight in Ayub Kalule during the time he was supposed to be ducking Pryor.
Now let’s get on Mike McCallum. First off like you stated there is no way Hagler or Leonard ducked him. They just get thrown in the mix because they were the big stars of the time. Honestly when was a fight between Leonard and McCallum viable. Media experts will just pull a dangerous guy from the same era who didn’t get a fight and claim the more marketable one ducked the other one. The only time the fight would have remotely made sense is after McCallum beat Curry but McCallum lost his 1st fight at middleweight vs Sambu Kalambay. Everyone except you forgets that fight. By 1988 Leonard looking to tie Hearns for titles won, and breaking the tie with Duran who he was 1-1 against. McCallum was just no where near Leonard at that point. Leonard only fought 5 times after beating Hagler in 1987. Lalonde 88, Hearns 89, Duran 89, Norris 91 and Camacho 97.
Onto Hagler. McCallum was the champion at 154 from 1984-87. But he never moved up to 160 where Hagler was the king. Saying you will move up and moving up are different. Hagler was a killer and fought killers before and after he won the title. Towards the end of his reign he took BIG money fights. Hagler fought once in 85 vs Hearns, once in 86 vs Mugabi and once in 87 vs Leonard. When in the hell was he supposed to fight McCallum? Mugabi was a huge tv star in the 80s, he had a perfect record of 26-0 with 26kos and it was a huge fight for him to challenge Hagler. McCallum didn’t move to 160 until the year after Hagler retired.
Duran is a conspicuous case. He did indeed vacate the title that McCallum was the #1 contender for. But in my opinion it was more of a business move than a duck. Duran was in a career slump after he lost to Leonard in 1980. So he gets himself together and beats Davey Moore in 1983. In 1983 McCallum was just a strong contender. Duran immediately takes on the best fighter in the world at 160 in Marvin Hagler then moves immediately back down to 154 and faces the equally as dangerous Hearns. Let me say this as far as matchups. McCallum is a better match up for Duran than Hearns was. Hearns was an electric out fighter. McCallum was a well rounded mid range and in fighter. I’m not saying Duran could have beaten McCallum in 1984. But I am saying once Duran got older and moved up in weight his 3 best performances were against Moore, Hagler and Barkley. They all were mid range and inside guys. Movers and out fighters like Benitez, Leonard and Hearns troubled him as he got older. I honestly think it was a money thing in 1984. Duran took on a killer in Hearns and got stopped and took off for 2 years. I think he just chose to fight more marketable fighters.
Now the Hearns case can be made. McCallum and Hearns were in the same weight divisions for too long to not fight. There were bigger fights for Hearns but in reality that fight could have been made. At the time we didn’t know it but as history has progressed a fight between them two would have decided who was the best ever at 154. After Hearns stopped Duran in 1984 there was time to fight McCallum and after he lost to Hagler in 1985 there was time. I wouldn’t expect him to take McCallum over bigger money fights in Hagler and Duran but he could’ve definitely took him in between. If there is a case with a DUCK, it was Hearns not the other 3.
I can believe that Manny Steward kept Hearns away from McCallum. Steward didn’t always like Hearns to fight fighters who crowded him. The sparring footage shows “good work”. Hearns is a little quicker and sharper. So in sparring that guy usually gets over. But that’s not a 15 round fight. The grinding better winded fighter wins the real fight over long rounds. Hearns was really something in 1984 and 86. Hagler did one of the greatest things in middleweight history attacking Hearns like that. McCallum was more calculated. I can see Hearns slightly edging McCallum on points and I can see McCallum getting to Tommy late. I go back and forth about it.
In 1984 Duran would have been right with McCallum. He would have countered McCallum twisted and turned and fought with him on even terms for the most part. If you twist my arm I say McCallum was a little busier at the time and would have edged a decision. But Duran was much more popular and the A side and I can see him getting the benefit of more rounds than he deserved. It would have been close.
Hagler vs McCallum would have been a dog fight. But you’re just not going to press and grind Hagler out. They both had all time great chins. I say where McCallum may have wore Hearns down in spots, Hagler would have remained strong and won a decision over McCallum.
McCallum didn’t like stick and movers. That was a little bit of a weakness for him. If you came to him and laid inside or fought in the box he killed you. But if you made him track you down you could have some success. Kalumbay gave him fits twice. Herold Graham also took him to an SD. I say Leonard would have stuck and moved just like he did vs Hagler and Duran 3 and won a close decision.
Mike McCallum is surely a great fighter and top 3 ever at 154. It’s a shame he didn’t get bigger fights earlier in his career. In my conclusion various things kept McCallum from being a superstar. I think he was “boxed out” slightly by Manny Steward. Steward’s loyalty was to Hearns. Hearns was a kid he had raised. So of course Hearns got the bigger opportunities while they were in the same stable. McCallum was a quiet island guy. And during that time no one marketed him. There was never superstar in boxing from the islands that wasn’t from Puerto Rico. I think timing was McCallum’s biggest problem. McCallum was born the same year as Leonard, he’s a little older than Hearns and a little younger than Hagler. Duran has him by a few years. But he didn’t turn pro until 1981.
Leonard, Hagler, Hearns and Duran were already stars and superstars by the time McCallum was just turning pro. So while he was their age and fought during their era, he was really more of Donald Curry’s , Michael Nunn and Milton McCrory’s era, than he was the FAB 4. They were much bigger and more established by the time he broke through in a big fight on a big stage. That fight didn’t come until July of 1987. The FAB 4 were shot callers and part timers by 1987. That’s the biggest reason McCallum didn’t get the big break in the 80s. Timing and management.
So I had a thought earlier today and wanted to run it by you. Back in the day I had friends who would buy HGH. The only way you could HGH back then was through cadavers. I wonder if they can harvest other hormones from cadavers such as Testosterone and use it. I would think it would be able to beat the carbon isotope test given its not synthetic. With the kind of money in boxing it seems feasible someone would try this. You heard anything about something like this?
Bread’s Response: No I haven’t heard that. But I have heard that designer drugs that have same affect as EPO, Testosterone and HGH are the drugs of choices by boxers. I’ve also heard there is a drug called MK 677 that is being used. I do know that HGH does not stay in the system very long but getting it from cadavers is a new one on me.
I will say this and again and again. This is not 2009, this is 2018. Any A side fighter who is NOT asking his opponents to do VADA is highly suspicious. There is no reason to trust an opponent so much that you would assume they won’t cheat if you have the lead in the negotiations. I’m waiting for a network to require fighters they give big contracts to test VADA.
And I would also suggest that VADA keep testing like they did with Canelo. Test far off from fights and watch the rate of positives go up. The cycle period is not during camp it is before camp is “supposed” to start. Before the media gets the cameras rolling and before the fights gets announced.
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