The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev, the future of Kovalev, reflecting on Ricardo Lopez, the big win by Ryan Garcia, and more.
should andre ward come out of retirement (assuming he's been in shape and active in gym) and sign to fight canelo right now @ LH, who wins?
Cheers GK from Aus.
Bread’s Response: Aw man if we were in 2017 I would take Ward with a bullet. But he’s been off for two years. Canelo is at his apex and he’s really rolling. I would say I lean Ward but I would have to see how he looks after being off two years. It’s a REAL fight. I think ward would open as a -200 favorite.
I have never been so conflicted about any other boxer like I am about Canelo. I had him beating Trout by 1 point, had a draw against Lara, losing to GGG the first time and a draw in their second fight. Admittedly, if I was forced to give the Lara fight and the second GGG fight to someone, I will give it to Canelo. Is Canelo a more calm boxer psychologically because he knows that he gets the benefit of doubt everytime? Take the Trout fight for example. Trout was forced to change his gameplan every time the scores were announced. That could have thrown off his game. He would have never got the judges decision anyway but the same media scorecards that were slightly in favor of Canelo might have looked different. Similarly, Canelo was so calm against Kovalev despite the fact that most reasonable people had him down by 2 to 4 points. Wasn't part of the reason for his composure the fact that he knows that he will get the benefit of doubt everytime? P.S. His guard defense was perfect against Kovalev.
What do you have to say about Ryan Garcia's performance? I cannot deduce much from just one round except Reynosos spent good amount of time teaching both fighters (Canelo and Garcia) to avoid getting clinched by their opponents and that when he is not fatigued, he is strong like an ox. He and Haney were considered equals as amateurs. Can he catch up with Haney and Gervonta under the Reynosos?
Bread’s Response: A fighter I know actually believes the theory you just stated that Canelo is relaxed because he knows he will get the close rounds. But I’m not so sure it’s true. I agree that Canelo always gets the benefit of doubt. But I think his demeanor is calm because that is in his DNA. I have seen guys who can’t relax in sparring where there are NO judges. Oscar de La Hoya was a bigger star than Canelo and he always fought tight. The reason being was because that was his DNA. James Toney was a great fighter and a star but not a super star. He lost some close decisions. Yet he fought with the same calm demeanor that Canelo does, win, lose or draw. Juan Estrada is a hardcore star but no one knows him outside of that. He has that same demeanor Canelo has, calm, smooth and relaxed. Canelo is just a supremely skilled fighter and he can relax under the gun. He has a smooth defense and a sound chin. And fighters who have those two things can usually relax, because they don’t fear being hurt.
Regardless of what the score cards are, you can still be clipped. Canelo still has to defend himself. I think it’s in his DNA. I watched him fight before he became a mega star and he was always relaxed. Fighters like Amir Khan who is also an A side star have never been able to fight a CALM fight. You have to give Canelo credit.
I think Eddy Reynoso is a great trainer. I think he will improve Ryan Garcia. I have no idea if Garcia will catch up to Gervonta or Haney. Let’s wait and see they seem to be taking things slowly with him.
First time writing in. I just had to get your thoughts on Kovalev's lack of effort against Canelo. To me it didn't appear that he had any interest in trying to hurt his opposition. The Kovalev that I just watched didn't resemble the fighter that completely whitewashed an old but still competitive B-Hop or the fighter that I thought won the first fight against Andre Ward.
I just rewatched Ward/Kovalev 1 which was contested almost 3 years to the day of this fight with Canelo. That entire fight was contested at an extremely competitive level. They didn't like each other and you could tell that they both wanted to put the hurt the other fighter. That Krusher had fire in his belly. He stood tall, he fired a stiff jab, he pressed the action and he threw numerous overhand rights that had Ward very weary of his power. Power so lethal that he even knocked the great Ward down in round 2. To sum it up, he fought like a champion. That fighter was not in the ring last night.
How could a fighter coming up 2 weight classes constantly back up an established champion known for his aggression and punching power? Canelo didn't seem one bit leary or weary of Kovalev's power but more shockingly to me, I never thought that Kovalev threw a single punch with the intention of hurting him. Where were the overhand rights, left hooks, vicious uppercuts and that vaunted power that he has unleashed on so many opponents before? He didn't have a commanding presence or the aura of a champion last night. Instead of standing tall, he squatted down and made himself small. He constantly backed up and even his jabs were pity pat punches that had absolutely NO POP on them. Did he turn 50 overnight or was there something more in play? Kovalev wanted to touch gloves before each round, after each round, and at every break in the action. He seemed like he was fighting his friend and he was just trying to cruise to the finish line. Something just didn't seem right.
Bread, I think you are the best at what you do and really respect your professional opinion so could you please give me your take on what you saw from Kovalev last night.
Robert from New Jersey
Bread’s Response: I’ve been reading for the last 24 hours that Kovalev took a DIVE. I DON’T believe that for one bit. Kovalev was a 5 to 1 underdog to LOSE this fight. He was picked for a reason. I bet that he would get KOD. I was confident Canelo would ko him, I felt Canelo would be the puncher in the fight and I felt he would be physically stronger. So the fight played out like I expected, I didn’t see a DIVE. Let me explain.
When a fighter gets older, his flaws become accentuated. Kovalev is a top 10-20 lightheavyweight ever. Forget the BS, he’s a HOF. No unified light heavy weight champion, who won the title 3 times, and was a top 5 P4P fighter, would ever NOT get into the HOF.
But while Kovalev’s lack of toughness is overly exaggerated. And while he’s not a complete front runner. He hasn’t collapsed when hit. He has responded to adversity. These things are relevant when assessing Kovalev become they do surface.
Here are his flaws. He takes a long time to get his 2nd wind. He can’t fight in the mid range or inside. While he’s a tremendous boxer. It’s more of a stalking and dictating boxing. When he’s FORCED back he’s not the same. His defense is simply to hold or step out of range. He hasn’t developed a defense in close, of catching, blocking, slipping or rolling.
I don’t believe he took a dive. Some people thought he was winning. I couldn’t tell because he was busy but Canelo was blocking most of the shots. I think Kovalev was doing what he was instructed to do by his coach. Buddy McGirt was telling him to not load up. Take something off of his punches and just land clean and win a decision. The strategy almost worked. Again, Remember Kovalev was a 5 to 1 underdog.
McGirt is a very smart man. He knows Kovalev doesn’t defend well up close. He also knows Kovalev gets sloppy when fatigued. The last thing you want is for Kovalev to be dog tired against a sharp shooting, faster fighter. So they tried to conserve energy. The finishing moment was as real as can be. Canelo forearmed him and hit him with a short right hand on the temple. That shot hurt Kovalev but he tried to hide it. Then Canelo threw the same hook he was throwing all night. It looks like it’s going to the body but he slams the side of the head. It hit Kovalev on the temple. Then he hit him on the money with a right hand. Kovalev was seriously hurt and twisted up in the ropes. That was no dive. Kovalev has been basically stopped by the same right hand 3x and 3x late. Ward, Alvarez and Alvarez all cracked him late with right hands that basically ended the fights. It’s not a dive. It’s just him being vulnerable late.
A fight that could be a dive is Bruce Seldon vs Mike Tyson. I could be wrong but I didn’t see a big shot or clean shot that cold have done that to Seldon.
While Kovalev was perceived to be bigger. I don’t believe he was stronger. I know for a fact that Canelo is physically tougher and can take more. Canelo has been for years a fighter who came down really far in weight. I have heard Canelo walks around in 190 country. So for this fight he got to eat all of the calories he wanted and not cut into any muscle. Instead of going down to 154 or 160, he got to stop at 175lbs. Kovalev has been making 175 his entire career and he’s a known alcohol drinker. While weight will be tough for him, Canelo got to enjoy himself making weight. That’s why Kovalev was pushed around. Let’s remember there is a difference between physical strength and punching power. Kovalev can punch but he’s never been a super strong guy. You also have to realize the fighter with the better chin, is the puncher in the fight. Canelo and GGG have world class chins. Kovalev has a declining average chin at best. The oddsmakers have been off this year but they called this fight correct. Canelo was a BIG favorite for a reason.
You guys may not know this but people in boxing and most of all Canelo knows this. Canelo will have a tougher time with Charlo or Andrade. Because of the speed, and their ability to be more violent. They will test his stamina more, and push his cardio more. Kovalev couldn’t threaten him because he was afraid to gas out. He was trying to win but under certain terms. Kovalev was not threatening to do physical harm to Canelo. Andrade and Charlo are young and in their primes and they would try to win at all cost because their legacies would be on the line. I’m not saying they would beat Canelo but I am saying they are physically harder fights. And despite being smaller and less accomplished than Kovalev, the odds would be a lot closer. Canelo has a way about him where he can intimidate you into throwing heat at him because he’s a master counter puncher. GGG has a great chin but he won’t dig to Canelo’s body, there is a reason for that. Kovalev does not have the chin GGG does, so he wasn’t willing to bite down put more hurt on Canelo. You have to credit Canelo with that.
Canelo may be one of those fighters like Mickey Walker, James Toney and an older Roberto Duran who can fight bigger fighters better than they can fight smaller faster fighters. Duran didn’t feel like chasing Leonard and Benitez as he got older. But he was fine vs Barkley, Hagler and Moore because they were bigger and slower. James Toney struggled with Reggie Johnson at 160. But he handled Vasyl Jirov at 190. Mickey Walker could literally fight heavyweights but some middle and welterweights troubled him.
I think some people are upset because they fell for the promotion. This is an EXCELLENT WIN and performance but this was not a monumental victory. Kovalev was there for the taking. This was not Roberto Duran defeating Ray Leonard. Please don’t take offense to that but it wasn’t. The people in the know, KNEW. Again. Canelo was a 5 to 1 favorite. How many times has that happened for a fighter jumping two weight divisions?
However props to Canelo he still had to go out and perform. And winning fights at the top level is never easy.
What up B how you been Brah? I hope all is well and swell for you an your fam! It’s been a while sense I wrote you but I got a couple of things on my mind so here it is!
Canelo did his MTFK’N THING LAST NIGHT! Now don’t get me wrong I agree that was not the Krusher in there. And if their was any doubt the Krusher is done last night the way the Krusher got Krushed can leave no doubt he done! I saw him fading early like in the 4th or 5th from that Body attack! But one of the things I want to ask you about is...DA BLUEPRINT B, in the Sweet Science when a fighter truly has been figured out it seems they are done! Not all but most, and only the exceptionally talented like Floyd or Manny, can truly be successful once...DA BLUEPRINT LOL...is written on them! Andre Ward is the architect of that Blueprint, and deserves full credit now! But tell us about what can a fighter who has a Blueprint against them do to still find success in the ring B?
And I gotta beat that dead horse B but...every time Nelo do something like what he did last night, it makes Floyd look more Badass! Yeah Kovalev was faded, but that was still a dangerous fight for Canelo! And what did you think of Kovelvs game plan? Why would Buddy allow him to constantly be backed up by the much smaller man? Why didn’t he tell him to let the right go too? Did they really think they was gone beat Canelo with just a jab B? Lastly Canelo if he isn’t going to fight Beterbiev, he needs to fight Charlo particularly, or Andrade! He got his glory, but that’s BS to say those fights wouldn’t sale! Anytime a Black Urban fighter with some buzz is out against the right opponents, those fights sale! Simply because Americans, and many around the world want to see the Urban fighter lose! Canelo VS Charlo would be huge here in Vegas, LA, or Texas! Is Canelo ducking them?
As Salamm Alaikum B!
Bread’s Response: Andre Ward definitely gave the blueprint on Kovalev. From the 2nd half of the 1st fight, up and through the rematch. Ward tried to attack Kovalev and make him fight in the mid range. It’s not something anyone can do. Anthony Yarde and Elieder Alvarez couldn’t do it. Kovalev’s opponent’s before Ward didn’t have the ability or the heart. But that’s definitely the blue print.
All fighters have flaws. All fighters have weaknesses. Don’t ever believe they don’t. And most times it takes an elite fighter or an elite performance to bring it out of a great or excellent fighter. The way you overcome the Blue Print to beat you is do 2 things. One is become mentally tougher and get over the loss or bad performance. Don’t let it define you. Two, is work on your game. Often times trainers become infatuated with their fighters strengths and never work on their weaknesses. Everyone can improve. Everyone needs work. Constantly work on your shortcomings. Canelo had plenty of them when we first saw him but look at him now. He’s a complete fighter. Canelo is actually a MASTER CLASSMEN at this point. That’s the place where great fighters go where they get the most out of their ability and they evolve to a point where their physical skills, meet their IQ. Canelo may or may not be the best fighter in the world right now. But the level that he’s operating on is a level very few have reached. He’s so good at this point, he can literally practice on things in a real fight that I have seen fighters not be able to practice in sparring because they’re getting hit. Because of this, the fight has slowed DOWN for Canelo. He can SEE everything.
What I am about to say is NOT a P4P ranking. But it’s a Master Class Status. The fighters who are there are Canelo, Pacman, Juan Estrada, Terence Crawford and Loma. All MASTER CLASS MENS. Special Place I tell you.
No Canelo is NOT ducking Charlo or Andrade. But I would love to see the fights. Those guys have to build legacies, take and win tough fights and make the fans demand the fight. They can fight each other. But that doesn’t mean they won’t give Canelo tough battles. I think they both have a chance to beat him.
Hi Bread ,
A big fan from the U.K. Been reading the weekly post on boxing scene for a while now and love to start my weekend with the insight. This is my first time writing in.
I was impressed with Canelo against Kovalev and feel as if a lot of people are going to put this down to Kovelev’s decline. I agree Canelo hand picked Kovalev, but he went after him before the Yarde fight and after a very good performance against Alvarez. I think he went after Kov because of his style. Kov is a boxer and I just think Canelo backed his boxing ability and his Chin. What are your thoughts? Was Kovalev ripe pickings? Or is Canelo just better? How would this fight have gone if Kovalev was 3 years younger (vs the Canelo of now).
Secondly, a slight variation on how you usually do mythical match ups. Of all the legends I’m about to name, in their prime of course, what current fighter would you give the best chance to beat them and why?
Floyd Mayweather Jr
Roy Jones Jr
Julio Chavez Sr
And as I’m British, who do you rate as the best U.K. fighter?
Keep up the good work with JRock. By all means he seems like a top guy and a brilliant fighter. Good luck to the pair of you.
Tom from Brighton, UK.
Bread’s Response: Best UK fighter currently or ever. Ever, I would say Jimmy Wilde. Currently ask me after the Ruiz vs Joshua rematch.
I like your mythical match ups.
Tyson Fury would give George Foreman trouble because of his length and movement.
Tommy Hearns is a really tough match up from 147-175. I would say Beterbiev at 175 because of the physical strength and heavy hands.
Currently I think Errol Spence would be a tough match up for Floyd Mayweather. Spence has the physical strength, jab and relentless to make things tough on Floyd and he did well with him in sparring.
I also believe Beterbiev would be a tough fight for Roy Jones at 175. I can’t see anyone else giving RJ much of a tussle.
Currently I believe Terence Crawford could give Duran a tussle. Crawford has the discipline, boxing ability and conditioning to hold his own vs Duran.
I think Devin Haney would give Chavez a tough fight vs the current crop. It has to be someone who can move and still score points. I can’t see anyone else from 130-140 today who could do that to a prime Chavez.
Everyone compliments you on your boxing knowledge so I'll compliment you on your first name instead: you have a great first name!
I was hoping to get your impressions on the Taylor Prograis fight in last week's mailbag but I guess you didn't get any questions about that. So, what were your impressions of the fight and of both fighters?
Bread’s Response: I thought the fight was excellent. Two in their prime champions going at it. But I picked Taylor to edge it just like he did. Prograis sometimes falls in love with his loosey goosey defensive skill set and he moves out of position too much and he gets hit out of position. Where as Taylor is a bit more efficient and to the point. These guys can fight 10x and each time would be razor close. But Taylor looks like he is doing more for some reason. I actually think Prograis is more naturally talented but being more talented doesn’t mean you can beat the other guy every time. Excellent performance by both.
Sir Bread, I love to read your mailbag, it feels like a lesson in lateral thinking. Never stop!
I have two short questions:
1. Ward v Canelo, who wins? Not prime v prime but let's say December 2020. Ward comes back in January and shakes off the rust. He takes a reasonable fight in the summer to sharpen up. Nothing risky. And then he fights Canelo in December. Who do you bet on? Can Ward win? If so, what is his strategy?
2. Is a fighter's ability to "take" a shot to the body just like the chin? What I mean is... Is it totally trainable and down to core conditioning or are some just better able to absorb a shot than others? Although I have heard or read you say before that some things can be done to train and strengthen a chin, some seem naturally less bothered by head shots. Toney, Tua, Ggg, Canelo. I have often wondered this and of course Kovalev's and Golovkin's recent fights have brought it to mind more sharply. What's the story?
Bread’s Response: I like Ward to win but it would be a real fight.
I think everyone is genetically different. Some people have veins and capillaries that are easier to get too. Some fighter’s have thicker bones. Some fighter’s have long faces and long chins. Some fighter’s have small waist and their organs are easier to get too. Some fighters have short length from their shoulders to elbows and they can’t cover their waist correctly to sit on body blows. Some fighters just aren’t as physically tough as others and they crumble easier. Some fighters get hit but not in the soft spots. There are so many factors in taking a punch to the head and body I literally can’t name them all.
As far as GGG and Kovalev, despite GGG being a smaller man he’s just tougher. His body is just harder. Neither defends themselves well when you attack them but GGG is harder. He doesn’t have the give Kovalev has.
And YES you can improve the ability to take shots. You can strengthen the jaw and neck to take head shots. This is a fact. Sure you can’t turn Amir Khan into Jake Lamotta but you can keep the neck and jaw from swiveling more which causes concussions. You can also raise awareness in a fighter. Punches that you don’t see hurt you. If a fighter can raise his awareness he will see shots better.
The same thing with the body. If you develop a stronger core and build muscle around your organs it will lessen the impact of body blows.
When people repeat the nonsense of you can’t teach a chin etc etc. I always shake my head. I even hear trainers say it, but yet their fighters do hundreds of sit ups and neck strengthening exercises. Why have your fighter waste his time if it doesn’t work?
Hey Mr Edwards
Hope all is well with you. I am not going to be long as I am sure you have received many emails on the Canelo-Kovalev fight. Once again your prediction was accurate but we have come to expect nothing less from you. I picked Kovalev by a close decision and he seemed on his way to getting one or losing one until he imploded in the 11th round. I did indicate that he does not respond well to adversity and the very first time Canelo put him in a spot of bother he was gone.
So, the question is what is it with Kovalev? I mean, Kovalev has never taken serious punishment throughout his career, so he's not a shot fighter. So, why does he fold at the first sign of distress?
As I said, once adversity sets in he wishes he was somewhere else. Only his body remains in the ring. That's why he was not even looking at Canelo when the first chopping right that wobbled him (not the finishing punches) landed. By the time the finishing punches landed he was just a punching bag. Is it psychological? Is he just a bully who can't take as much as he dishes out? Is it physiological? In other words, he has no "tough genes" in his body? Where does this defeat leave him in the pantheon of light heavyweight greats?
Kovalev v Bob Foster
Kovalev v Saad Muhammad
Kovalev v Dwight Qawi
Kovalev v Michael Spinks
Kovalev v Mustapha Muhammad
Kovalev v Victor Galindez
I think they all destroy Kovalev. Am I being too harsh? Am I clouded by his capitulation against Canelo?
Keep the lessons coming, Mr Edwards
Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bread’s Response: I don’t think he folds at the 1st sign of distress. But I do think he’s shot. Being shot doesn’t mean incapable. When you’re a great fighter you can lose something and still beat certain guys.
I think Kovalev has been hurt several times in his career and in his prime. But the difference is he was in his prime and he hid it. There was a moment late in the Hopkins fight where he was clipped with a good right hand. He looked dazed but he hid it.
Now he’s older, he’s taken more punishment and it’s easier to stop him and he doesn’t recover well. It’s just how it is. As you get older your FLAWS become bigger.
I still think he’s a top 20 lightheavyweight ever. He’s just not on Mt. Rushmore but he never was. Top 20 is excellent though.
Foster, Saad, Qawi and Spinks all ko Kovalev.
Mustapha Muhammad vs Kovalev is tough. Kovalev ranks higher historically because of his title reigns and Mustapha Muhammad while a great puncher could be outboxed a little bit. Today I say Mustapha Muhammad clips him with his great left hook to the body and stops him late behind on the cards.
I think Kovalev outboxes Galindez.
Hope all is well Bread!
I've been reading multiple times of you highlighting Ricardo Lopez, so I took some time and wantched his fight vs Alex Sanchez. My God how perfect isn't he?! Thank you for placing some light on this dude.
So, to my questions.
1. I watched only one fight but the eye ball test said this guy don't have any weaknesses. Do you know any and if so what is it?
2. Two things that caught my attention more than any. First, he has a very rangy uppercut in terms of a diagonal reach. Could hit Sanchez with an uppercut while Sanchez taking a step back. Incredible. But his footwork was just something else. Im not even gonna try to break it down, people should just go an watch it. So, do you rank his footwork P4P sense (smaller fighters such as Lopez are quicker after all) than Lomachenko? Anyone in history you rank their footwork higher, if so who?
Bread’s Response: Ricardo Lopez’s was as good a fighter as I have seen live and studied on video. If he were bigger people would rate him along side the top 10-20 fighters ever. I haven’t picked up on any glaring weaknesses although no fighter is perfect and any fighter can lose.
His uppercuts were a thing beauty. He had the best lead hand uppercut I have ever seen. I’ve never seen a fighter score so many kos with his lead hand uppercut.
His footwork was great for him. He was constantly ready to defend and attack. He could go in either direction and he constantly feinted. His footwork is just as effective but totally different than Loma’s. I rate Lopez’s footwork as elite and special but I don’t necessarily have a ranking for it.
In my opinion Footwork is based on style and body type. Loma and Floyd Mayweather both have great footwork but they fight different and are built different. Their objectives are different. It’s easier to compare Loma and Pacman’s footwork if you understand what I’m saying.
For Ricardo Lopez’s style his footwork was as good as it gets. What a special fighter.
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