By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns, with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Gennady Golovkin's recent knockout of Vanes Martirosyan, Canelo Alvarez's ongoing issue with the PED controversy, Tony Bellew's punching power at high weights, and more.
I've been wanting to ask you this question for some time. A bout should be judged based on four criteria as we know, i: Effective aggression, ii: Ring generalship, iii: defense, and iv: hard/clean punches landed.
Quite often I hear Jim Lampley, Harold Lederman and Larry Merchant being dismissive of above saying only thing that matters at end of the day is who landed the hardest punches, with the logic being that if you have outscored your opponent in terms of hard punches landed then that implies you have better defense, ring generalship and effective aggression in that fight anyways.
To me this is ignorant and it doesn't give you the full picture. I have had rounds where the guy throwing (and landing) fewer is the one I give the round to. For instance if during a round boxer A does throw and land a few punches more however nothing of significance, perhaps the opponent is the ring general and having the rhythm and tempo of the fight better suited for him. This is why I believe 2 of the judges if I recall correctly had Canelo winning the 1st round vs GGG - even if GGG landed more, if you had asked yourself who would benefit the most if the fight continued like this, answer for me would be Canelo. I felt similarly to a few of the middle rounds in SOG v Kova I, ie even though kovalev may have landed 2-3 jabs more, the fight was still evolving into something that suited SOG way better than Kovalev..
Finally, and this is my actual point (addressing Lederman, etc above): I've heard them say things like "boxer A has been the one throwing the hardest punches...he is winning this round". Well if GGG fights Dom Wade for instance, there is virtually NO ROUND in which Wade could possibly land the hardest punches, because he doesnt possess the same power. I think power should help you break opponents down faster and being able to slow them down and either win rounds against them easier late in the fight or stop them. But to also effectively counting your punches landed higher than your opponent, even if quality of shot is same just raw power being difference, is a joke to me. Would be amazing to hear your thoughts on this?
Last but not least, you are the nirvana of boxing knowledge and this is undisputedly the best source of KNOWLEDGE in the sweet science. Had I been a muslim I would have referred to you as Allah my friend.
Bread’s Response: Thanks my friend but please don’t refer to me as Allah. I am just a man and I don’t deserve that praise.
I like HBO and I think they do a great job. But you make some points. One can’t create their own criteria of scoring a fight. You have to go by the rules.
Now I will correct you on one piece of your statement. You can’t score on a carry over effect or what you think may happen later. You have to score on actuality not assumption. I think that is the biggest problem in scoring today. Often times a fighter has a good round and in the next round he wins it but not by as much as he was winning before and the judges score for the other guy. They can assume the tide is turning but the winner of the round is the winner of the round.
Judges shouldn’t score on what they assume will happen instead of what happened. That’s what you’re guilty of. I remember watching GGG vs Canelo vividly and GGG won that 1st round. That’s where controversy comes in at when people add up their scorecards like that and a round that nothing much happens in gets scored wrong. Watch the 1st round again and tell me who won. Not who you think it would benefit later.
Whats up bread,
I have a few questions for you bro.
What are your thoughts on Canelo's Follicle test coming out negative?
I have to second your opinion on Josh Kelly being a cant miss talent! Another kid I'm extremely high on is Devin Haney. What are your thoughts on him?
Lastly, When evaluating talent what are the skill-sets you look for in a fighter?
Bread’s Response: I’m trying to get off of the Canelo testing situation. Here is why. You try to give everyone the benefit of doubt. But in sports that goes deeper because of pride. I have never heard an athlete just admit right away, “I’m a cheater, I used PEDs to get an advantage.” Athletes have pride and by admitting they cheated they admit they aren’t good enough. Think about it. Roger Clemens was knocking on Politicians doors trying to get help, knowing dam well he was a cheater. Lance Armstrong took on the innocent plea for years. So did Pete Rose. In boxing have we ever had a fighter who didn’t use one of these excuses. 1. It wasn’t me. 2. I didn’t know what I was taking. 3. I took it by mistake. Have we ever heard of a fighter come clean and admit to cheating before he was caught? Never!
Seriously out of all the positive test in boxing I have heard a variation of one of those three excuses. It’s predictable. So we can go on all day about Canelo. I don’t expect to hear anything different no matter what the results come back. I don’t know for sure if he took Clenbuterol purposely but the one thing that stands out to me the most is when he got caught. In February he was caught for a fight in May. I know for a fact that fighters cycle on before camp and start camp spiked up and the timing of the test and results are a big factor in my mind.
I also know that you can find an expert opinion that will agree with any narrative you choose. Some say the hair test prove he’s innocent. Others say it doesn’t mean much because it took so long for them to test his hair and if you use in small doses it won’t prove much. I think the confusion is the goal here…. In court it’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove. Other than that I don’t have much to say.
I like Josh Kelly but I didn’t say he was a can’t miss talent. I said Josh Taylor was the best prospect in boxing. Kelly can fight but Taylor is further along.
Devin Haney is really good from what I hear. I hear he’s a terror in the gyms in Vegas. But I have to see him go through his progressions just like any other prospect. I haven’t seen him yet but I’m looking forward to it.
The skill sets I look for in fighters are as follows.
I look for obvious skill and I look for sublime skill. Sometimes it takes a certain level of competition to bring them out. The game is called boxing so I look for a fighter’s ability to box. It doesn’t matter if he’s going forward or backwards. By boxing I mean is he scoring points and controlling the action. Is he doing the right things at the right time. I also look for how he wins his fights. Does he barely scrape by or does he dominate with ease. Dominating with ease is the mark of a special fighter. I want to see how he responds to levels of resistance. Not just adversity but resistance. I look at how a fighter punches. Not just how hard he can punch. But how his punches are released. Are they smooth and crisp. Or does he tip off certain things. I look for his ability to listen to corner instructions. Listening is a skill also. How hard he trains. Dedication is a skill too. I look at how he fights under fatigue. What it takes to get him fatigued. I look for superior character. I look at how clean he gets hit according to his style….
There are so many things I can’t list them all. But I will say a fighter can’t fool me. I can see through facades. The boxing ring is a truth machine in and out of it. Eventually what you are will come out.
Quick question: Golovkin doesn't have many A names on his resume, but his list of B names is pretty strong. When you stack that up against other guys who may have some solid A fighters on their resume, but not much beneath it, do you think, in years after he retires, people will look back on GGG's resume with scorn or a more favourable perspective?
Bread’s Response: I think most of the long distinguished reigns in boxing history have mostly B names on them. Abe Attell. Bernard Hopkins. Bob Foster. Orlando Canizales. Ricard Lopez. Joe Calzaghe. All of those reigns have mostly B names.
I think it proves a level of consistency. It also proves A level guys aren’t always available or willing often times A siders have options because of their status. I don’t have a problem with it if the fighter tries to unify and he fights the best available guys.
I don’t want to generalize how I stack up reigns because each reign is different. I prefer the reign of say Ray Leonard. When he took on Benitez, Duran twice and Hearns in less than 2 years. He did enough for a lifetime and it establishes a different type of peak. But you can only fight what your era offers or who is willing to fight you.
GGG is a great fighter. I have always said it. Right now if he stops boxing he goes in the HOF. He would also be one of the 20 best middleweight’s ever. He can move up that list if he defeats a few more younger fighters in their primes. I would like to see him face at least 2 of these challenges. Andrade, SD, Charlo or Saunders. Lets see how it goes.
I have a question or questions what do u consider to be athletic is ggg athletic is canelo athletic is there a difference between being fast and and being athletic is Errol athletic cause I remember reading sayin something along the lines of Paulie...
Bread’s response: Good Question. All fighters obviously have a degree of athleticism. But there are levels. There are some fighters who are freakishly athletic. Then there are fighters who apply athleticism with their skill so you don’t notice it as much.
I consider Andre Ward to be athletic but he applies so much skill to his game you don’t see his athleticism as much.
Roy Jones, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Hector Camacho, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are all athletic but at same time skillful. However you can see there athleticism.
Then you have fighters like Zab Judah, Adrien Broner and Andre Dirrell. They’re athletic but they don’t apply the same skill as the guys I mentioned above.
GGG has athleticism but I don’t consider him athletic. To me he’s a skillful hard puncher who imposes his physicality much like Marvin Hagler and Kostya Tszyu.
Canelo is slightly different. He’s more athletic than GGG but not by much. Canelo is more on the gifted scale. He can slip punches in an uncanny way. He can throw punch variations at ease. He’s very coordinated. But he’s not a super athlete. Canelo is similar to James Toney.
Errol Spence is athletic. Not as fast or explosive as Zab Judah but more imposing skillful way. Spence is not a athletic freak but I can tell Spence can play other sports. You have to have an eye for certain things. You can look at Spence and tell he’s decent in urban recreational sports. Football or Basketball. But I have to say I would rather have what Spence has than what Judah has although I think Judah is more athletic.
There are all types of level of athletes in boxing. I look for who can play other sports. If a fighter can do flips. You would be surprised at how well being able to flip measures with a level of athleticism. Think of every fighter you know that can flip. Adrien Broner, Ray Leonard, Naseem Hamed, Floyd Mayweather….all super athletes. Also fighters who are good dancers. Roy Jones, Evander Holyfield, Hector Camacho. Think about fighters who can dance their butts off. Most are athletic. Look at the fighters who were freakish rope skippers. Robinson, Duran, Leonard…. They all have athleticism. Think about it.
In the current game I think the most athletic fighters are Vasyl Lomachenko, who is a freak athlete. He has it all. Coordination, hand, eye and foot. He can play other sports. He can flip. He can juggle. He’s from a different planet. And 2nd is Gervonta Davis. I can look at Davis and tell he can run as fast as a rabbit. There is something about his explosiveness that lets me know that and I don’t know Davis at all. But I would bet he can beat 95% of the fighters in the world in a 100m sprint. I think Loma and Davis are the 2 best athletes in boxing today. But Crawford and Loma are the 2 best fighters. I hope I didn’t lose you. It gets deep.
Hopefully I gave you a better insight.
I just read the post that you included from Damian in the last mailbag. I agree with Damian that journalists have not done there job. They seem to be mouthpieces for whatever GBP puts out. Having said that, solid info is hard to find on both clen and hair testing but here is what I have come up with.
This is from a very solid legal site called Lexology. They link to this article from a different site. So this is their view on what constitutes solid proof in a court of law regarding hair testing for drugs ( admittedly the focus here is on recreational drugs). Three quotes of interest from the article:
''A limitation of hair testing is that any drug used within three to four weeks immediately prior to sample collection cannot be detected. This is due to the fact that any drug used in this time interval will still be in the part of the hair shaft which is within the follicle, and it will not yet have emerged from the scalp. As the collection of the sample entails cutting the hair close to the scalp and not plucking the whole hair, the most recently used drugs are therefore invisible.'' (...)
"The time covered by the hair testing may also be an issue. The laboratory analyses only the three centimetres closest to the scalp because this avoids dealing with hair which has undergone more deterioration from exposure to sunlight, pool chlorine, shampoo or colouring agents. This means that not only are the most recent three to four weeks invisible, but so too are drugs used prior to the growing time of the hair tested. This approach approximately samples from a month prior to hair collection back as far as four months prior to hair collection depending on the length of the hair sample. " (...)
"A further consideration with respect to hair testing is the sensitivity of the test. The test will not detect single use of a drug. Cocaine and methamphetamine are probably the most readily incorporated into hair and they are likely to return a positive test if used more than three times during the growing period, while most other drugs must be used at least a dozen times within the time for detection".
Hope this helps
Stephen in Montreal
Bread’s Response: Another well thought out comment. I won’t comment because I don’t want to contaminate your comment. Thank you.
Do you think GGG has really slipped or do you think his struggle was because of a step up in competition? I can’t tell because he looked like the same guy that was destroying everyone as soon as they put a Vanes level guy in front of him.
Bread’s Response: That’s a great question. Here is the thing. We have to give GGG props for stopping a fighter who has never been down or stopped before. On Boxing Twitter after the 1st round all you read was “Vanes just hurt him” and “Vanes for the upset”. Then after the 2nd round, all you heard was “Vanes is a bum”, “GGG is did what he was supposed to do”. I even read that from fighters who Vanes has had a better career than. A fighter should never call another fighter a bum, who is better than them.
GGG was in a no win situation. I have to give him his props. He performed in the only way he could to get the least amount of criticism possible. I have seen VM level fighters give supposed GGG level fighters trouble dozens of times.
That being said I think every fighter who has ever lived struggles with a certain level of competition. The 1st round blow outs or 12 round shut outs stop with everyone. Anyone you can name I will show you multiple guys he struggled with. Anyone. So GGG had tougher times with Canelo and Danny Jacobs. Most fighters in boxing today will have trouble with those level of fighters.
However I think GGG has slipped maybe 5% from the monster I saw from 2011-15. As a great fighter he still can and will beat some good guys. I think his savagery dissipated at some point. His vigor to kill dropped off. At one time when he put you on the ropes you were dead. As Max Kellerman stated when Jacobs and Canelo went to the ropes he didn’t open up the same. That’s because he respected their counters too much. As you get older you’re not the same savage anymore. You think more. In both the Canelo and Jacobs fights I noticed a drop off in his punch selection. A fighter at his peak usually finds the right shots to land. GGG left lots of shots on the table against those two. People say the last thing to go is ko power but that’s a misstatement. For ko artist one of the 1st things to go is the ability to score kos. It’s not always power but punch selection and savagery drop off. If you don’t believe me look at George Foreman, Aaron Pryor’s, Roy Jones, Roberto Duran and JC Chavez’s boxrec. Look how often they started going the distance after a certain point. I believe the GGG of 2013 would have stopped Jacobs and Canelo because the shots were there to stop them he just didn’t take them.
All in all it’s not fair to nitpick greatness. GGG is a great fighter and he should be treated as such. GGG is a clean fighter who is 36. He has a right to slip a little bit. That doesn’t mean he can’t put out a peak performance or two before he retires. Great fighters usually can do that. I hope he does because I think “they” waited him out. I think fighters who wouldn’t have fought him in 2014 are willing to fight him now in 2018 because of perception.
Do you think GGG should have been disqualified for the late hit? Roy Jones and the HBO team seemed to make a big deal out of it. I’m not old enough to remember Roy Jones vs Montel Griffin but was it similar?
Bread’s Response: First off I have all the respect in the world for Roy Jones but I don’t even understand where all of that stuff came from. GGG was punching as his opponent was dropping. I saw Jones vs Griffin 1 as it happened. Roy Jones landed 2 shots after Griffin took a knee to escape punishment. Jones’s shots were much more egregious than GGG’s one shot was. And this is coming from someone who thinks Griffin over embellished how hurt he was and I didn’t want Jones to be disqualified. I was upset that Griffin messed up one of my favorite fighters of all times, perfect record. But I knew Jones had probably made a mistake. Watch the fight on youtube, the announcers knew it immediately.
The GGG punch was no different than a punch we have seen hundreds of times where the aggressive fighter is getting off and in the middle of his volley the fallen fighter starts to drop and the aggressive fighter lands one while he’s dropping or sagging to the canvas. The whole Jones vs Griffin analogy was sort of bizarre to me.
Writing in from the UK here. I wanted your opinion on something that I remember that you touched upon before. I think you said something along the lines of Tony Bellow is punching very hard these days and insinuating that he was using PEDs. I think this was after the Makabu fight and prior to the first David Haye fight. Now that he is knocking out fighters like David Haye (something that Wladimir Klitschko could not do) and absorbing punches from a fighter like Haye or even Makabu who are both brutal punchers, does this make you suspect him even more? I mean this is a guy who has gone the distance at Light Heavyweight with Nathan Cleverly, and at Crusierweight too. He's been knocked out multiple times now. He went the distance with Ovill McKenzie who has also been stopped multiple times. His full Light Heavyweight record is 20-2-1(12) that is only a 60% knock out ratio of his wins and including all his bouts he only had a 52% ko ratio and now he's a devastating puncher at both Cruserweight and Heavyweight, who can stand all punches even though he was stopped at Light Heavyweight - I'm not buying that he is clean one little bit.
Big fan of Josh Taylor like yourself, this kid is special! His next fight against Postol is a very brave and bold move by him and his team. I think he'll win it and look good doing so, probably by ko or a dominant decision.
One more thing, great win for GGG this weekend, I know haters will criticise Vanes weight, inactivity, late notice etc but I think the adjustment is probably harder for GGG than Vanes. All these boxers in and around middleweight will be watching GGG's fights for years and analysing how they would beat him and putting a basic gameplan together. However, GGG doesn't watch every fringe contender's fights and analyse how he would beat them so the late switch of opponent defintely benefits the guy coming in (as long as he's in shape). So I think that's a solid win and congrats to him for equalling Hopkins most title defences record at Middleweight too. If you were him - would you go after Canelo or would you fight BJS? I think he wants to grab all the belts now which has been his ambition for years or line his pockets to secure his future. I can't see him taking on the IBF mandatory just now.
All the best Bread.
Mark from Manchester
Bread’s Response: Just because I said Tony Bellew was punching hard these days that doesn’t mean I was implying PED use. Come on bro, every compliment is not a jab. I like Bellew. I don’t know what anyone is taking behind closed doors but that wasn’t an insult towards Bellew. I don’t even know what type of testing Bellew is doing so I can’t speak on it. I don’t live in the UK, you tell me what type of testing that you guys do over there. I hear the BBOC is pretty strict…
For the record I love how Bellew has responded to his loss against Adonis Stevenson. He’s really turned his career on and he looks great circa 200lbs.
Josh Taylor is my guy!!!
Yeah GGG gets a lot of flack for being a hard nosed fighter who was ducked. I never get it and never will. The Vanes choice wasn’t GGG’s fault. He didn’t fail a drug test. It’s not easy to refocus on another A level opponent with 3 weeks to go. He made the right choice in facing Vanes. No smart team would have faced a 6ft southpaw in Andrade. SD was a possibility but GGG chose otherwise. I don’t consider it a duck just yet. My goodness.
I have a question in regards to inactivity with elite boxers. For example, GGG took the fight with Vanes Martirosyan to avoid inactivity, but how much does two rounds and knocking out his opponent help GGG in the long run? As a trainer, what is the logic that an elite fighter like Golovkin took this fight at this date, instead of maybe fighting a month from the Cinco de Mayo date with a mandatory instead?
I really enjoy your boxing insight and knowledge. It gives me, an established boxing fan in process in becoming a hardcore head, the education to analytically approach the very sport we love to watch. Thanks for the hard work.
MM- Lights Out (the one that fought Barkley) vs. GGG
Lights Out (the one that fought Barkley)vs. B-hop (took Tito to deep waters)
Frank Da Tank
Bread’s Response: GGG was fighting on May 5th. A fighter’s body and mind is geared towards that date. It doesn’t matter if the fight lasted 30 seconds. A full camp with losing weight, peaking out, rehydrating and being in the ring with no head gear and small gloves on builds a positive repetition. Fighters need repetition. If you notice fighters 30 years ago had higher peaks because they fought more often in a shorter period of time. GGG was killing folks when he was fighting 3 and 4 times a year. You need that work.
Team GGG made absolutely the right decision fighting on May 5th. He will be sharper in his next fight because of it. He was also in a little funk. Two decisions in a row for the 1st time in his career. GGG is a hunter. He’s an animal. People won’t like to hear this but animals need to kill sometimes. Getting a ko in boxing for a ko artist is a feeding for them. It does something for every fighter especially a ko artist. That fight was very important for GGG. I believe the next person he fights will have hell on their hands because he may have gotten his mojo back.
James Toney vs GGG would be a death match. They both have the two best chins at 160 since Marvin Hagler. Two of the best chins of the last 30 years. Toney does not run from anyone. GGG would bring it. I say Toney nips a decision like he did vs Vasyl Jirov.
James Toney vs Bhop. In my opinion BHOP was better than the Executioner and the Alien. Hopkin’s peak performance vs Tito was a perfect fight. One of the few in the history of boxing. Toney vs Barkley was masterful. I always believed that if they fought in the early 90s, Toney was better and would’ve won. But 2001 Bhop was special. I can’t call this one. I say they would have had to fight 3 times to decide. Bhop had the better feet, Toney had the better hands. I think the fight would look a lot like Canelo vs Lara. Where it’s hard to tell who won.
What's up Bread?
I will keep it short and sweet by asking who wins and why/how?
1. Michael Carbajal vs. Chocolatito Gonzalez
2. Azumah Nelson vs Erik Morales
3. Mike McCallum vs Felix Trinidad
4. Michael Spinks vs Michael Moorer
5. Ricardo Lopez vs Ivan Calderon
6. Wilfred Benitez vs Aaron Pryor
7. Kostya Tzyu vs Manny Pacquiao
Thanks and keep up the good work,
William in West Palm Beach
Bread’s Response: 1.Carbajal by late tko in a shootout where he is behind, 2.Nelson by late tko, 3.Flip a coin, 4.Spinks ko 7, 5. Lopez UD, 6. Flip a coin, 7. Pacman by 10 TKO
This weekend who wins, Loma vs Linares? I like Linares on the upset.
Bread’s Response: I wouldn’t pick anyone over Loma from 135lbs and under I don’t care who it is. Linares is the real deal and I believe if Linares wins this fight he goes in the HOF. But I think this fight will display the difference between a special fighter in Loma and a great talent in Linares. Loma’s mind is just different. The zone he’s in you don’t see too often. It’s Whitakeresque. From like 89-93 it was really hard to find rounds to score against Pernell Whitaker. This is where Loma is at in his last 4 to 5 fights. He’s just zoned out. Only age, injury or a bad style match up pulls a great fighter out of that zone. I like Loma to pull away after 6 in a good fight but we know who’s winning. Linares will show his pedigree but look for Loma to be physically stronger and tougher. He’s not looked at as a puncher but he depletes his opponents with ability to hit them consistently with punches they can’t defend. He has 8 kos in 10 wins, so something is stopping these guys. I also believe Loma is physically stronger than he looks. Last but not least his mental stamina allows him to be as sharp in the 1st round as he is in the last. That’s rare and that mental stamina will win the fight for him.
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