By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen 'Breadman' Edwards tackling numerous questions regarding the recent positive drug test of Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, who is training for a scheduled rematch with Gennady Golovkon on May 5th, and several other topics like Deontay Wilder's knocking out Luis Ortiz.
What up, Bread?
This mailbag is a can’t-miss stuff for those who love the sport of boxing.
Your recent take on GGG-Canelo 2?
Almost everyone picked GGG in the first fight. I’ve heard Sugar Shane Mosley say Canelo didn’t want to fight and couldn’t handle the pressure, so if Golovkin won’t hesitate in the second he’ll win again more convincingly. Do you agree?
Also what do you think about this “meat contamination” story? I’ve read an interview with Victor Conte, I know you respect him, he said that “these are multi-million-dollar athletes. I’d be shipping in fresh meat from someone other than Mexico.” Is Canelo juicing too?
Thanks again and keep doing what you’re doing.
Bread’s Response: My recent take on Canelo vs GGG2 is that it’s a very tough fight for both fighters. I think it’s almost 50/50 at this point. No I don’t agree with Shane Mosley. Canelo handled the pressure pretty good in my opinion and he had some solid rounds late in the fight. I thought GGG won but he surely didn’t fold Canelo.
The meat contamination story is peculiar in my opinion. I won’t convict Canelo just yet but this story is very suspicious in my opinion and here is why.
I try to look at things from an objective lens. Objectively you have to take lots of things into consideration. First off Luis Nery from Mexico just used the same exact excuse. I don’t believe it was a coincidence that Nery did NOT make weight without the use of Clenbuterol which helps you lose weight and still be energetic. On top of that because Mexico uses Clenbuterol in the meat, it’s the most convenient excuse to use if you wanted to juice and you live in Mexico.
Whenever someone gets caught doing something, I try to think of what their excuse will be before I hear it. Every time a Mexican fighter test positive for CLEN they say it was in the meat. I’m not saying each fighter is lying but it sure is a convenient excuse.
I’ve also researched and I found that Canelo’s trainer is a butcher. So I assume he gets prime cuts and he knows, what to eat and what not to eat.
I have been a big Canelo supporter for year. I’ve watched him since 2010 when he fought Cotto’s brother. I have openly said that he was a HOF because of the tough fights he has taken. But if you look at him in 2010 in that Cotto fight in which he was hurt, you see a skilled young man but not quite as explosive and electric. Fighters have the right to improve…. But he struggled in some fights around that time. He couldn’t stop a smaller Lovemore Ndou and Alphonso Gomez gave him a scrap with a controversial ending. I noticed they wanted Canelo to be a welterweight and he just couldn’t make the weight. He fought his title shot at junior middleweight at a catchweight. That was some serious privilege to get your 1st title shot at a catchweight vs a welterweight. My point is making weight has always seemed to be an issue with him.
Then in around 2012 he became much more explosive and dense. He did a number on Cintron and Mosley. I’m not saying he was on anything but I am saying his improvement wasn’t gradual it was very noticeable. In 2015 by the time he fought the HOF Cotto, Canelo was a full fledged monster hovering around 155lbs. His body and performances looked awesome in my opinion. Again fighters have a right to improve but when one test positive for a PED it causes speculation.
In boxing, people are always having “off the record” conversations. I never speak on these conversations because people are liars and they promote negative agendas. But if those conversations hold some truth then they must be given some credibility. I don’t speak on them unless a fighter test positive for something. I can say guys like Bute, Beltran, Povetkin, Luis Ortiz and now Canelo are part of those “off the record” convos at the lobby bar of big fight venues and all of these fighters have tested positive at some point…... Canelo is my guy and I’ve always defended him but these things have been said for years….One person told me to my face I give him too much credit. I argued. Now I realize I should have shut up been humble.
The last thing I looked at was the timing of the test. I strongly believe the cheaters in boxing cheat in between fights. Most top guys fight every 6 months. So common sense says they have a clear 4 months to cycle on and cycle off. The people who run boxing are smarter than me. They have to know that also. If they wanted to catch the cheats, it wouldn’t be hard to surprisingly test a fighter who was expected to fight in December, in say….August, right in the middle of his cycle.
In Canelo’s case he is scheduled to fight May 5th. So he was tested very early. The results were just announced but I assume he was tested in February. This stands out the most to me because conceivably if I was a cheater. I would cheat right before camp to build up physical momentum and then cycle off but still reap the benefits throughout my 8 week camp. The fact that VADA caught him more than 2 months out says a lot to me. In fairness to Canelo though, being caught early can also mean he was in Mexico, was exposed to tainted meat and he had not moved his camp to the US yet……
That being said Canelo deserves his due process. Let’s see how this plays out. Let’s see what he can prove. Let’s see what the investigators can prove. Let’s be fair and look at the totality of the circumstances.
I know you said Canelo had a great chance to beat GGG in this fight. Was it because of PED use? You have always been a big Canelo guy but man this doesn’t look good. I know you are also anti PED and have said most of the top guys are on it. Does Canelo testing positive confirm your suspicions?
Bread’s Response: Man I have been a big Canelo guy. I think he’s a heck of a fighter. But the one thing I’ve learned in my old age is ACCEPTANCE. Canelo is not the 1st fighter who I really liked and respected to be caught using PEDs. James Toney was my guy and it killed me he didn’t win the heavyweight title because of a positive test. Fernando Vargas was my guy and he tested positive vs Oscar. I lost big money on Shane Mosely v Vernon Forest because I thought he was invincible. To find out he used vs Oscar 3 years later gutted me. But cheating is cheating and you have to learn to accept what happens even it was one of your favorite fighters.
Every fighter says they didn’t know what they were taking. Rarely does a fighter just come out and say I’m a cheater. I get that. Fighters are prideful and competitive. The whole point of cheating is to get away with it.
Canelo testing positive doesn’t confirm anything to me. I already feel most of the top guys mess around on PEDs in between fights. They just rarely get caught because the testing is poor or there is no testing at all. I am encouraged by VADA because Canelo is the 1st superstar ever caught in his prime. So VADA deserves some major credit, I see why fighters shy away from VADA.
Is there a chance that some fighters didn’t know they were taking PEDS, yes sure there is. But there is only one fighter I gave more than 50% credibility to that “I didn’t know what I was taking” story. And that’s Roy Jones. The reason being is Roy Jones and his opponent both tested positive for substance found in RIP Fuel that was an over the counter supplement sold at a Nutrition stores. In my opinion that could have happened to anyone because you assume it’s a clean supplement if brand nutrition stores is selling it. This was confirmed by the company. Other than that most of the guys who were caught never convinced me they didn’t know. I’m not saying they were ALL lying, but I am saying I was never convinced of their innocence for the exception of Roy Jones.
First off big fan of your article!
A few questions:
I see the same thing happening to Wilder as Peter Quillin. Since his boxing skills aren't great and all he has is one punch (granted it's a bomb). Why doesn't someone just rush him, skillfully like Danny Jacobs? And I kinda see Joshua as that Jacobs. So is Wilder's power that monstrous to keep Joshua from doing that because of his chin?
I know you're big against PED usage, as am I.
Is there a reason why the other belts don't put in place something like the WBC? Or do you think they will follow suit?
Thanks again for the knowledge!
Bread’s Response: I think Danny Jacobs caught Peter Quillin early then he rushed him. He did a great job but I think he seized the opportunity. Wilder is vulnerable early but you have to be careful running up on those bombs.
Wilder can ko Joshua and Joshua can ko Wilder. I think this fight will come down to 2 things. Can Wilder get Joshua to a point where he needs a 2nd wind? Can Joshua overcome that moment? Besides one of them catching the other on the sweet spot, in my opinion that’s the fight.
The WBC Clean Testing Program is good but it rarely test anyone. So many people confuse this program with Full VADA testing where you are tested 7 or 8 times throughout a training camp. Most of the fighters in the CTP haven’t been tested once. It’s a start and I commend the WBC but paid for full VADA is what caught Canelo. Canelo wasn’t even in the CTP because he denounced the WBC belts recently.
To answer you directly, yes. But they need to test more. They need to surprise a suspected cheater during the middle of a vacation and test him and catch him cheating. They need to make more examples of the cheaters to deter the cheating.
The Bread man whats up
I see in your latest breadbag on boxingscene you say that Wilder Forced the stoppage with Ortiz Because Ortiz could not recover as fast due to the smaller Wilder Recovery being faster
Would you agree with my sentiments that (as you mentioned before as well) a boxing match is an athletic competition of pace ..meaning deontay made luis fight at an higher Tempo due many factors(power ,movement ,style)... I always believe that in an ,controlled manner obviously, if u throw proper Larry Holmes jabs at a high tempo u can control ur opponent... but that is a great feat in itself .....u can win almost any fight ...if u get what I’m saying
So would you agree that IF Deontay can push the tempo of the fight against Joshua(Depending on Weight obviously) and make him do much more than he is used to he can archive the same outcome like he did with luis.. Cuz in retrospect all that transpired was they fought at a high (high for a Modern heavyweight fight)an Wilder could stand the pace...
Makes u think if u watch Prime Holyfield , Tyson, Bowe, Mercer ,Frazier , Ali the pace they fought at unbelievable truly for Men over 90kg , Wilder doesn’t stand a chance against Tyson in his prime that pace speed and power style .....
Bread’s Response: Wilder would have to be able to push the pace vs Joshua but not get kod while he’s pushing it. He would also have to win 7 rounds in a 12 round fight. Don’t forget that boxing ability and the ability to win rounds are also important. Wilder vs Ortiz went 10 rounds. It’s not inconceivable that Joshua vs Wilder goes the distance.
The reason I favor the sub 220lb heavyweight is because of their stamina. Stamina is a huge issue with big men. Smaller Heavyweights with superior stamina and chins can compete with the giants. Just look at what Holyfield did vs Bowe and Lewis.
I would pick Prime 86-88 version of Mike Tyson over all of the active heavyweights today.
It has been quite a while since I wrote but I felt compelled to do so based on something that I saw in today's column regarding judging. You said:
Bread’s Response: Judging should be judging unless the rules have changed. What bothers me is that the criterion seems to have changed without formal notice. I won’t say there wasn’t bad decisions in the 80s because there were. Fights were just 15 rounds and it’s easier to get them right over more rounds and odd number of rounds.
Clean Punching, Effective Aggressiveness, Defense and Ring Generalship are the 4 points on how to score a fight. If anyone changes that and inserts their subjective preferences they are tainting the scoring process. It’s really that simple.
Stephen, as you know, I have been a judge and referee for 30+ years albeit in smaller states on the club show circuit with very few championship bouts. As such, I have been continuously trained throughout those years on regular basis. FYI - most states, even a "small state" like where I do the vast majority of my work, require that their Officials Obtain and maintain certification from the Association of Boxing Commissions. This means that at least every two years, I (and all of us) must attend seminars and pass the certification exam (no easy thing) in order to become re-certified.
As far as Clean Punching, Effective Aggressiveness, Defense and Ring Generalship goes, with all respect to my great friend Harold Lederman who says that on a regular basis, it is not nor has it ever been taught that way in the seminars. Effective aggressiveness? What is that? It is the same thing as clean punching. Defense? Well, I suppose that could be a criteria if the punching part is absolutely even and you can't find any other way to differentiate between the boxers. ing Generalship? See defense, same thing.
In the words of the great Commissioner Larry Hazzard, it comes down to this: Who hits who more often and harder. Period. While we don't count punches, we are taught that the second someone lands on his opponent, he moves ahead and we keep a running total - Boxer A is ahead, oh! Boxer B lands a big power punch and drew even (or ahead) etc. throughout the round. That's why, if a round is stopped midway through on, let's say, a cut, we can immediately render a score of who was ahead in that round up to that point.
So with all respect to friend Harold, the criteria that a professional boxing judge scores on is who lands more and harder punches on his opponent. The only subjective part is deciding that in that specific case, one power punch either did or did not outweigh the 5 jabs that the opponent had previously landed. Capice?
The Old Coot
Bread’s Response: It’s an interesting read. I don’t have much to say because you’re the expert, I digress.
I thought wilder did some good things , vs ortiz , but in also saw how at times hewasnt able to control distance. Ortiz isnt a inside fighter with an inside game
And i seen wilders body was there to be had if ortiz had some inside game .
I also noticed wilder had nervous energy and for a bit it seemed his legs werent all there. Can you touch on how nervous energy effects a fighter.
And last I didnt like how wilder was given an extra 18 seconds of recovery time after round 7. He was given a full minute break in a big time heavyweight championship in a sport thats considered the hurt game. Ortiz was trying to knock his man out and had every right to come right back in round 8 to finish the job . You mentioned that being lighter helps recover quicker , the ref and drs could have checked wilder in between rounds instead of allowing him one minute rest and an additional 18 seconds to recover . That killed ortiz's momentum it seemed in a huge chamluonship fight . The group i was watching the fight with viewed it as tactical from wilders promotions to help give him more time to recover .
This wasnt a mago situation in which a beating took place over multiple rounds.
This was a good round by ortiz that lead to Fishy special timeout to allow wilder more time to recover . Paulie commentating even felt something was up . that 18 second timeout definitely didnt hurt wilder, can you please touch base on that .
Bread’s Response: I was at the fight so I wasn’t sure what was going on when the commission inspected Wilder at the beginning of the round. After watching it on TV and hearing Paulie Malignaggi’s comments I agree 100% with Paulie. Wilder was not cut, he was just hurt and he had 60 seconds to recover. I can’t understand why you check Wilder after the 60 second intermission has expired when you can just simply check him while the 60 second time out is going on. To add I don’t understand why Luis Ortiz was not given this same courtesy. He was hurt worse and he was also knocked down earlier in the fight…
Ortiz could have made a big stink about that but he didn’t. He showed lots of sportsmanship. That would have been a tough pill for me to swallow.
Yes it is possible for contaminated meat. So test everyone that is in daily contact with Canelo. Wife, kids, coaches, training partners, anyone who may share a meal. I know that’s not likely, but if I was GGG that would make me feel better.
I’m still looking for reasons why americans don’t test positive for trenbolone (finaplex) since its used in our beef.
Bread’s Response: Interesting point. Test the people who eat with Canelo in his household. If they come back positive that would be a huge step in proving he’s clean and it was contaminated meat. I never thought of that.
I also believe hair samples should be tested……
So I have to call tainted meat bullsh*t. Here's why, the half life of clen is 2 days. The half life of trenbolone acetate is 2-3 days. In Mexico they use clen for cattle. In America we use tren. How come American athletes aren't popping for tren? Also tren is detectable for a much longer time. 5 months for tren, 2 weeks clean. Tren also 7 times stronger than testosterone and dosed in mg. Clean is dosed in micrograms. I'm guessing both have a zero tolerance for trace amounts given neither is natural in the body. More to come as I think and read a bit more
Bread’s Response: Another good point. I have not heard of a major boxer here in the US test positive for TREN and we do use it in our meats. I’m no expert but that’s good research my friend.
What’s up Breadman. It’s been a minute since the last time I wrote in but I follow your mailbags religiously. Hands down the best—keep up the good work. Wilder’s straight right hand is the best punch in boxing. He hurts EVERYONE he hits with that punch. I’m curious to know what are your top 10 punches in boxing history? Top 10 punches as in a fighter’s signature punch.
Bread’s Response: Aw man what a tough question. Ok this is off the top of my head and it’s not in order. Here goes..
Joe Louis’s right hand.
Joe Frazier’s left hook.
Bob Fitzsimmon’solar plexus shot.
Tommy Hearn’s right hand.
Ray Robinson’s left hook.
Julio Cesar Chavez’s left hook to the liver.
Kid Gavilan’s bolo punch.
Sonny Liston’s jab.
Larry Holmes’s jab.
Mike Tyson’s uppercut.
So what happens if Canelo’s B sample comes back positive and he doesn’t have a viable excuse. Luis Nery, Erik Morales and Francisco Vargas all have tested positive in recent years with similar excuses. Does the fight still happen? Does he get fined? What do you think the punishment should be? I’m curious to see what’s next.
Bread’s Response: I’m curious also and I have no idea what happens next. If you’re asking me for a prediction I think the fight will take place as scheduled.
Boxing has a chance to get this right but money is the end all in this sport. Besides Joshua vs Wilder this is the biggest fight that can be made and I expect it to get made. We have all seen this before in big fights and the fight was not cancelled.
If Canelo is found to be responsible for taking Clenbuterol I think he should be suspended for 18 months and fined 7 figures. If it is found that he ate contaminated meat, I think he should be subjected to random VADA testing for the remainder of his career, even when he doesn’t have a fight scheduled. No fine and no suspension. Very simple. Let’s see what happens.
Are there any fighters who have tested positive where you question their career accomplishments? In the wake of Canelo testing positive I wonder when it started. I can’t help but to question how a Mexican fighter is so fast and explosive. What do you think?
Bread’s Response: I’m not ready to question Canelo’s career accomplishments just yet. That wouldn’t be fair. Let the due process take place. Hopefully there is a thorough investigation conducted by a reputable agency.
I don’t openly speak on suspected fighters who haven’t tested positive. But I have common sense and there are fighters past and present who I strongly suspect. But suspecting and knowing are different. I’m glad you asked me about fighters who have tested positive because once you test positive the speculation becomes more credible. You’re sort of open to the Fruit of the Poisonous Tree theory. Which basically means if the source is tainted then anything gained from that source is tainted. The Fighter is the source which is the tree. His accomplishments are the fruit….
The one who stands out to me is Lucian Bute. Bute started out his career 30-0. Along the way he had one hiccup in a terrible call vs Librado Andrade. He ran out of gas and was hurt bad and given the benefit of a terribly long count in Canada his home country. Make no mistake about it Bute was kod by Andrade. Andrade was solid but he was no world beater. Bute regroups and goes on to have a really good run and people sort of forgot about the Andrade fight. Then he fights Carl Froch in the UK where there is tough testing and gets dominated and stopped. He moves up 175 and loses badly to Jean Pascal. It looks like his career at the top level is in trouble. He looks to be done. Then he does the hardest thing in boxing to do and that is move back down in weight at an older age. He moves back down to 168 and gives a then highly regarded James Degale a really tough fight. A fight so tough that it probably started Degale’s physical decline.
I always get suspicious when a fighter in his 30s who looks to be done puts together a rejuvenated performance under no extra testing. In his very next fight he fights even better vs Badou Jack who is P4P good. Bute actually came on late and hurt Jack to the body and finished really strong. The draw was a bad call but Bute really tested Jack. Then boom he test positive and the decision gets overturned. I felt watching that fight that it didn’t seem right that a fighter who looked to be slipping like Bute would look so sparky at 36 yrs old. Then in his next fight under the scrutiny of failing a PED test he gets kod bad by Eliezer Alvarez. Jack and Degale are better than Alvarez….Looking back on his career Bute is a guy who find really suspicious.
Bread, like many boxing fans, I long for boxing to be covered back into the mainstream in regards to the media. However, due to the fact that the premier talking heads are so ignorant to the sport, I almost wish that the coverage remains limited to the youtube grinders like Dontae's boxing and the like. What makes matters worst is that these main stream guys will offer expert opinions as if they are Bert Sugar reincarnated. It's borderline sickening. Stephen A. Smith, was blabbering on his radio show yesterday about Canelo testing positive for Clenbuterol. He had the gall to say, "whatever he tested for doesnt matter to me, just dont screw up my Cinco de Mayo. I need to see this rematch". His take was so asinine that I nearly drove off of the expressway. Here's a guy that hosts a show with Max Kellerman, yet his boxing knowledge is so limited that he would simply dismiss one of the premier stars testing positive for a banned PED because he wants a certain fight to proceed with no impediment. If Giancarlo Stanton is popped for being dirty would he utter the words, "I dont care what he tested positive for, I just want to see him hit home runs." Probably not. He'd most likely hop on his moral high horse and speak about how PEDs are ruining baseball. Absolutely ridiculous....
Stan from Dickinson, TX
Bread’s Response: Max Kellerman is the most well versed premiere sports figure on boxing. Most of the more noticeable figures on ESPN or FOX have expertise in one area and are just knowledgeable in others. For example Shannon Sharpe is a football guy who is really well versed in basketball.
In boxing we only have Max Kellerman. No one else with that level of influence is on Max’s level. I didn’t hear Stephen A. Smith’s comment and I really respect him as far as his basketball knowledge and political stances. But if he said that he’s showing more than ignorance. A man can be seriously hurt in a boxing ring. And to suggest “he just wants to see a fight” does not show empathy for what fighters go through. Again I didn’t see it but I would hope Max corrected him. GGG’s legacy and health is on the line and if GGG decided not to fight he would have a legitimate right not to do so.
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