The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Canelo's Alvarez's recent stoppage of Billy Joe Saunders, the debate of Saunders' not coming out for round nine, Canelo's potential unification with IBF world champion Caleb Plant, the future of Keith Thurman, and much more.
If at first you don't succeed then try, try again....So I figured I would give it another shot to make the daily bread mailbag. I'm still gonna continue to enjoy reading this mailbag weekly regardless.
I've noticed a lot of commentators, pundits and etc. critique fighters who are willing to give up early rounds in their bouts to adjust to their opponents and make the necessary adjustments to win their matches. I'm not sure why they (these critiquers) do this and it makes no sense to me. My example that I can provide is that the top 3 universally recognized "P4P" fighters (Canelo, Bud and the Monster) do this routinely in pretty much all of their bouts give or take with a few exceptions here and there.
My question to you is, with you being a trainer, if you train your fighters to also do this as well to the best of their ability?
Canelo vs RJJ (168 lb version)
Canelo vs Calzaghe
Bud (140 lb version) vs JCC Sr.
Bud vs The Hawk
Monster (112 lb version) vs Chocolatito (112 lb version)
Monster (118 lb version) vs Joltin' Jeff Chandler-Eli
Bread’s Response: Your comment really resonates with me. I actually use to tell a fighter that the FIGHT didn’t start until after the 4th. The fighter used to argue. He took it literally and of course I meant it figuratively. Every round counts as far as the score. But if a fighter needs some time to catch his opponent’s rhythm. Or take inventory on their movements, it’s no big deal. Being able to not panic when the opponent wins a few of the early rounds is a sign of poise. It’s a sign you aren’t a front runner. It’s a sign of composure. Most great fighters can do this.
You’re correct. Crawford and Canelo will break even over the first 4 rounds until they start to cook and it's no big deal to them. Crawford usually goes on a run after that and rolls. Canelo much similar. Inoue is a faster starter than they are…I actually just told a fighter who fought his first 12 rounder recently to give up the 1st round. Move, break a sweat and get comfortable before he starts to cook. It worked out great for him. One of things I tell a fighter is to take their time while still winning rounds. There is a way you can be assertive and win rounds without being crazy and over punching. I also tell them I will keep track of the rounds. I’m not going to let them put themselves in a hole. Just worry about fighting. I will worry about the rounds. Most times it works. The only critique of that is if you give up too many rounds. You still have to apply simple math. You can’t give up 7 rounds in a 12 round fight.
Canelo vs RJJ. You know Canelo has arrived when he’s being compared to maybe the best prime fighter ever. I think highly of Canelo, but I don’t believe he could’ve beaten RJJ.
Canelo vs Calzaghe is tougher. Calzaghe was a beast but he was busy and he could get clipped in between shots. He over punched sometimes. Canelo would hit Calzaghe. Today I’m going to say Calzaghe by decision but I’m really up in the air. Tomorrow I may say Canelo. That’s a closer fight than some think. Canelo is approaching a rare place.
Bud vs JCC Sr um…..Flip a coin. Bud vs Hawk…..um flip another coin.
Monster vs Choc 112…..um this may sound bizarre but I need to see more of Inoue. He’s been in tough but I have to study some more stuff with him. I used to think he was too big for Choc but after Choc’s success at 115lbs I don’t know anymore.
Monster vs Chandler 118. What a fight! I hate to say this but today I say Monster. I feel like Jeff would have pressed him and I don’t know if he could take the brutality of the Monster. Monster by dramatic ko in a shootout. Dam I hate saying that.
Billy Joe Saunders suffered one of the worst cases of Karma I have ever witnessed. He openly said that he would rather go out on his back instead of a knee. He was referencing Daniel Dubois. He gave several interviews basically calling Dubois a quitter. Then in his come to moment, he suffers the same injury and packs it in immediately. What a joke! What did you think of the fight and ending?
Bread’s Response: I thought Saunders was doing decent job. I thought Canelo was winning the rounds. Maybe 6-2 or 5-3. Some people say they felt Saunders was winning. I didn’t see that. I saw Saunders doing some decent work but Canelo was in control with his calm dominant demeanor and hard body shots. But here is the thing. CLASS shows over time. And Canelo was about to start steam rolling Saunders and I feel like Saunders knew it.
I’m glad you brought up the QUIT term. I can’t believe people are giving Saunders a pass. This guy literally called Daniel Dubois out for taking a knee. He made specific comments like he would have kept fighting if both of his eyes were fractured. He basically said he would have to be carried out of the ring before he QUIT. The media killed Dubois for taking that knee. I didn't read much on Saunders condemning Dubois. Saunders tried to EMASCULATE Dubois!
Now I’m hearing excuse after excuse for Saunders who CALLED Dubois out. His defenders are missing the point. It’s not that he quit. It’s that he called another fighter out for quitting and then he quit. CONTEXT! For the record a fighter does not have to DIE for our enjoyment. Everyone has a different threshold as far as what they are willing to take. It’s why I believe Diego Corrales and Arturo Gatti should be in the HOF. The amount of punishment they were willing to take was a little more than 99% of fighters who have ever lived. People use the caveat if you aren’t a fighter you can’t judge another fighter. Well Saunders wrongly judged one of his fellow fighters. Then KARMA put him in the same spot. Almost exactly and he QUIT. His fans will say his trainer surrendered for him. They will try to compare Dubois taking a knee and Saunders corner stopping it. But that’s bologna. Saunders told his corner he couldn’t see. He exuded a body language to let his corner know he had enough. If he wanted to continue he would’ve acted in way that let his corner know. People who know, know. And I have no issue with him doing so. I have an issue with him doing so, when he called out another fighter for it. I have an issue with him holding Dubois to a standard, he didn’t hold himself to.
Saunders has done plenty of things that rubbed me the wrong way. The Dubois comments. The comments on how to beat women. His son punching Willie Monroe in the groin. When he was fined for offering a woman drugs for sex…But I never conflated that with his fighting ability. I always thought he was a very good fighter. I never brought up is indiscretions because I don’t get questions about him. But now since he’s in the spot light with his Canelo fight, he’s relevant. CHARACTER always reveals itself.
Saunders claims he’s cut from the same cloth as Tyson Fury. No way! Fury is a KILLER. Fury was knocked out vs Wilder and rose like the undertaker. Fury had a gash over his eye bigger than my finger. Fury eats blood. Saunders was not being demolished by Canelo. He was losing in my opinion but it was competitive. The first sign of trouble he was in, he opted out. If you tell your corner you can’t see and give off the body language he was giving off, then it’s quitting or surrendering or whatever is a politically correct word .
Saunders owes Daniel Dubois a public apology. Because he publicly put him down. He publicly condemned him for his actions. So he should apologize publicly. What’s worse is Dubois tried to fight through his adversity. He went several rounds while damaged. Saunders wanted out as soon as it happened and that was the first time he was in visible trouble in the fight. At my age and experience in life, I have experienced good and bad KARMA. I watch what I say. I watch what I do. I understand how life circles the block and you better be able to stand on what you say and do.
Fighters put their talent on display for the world to praise or criticize depending on the outcome and performance. I respect boxers more than any other athletes. Saunders didn’t respect his fellow fighter’s fate. Saunders was immature and cocky to say what he said about Dubois. But what’s worse is he wasn’t a MAN of his words when his moment of TRUTH came. He wasn’t willing to do what he said he was willing to do. Honestly if Saunders would have pressed forward and kept fighting, I wouldn’t have an issue with his comments about Dubois because he would have been a man of his word. Deontay Wilder was a man of his word. He was pissed when his corner stopped the fight! Wilder calimed he wanted to go out on his shiled and he displayed that fighting with a broken bone in his face. Wilder gets criticism but Wilder did NOT quit. It’s no shame in surrendering. The shame is not doing what you say you will. I hope he learns from this. This was a humbling experience and one of the more direct and exact cases of KARMA I have ever seen.
I wanted to know your top 5 trainers of all time -3 from the present day ( ie Goossen or maybe Freddy Roach or Sugar Hill) & 2 from the past (Dundee or Steward)and what did each do that was special for their fighter in your opinion.
Also, do you have a glove you prefer for your fighters or is it up to the fighter ?Finally, If Earnie Shavers, Gerry Cooney , Ron Lyle and Olympian Teofilo Stevenson competed professionally today are any of them champions ? (Talk about being a heavyweight in the wrong era)
MM : peak Matthew Saad Muhammad vs Artur Beterviev.
Thanks for your time,
Aaron from Cleveland
Bread’s Response: I think Beterbiev may be too big for Saad but I’m not sure about it. Let me think on that some more.
I believe Stevenson would be world champion today. Cooney would also have a shot.
It’s up to the fighter as far as what gloves they wear. All of the fighters I’ve trained prefer different gloves. Reyes, Grant and Everlast Mx. I do give my input on what glove I think they punch the hardest in but ultimately it’s their decision.
It’s really hard to say who are the top 5 trainers of all time or even currently. So much depends on the breaks you get. What fighters are brought to you. Who the promoters and managers are? And where you live as a trainer. You can be a knowledgeable trainer but if you don’t have access to elite talent then you won’t be recognized. But I will try to answer you as you asked the question.
Top 3 present day. I would say Eddy Reynoso. He’s really hot right now. Canelo’s improvement has been excellent. Canelo is much better today than he was 7 years ago. Reynoso has to get credit for that. Reynoso also was the head trainer when Oscar Valdez put on possibly the Performance of the Year. Freddie Roach is not as hot as he once was but I’m sure he didn’t forget how to train. He’s a legend and he just guided Manny Pacquiao to a legacy win over Keith Thurman. Pacquiao was 40!My 3rd current trainer is Virgil Hunter. Hunter is not as talked about as he once was but he has a nice under the radar stable with Mario Barrios, Joshua Bautsi, Suley Cisskho and Tony Yoka. All of his fighters are undefeated and poised to break out. In a 2 years he could have 4 world champions.
From the past I would say Emanuel Steward and Eddie Futch. Futch was brilliant. He knew how to fight the GOAT in Ali with Frazier and Norton. He did a wonderful job with Riddick Bowe until Bowe got out of control. And people forget he was the head trainer in Montel Griffin’s corner when he fought Roy Jones the 1st time. I know the fight ended controversially but Griffin was doing an excellent job and was even with a prime Roy Jones. He’s the only fighter in history that can say that. Futch deserves props for that.
People love to hate on trainers. They always come up with caveats to discredit a trainer’s accomplishments. The only thing one can say about Steward is he lost his two biggest fights with Hearns vs Hagler and Leonard. But Steward also won his share of big ones. Lewis vs Holyfield. Holyfield vs Bowe. Hearns vs Duran and Benitez. He had grass roots success starting fighters out from scratch or very early and bringing them along. He had success as a hired gun. Tommy Hearns, Hilmer Kinty, Jimmy Paul, Steve and Mlton McCrory all started out as youths with Steward. He had longevity. He did it in different weight classes. He did it all. He was good on the pads. He knew about nutrition and conditioning. He also was a good corner man as far as calling the fight as it went on. Some trainers are lazy in the gym. They can’t get you in shape, but they can call a fight. Some can get you in shape but they can’t call a fight. Steward could do both. He’s the top guy in my opinion.
I think there are so many other excellent trainers currently and from the past. Trainers have the most thankless jobs in boxing. A fighter loses the trainer gets the blame no matter what. The trainers have no real security legally. The trainer makes less than the manager but his job is more important and he has more responsibility. The job title is trainer but often times you have to be a mentor of a young man from a broken home. You have to help finance things the fighter can’t afford. You have to organize and manage a camp. And you have to be firm when this grown man messes up. All while understanding that he employs you and can fire you at any time. I’ve had a few jobs in my life. This is by far my favorite but it’s also the most treacherous. Everyone is a super critic until they have to do what you did, then they become an excuse maker. It’s why I’ve never been overly critical of fellow trainers.I want to give some respect to some other current trainers I think are the real deal also. Off the top of my head…Brian Mcintyre, Red Spikes, Derrick James, Sugar Hill Steward, Abel Sanchez, Joe Goosen, Kevin Cunningham, Ben Davison, Papa Lomachenko, Shane McGuigan, Ronnie Shields, Jason Galarza, Harold ‘Shadow’ Knight, Roy Jones, Tom Yankello, Bozy Ennis, Chino Rivas and Andre Rozier.
I confess to feeling satisfaction at seeing Canelo Alvarez best Billy Joe Saunders this past Saturday. I admit: I do not like Billy Joe Saunders. I find him vile, pugnacious, and despicable. I remember the video of him taunting a drug addict, the video of him encouraging a kid (I think his own) to kick a man in the groin, the video made during quarantine of him instructing viewers on how to throw the right punch to knock out your girlfriend, and I remember the tweet where he emasculated Daniel Dubois for how he capitulated to Joe Joyce after suffering a rough eye injury. I remembered all that bullying behavior, and I hoped that Canelo would cold-cock him to take him down a peg. Wish granted. Karma is still undefeated.
I know you like to distinguish between quitting and surrendering. Perhaps it can be seen that Saunders surrendered, he did after all suffer an orbital fracture. And if it were anyone else, I would feel sorry for them and defend their surrender as just that and not a “quit job”. But it’s Saunders, and I will not give him a pass. Not after his own reaction to Dubois. No sir, I’m holding his feet to the flames. I hope he recovers and returns, but he will not get a pass from me.
I know I might be coming across as venomous or bitter, but I can’t help myself. Saunders’s behavior and antics have gotten under my skin. He’s just a jerk… and not a fun kind of jerk like Tyson Fury or Teofimo Lopez (whose antics both have an odd charm to them)… just a JERK jerk.
What did you think of Saunders “quitting” (if one can rightly call it that)?
Bread’s Response: I feel exactly like you do. I find myself sympathetic and protective over fighters. I can remember when Alfredo Angulo turned his back vs Erislandy Lara after being hit in the eye. A fighter kept calling Angulo a quitter. I told the fighter that I didn’t think that was a quit job. I think he was injured and it was just a reaction to grab his eye. In my opinion there are levels to quitting and because the word has really turned into a bad word in boxing, I didn’t use the term for Angulo. My guts and my heart rarely lie to me and to this day I believe his injury warranted the surrender. There is also a type of surrender when a fighter simply has had enough. When Miguel Cotto took the knee vs Margarito my initial reaction was, what happened…I was rooting for Cotto that night. Then I said to myself he had enough. My uncle who I despise by the way because he's too hard on athletes was watching that fight at the same venue I was. He called Cotto a quitter. I told him I felt like Cotto gave everything he had and he had no more to give. Cotto gave the impression he was on the verge of dying that night in a great long grueling fight. I have no issue with Cotto. He’s a warrior.
But Billy Joe Saunders is a fighter who bragged about something he thought he could do, instead of something he did. With age comes wisdom. At this point in my life I am not boastful about much I haven’t done. And I’m careful not to put myself out there about much I haven’t done for exception of being willing to die for my 2 children. My mind is made up about that. But for the most part I don’t want to die over anything else. Karma is a real thing.
Billy Joe Saunders was specific in saying he would have fought on if both of his eyes were fractured. His skull was bashed in etc. Then when it was time to deliver on his emasculating words toward Daniel Dubois, he quit. I’m not going to change the word for him because he didn’t mince his words for Dubois. His corner asked him was he ok, and it sounded like to me he said he couldn’t see. He put his head down. Then another one of his cornerman whispered in his ear for a few seconds and he gave no protest. Sometimes it’s what you don’t do that shows what your intentions are. Saunders’s corner did a great job in stopping the fight.
Speaking from experience. I’ve had two fights to refer to. In one fight my fighter was winning. There was a clash of heads. The opposing fighter started blinking and pawing at his eye. The referee took him to the doctor and he stopped the fight. The fighter didn’t say stop the fight. But he let them know by his actions he didn’t want to continue. The fight was in the 4th round. The fighter had lost the first 3 rounds. But because the fight didn’t complete 4th it was ruled a no contest. The fighter was clever in his actions to get the fight stopped and avoid a loss. Out of respect I won’t say who the fighter was but I saw exactly what he did.
Recently in February I had a fighter in a war vs. It was 10 round non tv fight where he only made 20k. He suffered a fractured nose and orbital in the fight. It was a close fight. The fighter never gave me the impression he didn’t want to press on. I asked him was he ok and he told me hell yes. I didn’t know his nose or orbital was broken. No one knows for sure until they go to the hospital for an official diagnosis. He gave me the impression the entire fight that he was ok and he wanted to continue. If he did not, I would have stopped it.
Daniel Dubois kept trying to fight so he was allowed to fight. That’s the difference. And when he couldn’t take anymore after several rounds he surrendered. I will give Dubois the surrender term. But I’m not giving it to Saunders. He almost mocked Dubois in his submission to Joyce. He claimed that the GREATS get through that. He claimed he would rather go out on his back than on his knee. The people who are defending him are conveniently overlooking what he said about Dubois. He inducted himself into a fraternity that he had not earned a spot in. And then when he was at his initiation ceremony, he opted out. He decided he decided he didn't want to be in that "I'm willing to die fraternity."
I would like your take on the Canelo BJS fight. I don't want to appear overly critical, I like Canelo and I'm a Canelo fan .
I thought BJS fought fairly well . After seven rounds I had it four to three Canelo . I did think Saunders won the sixth round which two of the three cards said otherwise . I also think Saunders eye was injured in the seventh round , not the eighth.
The problem I see is all the talk of Canelo now being ATG . Really , this fight promotes him to ATG . BJS best opponent was probably Andy Lee . Just like Callum Smith was George Groves . There is no Hagler , Hearns or SRL on their lists.
Canelo best opponent outside Mayweather was 36 yr old GGG . Who clearly and soundly beat him in the first fight. And faired no worse than a draw in the second fight . I can see the love you have for Chocolatito , and you bring many fine points about how he won the fight against Estrada no matter what the judges say . How it will be harder for Choc the second time around . Well you could say the same exact thing about GGG . Canelo is a great fighter . His management and opponent selection is top notch . But great fighters look great against less than elite opposition . Canelo is not superman, bullets don't bounce off him.
I have always wanted to ask you about this fight. Jermall Charlo vs Iran Barkley at 160. How do you see this one.
Bread’s Response: I think Canelo is an ATG. He’s been a champion and elite fighter for a decade. He’s won titles from 154 to 175. Only Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns can say that from 154-175. No other fighters in history have sniffed those titles in those divisions. It’s the hardest Quartet in boxing as far as 4 division titles. Canelo has unified in every division he’s ever been in except 175lbs. His resume is not as good as say Pacquiao’s or Oscar’s. But it’s the best of his current era. I don’t believe he’s a Mt. Rushmore ATG, being a top 20-25 fighter ever. I don’t put him on the level of say Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao or Roy Jones. But I think he’s on the tier below. I think his legacy and accomplishments are on par with say an Erik Morales level ATG.
Any resume can be nitpicked. Of course Canelo has had some favors done for him. He got to fight Matthew Hatton a welterweight for his first title at 154 at a catchweight. That’s a favor. But all A side marketable fighters get favors done. It’s how boxing works. He also avoided GGG for longer than he should have after he beat Miguel Cotto. But he did fight him. I thought GGG won the 1st fight also. But Canelo impressed me in that fight. He fought a good fight. In the 2nd fight I have no issue with the decision. Canelo stepped right to GGG. He gave him the Mexican style fight he wanted. Yes Canelo gets the benefit of doubt on every scorecard of every fight. But if you watch the fights closely in his 4 controversial fights, he really has dynamic punches that capture the judges eyes. He also is calm under pressure.
The Mayweather draw scorecard was bad but the right man won the fight. The Trout scorecards were bad also But I was live at the fight. I thought Canelo outboxed him for a 7-5 fight. I was also live at the Lara fight. Lara has a real case for winning the fight. There is a case for a draw. And there is a case for Canelo 7-5. I was telling the fellow fighters that we sat next to. And I told them that Canelo was getting these close rounds because Lara was over moving and showing too much distress from the cut and body shot. That fight was very subjective but I didn’t see a robbery. Just more bad scorecards. So let’s say he’s 1-1 with GGG. Let’s say the Lara fight is a draw. And he beat Trout more cleanly than he beat Lara. His resume is still excellent.
My biggest issue with Canelo is the + PED test. I can’t forget that. Especially since Team GGG suspected him of PED use and asked for him to be tested earlier than usual. For him to test + under those specific circumstances is too much of a coincidence for me. But in the rematch he took full VADA and did better in the rematch. You don’t have to like it but you have to respect it. That’s what happened. So as of now unless he test + again, with his current run, I have to say he’s an ATG. His accomplishments, resume and current eye ball test put him over the top. When assessing fighters we have to take our personal feelings out. We lose credibility when we can’t be fair. Canelo is ATG.
Breadman-I was there this past weekend at the fight and let me point out a few things. Firstly, when the best fight the best the crowd shows up and it’s electric!! Secondly, the fight was pretty close, the crowd was getting quieter after the first 3 rounds...BJS was finding his groove. Lastly, BJS did not quit. The crowd really got into the fight and that kind of cheering had re-energized Canelo and BJS eye was shot.
I will never forget the Margarito vs. Pacquiao fight. Margarito kept fighting and look at what happened to his eye. There are a handful of fighters who have had damage to their eyes that I’m sure would say “If only someone would’ve been looking out for me as I was too brave for my own good!”
Here’s a quick list - Israel Vasquez, Antonio Margarito and Joel Diaz. The last one was in sparring. My point is that I think BJS corner absolutely made the right call. BJS is a southpaw, he wouldn’t have seen Canelo’s left hook from that point forward. He will live to fight another day and he will notch some more victories. A quit job was Nagy Aguilera.Keep the mailbags coming my man and blessings to you and the family!
Richard K. - Oregon
Bread’s Response: Saunders’s corner is excellent. I didn’t know that Ben Davison was still in his corner. He’s one of my favorite trainers. I think they made a great call.
Hi Bread, hope you’re doing good. I like what you’re doing with Ava and your boy. Well done.In preparation for the likely fight between Canelo and Plant, I decided to research on Plant a bit given I’ve watched probably all Canelo’s fights for the last 6 years and none of Plant’s. While watching Plant-Uzcategui, I confirmed what I’d seen in his former fights. Plant is sound with a sharp jab, great defense, neat body work and quick feet. But he fades later in fights and loses discipline.
My issue is with Uzcategui. During the fight, I came to question his mentality and I just want you to correct me if I’m mistaken.
Uzcategui was too willing, seemingly eager in fact, to accept clinches in a fight he was losing. One time, they got in a clinch and this guy just stayed lax and kept grinning. I couldn’t understand why you’d need to “rip a guy’s head off” and be so cheerful, especially when you’re so far behind in points. Secondly, there was a time he punched after the bell, just a tad after. He then hugged Plant and sort of apologized, like friends after a heated argument. I don’t get it.
I don’t think killers like Wilder, Crawford or Gonzalez, as amicable as he is, would do something like that. Am I wrong in reading him as being too friendly? Is there a psyche to constantly getting KOs at all or is it all about power, punch placement and selection. Lastly, who are the guys who are all mushy and friendly in the ring but wouldn’t mind ripping your head off while at it?
Bread’s Response: I don’t think Caleb Plant has to be a killer to beat Canelo, he has to be a winner. Plant did get a little winded vs Uzcategui but he didn’t fold. He was off a year before that fight and I think he will be better moving forward. Uzgategui does smile a lot. He has an indifferent disposition. I think that’s just him. Lot’s of fighters have nervous smiles. I do think he was being too nice to Plant. He should’ve been punching through the clinches. But Plant tamed him. Uzgategui fought meaner vs Andre Dirrell. Dirrell didn’t tame him. Let’s give Plant credit.
Wilder and Crawford are mean fighters and have mean dispositions. Both are mean for real. Chocolatito is a gentleman but a killer. He’s more like Pacquiao. They don’t have to ACT mean in order to be mean. There is definitely a psyche to getting kos. Aaron Pryor was not a 1 punch ko artist. But he scored 35kos in 39 wins. It was mainly because of his temperament. He’s the best example of a fighter that I didn’t consider to be a HUGE puncher but was a ko machine. His attitude was killer. Alexis Arguello and Roman Gonzalez are very nice humans. They are complete gentleman. But both score a high % of kos and are elite level finishers. Andre Ward coined a phrase that fits them both. “It’s not on me, It’s in me.” Both Choc and Arguello fit that phrase when it comes to being mean.
I'm sure you will get a bunch of Canelo vs BJS observations, so I'm going to touch on the potential fight vs Plant for the undisputed 168 pound title.
Shortly after the BJS stoppage, the attention turned to the Plant fight and not surprisingly but majority of the boxing fans started to predict a one sided beat down. However, I wouldn't be too sure about that. One thing we saw Saturday night was that it was difficult for Canelo to get his jab off and he was hesitant to throw at times as he only averaged 26 punches a round. Why was that? Because BJS was able to counter him at times and used his movement to offset some of the things Canelo likes to do and Canelo needs to set his feet to throw. This is why he was missing some wide shots and he likes to take that little hop step to throw his 1-2, which hardly landed all fight. The issue with BJS and even Lara in his fight was that they used too much unnecessary movement and they didn't always make Canelo pay when he missed. Plant on the other hand is more explosive than those two. He's very athletic, fast and has solid enough pop to the point if he commits to his shots, he can at least command Canelo's respect. One baffling thing about Plant is that he is known as an extremely hard worker that stays in the gym but his gas tank isn't the greatest. I know he is working with Coach Wade now so maybe he can get that improved for this fight. Plant is going to need to be on his game for the entire 12 rounds to have a chance. And call me crazy, but I expect a very tight fight until the end. Canelo isn't a guy that just wins 12-0 or 10-2 decisions like Mayweather or Pacquiao used to in their prime. He is prone to losing rounds as he likes to instead load up on shots to break his opponent down late in the fight. I have this fight 60/40 Canelo, but far from a blowout.
Do you disagree? If so, why?
Bread’s Response: I agree with you. Most people I know are dismissing Plant’s chances. But here is my take...
Canelo while at his peak in this current form, is more of a 1 punch at a time guy now while he walks you down and forces his opponents into mistakes. He gives up rounds. He gave up a few against a shot Kovalev. The best thing about Canelo is he’s always in control. He never loses his controlling demeanor. But again he was losing rounds vs Kovalev who is the closest to this version of Plant. Plant is legitimately 6’1. He has a decent reach. He’s very well conditioned. He’s much more athletic than people realize. I was in camp with him and he’s a real athlete. I believe he’s a better natural athlete than anyone that Canelo has faced on this current run. Plant is not a big puncher but he doesn’t have to be. Lara, Trout and Mayweather are not known to be big punchers either. All gave Canelo fits. All punches hurt when they are placed right. I know Plant was supposed to stop Truax. I know he has shown some fatigue late in fights. Maybe Plant is just not a ko machine. Maybe he hasn’t gotten to the point where he knows how to score kos vs hardened opponents. He has room to improve.
In a fight with Canelo this will serve him well though. He doesn’t have to stop Canelo. He has to beat Canelo. He has to outpoint him. The least amount of chances he gives Canelo to clip him the better. Saunders threw a big right hook, fell of balance and Canelo countered with a great uppercut and stopped him. So while Plant has let some guys go the distance that shouldn’t have. His pure boxing mentality will serve him well vs Canelo. You also have to take his character into consideration. He’s disciplined. He stays close to the weight limit. He trains hard. He’s very focused. He doesn’t display negative behavior in public. When Uzgategui pressed him he didn’t fall apart. When he got cut he didn’t fall apart. He fought through it. People criticize that fight but he showed chops. Obviously Truax landed some nice overhand rights. But maybe Plant was too comfortable. He will be more on point for Canelo.
Plant has a good corner and support group. Justin Gamber is an excellent young trainer. Luis Decubas is a powerful player in boxing. Plant will have the correct resources. If Plant fights a very aware and alert, stick and move fight. Limit Canelo’s chances at a kill shot. And he has fair judges, this is a real fight. I’m not going all out and saying Plant will win. Because the judges in every single Canelo fight, have always shown extra favoritism towards him and that would be a big concern for any bettor.
Another issue for me is how hot Canelo is. Canelo has had some great results in the Kovalev, Smith and Saunders fights. I thought he fought perfect vs Smith. I thought he was in control vs Saunders and Kovalev. Canelo has to come back down to earth. Even great fighters who are hot come down to earth to their baseline. From 93-97 Roy Jones Jr was on FIRE. Then in 97 vs Montell Griffin he came down to earth. Watch the 1st Griffin fight. From 2008-11 Manny Pacquiao was on FIRE. Then he fought Juan Manuel Marquez again and came back to earth. Recently Monster Inoue was on FIRE. Then he fought Nonito Donaire.It happens to every great fighter on a great run. Canelo is on his best career run.
In this era when a fighter is HOT everyone waits them out until they cool off. Instead of being the guy to cool them off. Canelo will have a good and not great night sooner than later. He’s a human being. And I believe Plant has the style and character to do it. I think Canelo is an awesome fighter. But he doesn’t have the gear of volume to overcome Plant if Plant is up in points. He gets more aggressive and throws big shots but it’s not a say Jeff Fenech level of pressure. Canelo was missing big vs Saunders but the results make people forget the course of events. If Canelo is down to Plant on points, Plant is not the type of fighter to make a mistake and go for big shots. It’s not his game. I don’t care what anyone says. I don’t care who calls me crazy. If Caleb Plant has physical toughness and goes to that "place" he needs to go. He’s going to give Canelo fits.
Just got done reading your mailbag of last Saturday and a question occurred to me. What is the most difficult aspect that a trainer has to adjust to mid fight. IMHO having never trained or boxed but watched a lot, it seems perhaps the momentum a fighter loses when he is discouraged might be one of the most difficult things to address? You see often fighters come back to their corner and some instructions barked at them, but then they’re not able to execute anything.
I would imagine a significant part of this is that the momentum is with the other fighter.
Do you have any strategies for trying to encourage momentum/snap your fighter out of a negative mindset mid fight
Thanks for your time
Bread’s Response: You hit the nail on the head. In the corner you have to be an optimist while being honest. It’s a tough balance. You have to let the fighter know what’s happening but you also have to make him believe he’s still in the fight. Fortunately I’ve never had a fighter OUT of a fight in 11 years as a trainer as far as points. But I have lost a few rounds and had to turn things around. It’s not easy.
The key is knowing how your fighter gets in his rhythm. It’s usually with the jab but not always. It’s just recognizing what it takes to get the rhythm. I also point out that the opponent is human. That he gets tired. He gets hurt. I will exaggerate it if I have to. If the fighter is engaged with the trainer, the fighter will believe whatever the trainer says.
Turning a fight around is not always fighting harder. It can be fighting smarter. Sometimes you put the fire out with water. Sometimes you step it up. It’s an instinctual call. And the result determines if you were right.
Coach Breadman, First of all, thank you for your continued contribution to professional pugilism through your knowledge, wisdom, and your articulate feedback. I have been following your reviews for some time now here in Japan and you indeed have a good following here in the country. In your opinion, what are the best sports to prepare children before they start to box? My 7 year old son has been doing wrestling for a little over two years and he has 16 matches under his belt (only lost two). We are moving back to the United States next year and I want him to do fencing for about 3 years from the south paw stance before I put him in Boxing at age 11. I want him to get used to fighting in the south paw stance using a helmet in a different sport before putting him in boxing. I am also considering putting him in dance class (hip hop and/or tap) to emphasize footwork development before boxing. What are your thoughts on the best way to prepare? What are your experiences in pre-development from other activities for athletes before boxing?
Thank you again.
Much respect, Garth
Bread’s Response: You don’t need my advice you’re doing the EXACT correct thing to do to prepare him for boxing. Boxing is much like fencing. In and out. Probing. Bringing your feet with you as you move. Stamina. Concentration. Unbelievable. If my son were to box, I would make him fence first. Wrestling is great for the cardio. It’s a different type of cardio. In fact I actually had Julian Williams do grappling workout before he faced Jarret Hurd. Again you hit the nail on the head. And dance is great for rhythm. Your son is in great hands. Keep it up.
Hey Bread, hope all is well. I wanted to ask you, who in your opinion is the greatest Puerto Rican boxer and why. Also, if you could take one quality out of each of the greatest Puerto Rican boxers to make the best boxer what would it be and who. Last thing, they always talk about the 4 kings but I feel it’s dismissive of Benitez who actually beat Duran, lost to Hearns by majority decision and lost to Leonard. Would’ve loved to see how a fight with Hagler, RIP, would’ve turned out. Thanks.
Bread’s Response: Benitez was a forgotten great. I think it’s because his prime was part of 2 decades. The last half of the 70s and first part of the 80s. Instead of being in just the 80s. I also think it’s because he didn’t fight Hagler and the Duran win while great is looked at as sort of an unfocused Duran, which is not fair by the way. Benitez also had such a bad drop off. He was done by 1983, he was only 24. I currently train two Puerto Rican fighters in Zachary Ochoa and Romuel “Cuco” Cruz. It’s a pleasure to train both. I honestly mean that. Both of those kids are very respectful, and have very high character. I wish I had 10 kids exactly like them. I would train fighters until I was 99 years old. Training fighters is frustrating but not with those two. They give their best with no resistance. That’s all you can ever ask for.
I hope I can get to the title level with both because of the support PR shows it's fighters.
Wilfred Benitez, Wilfredo Gomez, Felix Trinidad and Carlos Ortiz all have cases for being the greatest ever from the island. Ortiz has a case for being the best fighter of the 60s. I have Ali and Jofre over him but he has a case. He’s a rare fighter because he dropped down from winning a title at 140 to winning a title at 135. He has a really high peak. He beat some HOF and great fighters in Joe Brown, Ismael Laguna, Flash Elorde, Sugar Ramos and Duillio Loi. He has a weird draw with Nicolino Locche. He was only stopped once in his last fight vs Ken Buchannon. Ortiz was the truth.
Felix Trinidad was the most popular. He had a great run with 15 title defenses at 147lb. He moved up to 154lb and looked unbeatable. He also has a great eyeball test performance vs William Joppy at 160lbs. He has the big wins vs Whitaker, Vargas, Joppy, De La Hoya. He has hardcore wins over Carr and Campas. Trinidad also has a great case.
Wilfredo Gomez was considered one of the top 2 fighters in the world in 1981 before he lost to Salvador Sanchez. He has the longest reign ever at 122lbs. He’s probably the greatest fighter ever in that division. He won titles at 126 and 130 although one win was a gift. Gomez did everything Trinidad and Ortiz did.
Wilfred Benitez was a title vs a HOF at 17 years old in Antonio Cervantes. He won his 2nd title vs another HOF in Carlos Palomino. He defended it vs a HOF in Ray Leonard. He goes up and wins his 3rd title at 154 and defends it vs two HOF in Duran and Hearns. Benitez probably fought the hardest competition out of the quartet in the shortest period of time. I honestly don’t know who the best was. When I compare resumes it’s close. When I compare reigns and accomplishments it’s close. When I do the eye ball test. Tito is my favorite but I don’t know if he’s the best. This is the closest race in my opinion of a nation’s best fighter.
Hi Bread, I like Canelo. I think he's a master technician in the ring but his power has been an undeniable factor in his fights is since he's moved up to 168/175. I've noticed that almost all of his opponents are immediately shocked after tasting his power and are forced to adjust. There was a point very early in last Saturday's fight in which Saunders looked at Canelo like WTF after getting hit clean by Canelo thus causing Saunders to fight in a somewhat timid manner. We saw the same thing happen with other recent opponents, most notably Kovalev - who although was faded looked nothing like the ‘Krusher’ he once was. Kovalev has fought guys that are much bigger and stronger than Canelo and I’ve never seem him fight so scared until Canelo. Obviously, I have no evidence but rarely do you see a guy carry his power up in weight the way Canelo has. Canelo did not have this scary type of power at any of the lower weights but now he does? He is thrashing guys that are naturally bigger than him. This is looking like Manny Pacquiao pt 2. Wouldn't it be something if we find out 10+ years from now how Canelo used some advanced and currently unknown form of PEDs? Last Saturday's fight would be viewed quite differently.
Thanks for your time
Bread’s Response: This is a touchy subject in boxing that most don’t care or want to touch. Canelo does seem to be punching harder than he has at any point in his career. I actually think he’s the best puncher in boxer right now along with Monster Inoue. I also want to give him credit for his heavy bag and water bag routines. He practices punching hard. So that builds retention in that area. You fight like you practice. When a see a fighter who doesn’t exert himself on the heavybag he won’t be able to exert himself in a real fight. Canelo has great bags to work out on. He doesn’t just do fancy pad work. He hits the round strike shield. And he hits the heavybag correctly.
But with his past PED test and the limits being changed after his positive test some fans and media will always be suspicious. I personally take it for what it is. He’s taking VADA and he’s still performing so he deserves credit. The truth does not have to be one sided or black and white. I think Canelo is an ATG fighter, who tested positive for PEDS. Both are true. I also think it would it show great sportsmanship and transparency if he did VADA 24/7/365 since he did test positive before. But again as of now we have to give him credit because he’s performing under the needle.
Bread you were right about this era being the most counterproductive ever. Keith Thurman was in one of the hottest divisions in boxing. He had the resume with wins over Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. He was undefeated and he had a colorful personality. But the dude has fought four times since 2016 and that was during his prime and best career wins. He’s completely ruined his career, trying to avoid tough fights, mainly Errol Spence. He loses to Manny Pacquiao in a fight he was supposed to win and now he’s 33 and no one cares about his career anymore. Why don’t these fighters get it? They think they’re so smart by avoiding the challenges and turning into businessmen but not only does it hurt their skillset. But it’s not good business. After a big victory you need to capitalize on that. The key to making your money work for you is making the most amount you can in a short period of time. Getting paid once a year or once every two years is not how you do that. Thurman’s absence allowed Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter two fighters he beat to get PPV fights with Errol Spence that would have rightfully went to him. Thurman left $15,000,000 on the table ducking Spence and not being available for rematches with Garcia and Porter. In between tough fights he could have knocked out Amir Khan. That’s another $4,000,000. Now we see a post and there is a survey of who Thurman should fight next. One of the names is Jaron Ennis. There is no way he fights Ennis, is he was ducking Spence. Thurman had a chance for the Hall of Fame. Now he will be just a champion who wasted is his prime years.
Bread’s Response: I don’t like to see fighters become inactive in their prime but it’s just how it is today. I think motivation becomes harder to grasp, with making more money. You went really deep. And I can’t say I really disagree. I will say in Thurman’s defense, I did read he was injured at some point but I don’t know if it should have kept him out for 2 years.
However, I do think he left some food on the table. I do think had he been available from 2016-21 then he would have made a ton more money. Probably 20 million. I don’t think he would’ve beaten Errol Spence but fights are won in the ring. Not on paper. He had a chance. I don’t know if Thurman is past it but taking off 2 years certainly doesn’t help. I also agree coming back to fight Boots Ennis would be a catastrophe. But let’s see what he does. He’s still a viable name. I won’t be as hard on him as you are. Fighters at some point choose what they want out of their careers. Everyone doesn’t want to be an ATG or HOF. Thurman was unified champion and he made lots of money. So he’s accomplished a nice amount. Maybe he’s satisfied. He’s done more than 99% of the guys who have ever boxed. Goals are an individual concept.
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