By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as the biggest subject in the sport - Canelo Alvarez's drug tests and suspension, the subject of clenbuterol, heavyweight Ike Ibeabuchi, and much more.
First off, I've been reading your mailbag articles on Boxingscene for a while and love your insight and fight breakdowns. My question is in regards to the GGG/Canelo rematch provided it still takes place and nothing new comes up. We all know how anger can have a negative effect on everything. In a fight, anger can negatively effect stamina and cause a fighter to not fight intelligently or follow their game plan. Both Canelo and GGG both appear extremely anger for their own reasons as a result of Canelo's positive tests. In your opinion of the two, who do you favor for this to not negatively effect their performance? Based on his usual demeanor, I'd have to favor GGG because he's typically like a robot. Cold and calculated, and systematically breaking down his opponents.
Your thoughts Bread?
Bread’s Response: Good question my friend. First off Canelo has no reason to be angry with Golovkin. He has some nerve, geez. GGG didn’t feed him the alleged tainted meat. If anyone has a right to be angry it’s GGG.
Both fighters have shown stamina issues in the past so being angry can cause both problems. I think being angry only benefits you early. Sort of like a Mike Tyson or Gerald McClellan type of blitz strategy. But after the fight settles down, being focused and intense is much better than being angry. So being angry will only benefit the fighter who will go for an early ko and get it. If not then it will hurt both of them.
Canelo is suspended pending a hearing on April 10th. Can he still be tested while he is suspended and is there a real risk the fight gets delayed to September? That'd be a whole year since they fought. If so, Golovkin will be a crippled old man by the time they rematch. Also, who does Golovkin fight in the meantime? BJS? Is that feasible? Yoy gotta wonder what options Golovkin is willing to get out of bed for at this twilight stage in his career. How does that fight between GGG and BJS look if that fight happens?
Bread’s Response: I assume Alvarez will be tested during his suspension. Otherwise the suspension would be counterproductive. I think this fight has a real risk of being cancelled all together. Alvarez failed two test! It’s hard to get around that. I don’t want to get into culpability because that can be debated. But what can’t be debated is Clenbuterol does benefit athletes. He had it in his system. So therefore he reaped the benefits knowingly or unknowingly of a banned substance while training for this fight.
It doesn’t sit well to me that him passing test recently keeps getting brought up. Of course his system is clear now. The whole point of cycling is to be clean at a certain point. However it doesn’t mean he’s clean. I just don’t know how you spin this.
I really feel bad for GGG. I think he has been getting screwed over for a really long time as far as legacy defining fights. He was blatantly ducked for 5 years! While He was in his 30s. Now he’s closer to 40 than he is 30 and he has go through this BS. I really don’t know who he’s going to fight May 5th. Or if he can get up for another opponent. I think that’s big reason for him wanting to fight Canelo because Canelo motivates him. This is one big mess and it’s the reason why people shy away from VADA. It’s the reason why I suspect any A side fighter of cheating who does not consistently PAY for VADA. Not just enrolling in the Clean Testing Program but PAID VADA. VADA is good for the safety of the fighters but VADA is not good for the economy of boxing. They have stopped some big fights from happening. Thank god for VADA. Thank god that they put safety over money.
If BJ Saunders fights at the same level he fought David Lemiuex, GGG will have a nightmare on his hands. That’s not an easy fight and Saunders and Alvarez are polar opposites. So GGG would have to readjust his entire approach. Again GGG is getting screwed over every which way.
Canelo postive. Not going to lie I have been a fan of Golovkin for some time. However, I'll admit that even without PEDs Canelo/GGG fight is 50/50.
I want to point out a few things I find quite amusing after Canelo's positive test:
- "gonna give him the benefit of the doubt". You can give the benefit of the doubt to a highly suspicious athlete who did not test positive yet
- WBC and WBA both so quick with their "support and total trust in his innocence"
- testing positive before a rematch against the baddest opponent of his career
- everyone supporting Canelo saying "it's such a common, well-known issue with Mexico beef, and it's very likely: 30% of cows are reported to have clenbuterol". If it's so well-known and common issue, his team would have to have such a low IQ not to warn Canelo. Also, if it's so likely (the 30%), the statistical probability of passing the previous tests are very low. If they are blaming the beef, are they saying it's the first time he consumed the beef?
- if it is true that Clenbuterol is advantageous even off-camp (allowing to come into camp not so heavy), then doesn't that mean Canelo has already benefited from it?
The bottom line is if Canelo was just a title holder with an average purse of 50K/fight or if he was in a different sport, he would have been suspended, fined, and stripped of his title.
Gassiev. Did you notice Gassiev's combinations and the way he deceives with first couple of punches (kinda stops half-way through) before delivering the last punch from an unexpected side or angle with an unconventional tempo/timing? (sorry, I wish I could explain better, but English is my third language). Do your expert eyes see anything special the way Gassiev delivers his punches/combinations?
I think that despite Usyk's excellent defense such combinations with deceiving timing will allow Gassiev to land cleanly but not too often because of Usyk's superior footwork. The question will be is Usyk's chin solid enough to take occasional clean shots.
With regards from Mongolia, Amarbayasgalan.
Bread’s Response: Before I heard about the positive test for Canelo I thought the same thing. I thought he had a really good chance of beating GGG in the rematch. Now with the use of PEDs I think his chances get better not worse.
Yes I give highly suspicious athletes the benefit of doubt who have NOT tested positive. But Canelo was a highly suspicious guy who did test positive….I will say that the he deserves his due process with the tainted meat excuse. If you jump the gun too much and he proves it was tainted meat then you will look foolish. So Let’s see how that plays out.
I agree again. If tainted meat is such a well known problem in Mexico then why eat the meat in the first place. My goodness that’s the question of the year. On top of that other well known boxers have tested positive for the same exact thing. Clenbuterol….Another great point. I assume this is not the first time he ate beef. So to add to your point, why is he testing positive now facing the toughest fight of his career?
Your last point is the biggest to in my opinion. If Clenbuterol is used to cut weight and maintain muscle. And it allowed him to go into his 8 week camp lighter and fresher, then he has already benefited from it being in his system. I’ve been saying the same thing. No matter how many times Canelo test negative up until May 5th, GGG will face a PED aided fighter if they fight on that date. This is bad all the way around.
Murat Gassiev has beautiful punch release, deliver and selection. I have also noticed he throws touch and change up shots. But I will say that stylistically Usyk is tough for him. Usky has a probing style with mobile feet and punchers like Gassiev who like to get up on you have trouble with that style. Watch Usyk’s fight with Beiterbiev in the Olympics. Usyk was dropped by a body shot but Beiterbiev had a hard time getting his pound of flesh in. Gassiev will have 12 rounds to do so but stylistically the fight favors Usyk.
I hope you are doing well!
Just general thoughts... Every fighter when asked claims that he is a clean fighter and does not use PED. If so why wouldn't they do VADA testing and prove that? Is it unaffordable for most of A and B levels fighters ?
I know that GGG is on VADA testing, so was Andre Ward and several others. So they cleared themselves of any doubt.
Are there any chance that in the future there will be one governing body for boxing, say in the US, that will govern the sport of boxing, like mandatory testings, rulings etc.
Who do you favor GGG-Ward at their primes at 164 lbs? And how do you the fight going?
Bread’s Response: I ask this same question myself. If you’re clean and you’re making high 6 figures then why don’t you sign up for VADA and pay for it like Deontay Wilder does. It’s not the same as entering the Clean Testing Program where you are not guaranteed to be tested at all. The sad part is you have many members of the media who are smart enough and educated enough to know the difference and they never ask this question.
VADA is very affordable to the A side elite fighters. To test VADA for a fight it cost between 10k-20k. Most of these fighters have 50k on their wrist and neck! I just don’t get it. Why would anyone trust their opponent to not cheat so much where they didn’t want to drug test them if they had the power to do so.
When someone gets killed in the boxing ring by a suspected cheater then year around testing will be mandated by top fighters. It’s really that simple.
Nonito Donaire is the standard bearer for this era. He won Fighter of the Year and went on his best career run testing 24/7/365. When historians look back on this era, he will be the cleanest greatest fighter. Not the greatest fighter. But the cleanest greatest fighter. No one tested at Donaire’s level.
164lbs is the problem for me in analyzing this fight. I don’t know if Ward can make 164. That wouldn’t be easy for him. So I can’t say who would win because I have never seen Ward fight elite opponents at such a low weight.
Good work. Great insights. I have some questions:
1. You manage to be both truthful and well-considered in your opinions. Still, you do a pretty good job of talking about stuff that fans will mention but people in the business won't. Are you ever worried that candour and honesty will work against you in this cruel mistress of a business?
2. You make use of some descriptive and apt vernacular, however, sometimes I don't quite know what you mean (probably because in my time boxing my coaches would use similar but also slihhtly different phrases). Can you elaborate on the following:
- when a fighter "catches his rhythm off the bounce," loke the way you described Cotto
- what about when a fighter "waits" on another? Is that to throw a counter?
- "stepping" into a power shot, vs getting power off a "bounce", like the way you compared Louis to Holyfield
- when a fighter "catches his rhythm"
- "carrying" a fighter, late or early
- "blue chip"
- when you refer to a fighter as a "gun"
3. Do you prefer the left hook to be thrown with a vertical or horizontal wrist? How about the hand position on the right hook and overhand?
4. People call this HW (and Wlad's) era weak but how many great HW eras were there really? 30's, 60/70's and 90's? And really the thirties had a lot of names but how many were truly elite like Louis? Is it fair/proper to judge a fighter for fighting an era weak?
5. Now that I'm think about the 30's, how about the hypothetical match up of Louis vs Loughran? Who wins and why?
6. What does GGG do if the May 5th Canelo fight is cancelled? Do you think it actually gets cancelled? NSAC might want to look like it takes things seriously considering Adelaide the "dodo" Byrd and then Canelo pissing hot. They may want to show they aren't a joke commission owned by GBP. GGG still wants to fight on that date but I don't like it. It means a gamble for GGG against a weird fighter he'll have to adjust to mid camp. He's trying to unify (lineal from Canelo or WBO from Saunders) so I don't see many fight making sense, but also, he's 36, he's gotta stay busy. Thoughts?
Bread’s Response: 1. No because I’m always respectful, I don’t lie and believe it or not I use discretion. There are things I can say that I never do.
2. When a fighter catches his rhythm off the bounce. What I’m describing is how he gets into his groove. Fighters skip rope often to music. And fighters who fight off the bounce usually look rhythmic when they start landing good shots and they get their opponent’s timing down. Watch Holyfield, Norris, Cotto and Pacquiao. All of them caught their rhythm off the bounce.
A fighter “waiting” is simple. He’s waiting on the other fighter to make a move. He’s being reactive instead of proactive. Sometimes it works often times it doesn’t.
Step. Some fighters fight off the step. Like Joe Louis. He simply steps into you with his power shots. No bouncey movements. James Toney also fought off the step more than he did a bounce.
Blue Chip is a guy who is regarded as truly elite at whatever stage he’s at. For example Mark Breland was considered a blue chip prospect. It’s a recruiting term for young talent. Another example is right at this moment Ryan Garcia is considered a blue chip prospect.
Catching your rhythm means when a fighter gets his timing down he needs to really execute what he’s trying to do to his opponent. Watch Pacquiao vs Oscar. He caught his rhythm early and Oscar never had a chance.
A “GUN” is a guy who doesn’t look for matchmakers or promoters to protect them from tough fights. For example Muhammad Ali was the ultimate gun. He would fight anybody, anywhere, multiple times. Chocalitito is the GUN of this era.
I prefer a left hook with the thumb up because it’s hard to double a thumb down hook. So vertical.
Right hook the same way. Overhand right thumb down.
4. It may not be fair to judge a fighter on his era but it is relevant. Competition faced is extremely important. In Wlad’s case it becomes more relevant because he was a 96 Olympian. He turned pro in the middle of an Golden Era but he developed slow and never faced any of the top guys close to their primes. It hurts his legacy. The 30’s had plenty of HOFs. Man for man it was a better era than the one Wlad ruled.
5. Louis vs Loughran would have been a great fight. Loughran was every bit as good as Billy Conn. But Joe Louis is a hard man to deal with for 15 rounds. I say he clips between 10-12.
6. I have no idea how this things plays out with GGG vs Canelo. But I do think Canelo is in trouble. He really screwed up a big event and there has to be plenty of people who are privately upset at him. I don’t want to speculate too much I just hope GGG gets a fair deal.
Fantastic and insightful column as always. I just wanted your thoughts on the following fighters who had potential ATG careers but fell away before they realized their full potential, who would have been legacy fights for them at their peaks and how they would have fared and any other interesting info you may have on each of them
I was a particular fan of Ibeabuchi when he was active and thought he would have beat all the late 90’s heavyweights not named Lewis.
Harry Simon was also a great fighter who seems to be largely forgotten now even though he has some good names on his record including Winky Wright.
Bread’s Response: Ibeabuchi was younger and fresher than Holyfield, Tyson and Lewis. He was further along as a prospect than both Klitschko’s. He already beat Chris Byrd and David Tua. I think he had a great chance to defeat everybody. But who knows how the totality of the fights would have affected him. Lennox Lewis would have been his super fight. I say pick em.
Francisco Bojado was supremely gifted. But I think he just didn’t train properly. He would get heavy in between fights and he lost a couple of times. Bojado just never really applied his skills to his talent. I think he was what he was. Ibeabuchi went to jail and never lost a fight. He went crazy. Bojado had a chance he just couldn’t get past the prospect stage before he started losing. Bojado is the reason why I don’t anoint young fighters on the eye ball test anymore.
Edwin Valero is a lot like Ibeabuchi. He reached a really high level and his boxing career was cut short. His life actually. I remember them talking about a Tim Bradley fight. I thought it was 50/50 at the time. The superfight would have been Pacquiao. I just don’t know. Valero was that good. For arguments sake I take Pac.
Harry Simon was a well rounded fighter who we needed to see vs elite opponents to appreciate. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see enough. You may not know this but Simon is still active and still undefeated. He’s like 30-0 as a cruiserweight. I thought Simon was really good but I wasn’t blown away by him. His legacy fight would have been Tito Trinidad. I would’ve taken Tito all day everyday and twice on Sundays.
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