by Stephen "Breadman" Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling numerous topics, like the ongoing controversy with Canelo Alvarez's positive drug tests ahead of his rematch with Gennady Golovkin, several fantasy fights, thoughts on Virgil Hunter as a trainer, WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez and more.
First off just wanted to say your tactics of comparing upcoming fights to historical ones is amazing and something I add in to my own predictions as well now. I've written in about you not giving Parker enough of a chance and after your comparison to Forest-Mosley I see exactly what you are seeing now.
I know you don't ever like bashing trainers and I don't really either because I think sometimes a fighter and trainer magically click at the top level and aside from that there is only so much you can do with certain fighters. But leading into the Dirrell fight I just kept thinking about how overrated Virgil Hunter is. Aside from Andre Ward I see very little progress anyone makes with him and I think that is due to Andre being a genius in the ring and outside of it.
He seems like a great guy and someone who could help navigate a fighter who may be on a bad path to a better option which makes him a very valuable motivator. But as far as trainers he is probably listed by most fans as a top 5 trainer which is something I just don't see at all. I kind of see trainers like politicians in that the ones you see the most you automatically pick as the best options. I have about 10 knowledgeable boxing fans and only a couple have heard of you although all of them know J-Rock. I tell them about you often and the couple that know you are mainly because I told them who you were when you and J-Rock were commentating a few times, which honestly was very good work by BOTH of you.
Like I said I know you don't bash trainers so I'll do it for you, your insight and ability to read fights and tactics is levels above him and it's tragic that you don't get more respect as a top trainer and boxing mind. You could give almost any trainer this forum to speak on and it would be uninformed, biased, and emotional and that may get the headlines but many of us just want the honest and real, which is another comparison this makes to politics.
My question is who are your top, non-mainstream, trainers you've spoken boxing with on a deeper level. Where are they from and do they have any current upcoming boxers that you're looking out for or do they deserve to have some special talent coming to look for them?
Bread’s Response: Yes certain styles and tendencies defeat other ones. It’s not an exact science but there is usually a historical reference that can give you insight on a fight. It’s about 75%-80% accurate.
I have a couple of kids I’m working with. But I don’t want to name them because it will add pressure they don’t need at this time.
Top Non Mainstream trainers…. Ok let’s see. I think John Pullman is pretty good. He trains guys out of the LA area. Bozy Ennis is also good. He’s been around for some time now but he will hit the main stream soon. His son is phenomenal. There is a trainer who trains out of Newark, NJ named Dwight. I don’t know his last name but this dude is smooth. He gives great instructions. I worked against him in the gym. Hector Bermudez from Boston is also the deal. He did great work with Javier Fortuna against Robert Easter. Bermudez has a good stable of talent. Brian Mcntyre and Red Spikes out of Nebraska train Terence Crawford. I used to talk with them before Crawford blew up. Those guys are really, really smart. Jason Galarza out of Florida.is also very good. He trains Erickson Lubin. I know Lubin lost but that doesn’t take away from Galarza’s ability. He knows his stuff. Adrian Davis is a trainer out of the DC area. He’s an older gentleman and he’s been around but no one really talks about him. I talked to him once when we had fighters on the same card. He knows every trick in the book. Andre Rozier and Gary Starks out NY team up to do a great job. There is also Luis Ortiz’s head trainer. I don’t know his name. But I have seen his work. That guy knows what he’s doing. I’m sure I forgot some good non main stream trainers. Sorry guys.
Thank you for the compliment but I need to do more and I will get more credit.
As far as Virgil Hunter I will respectfully disagree. One of the reasons I don’t bash trainers is because if I have never had the chance to talk Xs and Os with them or watch them work up close and personal then it’s not fair to judge them on a small microcosm of the fight. The trainer does 8 weeks of work with a fighter and we judge them on 36 minutes of work. I have seen many trainers get overrated and underrated because of that.
Hunter is one of the few guys I’ve had a chance to speak with about the technical aspects of boxing, and I’m telling you he’s good. Very good. I don’t think Andre Ward’s success is based on Hunter just getting a “special” fighter. I think Hunter cultivated Ward into that special fighter. Ward wins fights on technical ability, adjustments and conditioning. Most of his fights go the distance. You have to give Hunter the trainer credit for that. Ward does have freakish concentration. Maybe he was born with that maybe he wasn’t, I don’t know. Nevertheless most of Ward’s success comes from taught things that he applies in fights.
I know Hunter has had mixed results with getting top mainstream guys. But most trainers have if you really observe closely. I won’t name the trainers or fighters they have come up short with because that’s not fair to anyone. But if you research you will see I’m correct.
I think Virgil Hunter is an excellent coach. The one thing he’s guilty of is he’s compassionate. He takes fighters that are severely flawed, coming off of terrible losses, and who are past their primes. I’m not saying you can’t work with fighters who fit that criterion but the best thing about it is the check. Trust me it’s easier to work with a blank canvas. A younger guy, who’s mind is not molested. A young guy who has not had so much success where he is stuck in his ways. Now young guys have problems too don’t get me wrong. But an older guy coming off of a tough loss that you don’t know personally, is insanely tough to work with. I’ve tried it….
Hunter took in Andre Berto who was already flawed and coming off a terrible beating by Robert Guerrero. What could Hunter have done with Berto? Welterweight is stacked eventually you have to fight a tough fight. I think they performed on the level together. Not over or under. In fact Berto is the only fighter Hunter has lost with that was the favorite in a fight. Berto shouldn’t have lost to Jesus Soto Karass. I will admit that. Berto was the superior talent in that fight and despite an injury most would assume he can beat Soto Karass. But can we really blame Hunter for the losses vs Floyd Mayweather and Shawn Porter? Porter and Mayweather are tough fights for Berto at any stage of his career with or without Hunter.
Amir Khan. I think Hunter did a solid job with Amir Khan. Khan’s performances vs Devon Alexander and Luis Collazo were among the best of his career. He was winning rounds vs Canelo in a fight he should have never taken. Khan’s peak performances were Maliggnaggi, Judah, Alexander and Collazo. He had some peak fights with Roach and he had some with Hunter. He’s always had chin and concentration issues. I say Hunter was solid with Khan.
Andrew Fonfara. Fonfara was brutally kod by Joe Smith before he came to Hunter. Fonfara was solid in his prime but he’s been through the grinder. Hunter gets him and he has a good victory over Chad Dawson and they put him in with Adonis Stevenson. Fonfara took a terrible beating the 1st time they fought and sometimes a fighter can’t go through that again. So he got clipped. If Stevenson fought him then you know he was vulnerable. Fonfara didn’t perform well. But I don’t know if you can blame Hunter for that. Fonfara had 5 losses before he met Hunter.
Alfredo Angulo. Angulo fought the fight of his life vs Erislandy Lara under Hunter. Sometimes we look at results. But I look at performance. I think Angulo over performed in that fight. I also think he shot his entire career in that fight and he never looked the same again. I would have liked to see Angulo perform a little better after the Lara fight. But he was shot…
Abner Mares. Mares stayed with Hunter a short time. They didn’t have a chance to peak out together so his work with Mares is inconclusive.
Now we go onto Andre Dirrell. Dirrell was just kod by Uzgateui. It didn’t count officially but it was a ko. Dirrell has always had confidence issues. In all of his big fights there seems to be an air of controversy and an energy of chaos with him that he creates. The flopping vs Froch, the late hit vs Abraham, the late hit vs Uzgateui, and the surrender vs Uzgateui. Hunter was begging the Dirrell to keep fighting. But Uzgateui was too much. I picked Dirrell to win because I thought his pedigree would be too much. I was severely wrong! But Dirrell was the underdog for a reason. That was also the 1st time I picked one of Hunter’s guys to win and they didn’t.
If Hunter was losing fights as a 3 to 1 favorite consistently then I would agree with you. But every fight he’s lost was a fight where his guy was an underdog except Berto vs Soto Karass. The odds are what they are for a reason. Vegas is rarely wrong.
I think Hunter is too compassionate and he takes on guys that are damaged. But here is his dilemma. He has a right to make his money. You may not know this but 99% of trainers never make 10k in one night. Hunter is taking jobs where he can consistently make 20k and higher in one night’s work. Consider that?
I try to be fair and objective with my observations. And I see a coach in Hunter who did an all time job with an all time great in Andre Ward. I see a trainer who started in his late 30’s and now he’s in his mid 60’s. Because of his work with Ward, fighters flock to him and his gym. He probably worked the first 20 years of training for free. Now he has a chance to make some money by taking on jobs that are most likely dead in jobs. What do you do? It’s a tough question for all of us. I don’t think it makes him a bad trainer. I also notice that after his fighters lose they usually don’t leave him or publicly blame him. That tells me something. Most fighters in this era leave the trainer after a loss. Hunter’s guys usually stick around….Think about that write back and give me your thoughts.
In your mind's eye, how do you predict the following will/would play out (some hypothetical, some not):
1. Lomachenko vs Linares.
2. Charlo vs Jacobs (it's gonna happen I bet).
3. Parker vs Joshua
4. Mikey Garcia vs Terrence Crawford - if it were at 140
5. Bivol vs Jack
6. Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua
Thanks for your time.
Bread’s Response: After a flashy an exciting first 3 rounds. Loma takes over on Linares. Hurts him to the body. And stops him late. Loma’s mind is the only thing more advanced than his talent. Linares has the talent but he doesn’t have the mind. The mind last longer than the body.
Charlo vs Jacobs is a tough fight for me to call. Sometimes I take Charlo. Sometimes I take Jacobs. It’s a real 50/50 fight. Stylistically the fight favors Jacobs. Jacobs is faster, he’s more mobile, he’s fought at a higher level and Charlo is easy to hit. But there are tangible qualities that Charlo has that could trouble Jacobs. Charlo can punch and he can take a punch. Charlo is eating through punches these days and he can deliver a big shot. Jacobs has shown the propensity to get dropped and be hurt…I think this fight will also come down to the negotiations behind he scenes. Gerrymandering. Where the fight will be? Who will be the A side? I assume Jacobs. And various other things. Right now I say even money fight.
I like Joshua over Parker. I think Joshua is the better boxer, he’s more experienced and I think his jab will disrupt Parker’s speed. I think Joshua will look great vs Parker.
Garcia vs Crawford would be a super fight with Hof implications on it. If it happened at 140 I would pick Crawford. I think he’s a little too long, versatile and athletic but Garcia could fool me. Garcia seems to adjust to whatever is in front of him no matter what. Would have loved to see it.
Bivol vs Jack is a tough fight for me to call because I want to see more of Bivol. Right now my hunch would be Bivol by decision.
Fury vs Joshua. I would take Joshua if it happened now. Fury has had lots of trouble outside of the ring and he hasn’t fought in 3 years. I couldn’t pick him if Joshua was his 1st fight back.
Why do you think HBO have decided to buy the TV rights to the Whyte Vs Browne Fight? This seems to not even be being talked about in the UK. Do you think HBO have lost 2018 already to Showtime and ESPN?
Bread’s Response: Showtime is on fire and so is ESPN. I wouldn’t say HBO has lost but they need some big fights. I think they bought Whyte vs Browne because they need an opponent for one of the big names in the division.
What's up Bread? I was a little discouraged when it seemed the fight might not end up getting made but I'm pretty excited for Lomachenko vs Linares now that it's official. What are your thoughts on the fight? I think Linares will be his toughest test to date but at this point I can't really see anyone 140 or less beating Loma, not named Crawford. Last time I wrote in we briefly touched on Gary Russell Jr. He's one of my favorite current fighters but why the hell is he so inactive? It's like dejavu of the Dirrells.. any idea when we might see him next? Speaking of the Dirrells, I think unfortunately Andre is done at the top level and it's a shame he never lived up to his true potential. Your thoughts? Well, lastly I'm sure you knew I'd have to throw in some more mythical matchups so here they are, some of which actually could have happened but didn't, and some with guys from different eras (prime vs prime obviously):
Jermain Taylor vs Peter Quillin
Keith Thurman vs Ricardo Mayorga
Erislandy Lara vs Winky Wright
Bernard Hopkins vs James Toney
James Kirkland vs Curtis Stevens
Roy Jones Jr vs Evander Holyfield
Juan Manuel Marquez vs Erik Morales
David Tua vs Wladimir Klitschko
Joel Casamayor vs Jorge Linares
Shane Mosley vs Corey Spinks
Hasim Rachman vs Alexander Povetkin
Vernon Forrest vs Miguel Cotto
- B from NY
Bread’s Response: I love the Loma vs Linares match up. But I can’t pick Linares over Loma. I think Loma has unique physical strength. I think he has unique concentration ability. I think he has unique footwork. I think he has unique adaptability. Linares is a talented dude with superior technical ability but there is a reason his fights look harder than Loma’s do. I like Loma in a good fight.
Taylor over Quillin. Taylor’s a little too busy with his jab. And his pedigree is higher. I can’t see Quillin taking a prime Carl Froch to the brink.
Thurman would outbox Mayorga. Mayorga is better when you stand and fight him. Thurman doesn’t stand and fight.
Wright is too strong for Lara. He would walk him down and win a tough decision.
Toney over Hopkins. Hopkins had a better career and he lasted longer. But Toney had a higher peak. On their best night ever I think Toney was a little bit better. Say Toney by close decision.
Flip a coin with Stevens and Kirkland. Today I say Kirkland is winning on points because of his workrate and he gets clipped.
Holyfield over Jones. Peak for Holyfield was about 87-92. He was too big, too busy and too fundamentally sound. Jones went to the ropes too much and Holyfield would hold him there like he did Carlos De Leon. Watch that fight.
Marquez nips Morales at the finish line in a great fight. Marquez may have been too clean of a puncher. But it would be close.
Wlad plays it safe and wins a boring decision over Tua.
Casamayor was too crafty for Linares. It would look like Linares is winning until he starts bleeding and wilting late.
Spinks would be in the fight but I think Mosley may have punched too hard for Spinks. I say Mosley stops him in 8.
It’s hard for me to rate Povetkin. I don’t know what he did on or off PEDs. I’m serious when I say that. The pick is probably Povetkin but it’s too hard to call.
Forest vs Cotto is tough. Most people will take Forest because of his height and reach. I think Forest was a terrific fighter but I also think he had Mosley’s number. He never looked as good as he did vs Mosley before or after their 2 fight series. Cotto had a great jab vs Taller fighters and he had a tough sway rhythm to catch. Forest was also outboxed as an elite amateur vs Kostya Tszyu, someone who is similar in stature to Cotto. I say this is a 3 fight series. All close drawish fights.
We know how tough and exciting Valdez is. No doubt he has skills. No doubt he has a huge heart and is willing to fight in the pocket to excite the fans. But how do you see him doing against the other top guys at 126lbs? Santa Cruz Russell Jr Frampton ect.
Always interested in your opinion Bread
Bread’s Response: Oscar Valdez can really fight. He’s must see tv. But in my opinion his game will have to evolve if he wants to beat the elite guys and have longevity. Despite a nice ko% I don’t view him as huge puncher I view him as a good puncher. Valdez will have to figure out a way to win fights without leaving a part of himself in the ring. Sort of like how Marco Antonio Barrera did. If he can do that he will tough on the guys you named. If he doesn’t evolve, I think he needs to take the big fights right now, at his apex. Waiting around will only push him past his peak.
Golovkin seems really upset with the positive test and many seem to blame him. You have always said GGG was a clean fighter. I respect that about you. I feel like this is a big cluster fuck. If GGG fights him and loses people will say he should have cancelled the fight. If he wins he was supposed to win anyway and it will give Canelo the payday he doesn’t deserve. What would you do if you were GGG?
Bread’s Response: I can’t say what I would do if I was GGG. I don’t know everything that is going on behind the scenes. What I do know is that it’s ridiculous that people are blaming GGG. The guy is pissed off. He’s a human being. When something like this happens all sorts of emotions go through your mind. Golovkin is probably wondering if Canelo used PEDs for their first fight. He’s most likely pissed at anyone who is supporting Canelo. GGG knows he had a tough fight in their first fight. He felt those punches. GGG knows he’s 36. GGG knows he won the first fight. He knows he’s the B side. Most importantly fighters know when they are clean or not. So GGG most likely feels like he is the older clean fighter and he’s facing a younger guy who just tested positive. I would assume his mind is all over the place.
Golovkin is also going through moral dilemma. If he pulls out of the fight he loses his career high payday at 36. I’m not even sure he can get his camp money back if he pulls out. If the fight gets cancelled he can but fights of this magnitude don’t get cancelled. GGG is not a scientist. He doesn’t know how much Canelo benefited from Clenbuterol 3 months out from the fight. It’s a tough position to be in.
So Golovkin is upset and he’s saying some things to the media. I’m not saying he’s 100% correct but I am saying it’s 100% understandable. Most people in boxing don’t care about cheating. They only care when someone gets caught. It’s a difference. Golovkin's health and legacy is on the line, so he's lashing out..
I still don’t know what GGG should do but I do believe whole heartedly he’s a great clean fighter in an era of dirty ones. I hope this thing gets worked out and more importantly I hope we find out what really happened. My mother used to tell me the “The Truth only comes one way.” Winstill Churchill once said” I lie gets half way around the world, before the Truth has a chance to get its pants on.” Golovkin, the fans and the sport of boxing deserve the Truth.
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