The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders, Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Meldrick Taylor, Jermall and Jermell Charlo, and more.
Hello Bread, I read your mailbag every week and recommend it to my friends. I'm an old man who lives in Florida now but lived most of my life in A Jersey. A lifelong fan of boxing who used watch the Fillets fights with my Dad.
Anyway in a recent column someone asked what fight do you wish you were ringside for? There's too many to choose from so I asked myself what fight that I was ringside for would I like to revisit. It was the first Matt Franklin (before he changed his name) - Marvin Johnson fight which Matt won on a 12th round ko. It could have been fought in a phonebooth and they took turns controlling the fight. Also I thought Matt was one of the best finishers I ever saw. Once he hurt you it was over. I remember he was fighting John Conteh and losing when he hurt him and Ferdie Pacheco said "here comes the train". Thanks for letting me rant about one of my all-time favorite fighters .
Bread’s Response: Yes Sir, Saad Muhammad was a brutal finisher. I apologize to him for not listing him as one of the best finishers I’ve seen. Saad’s finishes were even more impressive because often times they were in fights he wasn’t dominating. Saad had small windows to get his guys out of there and he usually did. Man what a fighter Saad was. He’s one of the greatest action fighters I’ve ever seen.
I wanted to get your opinion on the Chavez Taylor stoppage. I know in your last mailbag you mentioned that Taylor got screwed by the ref. While I do agree that the fight should not have been stopped at the same time I have a hard time saying Richard Steele screwed him over. I feel he got unnecessary flack all those years. We have to understand this was an intense fight and he was in the middle of the heat. His main job is to make sure it’s a fair fight and for the protection of the fighters. At that moment of the knockdown he was there to make a count which he did. Next is to make sure he’s ok. Taylor did not answer him and his face looked worse for wear. Should Richard have known how much time was on the clock. I’d say yes but I don’t think it’s a travesty that he didn’t. This is before the 10 second warning and I know there was a red light flashing but at that moment he was more concerned with Taylor’s condition which I don’t blame him. So while I feel the fight should have continued can you at least in the same sentence say you don’t blame him for stopping the fight? I don’t think we should ever blame a ref for stopping a fight too soon. It’s not like Taylor wasn’t visibly hurt. I think the statement the “the ref screwed a fighter over” should actually only really be used when it’s stopped too late or when he takes a point away unwarranted. In my opinion it should not have been stopped but I don’t blame Steele for stopping it if that makes sense. Thoughts?
Bread’s Response: In my opinion this was one of the biggest controversies in boxing history. When speaking of it, it’s very important to be EXACT in the recollection and not make bland surface level statements. Minutia is important.
I watched this fight as it happened, I was in the 8th grade. Obviously I was rooting for Taylor being from Philadelphia. My initial feeling was to vomit because I was so heartbroken. As you get older sometimes we remember things wrongly so I have watched the fight several times as the years have passed. Here is my objective take as an ADULT.
It was a great fight. One of the 10 or 20 best championship fights EVER. Meldrick was scoring more points and landing some great shots. He was winning 3 out of every 4 rounds. Chavez was landing thudding single damaging blows but he wasn’t winning as many rounds.
I can remember myself getting nervous around the 10th round because Chavez was still honing in….
Meldrick got hurt in the 12th with around 20 seconds left. Chavez put together a volley and dropped him. As soon as Meldrick got dropped he immediately started to pull himself up to get on his feet. He got up between 4 and 5. Richard Steele continued to count until 8 and asked Meldrick was he ok. Meldrick looked over to his right towards Lou Duva, and gave a small nod but nothing really super obvious. Steele asked him again very fast and then stopped the fight not allowing him to answer the 2nd time. He never asked him to walk towards him. He never waited for a more obvious answer. That’s relevant because why ask the 2nd time if you aren’t going to WAIT for a response.
Meldrick Taylor was in a corner where a red light goes off indicating 10 seconds left in the round. Steele was facing that light as he counted. In Steele’s immediate interview after the fight he said that he thought Meldrick had enough and he didn’t care how much time was left. That’s also relevant because the rules state that the 12th round is the ONLY round a fighter can be saved by the BELL. So to not CARE how much time is left goes against the common rules.
After the fight Ray Leonard and Larry Merchant were hurt for Taylor. They knew what they had witnessed. Again initial impression is important. As time has passed by many have softened their stance on this stoppage on the side of safety. I have NOT.
My overall is TAKE is Lou Duva deserves a great deal of blame for being too emotional. Duva is a beloved figure in boxing but his hot head distracted Meldrick. He had no business on the ropes. He escaped criticism for years. But he made a terrible mistake that night.
I also don’t buy the Meldrick had enough statement from Richard Steele. Meldrick was taking some shots but that was the first time in the fight he was visibly hurt. That was the first knockdown of the fight. He had won 9 out of 11 rounds going into the 12th. Chavez was taking a beating too. That’s BS. That’s boxing in a highly competitive fight. Meldrick had just won the 11th round big and was even in the 12th before he got hurt.
I also don’t buy Steele didn’t know how much time was left. I don’t think he knew the exact time. But after so many years of experience he had to know that the round was closing. You can approximate certain things in your head through experience, instincts and environment. The crowd had grew restless, rooting for Chavez and the 12th round was actually exciting. They were exchanging in the 12th and it looked about even up until Meldrick got hurt. Meldrick wasn’t getting overwhelmed in the 12th. In actuality Chavez wasn’t pressing like a fighter who was down big and the announcers pointed this out. Again the perception at the time is relevant.
Another thing that stands out to me is the Tyson vs Ruddock 1 stoppage the following year. Ruddock had just had his best round of the fight in the 6th. He comes out in the 7th and he’s taking and landing big shots. A volley by Tyson buzzes him and he stumbles backwards and the fight is stopped without any conclusive or concussive blows being landed again. Tyson and Chavez were both A side Don King fighters….Both were beneficial in this tight spots. And I love them both as fighters for the record. Tyson gave Ruddock and immediate rematch and they started talking about a rematch with Taylor in the post fight interview. That should tell you something.
Chavez deserves credit for putting Taylor in that position. But Taylor deserved a chance to at least walk forward or say he was ok after such a fast prompt. Again what was the point of asking again and then waving it off. You have to give the man time to answer. But time was running out….. so……
My overall conclusion was it was a Fast, Opportunistic stoppage and Meldrick Taylor’s safety was NOT at risk because he would have never taken another blow.
I’ve said everything I can say about this fight. It bothers me like no other fight in the history of boxing.
Hope you had a great Christmas and a New Year with family.
I sincerely wish that Vergil Ortiz vs Jaron Ennis does not end up being a roadkill in the endless journey towards polarization in boxing. Having said that, I like the attitude of these up and coming fighters more than established fighters. While one may say he is not ready but Ryan Garcia cannot shut up about wanting to face Haney and Davis. Same holds true of Davis and Haney. All three show a willingness to fight that will sooner or later force their promoters to work with other promoters. Vergil Ortiz has the type of level headed attitude that any coach would appreciate.
How long will it take for these guys to catch up with the top dogs of their respective divisions, i.e., Lomachenko, Taylor, Crawford and Spence?
Bread’s Response: I think boxing fans are too impatient. Ennis and Ortiz are uber talents. Why would they fight in a non title fight this early? I’m all for the best fighting the best. But an eliminator should at least be on the line if a title isn’t. I keep reading on twitter how they should fight it’s really crazy to me that’s being suggested right now.
If they were to fight next, it would be the biggest non title fight between fighters who haven’t got a title shot that I can remember. Maybe in history. I can’t think of two undefeated fighters, so talented, fighting so young. If anyone else can please write in.
As for where they are. Ortiz has been matched tougher but Ennis is probably more talented. They just need to get ranked and become mandatories. You have to remember The 3 welterweight champions are all great fighters. So Ennis and Ortiz’s handlers may take their time putting them in title shots. Spence, Crawford and Pacquiao are HOF level talents you don’t want to play with.
I just want to touch on a few things.
Like them or not, the Charlos bring a lot of desire and "want to" into the ring, especially Jermell. Things were going South for him for a few rounds vs. Harrison because I don't think Derrick James expected Tony to press the action behind the jab and come forward the way he did. It took a few rounds for the shock of that to finally wear off, but the one thing that impressed me more than anything else is the way Jermell never lost self-belief. Even when he was losing rounds, he still threw his shots with bad intentions, believing that he would eventually get one home, and he did. Most entertaining fight of the year for me along with Inoue-Donaire. And it was the one fight FOX really, really got fans amp'd up for.
Wilder-Fury II is almost even money, which is odd considering how all over the place Fury has been since the first fight and the fact that he got busted up and slapped around a little in the Wallin fight. Based on recent form, it appears that Deontay has evolved more than Tyson has. The one thing Fury has that can't be disputed is a natural ease in the ring that allows his to be relaxed and let his shots flow effortlessly while staying off the center line. I just don't know if that will be enough in the rematch because we all know Breland will have Deontay working the body more early and trying to keep Fury's back to the ropes this time. It's a tough fight to call and one I would not wager on. I expect Wilder-Fury II to be the antithesis of Joshua-Ruiz II. In other words, even more twists and turns than the first fight.
I wasn't surprised that Canelo dropped his WBO light heavyweight belt recently. I expected it. Alvarez knows that the longer he holds that belt, the more fans and media will call for him to unify with Bivol and Beterbiev, two pretty bad match-ups for him. Bivol is a jabber with decent power and expert command of the ring who takes very little direct punishment. Beterbiev is a physical brute with a great chin, underrated jab, endless stamina, crushing power in either hand the unique ability to refuses clinches at any point in the fight <No fighter in recent memory refuses clinches as well as Artur does.> I was very impressed with his performance against Gvozdyk, a fight that was as close to 50/50 as any that's taken place this year. Canelo was wise to drop his belt and campaign at 160-168 where he won't be giving away so much size, power and endurance. His intent was to grab an easy belt in a fourth division against a very aging fighter who'd been KO'd in two of his last five fights and is fighting a slew of legal issues outside the ring. I wish fans would stop acting like Alvarez KO'd a prime Michael Spinks or Virgil Hill.
It's a disgusting travesty that Marlon 'Magic Man' Starling is not in the Boxing Hall of Fame. In fact, it's downright disgusting. Marlon wiped out killers like Lloyd Honeyghan and Simon Brown, stopped Mark Breland, fought Donald Curry on almost even terms twice and jumped two weight classes and went
twelve competitive rounds with Michael Nunn at a time when Nunn was knocking heads off shoulders. Is the reason Starling not in the Hall political? It's something that troubles me to this day, simply because as I scan the 'Modern' inductees, I see a few guys in there who could not tie this man's boxing shoe laces. In terms of "fat", I see very little of it on Marlon's resume. I'd like to hear your take on this.
- Carl in New York
Bread’s Response: Both Charlo brothers have a never say die attitude. They definitely “want to” win. In Harrison vs Charlo, Charlo was being out pointed but his will power stayed in tact. I was impressed with his character that fight. Sometimes the adjustment is not a tactical one, it’s an emotional one. Charlo knew he was in a dog fight and he kept being a dog. It’s not easy being the dog when you are on the bottom. Lot’s of fighters can be dogs when they are the one that’s doing the biting on top. Jermell showed excellent character vs Harrison. Props to him.
Wilder vs Fury II is extremely intriguing to me. I feel as though Fury is relaxed but not efficient defensively. I feel like he has to make too many moves in order to escape Wilder. He slips, slides, rolls, twist and turns. I was live at that fight and Wilder was stepping into fast ball after fast ball and he was just missing. I feel like Fury is physically stronger than Wilder and he can bully fight him and try to back him up a little. By moving away so much in the 2nd fight, it will give Wilder more time to compute his movements. Once that happens then boom.
I know what style Wilder will fight. But I’m not sure how Fury will fight. Fury had success in the last round attacking Wilder after the knockdown. I can’t wait.
Before you suggest that Canelo is ducking work at 175 I have to say I disagree. When a smaller fighter rises in weight, sometimes he uses clever matchmaking. I’ve seen fighters rise to do one off fights. There is nothing wrong with that.
I do agree with everything you said about Bivol and Beterbiev. But I would favor Canelo to beat Bivol. And I would favor Beterbiev to beat Canelo. Beterviev is awesome at denying a CLINCH. That tells me a lot. One is he has tremendous upper body strength. Specifically, arms, back and core. It also tells me he has great stamina. Sometimes fighters allow themselves to be tied up. Last but not least he has a great desire to punish his opponent. It’s frustrating watching a fighter you root for accept clinch after clinch. Rooting for Beterbiev is easy when it comes to that.
Marlon Starling was a tremendous fighter. He is definitely HOF worthy. He should be on the ballot but he’s not a lock. He lost to Curry twice and it took Curry forever to get in. Starling had more longevity than Curry and he outperformed him vs Honeyghan and Nunn but Curry beat him twice and I think Curry had a higher peak. Curry also won a title at 154.
All in all Starling was the real deal. He’s one of those guys who sort of gets lost in the sauce. He wasn’t a dominant fighter but he was elite and he could fight any style. He only lost one fight by UD. All of his other losses were by MD or SD. That should tell you something. He didn’t dominate Simon Brown he only beat him by SD but nevertheless that wins looks great as time went on. Brown went on to unify and win a title at 154. It can be argued that Brown actually had a better career than Starling.
But since we are talking about Starling I have no problem if he got in the HOF. I think he was a little inconsistent and he was never a mainstream star so that hurts him. But he was a real fighter. He fought murderous fights. He was never an easy out. He had an adaptable style and he was tough as nails. He’s this era’s Shawn Porter.
It looks like Canelo is going after bjs in his next fight? What kind of chance do you give bjs? There’s no way I see Saunders knocking canelo out and I can’t see him totally outclassing canelo to take a decision. I think canelo is too good of a boxer to be outboxed clean by anyone and can’t see his chin giving way to the guys at 168 and below. How do you see the fight going?
My take is Saunders will start well, use his fast feet and quick mind to take some early rounds. With his apparent lack of discipline combined with Canelo’s brain and timing I see Alvarez taking over down the stretch potentially with a late stoppage.
For a long time we’ve talked about Canelo fighting guys in the weight classes above him. Out of all the guys below 160 (realistically 154 and Spence) who would you give the best chance of beating him?
Devin Haney vs Teofimo Lopez
‘Boots’ Ennis vs Vergil Ortiz
They fight this Saturday. Who would you tip to win?
Bread’s Response: I will give Canelo major props if he fights Saunders. Saunders has a style you don’t pick. But I would favor Canelo to beat him. He’s just the better more consistent fighter.
The best chance to beat Canelo below 160. Hmmm….Let’s see. I would say Julian Williams.
Haney and Boots if you force me to pick.
1- How do you see a Crawford/Spence match up ending? I know you call it a true 50/50. Seems to me that Spence is having some of that hype wear down (similar to GGG once he fought Jacobs) but Crawford might be too small for that division? Thoughts?
2- Speaking of GGG, how much of this decline do you think is mental? I haven't really seen one boxing article address this possibility. He's old and father time escapes no one, yes, but just attributing the decline to that seems, possibly, lazy. His reaction time is definitely slower but I'd argue what's driving my question is that his fundamentals seem to be slipping. Those fundamentals were what set up his power... which, should be the last attribute that leaves you, as a boxer. And that would seem to imply that mentally, he just isn't committed the way he used to be. In the event of a trilogy with Canelo, I know you've been on record to say that you think GGG is trending towards a stoppage, which I'll admit looks more and more likely with each fight... but how possible is it that his heart hasn't been in it the last few fights and if he rededicates himself to this craft, we might see another close, controversial, 12 round fight?
3- How do you think Usyk will fare with the HWs? Personally see him knocking out everyone but Fury. Thoughts?
Thanks in advance. Hope all has been well.
Bread’s Response: I don’t think Crawford is too small for Spence. I think Crawford is smaller than Spence but not TOO small. There is a difference. Crawford forced himself to make 135. He was a really a 140. Spence appears to get heavier than Crawford in between fights. Spence looks like he walks around at 175-80. Crawford appears to be 165-70 range. But Crawford is similar in height and reach. Spence is only slightly more dense. As they make weight at 147 I think Crawford will have an easier time. I wouldn’t be so sure that Spence has a weight advantage.
I think it’s a great fight and they have to settle it in the ring. I’m not going to break it down because I don’t think it will happen this year.
Most declines are more mental than physical. GGG is just getting older. It’s simple. He’s a 37 year old, high contact pressure fighter, who trained in the altitude during his prime.
I don’t like the fact that Usyk has been inactive since moving up. He lost his momentum since the tournament….
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