The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Jaron Ennis, the upcoming pay-per-view fights with the Charlo brothers, the career of Michael Spinks, the death of Alan Minter, Canelo's pound-for-pound spot, and more.
I’m sure, being around combat sports, you are familiar with Bruce Lee’s famous mantra “Be Water”. I will also assume you know that Lee, for years, sought to craft a martial art that many have defined as “a style without a style”.
Who are some boxers you think come close to having a style without a style?
At the risk of overgeneralization, there are some guys you can label as a “brawler”, “boxer”, “puncher”. But who are some you think defy simple convention? Maybe they’re too rugged to be considered a pure boxer, or too graceful to be cast as a crude slugger, not quite a boxer-puncher either... you get the idea.
I’m sure there’s never going to be this true style without a style… but are there some you’ve seen who come close? Guys who follow Lee’s instructions and act like water?
Bread’s Response: This is a great question!
Yes I actually have 3 fighters that stand out the most to me as WATER FIGHTERS. That is going to be my NEW TERM for fighters with hybrid styles that get misappropriated.
Marvin Hagler is the pioneer of WATER fighters. Because Hagler had a rugged intimidating bald head, scored lots of kos and had an iron chin he was looked at as a pressure fighting destroyer. He could be that but he was much more. Hagler was more of a hard nosed technician than he was a pressure fighter. Hagler actually carved up fighters who pressed him. He was just as much as a boxer as he was a SEEK & DESTROY guy. See his fights with Tony Sibson and Mustafa Hamsho. Hagler relied on a hard jab, a high work rate and versatility. But because he scored so many kos, he was sort of labeled wrong.
The Hearns and Mugabi fights are what he’s remembered most by and he was a destroyer in those fights. So everyone views him as that. But if you look at his prime fights vs Cyclone Hart, Bennie Brisco and Alan Minter he was a hybrid guy. In fact Hagler didn’t really cut the ring off. He walked you down. It’s a little different. Walking guys down worked for Hagler because he was always trying land his gazelle JAB. You can tell the difference between a walk down fighter and a cut the ring off fighter because the cut the ring off fighters is always trapping his opponents in the corner and the opponent is forced to switch directions constantly. George Foreman is a cut the ring off fighter. Hagler walked you down and beat the crap out of you.
All in all Hagler was hard nosed technician, with heavy hands and an iron chin. He wasn’t flashy but he definitely was a boxer, who got down and dirty.
Andre Ward is next. Ward is looked at as a boxer and he is. But Ward is also a ruthless infighter and grappler. Ward has a quick mind so he’s always scoring points from the inside and outside. What he really is, is a hybrid scoring boxer fighter. Ward fights at all levels and ranges. He scores consistently and he’s defensively responsible. The reason he’s not viewed in a more violent way is because he doesn’t score the kos and knockdowns that Hagler did. But Ward was just as vicious.
Vasyl Lomachenko is one of the more unique fighters in history. He’s viewed as a master boxer because of his footwork, reflexes, defense and athleticism. But he’s really master boxing, pressure fighter. He just doesn’t bore in head first and take punches. He boxes going forward trying to get the ANGLE. But make no mistake he’s pressuring his opponents. And because of cuteness no one gives him credit for being a good puncher. But he scores knockdowns or kos in just about all of his fights. He just doesn’t rely on power so it gets overlooked.
I love a good “what if”, Breadman. I suspect there might be some you enjoy entertaining every now and then as well. One I’ve wrestled with lately: What if Foreman beat Ali?
With the benefit of hindsight and Ali’s legendary status, his win NOW seems like an inevitability. At the time, it was a HUGE upset (it took a viewing of “When We Were Kings” to get me to fully understand that).
Now I sit and wonder how that one fight sent a ripple effect out that changed the heavyweight landscape forever. So… What if Foreman had won? How different would heavyweight history be?
Bread’s Response: If Foreman beats Ali he would be most likely regarded as the best heavyweight ever. It’s a strong claim because the 70s is the best heavyweight era ever and to emerge as the best in the best ever era gives you that claim.
Obviously the wear and tear of fighting consistently could have kicked in. So his 10 year retirement helped with his longevity. But Foreman would have most likely reigned until the late 70s until a prime Holmes emerged. I don’t know who wins that fight. But if Holmes couldn’t beat Foreman then Foreman could have reigned until a young Mike Tyson came around in 1986. The more I write the more I feel that the Rumble in the Jungle was for GOAT status at heavyweight. Man did Ali come through in the CLUTCH.
Always enjoy reading the mailbag and writing in from time to time. I’ve got a bit of a different one today.
I’ve recently watched the last dance on netflix and was left blown away by how great michael jordan was. It’s made me take a slight interest in nba and have been following the championship’s from afar (the U.K.) this season.
LeBron seems to be absolutely incredible and I’ve seen plenty of people online claiming he’s the true GOAT. I know your a big basketball fan so wondered if you could break down to me who you think is better out of MJ and LeBron and if could do so with a like for like boxing analogy, to help me understand and keep it relevant to the mailbag.
Keep well and enjoy the rest of the finals.
Bread’s Response: Oh man interesting question. Ok I say Michael Jordan is Sugar Ray Robinson. I say Lebron James is Floyd Mayweather. If you ask 10 historians who the best basketball player ever is 7 or more will say Michael Jordan the same as for Sugar Ray Robinson in boxing. But for there are some people who ONLY saw James that will say him. The same for Mayweather.
I personally feel as that Robinson is the best fighter ever. And Michael Jordan is the best basketball player. I saw Jordan throughout and I’ve never seen anything like him. Even in losses on a team sport, he was the best player on the floor.
But Lebron James has a real case for #2. I think he is. The pressure that James was under coming into the NBA is the most any athlete, in any sport has ever endured. No wonder he’s losing his hair. He had to be in the argument as the GOAT or he would be a failure. Just think about that for a second. James could be an All Star. He couldn’t just win 1 title. He couldn’t just be great. He had to be in the argument for the best ever or he would be a failure.
The criticism that is put on James in a team sport absurd. He’s went to 9 finals and played lights out 8 times. People bring up his finals record but they never bring up he’s taken teams that had no business going in the first place. So he overachieved to get there.
The big knock on James is he’s NOT CLUTCH and he’s not a scorer. But his average goes up in the playoffs and he’s had more game winning playoff shots than anyone in history. It’s a MYTH. He outscores Kobe Bryant who is considered one of the best scorers ever.
The reason I liken James to Mayweather is their consistency. Mayweather never really had a drop off in performance. His game changed a little bit he never looked old in the ring. He was giving peak performances in his mid to late 30s. James is the same way. He’s in his 17th year. I don’t think he’s at his peak anymore but it’s hard to tell. The drop off has only been slight if any. I think James is the most consistent athlete in history. Especially in basketball history. I think Mayweather is the most consistent boxer ever.
Hello to both of you,
I pray you both and your families are doing great. I’m shocked by both of your responses to this great question that was posed to you in both of your mailbags. Besides Roy Jones loss to Tarver which really damaged his legacy more than Hearns,Duran or Tyson.Michael Spink’s loss to Tyson seems to be all a lot of people remember about him. He had a great career but is remembered more for that loss by most people I’ve talk to then all of his victories. Kind of sad. I guess you guys can’t remember everything. LOL! You both do a phenomenal job and help guys like me know whats going on with the sport since I don’t watch as many fights as I use too. You both are greatly appreciated and I pray that God continues to bless you both in your lives and in your careers. God bless and take care.
Bread’s Response: You know what you’re right. I hate it that Michael Spinks is remembered for that Tyson loss. I actually went to that fight Closed Circuit as a graduation gift from 6th grade. As I was leaving the Philadelphia Spectrum, I saw fans who were leaving the bathroom who actually missed the fight.
But yes that loss is bad on Spinks. But the thing is I don’t think it damaged his historical status. Anyone who knows boxing knows he’s a top 3-5 light heavyweight ever. Spinks was a monster at 175. I think it just more or less effects how he’s remembered. Millenials don’t research. So all they know is Tyson kod him in 1. They don’t know that was his only career loss and he was undefeated and unified at 175. He was also a gold Medalist in 1976. Spinks was a top 5-7 fighter of the 80s and the 80s was STACKED. Good point.
Hi Bread! I have been a fan of your mailbag for years. Don't you think putting Canelo Alvarez first in P4P and especially middleweight is a bit nonsensical considering he won a single fight against GGG and lost the first unquestionably? While the unfair verdicts with Norton did not change the fate of Ali and Norton much, Jimmy Young, for example, suffered a lot.
Don't you think that the journalistic community should put more pressure not so much on the judges as on the people who create the rankings? Noel Gevor certainly won the fight with Mairis Briedis, and once with Diablo W?odarczyk, and yet he is somewhere in the boxing distance, in the deep back, and Briedis has plenty.
Marek from Krakow (Poland)
Bread’s Response: You have a great point. I don’t make P4P rankings. But when I assess them I consider “performance” as well as results. I thought Canelo performed well in each fight vs GGG. I think the expectations hurt GGG. Canelo was viewed to have been DUCKING him. And when GGG didn’t blow him out, everybody sort of turned on him.
As far as who makes the ratings. My biggest critique is they take too long to recognize the top talents. Some guys get considered too late and others for lifetime achievement. For example I love GGG. I defend him consistently. But I don’t think he’s a top 10 P4P anymore. And guess what I think Canelo is the real deal and has the best resume in boxing besides Manny Pacquiao. But I don’t consider him P4P #1.
My top 10 is based on ability, eye ball test, resume, accomplishments and I put a heavy consideration on who would win if everyone were the same size with relative dimensions.
1. Terence Crawford
3. Canelo Alvarez
4. Monster Inoue
5. Ollie Usyk
6. Errol Spence
7. Tyson Fury
8. Big Bad Beterbiev
9. Juan Estrada
10. Josh Taylor
Good morning Bread to you & yours
I come to bury Alan, not to praise him.
1 Alan certainly said something inexcusable about Marvin Hagler 'I'll never let a black man take my title'. He never said anything else racist & was always deeply apologetic of this one remark which, he said, he was told to say to encourage ticket sales amongst the white folks. I'm a Roman. I believe in forgiveness. Even if he had been a racist, which I don't think he was, he repented of it. I would hope that one comment should be forgiven.
2 Alan won an Olympic Bronze medal in 1972 but his professional record at one point was 15-4-0-1. In the modern era they would have thrown him away. They would have put him in with new hopefuls who had been training for 12 weeks & given him 1 week's notice. In this era we cheerily chuck talent on the scrapheap then turn round & bemoan 'theres no depth to the talent any longer'.
3 Alan started out as a big hitter. 'Boom Boom' Minter. He lost fights on cuts (see above) & I recall him saying that when he went into the pub after a fight he drank his beer through a straw because his face was so mash-up. When he began boxing cleverly & winning he was boo-ed 'wheres the Boom Boom Minter?' The crowd were always on his back to go back to the carefree wars, but he was determined to stick to sensible boxing. Eventually, when he won the world title, the British boxing crowd forgave him for not being entertaining.
4 Alan beat Vito Antuefermo by 148:137. No doubt he won cleanly but that is an odd scorecard, assuming Vito had won only 2 out of 15 rounds.
Anyway, Bread, I would be really grateful for any thoughts you have on the one,the only, Alan 'Boom Boom' Minter.
Bread’s Response: Honestly when I first read that Alan Minter had passed I thought about his racist comments towards Marvin Hagler. I thought about how the UK crowd threw beer and bottles at the new champion Hagler. I thought about how well that would have went over today because of the high racial tension. I was shocked that no one mentioned it in the mailbag except you.
As far as his comments being forgiven, it’s obvious they were by the mainstream media because I didn’t read it mentioned. Which is odd. As I get older I try to forgive a little more myself because naturally I hold grudges. But here is the thing about forgiveness, only Mr. Minter knows if he was truly sorry and how he truly felt. I can’t speak on that. But I think it would be fair to ask Marvin Hagler how he felt and if Minter ever apologized.
As far as a fighter, he was very resilient. He had bad scar tissue and suffered a handful of losses that didn’t stop him from winning the title. He wasn’t a great fighter but he was capable competent champion.
There are some big fights this weekend and next weekend. Who are your picks in the Charlo Bros fights. Lubin vs Gausha and what are your thoughts on Jaron Ennis?
Bread’s Response: I think both Charlo’s have real fights on their hands. But I think stylistically Jermall has the better match up. I think Devrenchenko is too small for Jermall. Jermall is a big guy. He has a hard jab. He’s mean. He has a really good chin and he has physical strength. He’s hard to move off of his spot.
Neither Charlo is a dominant boxer where they win 10 or 11 rounds in their distance fights. But both have world class jabs and chins. I think Jermall is the more patient Charlo. He is also the better counter puncher. I like him to win a competitive decision or get a late stoppage. I believe Devrenchenko is also the real deal. But I think he fades late and he goes down. Charlo has proven to be the sturdier fighter.
Jermell is the quicker Charlo. He moves more. But he doesn’t move as much as he used too. He goes for more kos. He’s not as patient as his brother and he gets ran into counter punches more. I think Rosario is the wild card. Rosario can counter punch going forward. He has better “eyes” than people realize. Meaning he can exchange without closing his eyes and putting his head down. He can keep his eyes on the target. Maybe that is his baseball background. Hitting a round ball with a round bat is the hardest thing to do in sports. I think Rosario is the more skilled boxer in this fight, he just doesn’t move as much.
Jermell’s advantage in my opinion is his stamina, and clutch gene. Jermell always lands the punch he needs to land to win. That’s huge. He also has a world class chin. I think Rosario may fade mid way through and Jermell can clip him late. So Jermell is my pick in a shootout. But I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Rosario wins. Jermell needs to be on his A game after 2 really tough fights with Tony Harrison.
Lubin vs Gausha is a good fight. Lubin is younger and more dynamic. Lubin looks the part. I believe he is the part. But I don’t count Gausha out. He was a clutch amateur. He also has good experience vs southpaws. Trout and Lara. I think Gausha wants to do better than he did vs Lara. He was a little conservative in that fight and didn’t let his hands go. Gausha is 33 and I believe he really wants this fight.
But my pick is Lubin by decision. I just think he’s too busy. Gausha has a sneaky right hand but he’s right hand dominant. I think Gausha’s output is down at 154. He was much bigger as an amateur. So my guess is Lubin will be busier and more dynamic with his flashier punches and the judges will favor Lubin over Gausha’s patient approach.
I love Jaron “Boots” Ennis. This kid from a skill level and athletic standpoint is among the best in the world right now. He just doesn’t have the fights or resume. He’s a long athletic welterweight. He switch hits like Terence Crawford. His hands are lightning fast and his punches are loose and accurate. He keeps a hard jab on his opponents and he always goes to the body. I think he has a chance to be the P4P #1 fighter in boxing. I also believe he won’t get a title shot until he’s a mandatory.
His only real flaw I’ve seen so far is that he loops some of his body punches and he hits low sometimes. Veteran fighters can play that and complain and get him some points deducted. But in this fight I think he will shine. I look for him to not lose a round.
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