The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen" Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as former fighters becoming trainers, Floyd Mayweather's status in the history of boxing, the skills of the Charlo brothers, reflecting on fighters of the past, and much more.
1. Why do average boxers make great trainers? Mcgirt, Roach, Mayweather etc..
2. Rank these Tier 2 90s heavyweights - Mccall, Mercer, Moorer, bald Foreman, Tua, Rahman, Ruddock, Briggs, Buster Douglas and Morrison.
3. Who wins the following rematches that never materialized - Ali vs Foreman 2 (74-76), Tyson vs Buster Douglas (90-91), klitschko vs lewis (03-05) and finally Hearns vs Hagler (88-90 at super middleweight).
Bread’s Response: 1. I don’t think Buddy McGirt or Roger Mayweather were average boxers. Mcgirt was among the P4P best in the early 90s and he’s in the HOF. Mayweather was a handful for anyone in the 80s and he won titles in 2 weight classes. Neither were average. But I will delve into this deep on a more broad scope.
In boxing people are always questioning the background of the trainers. At one time there was a myth that FATHERS couldn’t train their SONS. That Myth has been totally dispelled in the last decade or so….
Boxing SKEPTICS and SUPER CRITICS. When you look for something to discredit you will find it no matter what. If a TRAINER gets a fighter at the middle stage of his career. The SKPETIC will say he has a fighter who is built already, despite having to break bad ingrained habits that the fighter had before he went to the trainer. If a trainer trains a fighter since he was child, the SKEPTIC will say the fighter was a prodigy and he would be good with anyone. If the trainer is an ex fighter someone will question what style he can teach in relation to what style the trainer fought. I actually heard a fighter say Roy Jones couldn’t teach a jab because he didn’t use one. How ridiculous is it to assume the GREAT Roy Jones couldn’t teach a jab because he didn’t use one often?
Hypothetically what if Ray Robinson was a trainer and a southpaw asked him to train him. The SKEPTIC could say Robinson can’t train a southpaw because he wasn’t one. Or maybe if a fighter gets clipped and kod and iron chinned Marvin Hagler was his trainer. The SKEPTIC could say Hagler can’t teach a fighter to come back from a ko because he’s never been kod. The SKEPTIC and Super Critic will find a way, trust me.
And now often you will hear someone say that if a trainer wasn’t a fighter himself then he can’t train a fighter, or what level of fighter one has to be in order to make a good trainer. There is NO set prerequisite. Just because you experienced something doesn’t mean you can articulate to someone else how they should experience it. It’s absurd to think that the Prerequisite of being a trainer is being an ex fighter. Sure it HELPS but it’s not mandatory. Too many great trainers were NOT ex fighters. You can’t explain their success with LUCK or exceptions to the RULE.
Would you tell a Brain Surgeon, that they had to have had Brain Surgery, in order to perform a Brain Surgery? It even sounds crazy. Or better yet just because someone had Brain Surgery doesn’t mean they can perform the surgery themselves. Smart people have applied and taught things to students throughout the history of time without being able to or have never did the things they taught. They just understood what they were teaching.
Humans have taught horses to run faster. They have taught Lions and Tigers tricks in the circus. They have taught dogs and cocks to fight. I don’t mean to sound brutal but this is all true. Human are the most intelligent beings on earth. The last time I checked none of us are lions, tigers, horses, cocks or dogs. But it doesn’t stop of us from teaching them….
It’s gotten to a point where trainers LIE about their boxing backgrounds just to have credibility. They lie about the number of amateur fights they had because that’s hard to verify. I even had one tell me he fought under an assumed name and was 3-1 as pro without me asking him anything about his background. I could care less about anyone’s background unless they’re applying for a job with me. If you can train, you can train. More importantly it takes literally $20 to get a license as pro fighter and have a fight. Guys go to Mexico or North Carolina to get WINS all the time. Now imagine if one of those guys who’s record is 2-9 who was an “opponent” in North Carolina told you he was a pro fighter, so let him train your son. In that case being a pro means nothing.
The criticism I think originates from jealous ex fighters who can’t get prominent training jobs as the head coach that they think they deserve. The sit in the gym on side and criticize everything the other trainers are doing.
Speaking of Freddie Roach. I vividly remember an influential person in boxing saying to me before Amir Khan fought Zab Judah that Judah would win because Pernell Whitaker is a much better fighter than Freddie Roach. Whitaker was training Judah and Roach was training Khan. Khan dominated Judah in a unification fight. The fight wasn’t close. The person who said that to me I would never name them publicly but my reply was, “So Khan and Judah have nothing to do with the outcome?”
I often hear Virgil Hunter get discredited because he wasn’t an ex pro fighter. I’ve been around Hunter. He has a boxing back ground. It just may not be formal but he has one. He’s strong and coordinated and you can tell he knows his way around a boxing ring. You can tell he’s swapped some punches. He has a deep understanding of boxing. But for some reason his work with Andre Ward gets discredited. It’s crazy to think he had a kid since he was about 9 or 10 years old. That kid wins a gold medal. Loses less than a handful of amateur fights. Then goes undefeated in the pros. The kid is a 1st ballot HOF. The kid relies on technical ability and conditioning more than he does athleticism and people want to make it out to be LUCK. Or say Ward would have been good with anyone. I always ask, “how would you know if he would have been good with anyone.” He turned out to be great under one man.
Naazim Richardson is another trainer who doesn’t have an extensive background as a fighter to my knowledge. But he can train his butt off. He’s produced Olympians, amateur champions, solid pros and world champion pros. Angel Garcia has Danny Garcia very close to being a HOF. Angel Garcia to my knowledge is not an ex fighter. Nacho Beristain may have case for being the best coach ever. He wasn’t a fighter. Cus D mato to my knowledge had a limited background as an actual boxer. Enzo Calzaghe took his son to 46-0. That’s not luck. Enzo Calzaghe was a Jazz musician.
The big one is Angelo Dundee. Archie Moore was originally supposed to train Muhammad Ali as he turned pro. Moore and Ali couldn’t get along for some reason. Ali just wouldn’t buy into Moore’s philosophy. Ali released Moore and went to the HOF under Dundee. Not just HOF but he has a case for the best fighter ever. To top it off Ali faced off with George Foreman who had Moore and Sandy Saddler in his corner. Moore and Saddler in 1974 were top 25 ever fighters at that point in history. Ali beat Foreman. Ali is obviously special but if you based your opinion of who would win that fight on who had great ex fighters in their corner you would have lost BIG.
Dundee has actually went up against Emanuel Steward, Eddie Futch, Ray Arcel and Freddie Brown and he has wins vs ALL of them. He was also in the corner when George Foreman beat Michael Moorer and when Carmen Basilio beat Ray Robinson! No way that can be LUCK. Dundee was a very SMART guy. Just imagine a man who was NOT an ex fighter, who has 5 or 6 of the biggest wins in history! The reason why boxing is so primitive is because this MYTH keeps getting repeated in the first place.
All great trainers have something in common. Intelligence, leadership and work ethic. If you notice often times great trainers or prominent trainers were either involved in the military, law enforcement or have their own businesses (legal/illegal). There is a large % of trainers who fall into one of those categories, that’s no coincidence. The better trainers have the ability to articulate to a fighter what they want him to do in a way the fighter understands it. They have the ability to retain information and pass it on.
To answer you directly, I think great fighters can also be great trainers too. I think they often stumble with fighters who weren’t as good as them because they get to the point where they start insulting the fighter. You will hear them say, “When I was fighting I did X,Y and Z.” The problem with that is the fighter they are training is not as talented as they were. Great fighters don’t have the patience sometimes to wait on a fighter to develop. They want to start the fighter were they LEFT OFF, instead of where the STARTED OUT. But that doesn’t mean great fighters can’t train. It just means they may not always have the patience to deal with fighters with less ability than them. Where as a fighter who wasn’t as talented may have more patience training someone who is not an UBER talent.
I have worked against some HOF level trainers. But the scariest trainer to me is the guy who has not got his break yet. It’s the guy who hasn’t made 10k in one night as a trainer yet. 90% of the trainers in boxing have not had a fighter who has made 100k. So therefore most trainers have not made 10k yet. The HUNGRY trainer will study hours of video against your fighter. The trainer who won’t let any stone go unturned. I don’t care what his back ground is. I care about where he wants to go. The trainer who may figure out what your fighter’s weaknesses are that you’re hiding from the world. That’s the scary trainer.
I have had many older and more experienced trainers tell me I spoil my fighters and I do too much. That they don’t worry about how much a fighter rehydrates. They don’t worry about a fighter’s weight. Once in Vegas I heard a very famous trainer say I’m not checking his weight he knows what he’s supposed to weigh. His fighter missed weight. They don’t go running with fighters in the morning. All of the things I’ve done religiously for a decade. I’ve felt stupid at times because I run myself ragged. But I’ve come to realize that I’m young and hungry and I want to win. And those trainers have missed things going into fights that I wouldn’t miss. They were dismissive to things I would never be dismissive to. But in fairness their fighters are most likely more self sufficient than mines because their fighters had to have the integrity to do the right thing when no one was looking. When talking about these things you have to cover ALL bases not just the bases that make you look good.
Boxing is the land of the Super Critic. Everyone thinks they can do better than the other guy. And instead of getting a fighter and doing better they try to tear that guy down. Great trainers actually come from all backgrounds and levels of experience. The main thing they need is intelligence and work ethic.
Speaking of fighters who can train. I think Malik Scott and Jaron Ennis will both make great trainers one day but they come from different ends of the spectrum. Scott has a great understanding of boxing. He’s also articulate and he’s a gym rat. Scott is a solid heavyweight contender. Ennis has P4P potential. Ennis is probably the most talented prospect in all of boxing. He’s a patient nice kid, who actually hits the pads with other kids in his gym. My point is that you can’t limit the background or type of fighter a good trainer can be.
2. Tua, Bald Foreman, Mercer, Moorer, Ruddock, Douglas, Morrison, Rahman, McCall
3. I don’t know who wins Ali vs Foreman rematch. Foreman was messed up mentally and I was further past his best days.
I wish Tyson had made a rematch with Douglas. Again I don’t know who wins. Many assume Tyson does but I can’t give credit for something he you don’t do. Maybe Douglas had his number. I always find it curious they never made a rematch. Usually big upsets like that are fought again. Lewis vs Rahman, Louis vs Schmeling, Ali vs Spinks, Joshua vs Ruiz.
I don’t know what Lewis had left after the fight. He was ready to retire. He left for a reason. So I say Klitscho. Lewis would have been 40 in 2005.
I like Hagler over Hearns. He wouldn’t have started as fast but he would have always smothered and attacked Hearns. Hagler has a case for best rematch fighter in history. He’s lights out and almost unbeatable in rematches.
Love watching you put these fools on Twitter in their place.
Who would you recommend a young learner watch for these things and why? Feel free to give more than one answer for each.
1- jab (there are various types of jabs so 1 of each if it's not too much to ask).
2- Straight right/left
3- Hook- (again, my dad always told me how there were a few different types of jab).
4- Overhand right/ left
6- body punching
7 fighting off the ropes.
Thanks again for the mailbag. Praying you and the fam are safe, sane, and healthy.
Bread’s Response: Thank you. Most times I ignore and block the trolls. But because of all the free time we have now I check fools every once in the blue. But I’m going to get back to blocking very soon, lol.
1. Jab the most important punch in boxing. When I look for a great jab I look at who controls their opponents with their jab. Lots of fighters have good jabs but few control their opponents with jabs. If I were teaching a fighter how to jab I would have them watch 3 jabbers. I think Ali has the best jab in history but his is too hard to teach. He jabbed often off the move and an off beat rhythm. He also flicked his jab and twisted his jab. He was gifted. I say he has the best because if you had a list of top 10 jabbers, Bob Foster, Sonny Liston and George Foreman would be on the list and Ali outjabbed them all.
But teaching someone a text book jab there are 3 fighters who stand out to me. Tommy Hearns, Pernell Whitaker and Andre Ward.
Hearns had the biggest variety of jabs out of the 3. He had a stick and move jab. He had a flick that he threw up and down. And he had a whip that he threw from a tick tock back and forth motion. Hearn’s jab was A plus.
Andre Ward beat a whole generation on a jab and infighting. Ward’s right hand was very limited throughout his prime. But his jab was hard, compact and constant. He threw it to the body and head. He threw it short and long. He controlled everyone with a hard, versatile jab. The thing that made Ward’s jab special was, Ward has good height but he doesn’t have long arms. Look at him close. He’s not lanky like Hearns.
So Ward was dominating long arm fighters like Carl Froch with a short armed jab. It proves that timing is more important than reach.
Pernell Whitaker may have the best jab I’ve ever seen. Whitaker is not tall either. He’s only 5’5. His reach is a lot better than Ward’s in relations to height but it wasn’t exceptional. But Whitaker’s jab was the ultimate. He could throw it off the move and jab to a safe spot. He could control the ring with his jab. He could blind you with it and set up his scoring left hand. When I hear people say that Whitaker wasn’t offensive it drives me crazy. It’s the repeating of a false myth. Whitaker wasn’t a KO artist. But he was very offensive. I watch for details and I think the thing that made Whitaker’s jab so perfect was his hand positioning. Whitaker’s hands were usually perfectly held when he wasn’t playing around. His lead shoulder was pointed at the target with his lead hand out in front, shoulder level. Whitaker’s jab didn’t have to go a great distance and there was no wasted motion on it. Just boom.
2/4. Rear hand shot. Joe Louis has the best straight right hand I’ve ever seen. It can be short or long. Both deadly. I rate it over Hearn’s because you can smother Hearns’s right hand. You can’t smother Louis’s
My second choice is Carlos Monzon. Monzon had the smoothest right hand you ever wanted to see. No wasted motion. And often times he changed rhythm on the right hand. The cadence of a 1-2 is usually fast with the jab just flicking the target. But Monzon would often hit you with a hard jab and the right hand came at a later cadence. So his cadence would be Boom----Boom. A second later and his right hand was concussive. In contrast some fighters like say Jermaine Taylor they bow and arrow their right hand. They raise their elbow before shooting it. Monzon’s was smooth and perfect from the hip. It’s why Taylor who I believe was a hard puncher couldn’t score many kos at the top level because you could see his right hand where as Monzon’s you couldn’t see.
My last rear hand shot is Manny Pacquiao. Pacman’s lead left hand is best I’ve seen in boxing history. Only Floyd Mayweather, Ali and Roy Jones come close to Pac as far as a lead shot with the power rear hand. Pac hits everyone with his lead left hand despite being short and not having a crazy reach. It’s crazy that he lands this shot so often. Then he also had a deadly 1-2 and if he settles down and really slings it he can score 1 punch kos. Pac doesn’t knock many people out these days but he hurts and drops everyone. His rear hand is crazy. It’s literally a laser.
3. Hooks- I like Ray Robinson’s hook to the head. No one in history can throw 6 hooks like Robinson. His hook is just incredible. Just look at the film. Say the Bobo Olson ko or Jean Stock ko. Or maybe the perfect punch vs Gene Fulmer.
Roy Jones has a mercurial lead and scoring hook. He didn’t need much of a set up. He feinted then boom. If you pressed him he checked off. If you moved away he led with it. Jones’s hook is on par with Robinson but I think Robinson is a slightly better puncher in a P4P sense.
5. Uppercuts- Everyone goes with Mike Tyson. He had a beautiful right uppercut. He’s in my top 3 but I think I’ve seen better uppercuts. I go by who can land their money shot more often. Tyson’s uppercut was a situational punch. Ricardo Lopez’s lead hand uppercut is the best I’ve seen. It’s remarkable. He lands it consistently in every single fight I’ve ever seen him in.
George Foreman also has a great uppercut. He lands it with either hand while Tyson’s is the right hand. Watch Foreman vs Cooney and Foreman vs Norton. Vs Cooney Foreman lands a walk off uppercut with the left hand to end the fight. Vs Norton he turns uppercuts off of hooks on the move. Foreman’s uppercut was crazy and versatile.
6. Body Punching- There are lots of great body punchers in boxing history. I can’t really narrow it down to 1 or 2. Here are the people who stand out to me.
Julio Cesar Chavez- He was constant in his body attack. His hook goes around the elbow and inside of it. Brilliant in his prime to the body. Watch him vs Edwin Rosario.
Mike McCallum- McCallum didn’t have a signature body punch but he was also constant. He touched you with both hands to the body. He didn’t try to punch you hard, he just stuck them in there and he never stopped. If you watch his fight with Donald Curry. Curry was sharper and was landing the flashier shots but McCallum was touching that body over and over. It weakens you and lowers your senses. When Curry pulled out with his hands down leading to his ko he was dull for a moment because of the unnoticed body work.
Ray Leonard- is known for flash but he was brutal to the body. His left hook to the liver was paralyzing. Watch the 6th round vs Tommy Hearns. Watch him work over Larry Bonds to the body. Leonard was exceptional in his body punching.
Roman Gonzalez- is money to the body. He does it similar to Chavez but he probably pivots more. Just constant touching the body. He doesn’t look like a huge puncher but he scores a high % of kos because he’s always touching the body. Very similar to McCallum and Chavez.
Gerald McClellan- had a flashy brutal left hook to the liver. I’ve seen him ko about 7 fighters with that one shot. It’s unreal. I don’t think anyone has as many one punch body shot kos as McClellan.
Mickey Ward- wasn’t a great fighter but he was a great body puncher. He tapped you upstairs to sort of take your attention away then boom he turned a knife underneath. Ward would even turn southpaw sometimes to leverage the shot to the liver. He was brutal with that shot.
Alexis Arguello- is probably the best of them all. He had a whipping uppercut to the solar plexus that he set up most of his kos with. He also dropped left hooks to the liver. Arguello was tall so he didn’t drive his body shots in he whipped them in with brutality. Watch him vs Andy Ganigan.
Ray Robinson- was unique. He threw great left hooks upstairs but it was right hand to the body that he got max leverage on. It almost looked like an illegal punch because he turned his knuckles downward and it looks like the kidneys are being targeted with downward shots. But Robinson would throw that shot over and over and it was cruel. When he hurt Randy Turpin in their rematch, he literally moved his arm out of the way to land that shot before he stopped him. Brutal!
7. Fighting off the Ropes- Muhammad Ali for obvious reasons. Watch the Rumble in the Jungle. He takes the biggest puncher ever and lets him pound away as he uses the ropes to launch right hands. Best off the rope fighting in history.
Roy Jones was also brilliant at fighting off the ropes but it was a gift and curse. Jones used to go to the ropes hold his hands up high then rip shots underneath. Watch him vs Bryant Brannon and Merqui Sosa. But I can’t rate him over Ali at it because he would also get in trouble on the ropes later in his career.
James Toney is my 3rd choice. He’s just brilliant. Watch him vs Prince Charles Williams. He spends most of the fight against the ropes. But he’s turning and squirming and sifting through brutal short shots than take a BIG toll.
Regular writer, love this mailbag as much as man loves his dog.
First question, why did you not become a fighter? Or were you one and why did you stop?
I have to credit a YouTube boxing channel for the next, Boxing talk with Ade. Have you seen the list of champions for the year 2000, my f--king god, feel the f bomb is warranted here:).
Juan Carlos Gomes
What other year of champs would you pick to beat that year and why?
Bread’s Response: What a year 2000 was. Um let’s see this is off the top of my head but 1981 was also a great year.
Larry Holmes is heavyweight champion. Michael Spinks is light heavyweight. Marvin Hagler is middleweight. Wilfred Benitez is junior middleweight. Ray Leonard is welterweight. Aaron Pryor is junior welterweight. Alexis Arguello is lightweight. Salvador Sanchez is featherweight. Wilfredo Gomez is the junior featherweight champion. Jeff Chandler is the bantamweight champion. How do you like that line up. I think they go head up with 2000.
I didn’t start training formally in boxing until after high school. I was a basketball player with big aspirations but I dislocated my knee in the middle of my Senior Year. I continued to play in the upcoming Summer League but I just didn’t feel the same. I was my own support group and I was trying to rehab but I think mentally I lost the love and getting hurt again was in the back of my mind. I had the same injury years before in the 9th grade and it was easier to overcome back then. But going into college it was different. I even changed which college I went to because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be the same playing ball.
Boxing was always my favorite sport so I started to going to the gym while in college. After a few gyms I settled on one that I still train fighters at until this day. I started sparring various guys and I was doing well. I am 6’3 and I was about 160 something pounds back then. I was strong because I liked to workout and I had not great but above average athleticism for a fighter. Plus I knew boxing. I continued to spar pros and amateurs depending on who was around, working around my work and college schedule. I would say the better more known guys I boxed were Robert Hines (ex IBF junior middleweight champion) and Yusaf Mack (former world title challenger). I even participated in some non sanctioned exhibition fights at amateur shows at my home gym. But I kind of viewed it as pick up basketball. It was fun to me. I was a boxing historian even back then and I knew that 18 years old was a late start. No one pushed me or made me do it I just enjoyed the competition.
I didn’t really have a goal I just liked to box and more so I didn’t feel like retiring as an athlete and had lots of energy and competitive spirit still in me. After a few years of this I started working a serious career job with a rotating schedule. I continued to go to the gym to train and spar but it became less and less seldom. By that time I started drinking alcohol casually and I was big into women. Now… a few years later…After about 3 or 4 months away from the gym I got hit sparring by a young eager kid in South Florida while on vacation. I used to find gyms to workout in even when not in Philly. I would say he was about 18 or 19 and was an ex football player. By this time I was in my late 20s. He buzzed me with a shot but no one knew it. I stopped him the very next round because he hit hard I didn’t want him to stop me. I knew then that sparring sporadically with no real goal or plans to take it to the next level was asinine and I stopped. At one time I would have been able to calm him down and just work with him without stopping him but I didn’t have that anymore. Honestly I was upset with myself that I let it get to that but self preservation took over. As time went on I got into training fighters and as they say, that’s that.
Hi Bread, thanks so much for the boxing insight.
My question is about smartness in boxing. I recently have been watching some of Andre Wards old fights and then reading your thoughts on them. I remember almost every time Ward is mentioned in the mailbag you mention his incredible boxing intelligence and smarts as well on commenting on how he wears his opponent’s out mentally.
What are the different types of intelligence in boxing? Also can boxing intelligence be taught or learned or is it something some people just have? Is intelligence in the ring linked to intelligence outside the ring or are the two separate? Also, who are some of the most intelligent fighters in history?
From Jacob in Australia
Bread’s Response: What a great Question! I have a saying. The Boxing Ring is a truth machine. Whatever you are will come out over time in a boxing ring. It relates to each part of your life.
I was in the Bay Area for 2 weeks while Andre Ward was getting ready to fight Kovalev in the rematch, I was assisting with Andrew Fonfara. I watched Ward come in the gym and within 5 minutes be dressed and ready to go. In contrast I have seen fighters walk in the gym. Have several conversations. Check their social media for 15 minutes. Then start to get dressed. By the time they start warming up it’s 30 minutes later.
Andre Ward understands in order to get the most out of your workout you can’t waste time. Ward didn’t have a conversation with me until he was completely done. He knew what he was up against in the Kovalev rematch. Ward always seemed smart enough to have foresight. He knew that laxing in any area can lead to an L on fight night.
His trainer and strength and conditioning coach have both told me that Ward got every single drop out of his ability. He squeezed everything he had. That says a lot because often coaches are hard critics and they believe fighters can do and be more.
Sometimes we confuse intelligence and education. They can be the same, they don’t have to be. Ward is not a college kid but he may as well be. Ward’s intelligence lies in his work ethic, his discipline and his character. Not just his boxing IQ. Everything is interconnected. He seems to do and say the right thing consistently. In and out of the ring. For example Roberto Duran one of my personal favorites has great fighting instincts and ring IQ. But he also does counterproductive things outside of the ring like get fat in between fights and allow himself to become complacent. So while Duran may wow you vs Davey Moore. He’s going to break your heart vs Kirkland Laing within the same time period. It’s who he is. But it shows up inside the ring.
In boxing we all know the fighters who will be broke when their careers are over. No one likes to say it publicly but we all know who they are. We know who takes money from investors and managers for the quick fix to take home 30% on the dollar fight night. They think they know everything. They have too many children by too many different women. They marry or hook up with the wrong woman. They don’t invest in themselves. But they buy ridiculous non essential items. They consistently get in trouble with the law for stupid reasons. They constantly change trainers. They say stupid things on social media that come back to bite them. Now ask yourself did anything I listed pertain to Andre Ward?
Ward got hit with a huge right hand by Kovalev in fight 1, trying to trade right hands with Kovalev. He didn’t get clipped like that again in 20 more contested rounds and it wasn’t because he stopped throwing his right hand either. His intelligence showed up. He made a mistake but he didn’t let it become a pattern. No fighter is perfect but the more intelligent ones don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over.
I know you guys hate that I bring up Ward. But I only answer questions that pertain to him. He’s a trainer’s dream. He’s the most disciplined, dedicated and intelligent fighter I’ve ever saw train personally.
Intelligence can definitely be taught. And intelligence can also be acquired through trial and error. That’s different. Everyone learns at a different rate and everyone learns differently. Some retain information from being told what to do. Some you have to drill it physically over and over. Some can see something once and get it. It depends on the individual. Often times some fighters just have fighting instincts and they really don’t know why they do certain things. It’s really intricate when you think about it.
Some of the more intelligent fighters I have seen. Recently and past era.
Recently of course Andre Ward as I mentioned.
Marco Antonio Barrera
I have conflicting feelings about Floyd Mayweather’s career, and I would love to get your take on a couple aspects of it. For me, I was huge fan of his through his career, but my interest waned when it became clear he wasn’t just a great fighter, but an elite fighter. At that point, I started to become really disinterested in his choice of opponents. To make matters worse, he showed that he knew who the fans wanted him to fight, because he would tease those fights before his eventual next opponent would be announced. At various times, he expressed interest in fighting, Acelino Freitas, Joel Casamayor, Paul Spadafora, Kostya Tszyu, Shane Mosley. He would then end up fighting opponents I had never heard of, and I was a pretty avid fan at that time.
Also, I don’t throw ‘duck’ around lightly, but I do feel like he ducked Cotto. Right after Cotto had beaten Judah and Mosley, he was the perfect opponent for Floyd. Floyd basically said no one knows who Cotto is, but at that point, I feel they were pretty equal in regard to casual fan recognition, although admittedly, Floyd would have been the A side for sure. It really bugs me when, out of context, people can say that Floyd did fight Cotto, because it misses the fact that he ducked him in his prime.
I think the most frustrating thing is that I believe he had a good chance of beating all of the opponents he didn’t fight. Imagine if Floyd had fought and defeated Casamayor, Cotto, Margarito, and Paul Williams. As a fan, I really believed that was possible and I was excited to see it happen.
I also wonder if Floyd’s opponent choice bugged me more because of Roy Jones, and his similar habit of teasing big fights, then fighting unheralded opponents. Roy was by far my favorite fighter at the time, but I was still disappointed at his choice of opponents. He would tease a Hopkins rematch, or a Toney rematch, or a move to Cruiser to fight Jirov, and then they would announce his next opponent and it would be a huge disappointment. For me, the difference was it was still entertaining to watch his unique offense and defense, even against much lesser opponents. With Floyd, when his opponent is overmatched, it really diminishes the entertainment value, since his style is more defensive and low punch output.
What do you think of Floyd’s career overall? Do you think he did enough, without fighting the fighters mentioned above that it doesn’t matter? Do you think the undefeated record is the thing that stands out above everything else? Does Floyd’s career look better than De La Hoya’s because Oscar lost a lot of the big fights but fought everybody? When looking at a fighter’s legacy, does entertainment value matter? I was thinking about what you wrote about Gatti recently, and how record alone doesn’t tell the whole story of a fighter’s career.
Bread’s Response: Where Floyd Mayweather ranks historically is a HUGE topic of debate. But ALL rankings are SUBJECTIVE so I don’t get why everyone gets so upset with a reasonable consensus placement. I rate Floyd as a top 25ish ever type of fighter. I don’t know my exact ranking yet, but top 25 especially if you’re from this era is very high. Extremely high considering there are over 100 years of fighters to rate.
Boxing didn’t just start in the internet era. I also think Floyd has a case for the best fighter of the last 30 years (1990), he’s no worse that 4th or 5th. Any resume can be nitpicked. I’ve heard people complain about Ali, Robinson and Leonard. So they say things about Floyd’s resume. I get it. Let’s break it down.
At junior lightweight he had a great run. He beat a HOF level fighter in Genaro Hernandez at 17-0 and then he defended his title vs a real challenger in Angel Manfredy 2 months later. That was heavy! Floyd was only 21 yrs old when he did that. In today’s era most say he was too GREEN but he was more than ready. He turned back Jesus Chavez who was another real threat and he beat the best of the bunch in Diego Corrales in a virtuouso performance. Floyd is no worse than the 3rd best ever at 130lbs along with Chavez and Arguello. Flip a 3 sided coin on who’s the best at junior lightweight ever.
The NITPICK at 130lbs is there were two other undefeated champions in their primes in Joel Casamayor and Acelino Freiteas. It’s hard to fight everyone but when this happens it’s a legit criticism. They also were both at 130lbs for years with Floyd. If I’m not mistaken Freitas and Casamayor fought in Showtime so maybe that was an issue. But nevertheless if Floyd could have fought at least one of them it would’ve been great for his legacy. I’m not blaming anyone for why those fights didn’t get made, because I honestly don’t know. I’m just going to give an overall view of what happened.
At 135 he moved up and fought the best fighter in the division back to back in Jose Luis Castillo. There are no complaints that can be made. After Castillo, Stevie Johnston deserved a shot. Johnston was pretty much even with Castillo over 2 fights and he was a mandatory but finally lost his eliminator. Johnston was a reasonable fight that could’ve been made after Castillo. Floyd’s lightweight run was brief just 4 title fights from 2002-03.
At 140 Floyd became a little inactive. He fought Chop Chop Corley in an eliminator in 2004 and that was his only fight of the year and then he fought Henry Brusseles in another eliminator in 2005. Corley is a solid dangerous fight. He seemed to want to go after Arturo Gatti for the WBC belt which was going to be his first PPV headline. But Kostya Tszyu was the MAN at 140. Tszyu lost to Hatton and that was that. I know Tszyu was a Showtime fighter by 2004 and 05 but it would have been awesome to see Floyd take on Tszyu and Gatti in a short stint at 140.
Mayweather then moved up to 147 and fought one of Tszyu’s better opponents in Sharmba Mitchell. Floyd smoked Mitchell, underrated win. Then he fought Tszyu’s biggest and best opponent at 140 in Zab Judah and did a number on Judah. Here is where the criticism gets hard on him. Instead of fighting Antonio Margarito who had been calling him out for years he fought the RING Champion Carlos Baldomir. I respect the RING title more than any other so I don’t have a major issue with fighting Baldomir, however Margarito was better than Baldomir and it would have been cool to see if Floyd could have held Margarito off in 2006-07.. Floyd loved to tap into the Latino market and Margarito was red hot in 2006. There was also talks of Floyd fighting Mosley after Mosley beat Fernando Vargas in the rematch but they couldn’t settle on things.
Floyd then fought Oscar De La Hoya at 154. He had to take that fight. No one can complain about a PPV mega fight. That was Floyd’s 5th division title and Oscar is a great fighter and he just came off of a nice performance vs Ricardo Mayorga. There wasn’t any other time to fight Oscar except when he did because Oscar was always bigger at higher weights.
After Oscar he accepted Ricky Hatton’s challenge. I don’t have an issue with that fight either but Miguel Cotto was the biggest threat in 2007 at welterweight. Cotto who was hitting his peak at 147. Cotto had been strategically matched vs a series of fighters who had gone the distance with Mayweather in Victor Sosa, Chop Chop Corley and Zab Judah. Cotto stopped them all. Hatton had just struggled really bad at 147 vs Luis Collazo. But the UK fan base is like no other in boxing. And Hatton was the biggest UK star of them all…. In fairness to Floyd I do believe he wanted to fight Cotto years earlier while they were at 140 together but Cotto wasn’t ready yet.
Floyd didn’t fight again until 2009. I think his critics get aggravated because during that time attrition eliminated his opponents. But at least we can be optimist and look at it like this. Floyd’s absence allowed the rise of Manny Pacquiao. If Floyd doesn’t retired in 2007, Pacquiao would not have got the Oscar De La Hoya fight and most likely not moved up so much.
So from 07-09 Paul Williams moves up in weight, Margarito loses, Cotto takes 2 bad losses and while Pacquiao looks as good as Floyd the fight doesn’t get made until 2015. It aggravates people who loathe Floyd. I get it. Personally I take my feelings out of everything in boxing unless it involves me directly. I understand that it’s a business and in a business you want advantages. Most team’s objectives are to get every advantage they can within legality. But all advantages are presumed. The fighter still has to DELIVER in the ring. Floyd Delivered.
So when Floyd comes back he fights Juan Marquez. A Mexican fighter who gave Pacquiao fits. I bring up Marquez’s nationality because Floyd goes after a certain type of fighter for his PPV fights. Big names. Fighters with a certain look. And fighters who have national followings. The people who hate Floyd say well he could’ve fought Margarito if he likes to fight Mexicans. The others say well why didn’t he just fight Manny. So Floyd beats Marquez easier than Pacman ever did and it pisses everyone off even more. I thought Marquez was a reasonable pick for being inactive or 2 years. The matchmaking was also good because people who backed Floyd in the Manny situation would point out that Floyd did better vs Marquez, just like Manny’s fans pointed out that Manny did better vs Oscar and Hatton. The game is much deeper than what we see in the ring. PPV numbers were also being compared down to the minutia.
Next he fights Mosley who had called him out and just beat Margarito. If Floyd didn’t fight you, he knew how to fight someone who did fight you. Go back and watch him close. He never fought Freitas or Casamayor but he can always say he beat Corrales who fought them both. He never fought Stevie Johnston but he can always say he fought Castillo who beat him. He never fought Kostya Tszyu but he can always say he beat Hatton who did. Now, he didn’t fight Margarito but he can say he fought Mosley who did. There was a method to his madness. Bernard Hopkins did the same thing. Hopkins beat Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver who beat Roy Jones. Hopkins beat Jean Pascal who beat Chad Dawson. Hopkins beat Kelly Pavlik who beat Jermaine Taylor. Both Hopkins and Floyd had a way of outlasting their contemporaries.
In 2010 Mayweather then washes Mosley and really took it to him after being hurt. Everyone wanted that fight because Mosley had just defeated Margarito and there was a sense that Floyd was scared of Mosley. I gained a lot of respect for Floyd that night. Mosley really cracked him with two huge shots and Floyd commenced to walking him down. Mosley was trying to tap gloves and Floyd was punching on him. I remember thinking to myself Floyd Mayweather is no punk and he was never scared of Shane Mosley. He’s just a businessman and business comes first to him. I realized that Floyd had did the same thing to Zab Judah. He lets people get the impression he’s scared to fight a guy, then he uses that energy to shock the opponents when they find out he’s a tough cookie. Floyd was the tougher man in the ring vs Judah and Mosley.
After the Mosley fight I think he pissed people off again. He took off 16 months and came back and fought Victor Ortiz. Floyd sort of just let Ortiz invent himself with a win over Andre Berto. At that time everyone was salivating for Floyd vs Manny. Floyd had done this before and teased us with a Winky Wright fight years back. I thought he was going to make the Wright fight. He even said he would spar Chris Byrd to prepare but it didn’t come to fruition. Lots of fighters were more deserving than Ortiz in 2011 if you’re honest but Ortiz, was young, he had the look, Mexican American and he was a big puncher. You have to remember Floyd puts business first and he knows what sells.
So Ortiz gets the lottery fight with Floyd. At this point you can see that Floyd knew how to tease the fans. And his legacy is intertwined with him picking the right fights at the right time. Next he fights Cotto. Cotto had just won the title at 154 and looked good doing so. He also just got revenge vs Antonio Margarito. That was a solid fight to make.
Now here is where I believe being a FAN of fighters causes contradictions. Floyd and Manny’s fans by this point were killing each other. Floyd’s fans kept saying that Manny fought Floyd’s left overs because Manny fought Oscar, Hatton and Mosley after Floyd. But Floyd fought Marquez and now Cotto after Manny. It was a ridiculous critique because you can only fight one fight at a time. But the FANS and media were taking aim. The FANS were contradicting themselves…
Floyd then took off another year and went on his 6 fight deal with Showtime. He takes on Robert Guerrero another fighter who defeated Andre Berto then he moves up to fight Canelo Alvarez. Alvarez was a huge legacy win. Alvarez has turned out to be a great HOF fighter. He was undefeated, #1 at junior middleweight and he was 13 years younger than Floyd. People say he was green but let me tell you something. I would rather be 23 than 36 any day of the week when it comes to sports. Floyd gets heat because of the CATCHWEIGHT. Remember they called Manny the Catchweight King. Now this was Floyd’s second big PPV fight with a catchweight. All of his fans killed Manny for fighting catchweights and now that Floyd fought two catchweight fights, Manny’s fans were coming back calling them hypocrites. Sometimes it’s best not to be so critical because the same thing you dismiss, you embrace. That’s a huge win for Floyd, I don’t care what anyone says. And to top it off Canelo has also benefitted from numerous catchweights in his career. So…That’s why fans need to be quiet and enjoy the fights.
Then Floyd fights Marcos Maidana back to back in tough fights and finally Pacman. If you watch Floyd vs Pacman good, it wasn’t as bad as some suggest. Pacman buzzed him twice and won about 4 or 5 rounds. Floyd controlled him down the stretch and won 7 or 8 rounds. The fight wasn’t compelling but it wasn’t terrible. The best analogy I can give is if a girl who is a 10 makes you wait 5 years for some #$@. She tells you she’s a porn star in the sack. When you finally get it you find out she’s solid but not the Porn Star you wanted and expected. That’s Floyd vs Manny in 2015.
Floyd is intriguing and he’s a huge draw but people don’t love him like they do Manny. People wanted Manny to win and he didn’t so it bothers them. But that victory has legs because Manny went on to win the welterweight title 2 more times since his fight with Floyd Mayweather beating Tim Bradley, Jesse Vargas, Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman along the way. No one can say Manny was shot in 2015.
So again Floyd finds a way to fight the right fights at the right time and he finishes his career vs Andre Berto in a fight everyone knew he wouldn’t lose. He wins it easy and the world is pissed off because they know he’s going to retire undefeated and they know he’s going to promote his record. Berto was the last guy standing in front of the goal post. Remember Floyd actually used Berto as a barometer to create opponents for himself. SMART.
Errol Spence wasn’t ready yet but they wanted Floyd to fight a killer. Some even talked about GGG in 2015. But no way would Floyd take that type of fight to go 49-0.
Does he have misses, yes? More than most greats, maybe? Could he have fought tougher fights, maybe? But as you get older you look at things from a different perspective. He outsmarted the laws of averages and common sense in boxing. For example take Ortiz, Guerrero and Maidana as opponents. Andre Berto and Adrien Broner were two fighters who benefitted from being in the same stable as Floyd Mayweather. They often got compared to him. Berto and Broner are popular black fighters among the hip hop community. Floyd allowed their losses to Maidana, Guerrero and Ortiz to create opponents for him. He spent his whole 2014 fighting Maidana and because Maidana was HOT because of his win over the popular Broner. Floyd Mayweather understands that 90% of boxing fans are casuals not hardcore. As his uncle coined Most People Don’t Know S$%^ about Boxing. All the fan base knew was that Guerrero, Ortiz and Maidana had beat up Berto and Broner and Floyd was fighting the guys who beat them. Genius move.
Here is the flip side. Historically it hurts your legacy slightly when you don’t go after that KILLER fight. Like Ali did with Foreman or Leonard did with Hagler, or Duran did with Barkley. Because Floyd is strategic at his matchmaking and he didn’t seem to go AFTER certain prime fighters I don’t put him above fighters like Ali, Duran, Leonard and Robinson historically. But I don’t dismiss his greatness either. He fought until he was 38 years old. He fought from 1996-2015. More than half of his career fights are championship level fights. About 30 fights vs champions or in championship fights. It’s not easy to beat that many championship level fighters. Even solid B fighters have hot days and beat A fighters. Look at Glen Johnson vs Roy Jones or Lloyd Honeyghan vs Donald Curry. Floyd never had an off night to a point where he lost or was beat up. Again a fighter still has to deliver in the RING and he delivered big time.
I don’t think his peak was as high as Roy Jones’s or Ray Leonard’s. But he was close enough and he lasted longer than both. Was it because of his matchmaking, maybe? But also his discipline to his craft has to be attributed.
So in football, basketball and baseball analogies Floyd Mayweather is Tom Brady in football. He’s greatness is in how long his peak lasted and consistently winning. Or in baseball he’s say Hank Aaron. He doesn’t hit 60 homeruns but he hits 35-40 a bunch of times and doesn’t have a huge drop off even after peak years. In basketball he’s Lebron James. James may not be better than Michael Jordan best day for best day. But James is 17 years in the league at peak or close to peak form. No one was as good as Lebron is now in his 17th year.
Where as Ray Leonard is Sandy Koufax in baseball, Magic Johnson in basketball and Jim Brown in football. High peak. Aesthetically pleasing but prime cut short by injury or early retirement. Roy Jones is Barry Saunders, Hakeem Olajuwon or Willie Mays. He’s just different from everyone else. He’s unconventional but his peak may be higher than anyone else’s. But like Mays his bad years were really bad and Floyd doesn’t have those bad years. Follow me guys….Floyd had consistent excellence for almost 20 years without a huge drop off in results or ability.
Floyd and his fans harp on his undefeated record. But that’s really a heavyweight thing. And other fighters have retired undefeated and went to the HOF but they weren’t considered the TBE. Andre Ward is the most recent great that retired undefeated. As did Joe Calzaghe and Ricard Lopez. Rocky Marciano did many years ago which started the 49-0 obsession. It forces some to detract from Floyd when this is brought up in an argument.
But here is the truth. Floyd’s fans go over board and so do his critics. His fan disrespect fighters like Ali and point to Ali’s 5 losses. But no fighter in history could fight Ali’s schedule and go undefeated. Not even Floyd. Ali was insane with his matchmaking. No one fights Ken Norton 3x, Joe Frazier 3x, Sonny Liston 2x, Floyd Patterson 2x, George Foreman and Larry Holmes when they’re shot except a crazy man.
And at the same time Floyd’s CRITICS go a little crazy. They act like Floyd wouldn’t have put in work in other eras. But the truth is he’s hell for anyone in history from 130-47, he was a BAD dude. He may not beat everybody but no one has an easy night with him.
His most impressive accomplishment is he won the junior middleweight title 3x vs HOF and he started out at junior lightweight. Miguel Cotto , Canelo Alvarez and Oscar De La Hoya are going to the HOF and that’s who Floyd beat for his junior middleweight titles. He also beat Gatti for his junior welterweight title another HOF. Joe Luis Castillo for lightweight title and Genaro Hernandez for his junior lightweight title are HOF level. His least accomplished fighter he fought for a title was Victor Ortiz and Floyd NEVER fought for a vacant title. You have to give him major props for that.
The best people who cover any sports are people who you can’t tell who they DISLIKE. Everyone has favorites in sports and especially in boxing. But I can tell who does NOT like Floyd Mayweather. You lose credibility when you can’t give a fighter props because you don’t like them. For example If you notice two of the people I enjoy talking to are Lee Wylie and Cliff Rold on twitter. After all of these years I can tell who they like. I know Lee loves Duran and I know Cliff likes Whitaker and Leonard. But I honestly can’t tell who they DISLIKE. That’s important. Both Wylie and Rold are really objective when it comes to fighters. I can’t predict who they will say won a close controversial fight like so many media shills. And I never see them disrespect or insult fighters after so-so performances. Often times in boxing platforms get abused. I can see a mile away who some of the more prominent boxing media dislike.
Again I think three things happened with Floyd Mayweather to cause this phenomenon. One, Floyd’s fans can be obnoxious and disrespectful to every other great fighter not named Floyd Mayweather. Two, A large percentage of the media does not like Floyd. Three, Floyd himself rubs his money, undefeated record and business first approach in their faces. But sometimes you have to be smart and not become so indulged. As you become wiser you realize “It Ain’t That Deep.” Give a guy props when he deserves it and move past the personal stuff. Floyd Mayweather is a special All Time Great Fighter.
I’m curious to your opinion of the Charlo Bros. They don’t seem to have special skill sets but yet they find a way to win fights they have a chance to lose. I can’t quite put my finger on it but they have carved out some nice careers for themselves. I followed amateur boxing back when they were turning pro and they weren’t even on the radar. Danny Jacobs, Shawn Porter, Demetrius Andrade, Keith Thurman and Gary Russell were the big American amateur stars. But the Charlo Bros have had just as good of pro careers than all of them.
Bread’s Response: I’m curious to your opinion of the Charlo Bros. They don’t seem to have special skillsets but yet they find a way to win fights they have a chance to lose. I can’t quite put my finger on it but they have carved out some nice careers for themselves. I followed amateur boxing back when they were turning pro and they weren’t even on the radar. Danny Jacobs, Shawn Porter, Demetrius Andrade, Keith Thurman and Gary Russell were the big American amateur stars. But the Charlo Bros have had just as good of pro careers than all of them.
Bread’s Response: Good question. Often times the best amateurs turn out to be the best pros. As with cases like Vasyl Lomachenko and Andre Ward. But that’s not set in stone especially in the last 10 years. Look at Terence Crawford. He’s actually turned out to be the best pro out of the Americans who were turning pro near the 2008 Olympic year.
I think Charlo Bros have tweener birthdays. They were born in 1990 which made them 18 in the Olympic year of 2008. They weren’t ready because at that time Demetrius Andrade was older and more developed so he represented the US in 2008. Most Americans usually turn pro on the average at 20 years old. But some will wait like Errol Spence did who is also born in 1990 but Spence waited until the 2012 Olympic games where he was more developed.
I think the Charlos Bros knew they weren’t the amateur hot shots many other fighters were so they worked really hard. When I say work hard. I look at fighters from a different eye. I can tell who works in camp for a fight. And I can tell who puts in the work when their trainers aren’t around even before camp and in between fights. I can tell an independent, self sufficient athlete. Both Charlo Bros are independent self sufficient athletes. A trainer shouldn’t have to babysit a fighter as far them working out.
You’re right the Charlo Bros don’t have freaky skill sets. But they do have solid fundamentals highlighted with strong hard jabs. Along with extreme physicality. They both have built their bodies into bodies that ENDURE. In their fights they don’t just rely on their skill to win. They rely on their physicality and ability to endure more punishment than their opponents. They keep winning like this and over so it’s no coincidence. Both of those guys are big tough guys with solid chins, solid fundamentals and mean attitudes. It’s important for fighters to know their identities and stay within themselves.
It’s going to take a fighter who can stay steadfast and on the course for 12 whole rounds to beat them. Because they never stop trying and they know they can take punishment which allows them to keep pressing the action. I was super impressed with Jermell Charlo in his last fight with Tony Harrison. Harrison changed up tactics and fought a great fight. Instead of burning himself out trying to move, he pressed Jermell and took the fight to him. Harrison landed some bombs to the head and nasty left hooks to the body. I believe Harrison is the more skilled fighter. But Charlo has that durability and conditioning. So he just kept pressing and eventually got the ko he was looking for in a great fight. That’s the perfect example of what I’m referring to.
In over 60 fights combined I think the Charlo Bros have only been knocked down one time. That’s really good considering that fighters at 154 and 160 can naturally punch and both Bros fight high contact styles.. Even the fighters without high ko% can hurt you at junior middle and middleweight. You’re talking about men who walk around between 175-185lbs naturally. Their conditioning and durability are the biggest part of their success in my opinion.
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