By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as the Charlo brothers, yearly awards for 2018, PED use in boxing, Terence Crawford vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko, and more.
Bread what up,
I heard you were nice back in the day in hoops. I’m talking real nice in the Philadelphia Public League where there were ballers in the 90s. I was told that’s how you got your nickname. You’re tall to be a point guard, good stuff.
On to my question what makes Tony Harrison able to come back from two devastating ko losses where as other guys just never regroup. Also what made Harrison be able to overcome a fighter in Jermell Charlo that was viewed as a killer. Can Harrison win the rematch?
Bread’s Response: Thanks man. I’m 6’3 I played both guard spots but mostly shooting guard. Yes I could play, I had game but I should have been way better. I didn’t work hard enough. I practiced but not the way I should have looking back. I should have been stronger and more agile. My jumpshot was excellent but I got hot and cold. When I got hot I was really hot. If my son has the game I had he will go further because I know what to look for.
Tony Harrison was able to come back from those losses because he didn’t let the losses consume him. Life is much bigger than a boxing match in the grand scheme of things. Harrison took the moment serious but he didn’t allow himself to be swallowed up in the “what if” I lose again. So what if he lost again. At least he tried and gave it his best. At the end of the day it’s God’s Will.
From a moral perspective Tony is a good kid as far as I know. He’s always respectful and cool. He never takes himself too serious. He gives back to his community. Not in a way to bring attention to himself. But in a way to really help those kids in in Detroit. Let me tell you something, good things happen to good people. It doesn’t mean he won’t ever lose a fight again, boxing doesn’t work like that. But you catch that good karma when you have a good spirit.
From a boxing perspective Harrison fought Charlo’s fire with water. If you fight fire with fire, you make a bigger fire. But if you fight it with water you put it out. Harrison didn’t over punch. He didn’t get excited. He didn’t get into unnecessary exchanges. He minimized the violence of the fight.
Harrison also kept the team around him that he always had. That tells me he didn’t blame his losses solely on them, he took some of the responsibility. Lots of times fighters change teams as soon as they lose. Every case is different but sometimes you just aren’t good enough to win on the night you lost.
Harrison doesn’t take himself too serious therefore he can self critique. He knows he has stamina issues. He also knows he doesn’t have an iron chin. He probably won’t admit it, no fighter will but he knows himself. If he and Charlo would have fought before the Willie Nelson fight, Harrison would have got stopped. But because he has self awareness he was able to win the fight.
When Harrison was coming up he thought he was Gerald McClellan. He fought like a ko artist. But at the top level Harrison has realized that he’s a good boxer, with a great jab but he’s not a lights out puncher. He didn’t even try to ko Charlo. It takes a lot to put yourself in perspective. It’s called humility. Harrison despite having lots of kos, he couldn’t drop Hurd, Charlo or Nelson. The 3 best fighters he’s faced. So he realizes that boxing will be his strong point at the elite level.
He also didn’t allow himself to be carried fast because he wanted to have something in the TANK at the end. Self awareness.
Tony Harrison won this fight simply because he improved his CHARACTER. Boxing is 75% character and mental.
Yes he can win a rematch. I don’t know if he will but he can win. If him and Charlo fight 50x and Charlo does not score a KO, Harrison will always be right with him as far scoring points.
Hope this new year brings you all the happiness you seek in life.
I feel that various boxing styles are not adequately covered by the existing terminology of slugger, swarmer, outfighter and boxer-puncher. Take Hearns for example - he liked boxing in long range and would go for the kill once he hurt his opponent like a boxer puncher. Having said that, he boxed moving forward unlike a outfighter or a boxer puncher. Of course, even outfighters and boxer punchers move forward at times but Hearns always moved forward (his fights at higher weight classes maybe different). At the same time he moved forward differently than a swarmer. He would move towards you and throw punches in his preferred long range. Similarly, Andre Ward moved around the ring like an outfighter against Kovalev but mostly whenever he engaged with him, he led with a jab and moved inside in a bent posture and started infighting like a swarmer. A boxer puncher is closest to their style but it hard to categorize them as such. How would you categorize their boxing styles?
Is it possible for a swarmer or a slugger to have a counterpuching style and be successful? Not a few odd counters, I am talking about swarmer or a slugger who had a full fledged counterpunching style. Outfighters can afford to not throw too many punches proactively and set-up counters but can a swarmer or a slugger afford to do the same?
Bread’s Response: Great Question. I agree with you about labels. It’s why I came up with 5 titles of punchers. Heavy Handed Debilitators-Arguello, Swordsmen-Hearns, Bludgeon Crew-Foreman, Speed Thudders-Joe Louis and Electric Slashers-Ray Robinson.
Tommy Hearns was a great boxer but his mentality unless he was hurt was that of a ko artist. So while Hearns is a boxer puncher specifically I would describe Hearns as a “boxer stalker with a killer’s mentality”. Hearns stalked you to kill you but he did it behind one of the most educated jabs in history so therefore he was applying boxing.
Andre Ward is also a boxer puncher but he’s more of a hybrid than Hearns. Ward is approaches differently because he doesn’t have the ko power Hearns had. His goal is not to ko, his goal is to win rounds, neutralize and break his opponents down. Both are fierce but the mindsets are different. The reason why he swarmed Kovalev is because Kovalev is also a supreme out fighter like Hearns. And for whatever reasons, Ward couldn’t dominate Kovalev from the outside. So he swarmed him and fatigued him. Kovalev is the only fighter I ever saw that Ward couldn’t dominate with his jab and Ward was just as comfortable changing his approach. It was joyous to watch if you knew what you were looking at in that 2nd fight.
I would describe Ward specifically as an “all around hybrid fighter”. Saying Ward is just a boxer puncher is dumbing down his all around ability. Ward is a great out fighter. Even without having Hearn’s length and right hand. Ward is a great mid range fighter. And he’s a great in fighter. The best Black American infighter we have seen since a prime James Toney. He’s equally as good at going forward as he is going backwards. The only thing Andre Ward is NOT is a 1 punch ko artist and that’s no big deal because 90% of the fighters aren’t. Hearns was rare in the power department. But I think not being a huge puncher benefited Ward because he never became spoiled in one part of his game. He didn’t fall in love with one thing. Huge punchers fall in love with their power from time to time.
Ward’s hybrid water style is why he was underappreciated early on. Dynamic offensive fighters get appreciated earlier like Hearns, Tito and Tyson. But those all around special guys like Ward, Hagler and Hopkins it takes longer to realize what you’re looking at but they usually end up at the same place. The HOF.
You bring up a great point that I don't think I've read anyone state before but one that I always found to be obvious.
If a fighter pops for PEDS, and then in his next fight gets tested and is clean, that doesn't mean he is clean.
I've seen plenty of people in life cycle PEDS, and stop at some point and retain lots of benefits.
Do people think if professional bodybuilders suddenly stopped taking PEDS but kept working out their body would go back to looking like they never took them? No they still would have much benefit.
Sometimes the benefits are permanent and fighters would be getting those benefits in fights they are being tested with VADA because even if the drugs are not in their systems the benefits are still there. Like you mentioned bone density are still there.
This is why fighters who early on in their success paid for year round testing need to be lauded.
Donaire is borderline HOF to some people, but to me his success WHILE year round testing though his most successful years means so much to me that he's definitely HOF to me.
Bread’s Response: People in boxing know that PEDs can always benefit you they just don’t care.
Just take this example. If your MAX bench press is 300lbs. On a PED cycle you get up to 400lbs. If you stop using you may go back down to 350lbs. Well you still benefited because your MAX didn’t go back to where it was when you were PED free.
Another example is what if you can run a mile in 7 minutes. On a PED cycle you can run a mile in 5 minutes. Off of PEDs now you run a 6 minute mile. You still benefited. It’s simple and very smart people play dumb not because they don’t know but because they don’t want the public to know they support strongly suspicious athletes.
No one in boxing likes to talk about PEDs “on the record” because it will ruffle too many feathers.
A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Bread,
I thought Jermell beat Harrison clearly. Harrison did some cute things in the ring but Charlo did more.
On a big fox production it looked like a robbery to a lot of people.
That being said both brothers shortcomings were on display last Saturday night.
Jermall could've easily lost to his opponent if not for his very strong 11th and 12th rounds.
Both brothers are too tight in the shoulder's, which made them miss a lot of punches. Too much weights imo.
The Charlo brothers have too much bulky muscles that aren't supple enough for accuracy.
Power is good but not the only thing.
They're both somewhat outspoken, the younger one especially, and are young lions who want to chart their own course, but they should observe and respect the championship mettle of champions like Mayweather, Cotto and others.
At this point I believe Canelo would beat both of them he is a more versatile fighter then they are. He may even KO them.
The question is, how much better can these guys get? I believe they're both finished products. Their auras of invincibility are gone. Exposed isn't too strong of a word, it's an accurate description.
Bread’s Response: Exposed is a strong word. You have to see them in their next few fights.
I do believe both were tight but not because of what you stated. Listen physicality is their game. Pushing, pulling, punching, physical athleticism is a big part of the Charlo Bros. They aren’t going to display Loma’s skill level. It’s just not their games. They are big strong kids for the weight and they use their advantages to their abilities. They turned themselves into physical athletes. You have to remember they weren’t special amateurs like say Andrade or GGG. So therefore they have to make up for certain things. It’s smart for them to make themselves more physical.
I think they were both tight because this was the 1st time they headlined a big show. This was their 1st main event. Commercial after commercial. Interview after interview. The expectations were high. The odds were 10 to 1 in Jermell’s favor and 20 to 1 in Jermall’s. Those are ridiculous expectations. That’s Mike Tyson level numbers in his prime.
Both Harrison and Korobov were winning the fights they lost on their records previously. And Korobov has wins over Jose Uzcategui and amateur wins over Oleksandr Usyk and Danny Jacobs. All 3 of those dudes are as good as Jermall and Usyk is better. So those odds of 10 to 1 and 20 to 1 are crazy high.
The Twins are human being, they felt the pressure. They both looked a little tight early and they started doing better in the 2nd half of the fights once they loosed up. Those BIG lights are something and people underestimate them. I have seen fighters in the gym who look like P4P level fighters but under the bright lights they can’t put it together.
I think the Charlo brothers will get better the next time they fight under the bright lights because the more you do something the more comfortable you get doing it. Everyone is pushing the panic button but they are human beings and did you guys expect them to both go 50-0? It’s boxing, 99.9% of the fighters in the history of boxing have lost. It’s not as big a deal as the people think. The best 3 fighters of the last 50 years are Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard. All 3 of them not only lost but they lost before they were 30. Think about that statistic.
I saw your tweet about Caleb Plant, do you really think he has a shot? I think I’m going to bet on him.
Bread’s Response: I do. I like Plant’s chances a lot. I think the Uzi is the real deal but I’m not sure if Dirrell made him look better than he is. If he dominates Plant then I’m 100% sold.
But Plant has an heir of confidence around him that I know when I see it. Plant is a mature young man. Maturity is important in your 1st big fight. You can’t make it bigger and make mistakes. You can’t get too high or too low. It’s just a fight at the end of the day.
To go along with what seems a productive mind state, Plant has an educated lead hand, excellent boxing ability and a nice set of legs. I do wonder about his physical toughness but we will find out soon enough. I will probably bet Plant by decision. But ask me next week to be sure.
What's up Bread?
I recently had to set a few people straight on Instagram in regards to the following:
1. Vasily Lomachenko vs. Terrence Crawford: This person believes that if Crawford can move up from 135 to 147 then Loma can do the same or face Bud at a catchweight. I pointed out that Loma started at 126 and Bud actually turned pro at 140 (looked it up on boxrec). I don't know why people fail to recognize the obvious: Crawford was busting at the seams at 135 six years ago while Loma looks like a midget at lightweight. The fight is not realistic and Lomachenko's manager said so himself
2. Errol Spence Jr. vs Canelo Alvarez: Another person believes that Spence would "maul" Canelo at 154. I replied that he just might since Canelo says he can't get any lower than 160 now and would probably be a zombie at that weight. The person then replied that Spence would even destroy Canelo at 160. I'm not saying Spence couldn't win but I would need to see Errol fight above 147 first because he gets hit and Canelo would definitely run off those combinations.
I tried to keep it as brief as possible and I normally don't even argue with other fans online but I just had to share my thoughts.
William in West Palm
Bread’s Response: Don’t argue with boxing fans man. They’re the worst in all of sports. And so is the media. I just stumbled across a scribe’s P4P rankings and I know people claim they’re a futile but I’m not one of those people. An accurate and respectable subjective list is not too much to ask from a knowledgeable boxing mind. This list was so bad I couldn’t stomach it. I would never take this particular guy serious ever again.
Everyone is fascinated with weight jumping. But they forget about Carlos Monzon, Naseem Hamed, Eusabio Pedraza, Salvador Sanchez, Kostya Tszyu, Aaron Pryor and Marvin Hagler. You don’t have to move up to be great. You don’t have to move up to be special. Just consistently beat the best available fighter, conquer all challengers and adapt to all styles. Often times moving up is a way to duck but no one recognizes it.
Loma is too small for Crawford. He doesn’t have to move up and face Crawford to validate his greatness, period. It’s not fair to ask.
Errol Spence is closer to Canelo’s size than Loma is to Crawford. I think that’s a real fight. But let’s see Spence clean out his division first although I don’t think he will ever get the big fights if he smokes Mikey Garcia.
What's up Bread?
What are your thoughts on this matchup of the last two ESPN prospects of the year? (Garcia for 2017, Lopez for 2018). Who wins right now? Could this be a superfight in 2020 or 2021? I know that Garcia is with Golden Boy and Lopez Jr. is with Top Rank but I can already imagine the buildup if both keep winning.
William in West Palm
Bread’s Response: I think Lopez is more advanced at this current moment. I don’t think it will be a super fight in 2020. Both would have to establish themselves as super stars in their weight division. Lightweight is stacked. There is no guarantee either will win a title. Being a super prospect and a super champion is different. We have to wait and see.
There is also another young stud at 135 in Devin Haney who is trying to make his mark. I think he’s as good as both.
Happy New year bread.
1. Can you name some of the best combinations you've ever seen? Doesn't necessarily have to be a combination that finishes a fight, just something that kinda blows your mind when you see it. The best I've seen is the 6 punch combo that Roy Jones landed to finish off vinny paz.
2. I've got a book on Mike tyson by a writer named Ellis cashmere. He throws up the theory that rather than tyson losing to Douglas because of Tyson's lack of focus, that Douglas would've beaten anyone in the world that night based on the way he fought. What's your thoughts on how tyson 88 wouldve dealt with douglas that night?
Roy Jones vs michaelchewzki
Roy Jones vs bhop 2002
Nigel Benn vs joe calzaghe
Marquez vs naseem hamed
Amir Khan vs Ricky Hatton
Bread’s Response: For arguments sake I would take Roy over Michalchewski but my gut tells me he would have been troubled if they fought on Michalchewski’s best day. DM had a serious jab and he had sneaky power and confidence. They should have fought.
In 2002 Roy Jones over Bhop. Bhop as special but close to their peaks I think Jones was a bad style match up. They also should have fought. Their rematch happened in 2010 that was just counterproductive to their legacies. 17 years after the 1st fight…
Calzaghe over Benn by a close decision in a fire fight. Calzaghe’s punches were a little straighter. But this would have been rough. They just missed each other. Benn’s peak from around 92-95 he would have been rough on any 168lbs in history.
Marquez over Hamed. Marquez would probably get dropped. But this is a horrible style match up for the Prince. Marquez’s balance is too good. His combination punching is all time elite. This fight would have looked like the Barrera fight.
Hatton over Khan. We missed Hatton’s apex. I saw him from 03-05. After the Tszyu fight he sort of slowed down slightly if you watched his whole career. He waited a little long for his title shot because he wanted it at home. Hatton was a ROUGH SOB and elite pressure fighter. Khan has super skills but he doesn’t understand how to infight. Just watch his fights with Lamont Peterson and Chris Algieri. They both gave him fits infighting him. Hatton was the best infighter of that time span. He would have beaten Khan up on his best night. Just like he did Tszyu who liked space for his fast straight shots and Tszyu is better than Khan. I respect Amir Khan but he matches up well with boxers not swarmers. If Khan would have gotten the opportunity I think he would have upset atleast 2 of the Quartet of Bradley, Marquez, Pac and Mayweather. But never Hatton.
Best combinations I’ve seen. Um….Roy Jones dropped Reggie Johnson with a nasty combo early in their fight. Ray Leonard put a nasty one on Davey Boy Green. Nonito Donaire layed the wood on Manuel Vargas and Roberto Duran really put together a combo on Kobayshi. All of these are on youtube.
Interesting theory on Douglas. I actually give it some credence. Douglas is a like a guy I have seen in many sports. He doesn’t have the mental make up to be great or dominant over an extended period. But in small microcosms he can be special. I also feel as though the stars lined up for Douglas. Stylistically Douglas matches up great with Tyson. It’s not just height and reach. Tyson always gave that up. But Douglas had an authoritative jab and he had punch variety and with good feet. If Tyson is the best he ever was and “that” Douglas shows up he gives Tyson hell every time. Douglas won every round of that fight except for the knockdown round. That was no lucky punch.
You know what tells me that Douglas had a bad style for Tyson. There was never a rematch. In other big upsets in heavyweight history or even surprise performances there is a rematch. Ali/Spinks, Lewis/Rahman, Lewis/McCall, Louis/Conn, Holmes/Spinks, Ali/Liston….
There was never a rematch. That tells me that Tyson’s brain trust knew Douglas was all wrong for him. Could he have beaten the Tyson of 88, I honestly don’t know.
Would Douglas have beaten all of the other heavyweights in the world in February of 1990. Most likely everyone except Holyfield. Foreman was likely too slow at the time. Lewis and Bowe were pups in 1990. Razor Ruddock would have been interesting.
What are your year end awards? Fight of the Year, Fighter of the Year, Prospect of the year and Trainer of the Year?
Bread’s Response: The easiest choice for me is Fighter of the Year. Ollie Usyk. Dude went on the road to unify vs undefeated champions and he went on to win a huge fight vs Tony Bellew on the road again. Easy pick.
Fight of the Year is tougher for me. I saw 4 great fights, 3 of them live. Wilder vs Fury, Wilder vs Ortiz and Hurd vs Lara. I also though Canelo vs GGG 2 was a great fight which I watched as it happened.
This is tough for me because you can’t really go wrong with none of the choices. Second for second Hurd vs Lara probably had the most skillful action but Wilder vs Fury had the most dramatic moment. I’m flipping a coin in my mind I say Wilder vs Fury. Fury rising up from that last knockdown and buzzing Wilder was just breath taking. I walked back to my hotel room from the Staples Center I was so amped up and it was cold in LA that night.
Trainer of the Year, I’m going to go against the grain and give it to Ben Davison. Davison is a young guy who most people dismissed. Tyson Fury has documented drug and mental health issues. On top of that he has weight issues. On top of that he had a long lay off. Davison got him in impeccable shape, he got his mind right, he took a fight that most thought was too early in the comeback and they had a great game plan. More people thought Fury won than thought he lost.
People take for granted that a trainer is more than a trainer. Often times he’s a matchmaker because he does have a say on who his fighter fights. He’s a disciplinarian because he has to constantly remind his fighter on what to do and when to do it. He’s a conditioning coach because the head trainer really is in charge of getting a fighter in shape. He’s a dietician because he can’t let the fighter eat what he wants and if the fighter is not at peak weight he gets the blame. He’s also a psychologist because people don’t realize the self doubt and counter productive thoughts that go through a fighter’s mind.
Who in the world did a better job than Davison this year?
I’m also going to go against the grain with Prospect of the Year. Everyone is picking Teofimo Lopez and he’s a sensational fighter. But Lopez has the Top Rank machine. He was the best promoted prospect. But the best prospect I saw was Jaron Ennis. Ennis does not get the fan fair that Ryan Garcia, Teofimo Lopez and Vergil Ortiz gets but if you watch his fights and watch their fights tell me who is the best at this current moment? Not who has the most upside. Not who is better promoted. Just simply who is the best and who had the best year in 2018. I think it was Ennis.
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