The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Sugar Ray Robinson, drug usage in the UK, the career of Floyd Mayweather Jr, the career of Marvin Hagler, rising contender Adam Azim, the Pacquiao/Padilla controversy, Terence Crawford, and more.
Who is your greatest fighter of all time and if it’s not a recent fighter, can it be someone who fought within the last 20 years? Can it also be someone who has under 40 fights which is going to be most of this current era?
Bread’s Response: My greatest and best fighter of all time is Sugar Ray Robinson but I wouldn’t argue with anyone who said it was Muhammad Ali. But Robinson has the best record of his time in a time where records were littered with losses. He was only stopped once in over 200 fights and that was from heat exhaustion. He beat the reigning lightweight champion in non title fights 3x. He won the welterweight title. He won the middleweight title 5 times. Each time was from a HOF fighter. He fought for 25 years. His peak record was 128-1-2. He has over 40 wins over Ring Rated Top 10 fighters which is insane.
Robinson fought everyone he needed to fight. They say he didn’t fight black fighters but that’s one of the biggest myths in boxing history. Tommy Bell who he fought for his first title at welterweight was black. Kid Gavilan was black. Henry Armstrong was black. Tiger Wade from Black Murderers Row, who he supposedly ducked was black. Randy Turpin was black. George Costner who stole his nickname was black.
Lots of his famous fights were against white fighters and his fights against some of his prevalent black opponents were NOT filmed but Robinson fought over 100 fights vs black fighters. Robinson was 5’11, extremely skilled, extremely athletic, fast, durable, coordinated and had a huge punch. When you watch him fight you know his style would translate. Imagine him with a strength and conditioning coach and less wear and tear of being able to fight 2 to 3 times per year. I think it’s fair to say he’s still #1.
Muhammad Ali comes very close if not he's equal. His peak eyeball test of him from 1964-67 is as good as anything we have seen on video. Check out Ali vs Cleveland Williams. He has ZERO misses. There isn’t one viable fight that Ali missed in his eras. He turned out to be the best heavyweight of the 2 decades. The 1960s and 1970s. The 70s was the best era ever and Ali was past it. Then when Ali was way past his best day, he had the imagination (Rope a Dope), the heart, he had durability and character to still be the best. Ali is just simply Ali.
In current times Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather, Roy Jones and Roberto Duran all had chances to surpass Robinson in my opinion. Leonard if he doesn’t get detached retina and take off 5 years had the field of opponents to do it.
Jones if he doesn’t go back to 175 and lose so badly to Tarver and Johnson.
Duran if he doesn’t quit vs Leonard and go on a bad career slump in the 80s.
And Mayweather if he has a couple of big wins in fights it’s perceived he could’ve lost or was the underdog at the time the fights were made. All 4 of those guys had serious chances and Mayweather retiring at 50-0 chances will increase over time with modern analytics.
Currently top fighters like say Usyk won’t have 30 career fights. But I do think it’s possible for a fighter with less career fights to be the best ever. I don’t want to penalize a fighter for when he was born and what the status quo of the networks are. If a fighter simply fights the best available competition consistently in big fights. Like Say an Oscar De La Hoya level mentality without so many losses. With a high rating on the eye ball test like say Shakur Stevenson or say Boots Ennis currently. Also a very decorated fighter in terms of winning titles, title defenses, winning FOY awards etc. Be a monster in his prime. And mix the right amount of money fights with legacy fights. We witness a fighter be the greatest in this era.
I don’t think people realize how close Leonard, Jones, Duran and Mayweather were. And because Mayweather retired undefeated as times goes on his legacy will increase and the argument for him will increase. If you remember in 1972, Ali was not considered a top 5 heavyweight ever, despite his big wins in the 1960s. Nat Fleischer the most influential figure in boxing at the time didn’t have Ali rated so highly. But as time went on Ali was correctly placed in my opinion. So time sort of sorts these things out.
There have recently been multiple examples of fights in the United Kingdom going ahead as scheduled (or final results not being overturned) despite failed drug tests. In some cases, the public wouldn’t have been aware of the failed drug tests if it wasn’t for newspaper reporting. Zolani Tete is the most recent example but there have been cases involving Dillian Whyte, Tyson Fury and others as well. So I ask you, what is the solution? If I was a promoter or manager, I wouldn’t send my fighter to the UK unless the drug testing went above and beyond UKAD. I wouldn’t trust that anyone would stop the fight from proceeding if there was a failed drug test, nor do I think anyone would even inform us if there was a failed test. I can’t believe I’m the only one who feels this way and I hope there’s a discussion about what to do about it. Thank you for your thoughts!
Bread’s Response: People got upset with me when I said that the UK banned substance usage seemed a little out of control. It seemed to be part of the culture. I wasn’t suggesting that we don’t have some big issues in the US as far as PEDS but it just seems to me that the UK allows stuff that we don’t. I don’t know how I would combat it at this point. It seems simple but it's never as simple as it seems. IF someone test positive the fight should be cancelled immediately, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out, but it is. It’s definitely something they need to tighten up.
Hi Bread, Is there such thing as different types of jab? I'm aware of jab to the body but apart from that. Also what is the key to a good jab to the body? it seems like it can open you up to an overhand shot but I'm sure there's ways to land it consistently and effectively. I think it's an underrated shot.
Thanks, Sean in Ireland
Bread’s Response: Heck yeah. There are several jabs. There is a text book scoring jab of Andre Ward. Straight and compact to the target.
There is a long whipping jab like Tommy Hearns and Bob Foster threw.
There is that flick spinning jab that can make you physically nauseous that Ali and Holmes threw.
There is that hard compact jab that Joe Louis and GGG threw.
There is that heavy bag jab that stays with you that George Foreman and Sonny Liston threw.
There is that hybrid jab that Hagler and Winky threw from their converted stances.
There are so many jabs it’s hard to name them all. But all great jabs don’t come in the same form. I love jabs and their variations. I know I missed a few. But I have actually seen at least 10 different variations of jabs.
The key to the body jab is the eyes and the front foot. The best jabbers to the body I have ever seen are Mayweather and Ward. Both have a way of stepping with their front foot where you think the jab is going to the head and they stick it to the belly. Both also sell it with their eyes. Both process really fast. Quickness is in the mind, speed is in the body.
Sup Bread, If Floyd Mayweather would have continued as “Pretty Boy” Floyd instead of “Money” Mayweather, where he purposely played the bad guy, would he be ranked higher considering his accomplishments? We all know that emotion plays a part in historical rankings. In your opinion did Floyd have any “misses” considering his résumé included Pacquiao, Canelo, Corrales, Castillo 2x, Mitchell, Gatti, Hatton, Oscar, Judah, Marquez .Mosley, Cotto, Ortiz etc .If anyone ever cleared out a weight class I would say it was Floyd .Can you rank who had the best chins of this group 1) George Foreman 2) James Toney 3)Marvin Hagler 4) Roberto Duran 5) GGG 6) Ali
Take Care, Aaron from Cleveland
Bread’s Responses: I don’t know but that’s a very good question. I think the consensus opinion is that Floyd is the best fighter of this century, so basically the last 2 decades. He’s a top 3 ever at 130lbs, he’s a top 10 at 147. And he’s somewhere firm in the top 20 ever. Some have him #1 ever. Anytime you are that highly regarded and your career just ended that’s extremely high because often times it takes time to be that well thought of.
Besides Ali everyone has misses. So yes Floyd does have some misses but he fought a large share of Ring Rated fighters in his career which is a huge measuring stick for era dominance.
All the guys you named have great chins and it’s hard to pinpoint one because of different circumstances. For example, Foreman fought as an old man and was not stopped after the Ali fight which is amazing. Toney got dropped at 160 and 168 but went up to heavyweight and was never stopped in 80 fights.
Ali could be dropped but it was almost impossible to stop him. Ali's will was just as strong as his chin. Ali refused to get stopped.
Duran was kod cold by Hearns but his chin was unreal. He was a prime lightweight and he took huge shots from super middleweights and stood up.
GGG and Hagler have those chins that don’t show any real effect of punches. So either their chins are impenetrable or they are both good at hiding being buzzed. All of the guys you named have among the best chins in boxing history.
First of all, I like Hagler a lot. The problem that I have is that people just blow things out of proportion with him. For a one division champ, he didn't exactly fight 100 to 200 times like the guys in 30s and 40s. If we scrutinize his record as much as we did Leonard, I feel that he played it a little safe. I get that super middleweight sucked back then and barely had any recognition but light heavyweight was on fire from late 70s till early 80s. He didn't try his luck. They were not just good, the light heavyweights in the 70s and early 80s were stars as well. Yet Hagler was only interested in facing the stars below his weight class and wanted them to move up. Hearns's body was a bit weird but when he faced Hagler, he was still an average sized middleweight who could still make light middleweight limit if he wanted to. It was also his first fight at middleweight. He immediately retired after his loss to Leonard. To me, he is an ATG but I would place him in all-time top 50 not top 25. I don't know, what are your thoughts? How do you think a prime Hagler would have done at 168 against the likes of Roy Jones, James Toney or Andre Ward?
Bread’s Response: I don’t have one issue with Marvin Hagler’s consensus legacy. He’s the working man’s favorite fighter. He’s 13-1-1 in title fights. He unified his division. He doesn’t have any misses at his weight. His pre title run of Briscoe, Hart, Monroe 3x, Watts 3x, Seales 3x is just as good as his title run. That’s 11 murderous fights before he won a title. He defended his title vs some hard work. Sibson, Hamsho2x, Oblegias, Duran, Mugabi, Hearns and Leonard.
Listen, I don’t care if a fighter moves up in weight or not. Often times fighters move up without clearing out a division and creating an ATG legacy in one division. Hagler was a 5’8 middleweight who was super disciplined. He most likely didn’t ever walk around at 175lbs, yet alone fight there. Moving from 160 to 175 was a hard jump and for a man who didn’t struggle to make weight and had competition in his own weight class, ask yourself why.
In the era before Hagler, Carlos Monzon was middleweight champion at the same exact time Bob Foster was light heavyweight champion. No one criticizes him for not fighting Foster.
If you look at the time line in the 1980s, Hagler won his title in 1980. He didn’t get the big Super fight until late in 1983. The same year Spinks and Qawi unified. He didn’t get the Hearns fight until 1985. That year Spinks moved up to fight Holmes at heavyweight. After the Hearns fight, Hagler gave us a huge fight vs a red hot real #1 contender in John Mugabi. And then, he gave us the Leonard fight.
I don’t feel he left food on the table by not moving up. I don't remember the public clamoring for Hagler to rise in weight. I don’t think playing it safe is the right term. I think he was conservative and he fought within his realm. If he played it safe he wouldn’t have came to Philadelphia and fought killers in non title fights. I just feel he chose not to fight huge guys outside of his weight class. Hagler didn’t have the athleticism or size to fight at 175lbs and I commend him for not doing it. His discipline should be commended not criticized.
Got to be honest- you’ve got to be the best at articulating the game to us mere mortals. Keep up the good work. However, my question-Adam Azim - wow. Combine the best attributes of Prince Naz and Amir Khan and you’ve got some fighter. I think AA is that fighter. Like your call on Ennis many, many moons ago, surely AA could be another world beater?
Talk to us Bread. Impart some of your wisdom.
Bread’s Response: Adam Azim…. I have only seen highlights. I need to see 3 complete fights before I start complimenting fighters. When I was younger I made that mistake before and I overrated a few fighters and I underrated Andre Ward and Vasyl Lomachenko. So now I’m more reserved when I say things like that. I’ve seen Ennis fight a hand full of amateur fights. About 7 or 8 pro fights. And at least 30 sparring sessions in the gym. So I’m comfortable saying the things I have said about Ennis.
What's up Bread,
Regis looked good on Saturday and at one point they said he reminded them of Hagler with his peppering jab. I thought I saw some Manny in his footwork; quick feet and a shuffle step to close the distance. He also launches into his left hand at times. I also saw some Frazier in his head movement early on. He was bending at the waist, bobbing and weaving against Zepeda while pressuring him. He's comes off as a slick boxer, but he has dynamite in his hands and gets mean when it's time for the finish. Who are some fighters you think Regis got his game from? How do you think he does against Taylor or Teo?
Bread’s Response: Regis has what I call old school athleticism. It’s not like Ray Robinson or Roy Jones athleticism. But it’s athleticism confined within his hard nosed style. Watch Hagler vs Briscoe and you will see what I mean. I see Regis hitting car tires with small old school gloves on. He has hard fist. That’s different from being heavy handed, but I suspect he’s both.
I don’t think Regis has dynamite in his fist. Dynamite to me is Prince Naseem Hamed. Regis has those hard attrition punches that have a big effect. He knows it, so he keeps touching you, then he puts a little more steam on his shots, as the fight progresses. He punches sort of like Spence but he’s a little more impromptu in his approach.
I’m not saying he’s as good as these two, but Regis to me is a mix of Hagler and Armstrong. Watch Armstrong good, he was boxing and bobbing going forward. He was something. That’s what I see in Regis.His jab isn’t as commanding as Hagler’s but he has some Hagler in his game. I wouldn’t make him the underdog vs anyone at 140 at the current moment. But let me see how Taylor and Teo look in their upcoming fights.
Bread, Did you see the story where ref Carlos Padilla admitted to helping Manny win a fight back in 2000. He mentioned giving Manny more time to recover from a KD and purposely calling a cut by a punch rather than butt so he wouldn't have to take a point from Manny. What is the fix for something like that? I'm sure this happens more than we fans would want to believe.
Bread’s Response: I saw some of the interview but I couldn’t really understand what Padilla was saying. He has a thick accent. I don’t know if the fight was fixed, but it seems he showed Pacquiao favoritism. I can’t believe Padilla was dumb enough to admit that. I never liked him as a referee and this gives my feelings substance.
Yes this happens often. You just have to know what to look for. Watch Lucian Bute vs Librado Andrade 1. It was one of the worst calls I have ever seen. Watch Omar Douglas vs Edner Cherry and tell me who you thought won? Boxing is a corrupt sport. And the cases are not cases in my opinion of someone handing an official an envelope full of money. In my estimation it occurs with silent agreements where officials (judges, referees and time keepers), just simply use opportunity to side with A side fighters or fighters they believe are in favor of the promoter. Harsh reality of the sport we all love and signed up for.
Hello Breadman ,
It seems Terrence Crawford is taking the brunt of the fall out for the Spence Crawford fight failing. How do you see Crawford at this point in his career . He has escaped fighting elite opponents . Considering his age, thirty five. Where does he go now . Will the Spence Crawford fight get made next year . There is a lot of trash talk between him and Jermell Charlo . I would love to see Crawford fight Charlo. He says he is the best fighter in the world and will fight Ennis and Ortiz . Probably just talk . What are his best options from here . What chances of moving to one fifty-four and fighting Charlo , for that to happen . As a casual boxing fan with no inside knowledge, I would love to see Crawford fight Ennis and Charlo and forget the Spence fight . Your thoughts please.
Bread’s Response: It seems to me that Spence’s fans blame Crawford and Crawford’s fans blame Spence. I think Crawford is a HOF. I think he’s a great fighter. But not an ATG yet because of his lack of big fight exposure. I think his opponents have been solid and elite, just not great fighters or big name fighters.
If Crawford decides to go to 154 and a fight with Jermell Charlo gets made, you have to realize that Charlo has the same infrastructure representing him. And if Charlo vs Crawford were to get made, then it would make Spence look bad. Right, wrong or indifferent fans would say how did PBC make the Charlo fight and not the Spence fight? If Crawford was the issue with Spence, why isn’t he the issue with Charlo? So I don’t know if that fight gets made.
I don’t like playing matchmaker with a fighter’s career. I just want to see Crawford in big legacy defining fights. If you’re asking me, which you are. I think Ennis is the least likely fight to happen for Crawford. It’s just too risky when he can make more money fighting Charlo or Spence.
The power moves would be face Vergil Ortiz or Jermell Charlo. Ortiz to get the Mexican fan base on his side. Charlo to make Spence look bad because Charlo and Spence are represented by the same company.
Enjoyed your interview on the last stand. I have a couple of non-boxing questions? You still seem to be in good shape. While your busy schedule cutting into your time can you give us an idea of both your eating and exercise habits?
Bread’s Response: I’m 6’3. Right now I’m between 210lbs-215lbs. But my best and most comfortable weight is 195lbs-200lbs. Being in camp and eating out on PST, threw my body off a bit. I will get down to 200lbs by the spring. I drink plenty of water. I don’t eat after 6pm. I take ZMA to get sleep. I do yoga, I’m not good at it but I do, do it. And I move around with my children and fighters daily which gives me a good calorie burn. I also run or walk this incredible hill we have here in Philadelphia when I get the chance but I haven’t had the chance lately.
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