The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as the career of Michael Nunn, the talents of Terence Crawford, the aftermath of Herring vs. Oquendo, Canelo becoming an all-time great, and more.
I trust that all is well with you and yours. It has been awhile since I've written in, but trust me I've been keeping up. Your fan base has grown over these past years, great for you. Man, the world is somewhat upside down these days. Probably now as much ever, one's foundation, upbringing, education and faith is key to getting through all of this.
Boxing wise, Terence Crawford is arguably the best pound for pound guy in the game today. Given that, how would you, if you were in his corner, strategize a fight with him vs. your idol Sugar Ray Robinson at welterweight? Physically, Robinson likely has the edge, so I am curious as to how you might prepare TC vs. Sugar. I know this is all hypothetical, but what the hell. You can throw in the same hypothesis using Errol Spence.
I hope that your man J-Rock is doing well and looking to get back on the horse again.
Tony T from Harlem
Bread’s Response: Yes it is. Upbringing and values are important in unfamiliar times…Some people are taking advantage of not paying rent and looting because it’s in their character to try to get away with things that are WRONG. These times test your values.
Wow, interesting question. As I type let me think. Terence Crawford in my opinion is a violent, pure boxing adjuster. I think Crawford and his team gameplan. But I also think they do drills so they can overcome problems on the fly. Crawford’s adjusting capacity is also a God Given talent. Like clockwork an opponent will have a few good rounds then boom, he washes them with 6 rounds in a row. That’s a gift.
Robinson is a violent, athletically gifted boxer puncher. He sort of fights in melodic outburst. You can see his tap dance back ground in how he attacks. Obviously the rhythm is different in our times. We move to hip hop and R&B.
If I’m Crawford I stay patient. Try not to over punch and exchange early. I think Robinson is quicker on the draw. I would also have him fight more southpaw than orthodox because there wasn’t many southpaws in Robinson’s day. After that Crawford’s gifts and drills will kick in. If my gut is correct I think Crawford would box Robinson more than attack because of their styles. Good question.
I've noticed through all of your recent fights that you don't get all amped up like these other trainers. Not before, in between rounds with your fighter, nor after the fight. How is that so?
It baffles me when I watch you vs the other trainer, you maintain a pure poker face. Is that your true persona or do you do it for your fighter?
Again Sir, thank you for breaking it down for us layman!
Jon L ( NC Uppercut)
Bread’s Response: I’m human. I have emotions. And they vary. But in boxing I remind myself to stay composed. I try to stay sharp. A wise man once told me to try not to get too high and try not to get too low. I try to talk precise and clear to my boxers. If I’m yelling then it can irritate them and they won’t hear me. In between rounds is a time of rest and it’s hard to rest if someone is yelling in your face. I try not raise my voice often in the corner, so when I do my fighters respond with a sense of urgency. On a flip note I was around a trainer who talked so low, literally no one could hear him. So I try to talk calm and clear, so there is no misunderstandings. Fighters are under high stress situations in a fight and communication is important.
I don’t drink alcohol before a fight. I need to be sharp. I’ve observed so many things that have led to wins. I once noticed a fighter was ice cold early. I told my guy to go out blazing in the 1st round. He did and scored a knockdown. We won the fight 5 rounds to 3 but we scored 3 knockdowns which really won us the fight. I once noticed a fighter had a “dead eye”. I told my fighter to cover his good eye because the “dead eye” couldn’t adjust. He did it immediately and beat the living crap out of the fighter. Then there was a time when I noticed a fighter didn’t rehydrate good. His belly was hanging over his belt line. I told my fighter he lost too much weight and we needed to go to the body. We did and won a huge fight.
If I would’ve been yelling and screaming like an idiot I wouldn’t have observed any of that stuff. When I see trainers barking at the opposing fighters I think that’s so whack. I’ve never said a disrespectful word to one fighter in a decade. I’ve never taunted or trash talked one in the ring or at a weigh in. It’s immature and classless.
But again I’m human. I cried when Julian Williams beat Jarrett Hurd. That was a big moment for me. Lot’s of years of hard work. I also get aggravated during fights but you guys can’t see it. Often times trainers have to sit in a corral area. Sometimes there are obstacles in our way like ring post or cameras. So I may shift my seat just to get a better angle. Some of the people from the commission get touchy and will grab me and tell me to sit down. But I don’t stand. This has happened to me a few times and it really bugs me out because I’m a head trainer. I have to have the best view of the fight. Sometimes there are people sitting ring side that can see the fight better than me. And that’s ridiculous. So I’ve told more than one commission employee to NOT touch me.
But other than that I keep an even demeanor. I literally practice it. I don’t want to miss anything in this game of inches.
What do you think of Damian Lillard’s boxing tweets? I notice you’re a big basketball fan and you tweet about basketball and your Philadelphia Eagles. I think it’s cool when sports figures support other sports.
Bread’s Response: I think it’s so cool that Damian Lillard loves boxing. Basketball is so much bigger than boxing these days that anytime a Super Star from basketball can give boxing some exposure it’s awesome. A million viewers to a boxing match is a big deal. Basketball get’s 10x more. If boxing could routinely fill up the big stadiums basketball did we would be so much bigger.
What’s cool is Lillard actually knows some boxing. I hate when a sports figure abuses their platform and they start talking another sport and you can tell they don’t know anything about the sport. Lillard knows boxing. I hope he continues to support boxing, I’m a big fan of his also. I like his game, I had a little bit of his game in mines back in the 90s. I notice he likes to go left often for a right handed player. I was like that also but he’s way better than me. His range is absurd. I hope he gets to a championship out in Portland. He deserves that big spotlight.
I was watching a MMA/Boxing youtuber recently and he made a comment about boxing gloves being pillows. I'm sure you've heard the term before. It's usually used in a derogatory way by MMA fans & fighters, but I didn't get the sense he meant it that way. I respect his opinion and I enjoy his fights but his statement did get me rethinking my opinion on how important glove size is to punching power. So what's the deal with glove size? Do bigger gloves detract from power; do smaller gloves act as a power modifier? Or is it negligible in the overall scheme of things? From my limited experience, I think if a guy can punch, he can punch. 4oz, 8oz, 10oz, or 16oz. In fact, the hardest punch I've ever been hit with was with 18oz gloves from a skinny kid from Puerto Rico. His leverage, technique, and power was unreal. Am I to believe that if he was wearing 20oz, his power would be less, or wearing 4oz his power would multiply by x? The way I see it, larger gloves allow you to defend and cover more, preventing injuries in training. Smaller gloves (4oz) the opposite. Harder to defend and cover, and thus more cuts and KOs become possible.
It's funny that the supposed "power" of Connor Mcgregor disappeared from 4oz to 8oz in the Mayweather fight. If 4oz is enough to take away your power...lol.
I like to use the analogy of punching a wall. If you had the option to use bareknuckle, 4oz, or 8oz, which option would allow you to punch harder? 8oz, right, because you have more protection for your hands??
Or maybe I'm completely wrong?
Educate me, Bread!
Bread’s Response: You’re actually right. Punching with a glove on gives you more power than punching with bare knuckle. Bare knuckle stings and causes cuts and even kos. But the density in the delivery isn’t the same. Most people think different but you’re right my man. A man punching you with an 8oz or 10oz glove on with properly wrapped hands is more devastating than a bare knuckle. Your hands are made up of small bones and they are simply more secure with gloves and wrappings. So therefore the blow will be more blunt because the bones are held in place better.
This has been a debate by many but I always knew it. I had a bag apparatus once as a kid and the instructions actually read, only hit it with bare knuckles because if you punch it with gloves the brackets will break. I was a hard headed kid. Every time I hit it with a glove the brackets came down. When I hit it with my bare knuckles it was fine.
Now obviously after a certain size, the gloves cushion the blows. So of course I would rather be hit with a 20 oz glove than an 8 oz glove. One of the reasons is speed of the delivery. But 8oz to 10oz creates the most impact.
Many can be dazzled by ubertalented boxers with skill and pedigree. But there’s something about blue collar guys who lace up gloves that just makes them easy to root for. I don’t know if it’s relatability or what... but who are your favorite blue collar boxers PAST and PRESENT?
Bread’s Response: Um…let’s see Alexis Arguello all time. Today let me see….Would you consider Chocolatito an uber talent? If not, then him.
So, yesterday, my Dad and I were on a road trip… and we were talking about athletes who were phenomenal at their peaks. Anyway, I naturally brought up Roy Jones at his peak, and how his decline hurt his standing in history.
After I brought this up, my Dad (who’s more of a casual boxing fan) asked me:
“Who do you think is the best fighter with the worst loss?”
That one stumped me. I went with Tyson-Douglas… and even that was purely from a statistic, betting odds standpoint. But I was not 100% confident. I don’t even think I was 50% confident. At the time of that loss, I’m sure it seemed that way. But afterward, we saw more of Tyson’s decline… so I’m not so sure.
So, I will lay my Dad’s question on you: “Who do you think is the best fighter with the worst loss?"
Bread’s Response: Wow this is a really hard question. If you go betting odds, status at the time and level of opponent. I was thinking Frazier losing to Foreman. But Foreman was a Gold Medalist and a monster. I kind of know where you’re going. If you go by a fighter who had no business losing a particular fight. I think you’re right with Tyson losing to Douglas. Not only was Douglas a 42-1 underdog. But Tyson was the P4P #1 fighter in the world. Douglas was a considered a gate keeper. This was a showcase fight with a handpicked opponent. Tyson had recently made #27 all time on Bert Sugar’s 100 best fighter list. I don’t think anyone of his status has ever lost that kind of fight before or after. I was thinking maybe Curry losing to Lloyd Honeyghan but Honeyghan was a solid guy who had a few more good wins. Douglas was kod in his very 1st title defense and never challenged for another title. Dam, what a question.
The fallout of Herring-Oquendo has been… interesting to say the least. The fight itself had an incredibly bizarre finish. The officiating was also bizarre (a lot of people seemed to think it should’ve been a TD instead of a DQ). And the social media backlash… oh my word… Timothy Bradley’s remarks seemed to set off a bomb. Was it Herring’s best night? Probably not. But the fact that people have the NERVE to call Herring a “quitter” has me… what’s worse than disgusted? What’s the word to describe that?
When I first heard Herring’s story, I mean… how can you not root for him when you hear his story? I rooted for him last time out, I rooted for him in his fight against Oquendo. I hope he gets the fight he wants with Carl Frampton… and I will root for him to win that one and shut the naysayers up.
What was your take on Herring-Oquendo and the fallout?
Bread’s Response: This is a real touchy subject. With all of the injuries lately people in boxing the media haven’t been speaking openly on quitting. I don’t think we should get to a point where we can’t tell the truth if we see a fighter QUIT. But I also don’t think every time a fighter stops fighting that he’s a quitter. Each case should be looked at individually.
I have seen situations where I felt a fighter quit but I don’t talk about it publicly because it’s not my place to call them out and I wasn’t asked on it specifically. And I’ve seen cases where fighters sort of surrendered.
When Alfredo Angulo got hit in the eye by Lara and turned his back I never considered that a quit job. I thought he had an injury and that was just a reflex. He was damaged in a unique way. Angulo is a dog and he’s proven that, that wasn’t a quit a job, it was an injury. He surrendered.
I will admit I didn’t watch the entire Herring fight. I was turning back and forth but I did see the ending. What I saw was Herring winning on points and Oquendo being really rough and dirty but making things tough on Herring. I saw Herring get butted in the 8th or 9th, and I heard him say he couldn’t see and I then I saw some confusion. I also saw Tony Weeks talking to people I assume trying to figure out the ruling if Herring didn’t continue. I think what happened in this fight is sort of the same thing that happened in Mikey Garcia vs Orlando Salido. Both Herring and Garcia were winning. Both were fouled with damaging injuries. And it was a collective agreement from the corner and fighter to not continue. I don’t view that as a lack of heart or being QUITTER. I sort of think it’s like a safety and business decision. “Like why go on and risk permanent injury if I’m already winning and the opponent is being dirty.”
That’s just my perception of events. It doesn’t mean I’m correct. I’m being as objective as I can. As far as Tim Bradley’s comments. I don’t have an issue with them. See this is the problem with people in boxing. No one can disagree respectfully. Bradley has his opinion. He’s earned the right to give it. We don’t have to agree with him. I don’t agree with him but I respect his opinion. Bradley was an animal in the ring and almost died vs Ruslan Provodnikov. Kendall Holt almost decapitated him. Bradley wanted Nate Campbell to keep fighting through his cut. He felt like that also vs Devon Alexander. That’s how he rolls. He believes in fighting to the death and he’s proven he’s willing to. He didn’t call Herring a name. He didn’t mock him. He just didn’t like Herring’s behavior. In terms of heart and what you’re willing to endure Tim Bradley is hard to impress and he’s earned that.
Most don’t agree with Bradley. Some do. Everyone attacks the credibility of the person they disagree with. Boxers often say “Well you weren’t a fighter. You can’t give me your opinion.” Well Tim Bradley is actually a better fighter than Jamel Herring. People still disagree with Bradley. I bring this up because this card gets pulled too often. And now that people who disagree with Bradley they can’t bring up the “not a boxer” card. I’ve never heard a boxer say, that to someone who was complimenting them.
Back to Herring. I hope he’s ok and healthy. I would suggest to him to stay off of social media. It's going to kill his spirit. It will depress him. He knows what he did and what his intent was. We can all speculate but he knows in his heart of hearts. He can heel up and shut everyone up if he beats Carl Frampton, in a fight I think he can win. Herring is going to give it all he has vs Frampton because I can tell he’s a proud man. I know he’s been reading the negative comments toward him and I wouldn’t be surprised if he beat Frampton. If it doesn't depress him he will use it as fuel and motivation. I'm hoping for the latter.
When analysing either a fighters final legacy or their current position in the sport , how do you balance 1)getting the job done Vs manner of victory / level of control
2) officials scorecards Vs your own perception ?
Floyd used to not only have control of fights but he was nasty, he’d hurt people. Late stage Floyd (I know ; moved up, hand issues) was an extremely defensive fighter who really seemed to have, at times, zero desire to hurt his opponent .
Does this matter ?
I think I remember you saying Canelo would be ATG if he were to beat Andrade. Would you weigh things differently if he had an official loss and draw (which I believe were your post fight assessments)?
Bread’s Response: Obviously getting the job done is the #1 thing to factor. The “DESERVED ENDING RESULT”. After that I look at level of performance. So for example if one fighter struggles to a close decision and another fighter scores an impressive ko over a common opponent then I give more credit to the fighter who was more impressive.
Now this is where it gets tricky. It doesn’t mean that the fighter who struggled is not as good. It could be a style thing. Or one could be more dynamic than the other. George Foreman destroyed Joe Frazier and Ken Norton. Ali struggled with both of them. Foreman is simply more physical than Ali and he’s a much harder puncher. He has the ability to back up two fighters that can’t fight as well backing up. Ali couldn’t back them up. But when Ali and Foreman fought Ali was able to stop him.
Boxing is intricate. In this day of social media, we judge fighters on small microcosms. The sample sizes are too small.
So yes I assess final outcome. Level of performance. At what stage of their careers did fight take place. And how they faired against their elite competition.
I rate both official scorecards and my own. If a fight is close and has swing rounds I tend to give official scorecards more credence. For example I thought Barrera beat Marquez. But that fight was very close so I don’t denounce Marquez’s victory. He impressed the judges more live so I respect that.
Now I thought Manny Pacquiao beat Jeff Horne. I don’t give Horne too much credit for that win because I think the scores were just too off. He didn’t win that fight.
Canelo has an official draw and loss. But I think he’s on the cusp of being an ATG now. A real WIN over Charlo, Andrade, Smith, Plant or Benavidez locks him in ATG status.
I’ve been reading your bread basket for a couple of years now but this is my first time writing in. I absolutely enjoy and look forward to Saturday mornings to read your latest thoughts, opinions and analysis, which never disappoint. I’ve been able to gauge that you and I are roughly the same age (I just turned 45 in August) and from the same part of the country (I grew up in the outskirts of Philly) and both life-long fans of the sweet science. However, your knowledge of the sport clearly transcends my own. When you and I were somewhere in the neighborhood of 7th and 9th grade, boxing was as good as it gets. We watched the meteoric rise of Iron Mike, Chavez Sr. was at his pinnacle, Whitaker and Meldrick Taylor were at the height of their respective careers, and a slick south paw from Grand Rapids named Michael “Second To” Nunn, was at the top of the middleweight division. It was a great time to be a boxing fan, with the best insisting on fighting the best, no one trying desperately to protect their “0” or trying to define their careers by retiring undefeated. I don’t know how much of this is nostalgia (as you wrote a few weeks ago- nostalgia is a real thing and can blur our judgement), but I remember watching Nunn with my Dad as a kid and thinking I was watching someone really special. I still feel that way about him. I thought he fought like a south paw, middleweight Ali. He was very fast, charismatic as all hell (remember watching him on Arsenio Hall while Barkley sat in the audience during the lead-up to their fight?) had power in both hands, and an underrated set of whiskers. I remember my Dad saying the only thing he didn’t like about his style was that he allowed himself to get hit more than necessary to show he could take a shot. This was probably 2-3 fights before he was knocked out by Toney. While I know he went on to capture a world title after that, I don’t think he was ever quite the same fighter he was while riding that 35-0 run with Goosen, and later events (his conviction and subsequent incarceration) to me is one of the great tragic stories of the sport I’ve spent my entire life following.
So, my question for you Breadman is; how good was Nunn? Is nostalgia from my childhood obscuring his legacy in my mind or was he as good as I remember? How good could he have been? Was firing Goosen as detrimental to his career as Tyson firing Rooney? Why on earth would he have fired Goosen anyway? Most importantly, how do you see him against the crop of contemporary and recent middleweights, in no particular order:
Nunn vs. Hopkins at 160
Nunn vs Pavlich at 160
Nunn vs Martinez at 160
Nunn vs. GGG
Nunn vs Canelo at 160
Nunn vs Jacobs at 160
Nunn vs Charlo at 160
Thanks in advance for reading my question Bread! Wishing you and yours every blessing and looking forward to writing in again soon. I have many questions, thoughts, and observations I’d love to kick around with you!
Sean (Atlantic City, NJ)
Bread’s Response: How ironic I was just talking about Michael Nunn. Great fighter. He should be a HOF. At his peak he was really good. At the time of his emergence he would have been a tough fight for Leonard, Hagler and Hearns. He was just so young and fast. Nunn was a tough out. He was about 6’2”. He was a southpaw. He was fast. He threw lots of punches. He was very confident. Think of Demetrius Andrade but a little better.
The issue with Nunn was he was a little inconsistent. Even during his peak he was hit a little too much for my liking. Watch his fights with Marlon Starling, Donald Curry and James Toney. I don’t understand why that was. I speculate he wanted to be more impressive and score kos so he gave up some defense to apply more offense.
I have no idea why he left Joe Goosen but his career certainly changed. I remember Goosen being the commentator when he lost to James Toney on TVKO. Goosen is a great no nonsense trainer. He’s a MAN’S MAN. Often times training with a trainer like that is difficult for a fighter once the star status and money comes. DISCIPLINE is the first thing that is sacrificed because a trainer gets paid off of the fighter, not the other way around. So in reality you can’t discipline a fighter unless he allows you too. Because DISCIPLINE comes with punishment and what can a trainer do to punish a millionaire besides leave him or tell the world what he’s really like. It’s an interesting dynamic but the trainer is at the mercy of the fighter when things go sour.
I think firing Goosen was detrimental to his career. Maybe being around someone like Goosen of high character could have helped him in and out of the ring.
Nunn vs Hopkins they would have to fight 3x. Hopkins can land that sucker punch right hand he throws vs Southpaws. But Nunn could possibly be too fast and outwork him. I see 3 tight decisions.
Nunn would outbox Kelly Pavlik. He’s just too fast and Nunn had a good chin.
Nunn would also beat Sergio Martinez. Martinez is athletic but I think Nunn is a class above as a fighter.
Nunn vs GGG is tough. The GGG of 2010-14 may punch too hard. Nunn was fast but you could hit him clean. Nunn would outbox him for long spots but my gut says GGG clips him. GGG is a brutally hard puncher. I know fighters personally who have sparred him and to a MAN everyone says he’s the hardest or one of the hardest punchers they have ever boxed.
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