The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Terence Crawford vs. Shawn Porter, the Deontay Wilder vs. Mark Breland rift, Josh Warrington's loss to Mauricio Lara, Canelo Alvarez as ATG, and much more.

Hey Bread,

Just read your mailbag. Good stuff as always! Not impressed with Plant, he has skills but hasn't fought anybody yet. He turned down a short notice fight against Canelo, can't knock him for that, but some top fighters from earlier era's wouldn't have let that opportunity pass. Everybody is trying to mimic the Floyd Mayweather matchmaking plan, but they're all wrong, Floyd fought most if not all of the best fighters of his era throughout his whole career while maximizing his profitability. These guys aren't taking any chances trying to maximize their income.

I can see why Plant hasn't fought Benavidez yet, that would be a fight where you want spectators in the stands, but it's brewing and has to happen.Look, GGG has managed to avoid many of the top tier fighters at 160lbs, and nobody is saying nothing about it-GGGs resume is very weak at 160lbs. Bud is cagey and his defense is to punch with his opponent rather than to slip and slide then counter, and he may well be the best, but we won't know until he fights better guys at 147lbs. I think a Shawn Porter fight for Bud is an easy fight that can really show how good he is. Bud will beat Porter way easier than Errol Spence did. Does Porter deserve more than a million dollars? Probably, $2M tops! Porter is better fighter than all the guys Bud has fought at 147lbs. Porter could surprise Bud too.Lots of boxing pundits just rate fighters based on their prime years, but will still say those fighters greatness can't be gaged until after their career is over. If you say that you have to count ALL of a fighters fights! Any fighter that stays too long tarnishes their greatness by losing.Cases in point, it is considered a tribute of Ray Leonard's greatness to comeback from retirement to defeat Marvin Hagler. But his comeback loses to Terry Norris and Hector Camacho are rarely mentioned. They would have enhanced his greatness if Leonard had won.

Roy Jones stayed waaay too long diminishing his greatness, Roy isn't seen to be as great as he really was.Some fighters leave a trainer to quickly, some fighters stay with a trainer too long. Today's fighter needs a trainer that teaches defense as well as offense and some of these strength and conditioning guys just get in the way. I prefer that my fighters do strength and conditioning a month before fight training. To me Mark Breland was ineffective as Deontay Wilder's trainer no matter what the situation was-too many yes men, cheerleaders, etc. Breland was never in charge in the training camp so he was never going to be in charge in the ring. I always came away from a Wilder fight wondering why Wilder's skills never showed when he had such a skillful fighter like Breland as a trainer. I do agree with Breland's decision to throw in the towel. Breland would be catching much more hell now if he hadn't, and Wilder was seriously hurt like he was heading for. Breland knew what was going on long before the Fury rematch so he should've quit long ago, but they were winning and it was easy to stay and get paid. Principle doesn't pay the bills!

Bread’s Response: I think 6 weeks is enough time to get ready for a fight if you’re in shape. But it’s not customary to make a Super Fight in 6 weeks so I won’t knock Plant. There are plenty of logistics to sort out. Media Tours and obligations that interfere with training. Drug Testing. Revenue that is generated from Rights Fees, Gate Sales, Sparring, Sponsors etc. It’s not just the fight. So while the fighter may have time to get ready all of these other things have to be sort of rushed. It’s not a “regular” fight. That’s sort of rushed for your 1st Super Fight…..The fighters lose about a week of training time with a fight of that caliber doing media.

I do agree that most in this era reach a certain point and try to mimic Floyd Mayweather Jr. The problem that they don’t realize is that for as SPECIAL as Floyd was the stars aligned for him. His birthday, the divisions he was in, who was in those divisions etc etc. Floyd may not have had the career he had if he were born 20 years later or earlier. Everyone has to be themselves. In boxing I would assume you want to build a legacy and wealth. But I see fighters overthink the process often trying to sort of “GLIDE” by. Then when things don’t work out and they lose, they rebut with “how much money they made”.

Plant vs Benavidez is a tremendous match up. But we are suffering from the Covid. I have no idea when spectators will allowed back, in full capacity. But that is one fight I really want to see.

I think GGG was the victim of matchmaking when he was in his prime. And now that he’s not in his prime he’s the beneficiary of matchmaking. I don’t think his resume is a weak or great. It’s somewhere in between. Let’s not forget he fought Canelo twice. Devrenchenko, Stevens, Lemeuix and Jacobs. That’s not a resume you call WEAK. One of the most objective ways to assess a resume is how a fighter fared vs RING top 10 rated opponents. GGG has done very well vs that field.

Crawford is cagey. I wouldn’t call him a defensive fighter but he does some nice stuff in order to land his shots. Crawford has good layers of defense. He has good feet. He catches and parries. And he also has “CAT EYES” where he can punch while you punch. I don’t know if he beats Porter easy. I would like to see it. I also don’t get into what a fighter “deserves”. Fighters deserve the most money they can possibly make. I do get into the market value of a fight. And market value for a challenger of Porter’s caliber to challenge a fighter like Crawford is about 1.5-2million. If I’m not mistaken Kell Brook just got 2 million to fight Crawford and Brook did beat Porter. However I think Porter is more relevant than Brook is at this point so.....hopefully they give Porter what he wants. If not Crawford will have a tough time finding an opponent.

I think rating a fighter has to be in context. Obviously you don’t count Ali’s Trevor Berbick loss the way you do his loss to Joe Frazier. He was much closer to his prime when he fought Frazier. I do agree that we should wait until it’s completely over to hold the context. Often times we do it too soon.

I agree on fighter/trainer relationships.

I also agree on the Strength & Conditioning phenomenon. The hardest part of a training camp is time management. There is only but so much time you can train without proper rest and recovery. A fighter will have bad days being engaged to what he’s taught if he hasn’t recovered properly. Most work out sessions range from 1-2 hours. And fighters rate their S&C just as important as their boxing and skills. So…I also like the idea of doing a S&C pre boxing camp. A month of strictly concentrating of S&C before the boxing camp begins really elevates the body and gets full benefit. So when the actual boxing starts all you have to do is keep the maintenance and a fighter’s day is not overwhelmed with too much work.

I don’t know but I assume Breland was brought in on Wilder’s team because he was such a skillful tall fighter. His dimensions as a welterweight were similar to Wilder’s dimensions as a heavyweight. But that goes to show you assumption is not always reality. I agree and disagree about your take on Breland’s influence. How do we know what Wilder would have looked like if Breland were NOT with him? He may be even less developed technically if Breland was not on the team. I have no idea. It’s so hard to say. But I’ve always felt that Deas and Breland did a decent job with Wilder giving the circumstances. There are some things you can’t help. Wilder has a unique personality and he’s an ALPHA male to the max. He also has an entourage. So that’s always tough on a trainer. But they got Wilder to 41-0 and 10 title defenses. Wilder was the favorite in the Fury rematch. If Fury doesn’t turn in that performance of the ages, then most likely their team would still be in tact. People say Wilder was exposed, etc etc. But it took a great heavyweight two tries to do it. It also took 41 fights and 12 years as a pro. Fury turned in his career best performance on Wilder. You have to take that into account. He was in the ZONE that night. Sometimes that happens and it’s nothing you can do.

I’ve always struggled with awkward fighters who seemed limited but had success. In my opinion sometimes the best thing you can do is leave a fighter alone and go instinctive. I’m torn on Wilder. I think the fighter who wins 80% of the fights is the fighter who processes faster. Wilder only tries to do one thing. So as limited as it may seem, when he goes to look in his tool box, he knows exactly what to grab. Brother Naazim Richardson once told me that sometimes all around fighters have a hard time choosing which weapon to bring out of the tool box. But one dimensional fighters don’t because they know exactly what they want and what they want to do. And he was right to an extent. I’m not saying it’s better to be one dimensional. But it may work better for some guys. Mark Breland was a much more skilled fighter than Wilder. But era for era. Wilder probably had the better pro career. It’s still going but if Wilder stopped right now I would say he had a better career even though Breland had more all around skill. So I don’t give Deas or Breland too much flack because they got a limited fighter as far as they did. Had they changed him and had him working on other things it may have taken away from his MONEY SHOT 1-2. We will never know and I’m curious to see how well he does moving forward. But I have seen this scenario before in all sports. I have seen athletes who can do one thing great. I have seen athletes who can do various things good. More times than not the athlete who can do one thing great gets further. They played to Wilder’s strengths up until Fury and it worked like a charm with a ko of every opponent…

Look at Marcos Maidana. He was considered a crude brawler. But he got on a hot streak and really gave an ATG Floyd Mayweather a rough night. You watch that 1st fight between Mayweather and Maidana. There was not much separation. Now watch the rematch and you see Maidana trying to box. Use more all around skills. He showed more boxing but he wasn't as effective as he was in the 1st fight. I think about things like that when people claim a fighter should be changed. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

Hey Bread,

Wanted to get your thoughts on one of my favorite fighters I watched growing up - Simon Brown.Really curious to get your take on two specific questions - Should Brown get Hall of Fame consideration?  How would he fare against today's top welterweights in his prime? Re: Hall of Fame consideration - believe Brown does check several boxes.  Won the IBF welterweight title and defended it 9 times, unified the WBC/IBF titles at 147 by stopping his good buddy, Maurice Blocker and was a two-division champion when he went up and upset HOF'er Terry Norris for the WBC title at 154lbs. Think what hurts him is his record late in his career when he was stopped several times, including that brutal knockout at the hands of Vincent Pettway.Re: how Brown would fare against today's top welterweights when he was in his prime - believe he would give them all hell.  I would favor him against Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Pacquiao and Shawn Porter.  Think his toughest fights would be against Bud and Spence, but wouldn't count him out in either fight.  At his best, Brown was an elite boxer/puncher, with a nasty left hook.  Would have been a tough out for anyone today.

Thoughts?

Reid

Bread’s Response: PR and public appeal is very important. Simon Brown was a GUN and had a much better career than quite a few guys from his era that get more consideration. Out of respect I won’t name them. Brown definitely deserves more HOF consideration. Coming up Brown had one disputed loss to another fighter who deserves more HOF consideration in Marlon Starling. Brown lost by SD to Starling. Brown went on to win the title with a dramatic late stoppage of a real guy in Tyrone Trice. Watch that fight on youtube. It was a classic and one of the best welterweight fights of the 80s. Brown defended his title with an iron hand and as you stated he unified. He took a 2nd loss to another HOF level fighter in Buddy McGirt. So Brown moves up and earns a shot at a prime Terry Norris. If you are familiar with Norris you know the Norris with the high top fade was the best Norris. He was an absolute killer when Brown took his title in 1993. Late in 1993, Norris was considered the 3rd or 4th best fighter in the world. He was that good. Chavez had just really lost to Whitaker. Roy Jones had not ascended yet. Tito and Oscar were pups. It was Whitaker, Norris, Chavez, Holyfield and Toney. Whitaker was #1 and you could fit everybody else in wherever you wanted. That’s how good Norris was and Brown straight brutalized him.

 It was a masterful job of counterpunching without running. Brown stayed calm in his pocket and waited on his openings and put on a clinic vs Norris. If you talk about the 10 best wins of the 90s. That has to be one. So Brown loses the rematch and later loses to Vincent Pettway in a fight he was winning and that’s his prime. Brown’s first three losses came to HOFs or HOF level fighters in Starling, McGirt and Norris. Brown was used up later in his career. I didn’t like to see him fight Bhop and David Reid. The Reid ko I was live at and it was especially brutal. I hated to see that. Brown on his best day was a hard nosed pressure technician with a big left hook and even bigger heart. But he could box. He knew how to draw you in and pick you apart. He actually outboxed Norris in their 1st fight. Norris was trying to bully him but he couldn’t. I don’t know about Brown’s finances but this is why I personally like my fighters to get out of the game a fight early rather than a fight too late. After the Vincent Pettway ko, Brown should have retired. He was eaten up by the system of boxing at that point. It’s an addiction because a fighter always thinks he can have one more GOOD DAY. But it’s rare it happens. That being said Brown did enough. I would put his resume up against several fighters who get more HOF attention. But his late career slide and not being an American although he fought out of the DC area hurts him. I would favor Brown over everyone at welterweight now accept for Crawford, Spence, Ennis and Pacquiao. Pac is old but his in and out feet would present Brown with the same problems McGirt and Norris did in the rematch.

Big respect to you and your family Breadman. Amazing how you still talk so highly about Jrock something I would do myself. Speaking your truth. I feel teams play with the coaches personality. Something I always bang on about. Most of my players are middle class but they are rough and stylish that they get that from me cause of my hard upbringing. They never know when they are beaten. Not natural to them. My question is can you think of trainers who have imprinted their personality on a fighter? Example Lennox and Wladimir joining Manny Steward or Cotto, Pacquiao with Freddie Roach and Shane Mosley and Hopkins with Naseem Richardson. Jermaine from London

Bread’s Response: You know I went to school with a Jermaine Williams. He played on my highschool basketball team. He was nice. He played like Alex English back in the day. We are still friends until this day. But he wasn’t from the UK, lol. He was from North Philly.

You know I don’t use the term “My Truth”. Because the TRUTH is the TRUTH. There is no subjectivity in the TRUTH. It’s absolute. Obviously I don’t train Julian Williams anymore and obviously it’s a reason behind it. But it had nothing to do with him as a fighter. He’s a tremendous fighter. I’ve always thought highly of him as a fighter and just because I don’t train him anymore that doesn’t change my view of him as a fighter.

I don’t think Emanuel Steward put his personality on Wlad. I think he used a more cerebral approach to Wlad. I think he gave Lennox some of his killer mentality. He wanted Lennox to kill Mike Tyson. If you watch that fight, Steward was angry at Lennox for taking his time, lol. The fighters who had his personality the most were Tommy Hearns and Gerald McClellan. My goodness those guys had a kill or be killed attitude. Steward loved, tall stalking boxer-killers. People talk about Hearn’s chin which wasn’t so bad by the way. But despite Hearns being clipped by Leonard, Hagler and Barkley. He was NEVER GUN SHY. And he kept moving up in weight all the way to CruiserWeight. You talk about a KILLER. He’s the perfect definition of it. A supposed chinny fighter who moved from 147 to 190.Believe it or not I think the fighter who took on the personality of their trainer the most is James Kirkland with Ann Wolfe. Wolfe used to treat Kirkland just like an animal. She made him run in that hot Texas sun in boots. Shovel dirt. Spar more than one person at a time. And it seemed as though whatever he went through in the ring, he was able to overcome. Just like Wolfe in real life. I believe that if Kirkland didn’t leave Wolfe and didn’t have outside of the ring issues he would have been a champion at 154-160. His career trajectory changed without Wolfe.

Hey Bread,

Hope you and your family are well. I have been recently watching videos of the legendary Nicolino Locche and his defence is nothing short of majestic. How highly would you place him in terms of the greatest defensive boxers that you have seen? Thanks for your time.

Bread’s Response: I rate him highly in my top 10. He had a God Given gift to see punches and slip and roll with ease. But if I’m honest I like my defensive fighters who are defensive but still employ a high offensive mix. I rate Whitaker, Pep and Mayweather over him defensively because they were much better offensively. It’s sounds like an oxymoron but it’s not. It’s harder to be defensive when you are offensive also. Because the more you punch the more you put yourself in position to be hit. If you can do both at the same time it makes you even more special. So let’s say I rate him in the top 10 but not Mt. Rushmore.

Been pondering something for a while, Breadman, and I’ve finally decided to ask… You (like many other boxing fans and experts) use the word “killer” to describe the best of the best. So I’m curious what exactly you mean when you use that word?For me, I guess I think of killer in a Darwinian sense… you know, survival of the fittest… sniff out weakness and snuff the guy out. But, as to be expected, the ring attracts all sorts of personalities. Not to mention bloodlust and sadism. I have no doubt some guys who have laced up gloves would’ve become murderers or serial killers had they not had boxing.I know this question could potentially take your mailbag to a dark place, but my curiosity can’t hold back this question. So what do you think? What do you mean when you describe a guy as a killer? And are there different kinds of killers? Cold-blooded psychopath or hot-headed sociopath (that type of thing)?

Bread’s Response: I don’t want to link any fighters to literal killers although obviously we could all go to a dark place if we chose different career paths. It’s easier for me to tell you who I think a killer is than it is to describe one but I will try. There are all types of killers in boxing. Fighters who have a very vicious temperament despite the odds against them and despite the adversity they face. Lots of fighters look like killers but actually they are front runners who are just mean when they are winning. For sure they are different types. You have ICE cold guys like say Carlos Monzon. Inside of the ring, he was smooth and icey. He didn’t change facial expressions much. He didn’t seem mad. But he just punched your face with a coldness and the longer the fight went, the better he got. Alexis Arguello was the same way. Then you have Fire Guys like Ray Leonard, Aaron Pryor and Ray Robinson. Where they have a fire energy to them when they hunt. Believe it or not Ali was a killer but in a different sense. He was sort of playful and he made you believe he wasn’t there to hurt you. He was sort of like that Tupac phrase when Pac said” I ain’t a killer but don’t push me.” Well Ali would be joking, laughing and dancing. But if you pressed him or made him mad, he would turn into something on you. He could be as sinister as they come but it only surfaced when he had to dig down or a fighter aggravated him. Ali was unique in that way. He had a switch.

Relating to the streets. The biggest killer I knew growing up was a 5’7, 140lb guy. I won’t say his name because he’s still living. But he was a very nice guy. Very respectful. He didn’t have an imposing way about him at all. As kids he wasn’t a punk or a tough guy. He was just around doing stuff that kids do. As we got older in our early 20s he started to make money. The night before Tito Trinidad fought David Reid I remember because I was about to get on an airplane to go see the fight. Two people tried to rob the guy I’m talking about. Two very big, older guys who could have been D1 football players or bouncers at private night clubs. They were much bigger and older than him. They beat him up and pistol whipped him inside of a house he was working on at night. He did construction, he had his own little business. They were there for money, not so much to kill him so they kept beating him. He turned things around and wrestled the gun out of one of the guys hands. And without exaggeration. He killed them both. He blew both of their brains out. I’m not glorifying violence one bit. But when you grow up a certain way you see certain things. You gain knowledge through observations. I saw the aftermath it happened on the block I lived on and I knew both parties. This is a 100% true story. The guy who did it didn’t do one day in jail. He’s a neighborhood legend until this day. I see him all the time. He never changed. But no one ever tried to rob him again. He had a way about him to let you know, “don’t bother me.” It reminds me of Ali because Ali didn’t act like a tough guy. But he was the toughest guy around.

Bread - in light of Warrington’s upset, just following up with you on this one.  Warrington just got upset and lost his zero, and was surely paid very good money for that fight regardless.  But that loss has created a lot of buzz for the rematch, so he’s going to make good money again and, if he wins, set the stage for a possible trilogy.  Warrington is the big news in boxing and I doubt he’s taking a pay cut for the next fight.  I can’t wait for the rematch. I recall Gary Russell saying that he turned down $1 million for the Warrington fight.  Imagine the buzz had it been Russell in the ring instead of Lara.  Both fighters - win or lose - would be the big news in boxing and setting themselves up for big money in the future, whether in a rematch or with other dudes.  Instead of having $1 million and a lot of exciting press, he’s got . . . his principles, I guess, and a twitter account. In every sport, retired guys usually say that they’d give anything to play one more season.  In 10 years, maybe Russell will be very happy that he turned down this fight and others.  I kind of doubt it - don’t you?

Bread’s Response: Yes Warrington’s loss is big news. Lara really performed. I honestly like to see underdogs win sometimes although I wasn’t rooting against Warrington. It makes boxing better and I think it changes the energy of boxing. When fighters think they are taking showcase fights get stopped it puts things in perspective. It lets them know that sometimes you can pick a bad apple. I also think it makes fighters take the BIGGER fights. Because it’s better to lose to a more highly regarded fighter than it is a showcase handpicked fighter. I don’t know what’s going on with Gary Russell but I think he would’ve beaten Warrington. But no one has ever won a fight they didn’t take or landed a punch they didn’t throw. As far as principles go. There are priceless however. Many in boxing don’t have them so anyone who stands by their principles I respect. I don't have to agree with someone's principles to respect them.

I hope all is well with you. I’m sure you’ll get this questions a lot this week, but just want to keep it nice and simple.Canelo (right now) vs Andre ward (who fought Carl froch) at 168.I’m struggling big time on this one. A full break down would be appreciated.Thanks,Tom

Bread’s Response: Listen man I think Canelo is the real deal. I think he’s a HOF and most likely approaching ATG status. 1 or 2 more big wins and he’s an ATG. But when I think about a fight the first thing I think of is who would I bet on. My loyalty is to my money first. And when people ask me about this fight my conscious tells me every time Andre Ward.I know you said you are struggling with this and that’s your perspective. I won’t argue. But I’m not struggling with this. I think Ward’s feet are too good. His stamina is too good. He has too much physical strength to be bullied. And Canelo’s fast handed attack won’t be as prevalent vs a fighter who locks in and adjust like Ward. Like Mayweather, Ward has that laser focus. They rarely get hit with more than 1 punch at a time. He’s going to move and attack just enough to offset Canelo. His jab is constant. And his instincts will let him know, when to carry Canelo fast. When to slow him down. When to use his feet. And when to rough him up. I say Ward by decision 116-112.

There are very few men in history can beat Ward circa 168lbs. No more than 10 and I’m not exaggerating. I would only favor Ezzard Charles, Roy Jones and Billy Conn. There is not enough film on Sam Langford for me although he would most likely to be a favorite. Gene Tunney, James Toney and Joe Calzaghe are all toss up fights with Ward. I don’t think you guys realize how good he was at that weight and what he was doing. I didn’t even realize it when I was watching him as a prospect. I couldn’t see the little things because the opponents weren’t bringing out enough of his skillset. As the competition rose, his game rose.I also think you guys think about the 1st Kovalev fight when assessing Ward. That was at light heavyweight not super middleweight. And Kovalev was a GREAT fighter man. He was on a historical roll from 2012-16. He would’ve given most guys circa that weight big trouble during that time. That’s why I’m not talking about big light heavyweights, like say Michael Spinks. I would favor Spinks over Ward. But true 168 pounders or men who passed through that weight in a fair sense. Ward is a rough dude to beat. I can’t even tell you what his peak performance was because he was literally lights out from 2009-13. The only subpar performance was against Bika who just has an ugly style to look good against.

Everyone knows the 1992 U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Team is “The Dream Team”. I wanted to know which boxing team would be their equivalent? The way people talk, it’s either the 1976 U.S. Team (featuring names like SRL, Howard Davis, and the Spinks brothers) or the 1984 U.S. Team (featuring Holyfield, Taylor, Whitaker, Breland). Who do you think is the Olympic boxing Dream Team? Are there other countries’ teams that could compete for that distinction? Which ones? I also know Olympic boxing is no stranger to controversy. Between Holyfield’s disqualification, the incident between Bowe and Lewis, the whole RJJ debacle, and Michael Conlan flipping off the judges… yeah, a LOT of controversy. Which ones do you think are the worst?

Bread’s Response: Our USA Boxing Dream Teams were 1976, 84 and 88. I think 76 may have been the best but not by as much as some think. 1984 produced more Gold Medals and equally as great fighters. It’s just that the 1976 had to go up against Cuba and Russia while the 1984 didn’t. So that is the tie breaker for me. But man for man. 1984 was just as good if not better. 1976 had the Spinks Bros, Leonard, Davis and Leo Randolph. But 1984 had Biggs, Tillman, Holyfield, Hill, Tate, Breland, Whitaker, Taylor, Gonzlaez and McCrory. More Golds, more titles as pros and more HOF. Both had 2 ATG.1988 is criminally underrated.

The 1988 Olympics were corrupt. That was not incompetence that was corruption. The US Team was targeted. But they produced some serious studs. Bowe, Mercer, Maynard, Jones, McKinney and Carbajal. The 88 team also produced 3 HOFs. That’s serious company. Ironically we have not had an Olympic team since 1988 that produced more than 1 Gold Medalist or more than 1 HOF. 1988 was the last of the great teams.

Good morning - I hope you’re doing well. I’ve been watching a lot of boxers trainer lately from the past greats to current elite fighters. Boxers who have just killed the jump rope seem to have a nice rhythm, conditioning and footwork - Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Robinson, Floyd Mayweather, Teofimo Lopez and the likes. Then you read Breland saying that Wilder never does jump rope or certain other standard boxing exercises/workouts and you can’t help but wonder how many boxers are even training properly anymore. My question is do you think there’s something with skipping rope or do you think other exercises have been substitutes i.e. ladders, box jumps, etc.

I know we’ve touched on this a bit but every fighter that asks my advice I tell them to log their 4-7 miles in the morning. Evening session to consist of jump rope, shadow boxing and followed by bag work. At the end I usually incorporate the push-ups, sit ups, and pull ups. I know weights and science has come a long way, but I tell you what. Those guys listed above...when they’re on, they’re on. Matter fact, question for you.The Duran that beat Leonard vs Sugar Ray Robinson 12 rounds and 15 rounds. These two are in my top 5 favorite fighters simply because of their character, style and what they accomplished. I don’t care how many fights they lost, these guys were just beautiful at their art.

Richard K

Bread’s Response: The Duran that beat Leonard is as good as any fighter ever and probably could beat any lightweight-welterweight except Robinson, Hearns and the Leonard that faced him in a rematch. Robinson and Duran would tear into each other like savages and let’s say Robinson wins 2 out of 3. Duran was so good he may be able to sneak one.

Boxing conditioning is such a hot topic these days. So let me say this. A fighter should not disregard basic boxing conditioning for new modern stuff. If you do the modern stuff, do it as an add on. Skipping rope is very important. It’s good for the rhythm. It builds your calves and legs. It’s good for your endurance. Just like a speed bag is good for the hand speed and shoulder muscles of keeping your hands up. The double end bag gets you sharp. It works the offense and defense. It allows you to practice on hitting a moving target. Shadow boxing also helps with stamina. Try shadow boxing at a fast pace for 12 rounds. It helps with focus. A fighter should shadow box as if an opponent is in front of him. It allows you to visualize. The heavybag builds strength, endurance and punching power. The pads also help with focus. Reaction time. Stamina. Hand speed. And working fight specific punches. Each bag and drill has it’s purpose and none should be neglected. If you do all of them consistently and correctly you will improve. And if you add modern things like weights, box jumps and plyometrics it will make you even better and more explosive.

As for running. Some fighters run and some jog. I believe in both. I also believe sprinting is just as important. Here is why. If a fighter ONLY jogs at a slow pace, his heart rate won’t ever get stimulated. He’s going to build only slow twitch muscles for endurance. There will be times when he has to go at a harder pace and he won’t be able to. Switching gears. So sprinting and building explosive muscles help with that. It also builds fast twitch muscles, which are totally different from slow twitch muscles. Look at the Olympics. A runner who runs the 1500m and more are built totally different from runners who run the 800m or less. Boxing is a sport where you need both fast twitch and slow twitch muscles. So therefore you need both fast twitch and slow twitch training. I also don’t think a fighter has to run too long. A fight is only 36 minutes. A good runner can run 5-6 miles in 36 minutes.

I see fighters who run for hours but their pace is slow and they get in the fights and tire out because they aren’t training at the pace they fight. For example Stephen Fulton, everyone was impressed with his conditioning. Fulton runs his miles in sub 6 minutes. And guess what, he fights like it. He pushes himself I’ve seen it. It’s still building slow twitch muscles but he’s stimulating his heart rate. Anybody can run 10 miles at their own pace. When I say anybody, I mean anybody. But anybody can’t run them at a fight simulated pace. Chopping wood also is an exercise that builds massive power. Fighters hit tires these days and it’s a similar concept but most of the best punchers ever, chopped wood. I believe in all of the old school methods except for jogs longer than 5-6 miles tops.

 I think along with their total of fights, running those long miles really slowed them down in their 30s. And running so long for all of those years, built those slow twitch muscles causing their bodies to not be as cut. I think when you run too long, subconsciously you slow yourself down and it’s more of a weight maintenance thing than an actual workout once your body plateaus. 5 or 6 miles is all you need tops. Scientist say it also builds estrogen to run too many miles. So….

I saw somewhere that a documentary series about Muhammad Ali is in the works (with Michael B. Jordan on board as a producer). Now, I love Ali as much as the next hardcore fan… but am I the only one who thinks we’re reaching a point where everything that can be said about the man has already been said? I mean there so MANY books, movies, and documentaries about him. Or so it seems to me.Got me wondering… who are some other fighters with “fresh turf” to explore? Who are some fighters you want to see movies or documentaries about? Or maybe focus on great rivalries between ATGs or something like that?Greg K.

Bread’s Response: Every time something comes on about Ali, I watch it. The same way I do OJ, Jon Benet Ramsey and Biggie and Tupac. It just fascinates me. But I will admit I wish there were some more movies about other fighters. I would love to see a full screen movie on Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones, Rocky Marciano, Sam Langford, Harry Greb and Emanuel Steward. I think Steward’s life would fascinating considering how he turned the crime ridden Detroit area into a boxing hot bed. People don’t realize how much sports are linked to the streets.

I just want to touch on two topics today. What criteria are used to determine who gets into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and is everyone who votes highly knowledgeable about the sport in a real sense? I say this because as I scan the list of modern inductees, I see a few fighters who should not be in there, and a few were omitted who should be in. Gerald 'G-Man' McClellan KO'd Julian 'The Hawk' Jackson twice and was snubbed for induction. But Jackson is in. Now I'm not saying that McClellan had a powerhouse resume, but the fact remains that he smoked Jackson twice and Jackson was inducted and he wasn't. Another thing while we're here...Arturo Gatti is somehow in the IBHOF, but guys like Marlon Starling and Ruben Castillo are not. I don't have to tell you about Starling's work. Castillo gave Salvador Sanchez the toughest fight of his career and was something like 43-0 when he was stopped late vs. Alexis Arguello in a fight Castillo was winning. Something doesnot add up. Not to disparage Gatti, but...Finally, it appears that the only person holding up Crawford vs. Spence Jr. is Errol himself.I don't believe it has anything to do with Bob Arum, Al Haymon or Crawford himself. I get the impression that Errol doesn't fancy his chances vs. Bud. I can understand that, but he should at least be honest about it and stop playing games. The window to make this fight will soon close and there should be no one to blame except Mr. Spence Jr.

Carl, New York, NY

Bread’s Response: Ok here goes….We will agree and disagree. I don’t agree with everyone who gets in the HOF. And I don’t know all of the qualifications of everyone who has a vote. From the outside looking in I feel like the list of voters should be less people. It would be really hard for a 30 year old who just started watching boxing 10 years ago to grasp certain events and fighters unless they did extensive research. So I agree that McClellan should be on the ballot. But unfortunately I don’t think he should be a HOF. Being a HOF level talent and being a HOF are different. Yes he won the WBO and WBA middleweight titles. Yes he twice kod Julian Jackson. And yes he had 3 title defenses all 1st rd kos. That’s very impressive. But he was 27 at the time of his last fight. He just wasn’t around enough. Had he squeezed in a title at 168 and maybe one the Benn fight the case would be stronger but it didn’t happen that way. Head to head wins count but just because you beat a HOF doesn’t mean you’re a HOF. If that is the case Ruben Carter would be a HOF. He kod Emille Griffith in the 1st rd just like McClellan did Jackson. It doesn’t work that way. Jackson had a longer career than McClellan. He won more titles and did more things. Your career is the sum total of your ability and what you did. McClellan may have been a better fighter but his career wasn’t better. We can’t judge on potential. We have to judge on what happened.

Ruben Castillo was a hard luck fighter. My god his title shots came against a prime Sanchez, Prime Arguello and Prime Chavez. All ATG and a very good Juan Laporte. Your luck can’t get any worse than that. But in fairness to the HOF and with respect to Castillo he wasn’t a HOF. You can’t get sentimental in this. You have to be fair. Gatti can’t help when he was born. But Gatti had a better career than Castillo. Contrary to what some may say. Gatti DESERVES to be in the HOF. There are better fighters who are not in. And that’s the shame. Marlon Starling was better than Gatti and he isn’t in. But that doesn’t mean Gatti shouldn’t be in. What it means is that, Starling should be in. I hope you get that. At one time Gatti was a top 10 P4P. After he beat Ruelas and Patterson in the rematch he was very highly regarded. He took a low point after losing back to back to Ivan Robinson but he responded with a solid run at 140. He beat an undefeated Leonard Dorin. And had that great series with Ward. If you factor in his excitement, heart, 2 real division titles and quality wins over Patterson, Rodriguez, Ruelas, Gamache, Millet, Ward, Branco, Leija and Dorin. Gatti’s resume is deeper and better than people realize. He also had longevity for his style. In contrast Gatti had more longevity than say Fernando Vargas who was also better than Gatti but he didn’t rebound as well as Gatti did from setbacks which elevates Gatti over him. Gatti won his 1st title in 1996 and he made his last title defense in 2005 vs Floyd Mayweather. That’s a very long time for a fighter with his style. In fact Gatti had more longevity than most of our action fighters of the last 40 years. Including my favorite Matthew Saad Muhammad. I hate when people say Gatti is not a HOF without looking at his resume. It’s not the Hall of All Time Greats. It’s the HOF. He deserves it. He’s unique and we have never seen anything like him.

Castillo was a fine fighter but he didn’t find a way to break through. Losing to Arguello Sanchez and Chavez is no shame. But he also lost to Laporte. Laporte was excellent one of my favorites from the 80s. But he wasn’t invincible. I don’t like ever saying anything negative about a fighter. I love this game and my respect level is high for every one it. Especially a hard luck guy like Castillo. But you’re analogy is off. Comparing Gatti to Castillo makes no sense.

I tried to tell you guys this is not the era for Super Fights. When everyone was calling Lopez, Haney, Davis and Garcia the 4 Kings, I tried to explain that they haven’t even fought each other one time. It’s too early. I know Crawford vs Spence is a great fight on paper. It’s also early in the year. Maybe Spence is trying to win the WBA title so he can have 3 titles to Crawford’s 1 and have bargaining leverage. Who knows….

But what I do know is this and I will keep saying. The older a fighter gets the more he cares about money and less he cares about legacy. When a fighter is young, all he cares about is hearing “And the New”. He’s willing to fight anyone, anywhere, anytime. Very few fighters in this era have that after they reach a certain point. It’s just the mentality of this era. You have to adapt your mind set to the times we are in.

You also have to understand the economics. These fighters make big money to fight fights they are heavily favored in. They are not going to take fights that are 50/50 or slightly against them for just a small amount more than they made to fight the fight they were heavily favored in.Being KOD, embarrassed and losing is a lot to handle in this era of social media. It’s tough on the psyche. Very few get over it. And until the market value of fights get regulated you won’t see fighters often risk what say Lomachenko did vs Lopez. People love to criticize Loma but how many fighters would take undefeated Gary Russell directly after losing to Salido? How many fighters would take a talented, big punching kid like Teofimo Lopez? Lopez is not only bigger but almost a decade younger. It’s not happening in this era. But the fans and media screw it up. Instead of praising Loma they sh-t on him for losing. And the other fighters see that. So they say you know what, I will keep my 0 and get my money and then you guys get mad at that. You can’t please everyone but I get it. And for the record I believe in legacy. I believe in fighters taking tough fights. But it’s hard to convince these young kids to do it after they have made 15 million in fights they knew they would win. 

Hi Bread,

I wonder if what's happening to Deontay Wilder is a more extreme example of the sharp decline that seems to befall punchers after their first loss. It seems if you can punch hard and then get comprehensively beaten, guys seem to unravel afterwards, see below examples. Daigo Higa 15-1 (15KO) - Then 2 years out and 2-0-1 since Murat Gassiev 26-1 (20KO) - Then 2 years out and 1-0 since Jonathan Guzman (22-1) (22KO) Then 2 years out and 2-0 since Nicholas Walters (26-1-1) (21KO) Hasn't fought since To me there seems to be a trend with a fighter who has a lot of momentum or buzz, being a big puncher then losing unexpectedly and taking a log time out or never fighting again. It's not as if these guys were at the end of their careers either. Do you think this is a mental fragility in punchers? I'm sure there's similar examples of guys who's power isn't as revered, but it's something I've noticed recently among big punchers. Some puncher vs non puncher - Dmitry Kudryashov vs Steve Cunningham, Adonis Stevenson vs Billy Conn, Jhonny Gonzalez vs Baby Arizmendi, Charley Burley vs Demetrius Andrade.

Thanks

Conrad, Sheffield

Bread’s Response: I would take Cunningham tko, Conn UD, Arizmendi tko, Burley UD.

There are some punchers who unravel and there are some non punchers who unravel after losses. I don’t think it’s relegated to punchers. However I do think a certain personality type does not recover from losses well. You also have to factor in how the promoter treats a fighter after a loss. Sometimes the fighters is matched harder and is forced to prove themselves after a loss.

In Wilder’s case I think his fight happening right at the beginning of the pandemic is the major reason for his inactivity. If you notice Tyson Fury who WON the fight, still hasn’t fought yet either. Let’s see how Wilder looks in his 1st fight back. We haven’t seen him..You also have to look at each case individually. Often times the teams change after a loss. So the fighter needs times to get himself back in order. Historically I’ve seen examples on both sides.

Julian Jackson maybe the biggest puncher we have seen. Bounced back from multiple ko losses. He was knocked out by Mike McCallum and won a title after that. He was knocked out twice by Gerald McClellan and won a title after that. Nigel Benn was knocked out by Chris Eubank and Michael Watson and went up to have his best career run at Super Middleweight. Benn was also a huge puncher. Tommy Hearns may be the most resilient puncher ever. He lost the 2 biggest fights of the 80s by ko. And he went on to win more titles and it didn’t seem to bother him at all. Joe Louis was kod very early in his career. And went on to have the longest run ever at heavyweight.

Then you have cases like Naseem Hamed, Razor Ruddock, Tommy Morrison and John Mugabi. Guys who seem to never be the same after losses.

With Mike Tyson it wasn’t the Douglas loss that changed him. I think that was looked at as a FLUKE night back when it happened. Tyson scored two 1st round kos in a row after that. Then he beat up on Razor Ruddock in 2 good fights. But the Holyfield fights is what stripped him of his MOJO.Here is the thing about professional sports.

Whenever you lose a blueprint gets printed out by the fighters and trainers. They try to exploit that blueprint. The fights themselves become harder because the fighter is forced to overcome the weakness that caused the loss in the 1st place. The better ones can do it. The special ones can do it more than once. I judge on a fighter by fighter basis.

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