The Daily Bread Mailbag returns, with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Terence Crawford vs. Yordenis Ugas, Andre Ward, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Joe Calzaghe vs. Andre Ward, and much more.
Who are some fighters who have grown on you as time goes by? Maybe you didn’t really notice them until near the end, or the more fights of theirs you watch the more you like them... but who are fighters who have grown on you?
Bread’s Response: Andre Ward and Vasyl Lomachenko have probably grown on me more than any other fighters I’ve seen from the first time I saw them up until the last time I saw them.
When I first saw Ward I knew he was good. You have to be, in order to be a Gold Medalist. But he fought like Roy Jones and I didn’t see the natural kick back on the punches. He was scoring a puncher and Roy was a one shot guy. So I thought Ward was excellent but I wasn’t blown away.
Then he goes into to the Super 6 and in every fight he shows something different. The biggest thing I took from him was his reliability. Ward is reliable. You can count on him to do the right thing at the right time. I was blown away at how he won those fights in different manners.
When I first saw Loma I thought he did too much. I thought he was a trickster, sort of like the basketball player Jason Williams who played for the Sacramento Kings. Then Loma settled down and then turned into a HOF right in front of my eyes. His game became more efficient. And I realized he had more than tricks. Loma is dog tough, dog strong and dog mean.
hi Bread, first time writer, I love your work.
I don't know if you already covered this topics.
Let's see. (Premise: I'm NOT a boxing Historian, there are a boatload of past fights I should see/analize)
I think with the introduction of fighting gloves, the boxers can punch more on the head of the opponent, because the risk of injury hands dropped. So because of this, the boxers should have raise the guard, to protect more the face/head area.
1) How much the change from light 6oz horsehair gloves, with the thumb disconnected from the glove, to 8/10oz foam or horseair impacted the style of boxing, technic wise?
I can see that fighers in older kind of gloves are more prone tu use open hands, other than parry punches, putting open hands on the arms/gloves of the opponent to avoid the other boxer throw punches. Or working the clinch in a more effective way.
2) What are the pros and cons of closing distance, stepping vs gallop?
Yeah, if you step to the opponent, there is a weight transfer from the rear foot to the front one, and for example if you jab stepping in you can be timed and countered. The force and the weight transfer you put in the step, sums to the contrary force of the counter punch of the opponent. This greatly improve the effectiveness of the counterpunch. But if you use feints and probe the attack, you can be effective, and there is a lot of weight behind the jab, and your reach is longer.
If you "gallop" to the opponent, your weight is more balanced, in between the feet, and I get you are more compact and more difficult to be timed and countered with the weight on the front foot. But you have to start the attack phase closer to the opponent. Your jab should be less powerful (no weight transfer), but you should be more in range to throw a straight right punch (of course, from an ortodox stance) that could be more effective, being fired from a planted feet position.
What are your thoughts, your consideration? Seems the gallop is big with at least some Kronk fighters (Klitschko, and also you can see the difference in Fury between Wilder I and II fights). Also Floyd used this all the way, when he adjusted in Judah fight.
3) I can see all the advantages of a fighter that keeps his weight 50/50, neutral between his feet (it's easier to move around, you are more balanced).
Do you see advantages keeping the majority of the weight on hte back foot? to me the cons is it's not so easy to move around (I can see the gallop thing helps a lot in this case), but when you are in range you can deliver the straight right from more distance, and with more effect, also moving the weight from from the rear foot to the front one. Also you are closer to your opponent with the feet, but your body is a little behind, you are not so easy to catch.
I hope this is not to too long, but it was difficult to keep it short! I love discussing the nuances and the wrinkles of the game!
Bread’s Response: 1) The change of the gloves effected defense more than offense. When fighters could open their gloves with a detached glove, parrying and catching punches open handed were more prevalent. Those fighters also caught punches with their lead hands open. Look at Larry Holmes, he caught punches with both hands open. Today guys catch punches with their rear hand open or they catch with their hands up and the incoming punches hit the back of their gloves.
It was also easier to tie fighters up because you had more use of your thumb for grip purposes.
2) If you are going just one step. A step approach is fine. But anything more than one step, I would rather a fighter gallop or what some call it shuffle. Obviously the step makes you a better puncher. But the gallop allows you to go in and out like say Loma. It allows you to feint better and go to other spots.
3) Whenever I see a fighter who is too pronounced one way or the other I always feel as though he’s giving up an angle and limiting his defense. If you’re too far on your back foot once a fighter enters your range you will only be able to avoid punches one way. Dipping down to one side.
Same as if you’re too far over on your front foot, your head is closer to your opponent.
But let me say this. Elite fighters conform to their natural stance and habits. They figure out a way to defend their habits. For example Bernard Hopkins used to fall in with his right hand. Watch is first fight with Segundo Mercado. So what he did, is he kept shooting that fight hand. But he found a way to smother the other guy while falling in. He knocked Mercado out with the same right hand in their rematch.
Hey Breadman, I hope all is well with you and your family.
Like you, I was a big fan of Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield growing up. He never avoided a fighter, you got your money’s worth in PPV and with spectacular resume with classic wins over Qawi, Bowe, Tyson, Holmes, and Foreman, he is a classic fighter.
I had 2 questions about his career.
1. Would you consider Holyfield a top 10 heavyweight fighter of all time?
2. If the trainer Emanuel Stewart would have stayed with Holyfield for his entire career, what could have changed? Do you think Evander could have beaten Lewis or like most you feel Lewis height/reach was always going to be a tougher fight for Evander to overcome?
Someone that knows the inside and outside of the boxing world, if you were a fighter beginning your career, which promotional company would you likely join if all the offers were identical and which one you would avoid at all cost? PBC? Golden Boy? Top Rank? Mayweather promotions? Eddie Hearn/DAZN?
One of the best parts of being a boxing fan is reading these weekly mailbags with you Breadman, can I please get your predictions about these dream match ups in their prime:
Lomanchenko vs Floyd at 130
Ray Leonard vs Floyd at 147
Oscar De La Hoya vs Chavez Sr at 147
Roy Jones Jr vs Hagler at 168
Holyfield vs Frazier
Foreman vs Liston
Always look forward to the weekly mailbag and your insight!
Bread’s Response: 1. 100% Holyfield is a top 10 heavyweight ever. Many didn’t realize it when he was fighting but if you look back at his career, you know what you saw. Holyfield is unique because he’s one of the few guys in history who is top 10 in 2 different weight classes.
2. This is a tough question. I think Holyfield almost beat Lewis in their rematch. That fight could have been a draw. It was razor close in my opinion. So maybe if Steward switches corners it could be a different outcome. Maybe. Who knows. A good coach can account for a round or two swing in a close fight.
I remember Steward observing that McCall’s left hook, right hand combo was throwing Lewis off in their fight. Then McCall clipped Lewis. Maybe he observes something else.
But here it the thing. Training Holyfield was fatiguing to Steward. Holyfield loved pad work and didn’t like to spar. Steward said they did 15 rounds a pads per day. So maybe Steward wouldn’t have had it in him to continue to keep training Holyfield after the Bowe rematch.
There is no right or wrong answer as far as who a fighter should sign with. Sometimes a fighter has to go to “Who Wants Them”. Some fighters don’t have a choice.
If all offers are identical it would depend on what weight class I was in, where I was from, how advanced I was and what race I was.
Again there is no right or wrong answer. If I was a kid who fought at 135lbs and I was very advanced and ready for a title shot within 2 years. I sign with Top Rank. Bruce Trampler, Carl Moretti and Brad Goodman are as good as it gets. I’ve met them all. The jobs they did with Kelly Pavlik, Juan Lopez, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto are legendary. All of those guys won titles and made millions before they ever took a loss. They all got to close to 30-0 or better. That’s matchmaking.
So back to 135lbs. Top Rank has Loma and Teofimo Lopez. So that’s where I would go.
Now if I’m a 154 pounder and I’m a black kid from an urban city. I go to PBC/Mayweather Promotions. First off they have most of the top 154 pounders. Secondly Luis Decubas, Tom Brown, Leonard Ellerbee etc have great interconnecting staffs. I’ve also seen them work.
I’m sort of combining PBC and Mayweather Promotions. They aren’t the same exact thing but they work under the same umbrella.
But here is the kicker. Both companies have done great jobs with fighters they aren’t popular for handling. Look at the job Top Rank has done with Shakur Stevenson and Bud Crawford. Also look at the job PBC has done with Caleb Plant and Leo Santa Cruz.
So in my opinion PBC and Top Rank stand out. I’m not saying that Golden Boy and DAZN aren’t great because I believe they are also. I have just seen more of PBC and Top Rank. I also believe that those two companies have the most influential fighters weight class for weight class.
What's up Breadman, I read an article about How Calzaghe stating he would have beaten Andre ward in a close tactical fight? How would you see that fight going in a mythical matchup. Also, how would a fight between The Krusher and Calzaghe go. Who would win?
Bread’s Response: Well of course Calzaghe is going to say he would’ve won. Ward is the only Super Middleweight who can challenge him in being the best of this Century.
This is a tough fight for me to call. Ward is a guy who understands how to score points. He really has a tool box that he can go to if the opponent is throwing him off. He can maul and grapple on the inside. OR he can play keep away with points. The issue with Calzaghe is, Calzaghe is one of the best guys we have seen as far as scoring also. He throws in rapid flurries with his hands and feet moving as well as anyone. Even with the inside grapple game, Calzaghe just chucks em and fights through clinches.
Ward is the neater fighter. Ward is the more calculated fighter. I think Ward is more well rounded. But that doesn’t always mean that is the fighter who would win if they fought. I just don’t know who wins this. IF you twist my arm I say Ward but I would guess they would have to fight more than once. I don’t see a stoppage. And I can see plenty of controversy.
The Kovalev from around 2012-14 was a real monster. I think this is another tough fight to call. Kovalev is similar to Kessler. He doesn’t have Kessler’s chin. But he’s bigger and I think he has a little more firepower and natural boxing ability. I say flip a coin. The reason being is Kovalev and Calzaghe are both hard to outpoint. Kovalev doesn’t like punchers who invade his space. But Calzaghe is not a big puncher. So Kovalev can get some comfort. Calzaghe would have his work cut out for him to get past that jab and right hand. I can see Joe C pulling out late with the better stamina but the points scored early count to. Very tough fight to call.
Firstly, thank you for your weekly contributions, it provides a short escape in difficult times.
I am a huge sports fan, but I amazed by the buzz I get before a huge fight. I look forward to these events for weeks and the build up is something I live for.
The problem with this euphoric sport is the lows are as bad as anything else I have experienced in any sport.
Watching your favourite fighter lose is a difficult emotion to explain and I can be down for days afterwards.
What fights to this day do you still hate to think about and what are your lowest moments as a fan?
As a side note I'm glad that your have given other fans exposure to josh taylor who at this moment in time I feel is a top 10pdp talent.
Given his size, skillet and heart he will be a tough out for anyone.
How does he do against ramirez, porter, spence and tank David?
Brian from. Scotland
Bread’s Response: I have a unique perspective on a loss because of the position I have. As a trainer losses are really tough. Especially if you feel as though you could have done things outside of the ring that could have been better. They are very tough to live with and time and better performances from your fighter are the things that ease them most in my opinion.
But in life you have to learn ACCEPTANCE. We don’t have time machines. So none of us can go back in time. But we should never make the same mistakes again.
Trainers and fans are different. As a trainer you lose when your fighter loses. As a fan…..for some reason Jermaine Taylor losing to Kelly Pavlik really did something to me. I liked Taylor but he wasn’t my favorite fighter or anything like that but to see him get stopped, it really saddened me. I was very quiet driving home from Atlantic City that night. Ray Leonard losing to Hector Camacho, Pacman getting clipped by Marquez, Roy Jones losing to Tarver in the their 2nd fight and losing to Glen Johnson right after all screwed with me mentally. But nothing like losing as a trainer.
I think Josh Taylor is the real deal. I think he’s definitely top 10ish P4P. All of those are tough fights but he’s in each one. I think he’s too big for Tank Davis. The thing about Taylor is I don’t think he’s unbeatable. I don’t think he will end his career undefeated. I just know what I know. He’s going to get the most out of his ability. His will power and determination will keep him in every fight. I’m really looking forward to see where he goes from here.
Hi Breadman! Hope all is well!
I wrote in last week with a list of mythical matchups, one of which was Joe Frazier versus Wladimir Klitschko. You said you picked Frazier to win BIG. I’m curious why you’re confident of a big win for Frazier? Not trying to be a wise guy, I favor Frazier too, but why BIG? Is his style all wrong for Wladimir? Or is it something else? I’m curious for more detail on this matchup, if you would please.
P.S.: Do you think Vitali would do better against Smokin’ Joe than Wladimir?
Bread’s Response: People don’t realize how good Frazier was. Look at each one of his fights from Buster Mathis to Muhammad Ali1. The late 60’s version of Frazier up until the first Ali fight was a good as a peak in heavyweight history. He gets overlooked because he slipped because of his style and he came along at the same EXACT time as George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. But his peak was on point.
If the Buster Mathis version of Frazier fights Wlad Klitchsko you guys would never bring up size again in heavyweight boxing. It matters but in this case Frazier’s size would work for him. If the lungs and conditioning is equal. The man 209lbs will have better stamina than the man 240lbs.
Frazier’s GAS TANK was A+. Wlad was a well conditioned fighter because he understood sports science. But he fatigued often because of anxiety and not being in control in fights. Ross Purity, Lamon Brewster, Sam Peter, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua were all fights were he GASSED noticeably down the stretch. In some of those fights he sort of capitulated under the pressure of the opponent not bending to his talent and will.
Now Joe Frazier doesn’t bend. He fights until he bends you to his will, or you beat him. He doesn’t beat himself. He would get under Wlad and take him into deep water and drown him. In a 15 round fight Wlad has very little shot to finish. In a 12 rounder he also loses. Peter and Brewster are not much bigger than Frazier as far as height but Frazier comes so much more forcefully.
Yes Vitali could fair better.
I was listening to a podcast a little while back and one of the guys on there was saying that a guy like Errol Spence would “murk” Sugar Ray Robinson and his explanation was just due to styles lol. Of course he didn’t say anything about WHY the styles would not allow Robinson to compete he just said some crap like “they don’t make new cars worse than the old ones.”
Another friend of my brother was also saying things like fighters before the 4 kings era are just so much less advanced they could never compete. He even said that just learning the shoulder roll would allow you to dominate all the older fighters because they wouldn’t know what to do. I think that people now just wanna make believe that this era is great because we are living in it now. But watching film of old fights doesn’t really show to me that the styles from the 50s are somehow inferior at all. What would you say to people like this Bread?
Filip in Toronto
Bread’s Response: Don’t listen to that garbage!
Here is the thing. Color and HD TV will make today’s fighter looked enhanced. Sports Science and Nutrition will make today’s fighter look bigger and more defined. Fighters today seem to have more physicality. They walk around bigger. I admit that.
But boxing is a sport of skill first. And skill and technique have not evolved. Ray Robinson and Joe Louis are still the best punchers I have seen as far as punch delivery, technique, accuracy and getting off their hardest shots in combination. They fought 80 years ago. You can only throw but so many punches. It’s not like fighters grew an extra arm over the years. A jab is still a jab. A rear hand power shot is still the same. Some are over hand, some are straight. A hook is still a hook. An uppercut is still an uppercut.
When one of these experts say this I always try to tell them that Ray Robinson’s body would look like Errol Spence’s body if he fought today. And Errol Spence’s body would look like Ray Robinson’s body if he fought in the 1940s. Their conditioning and diets would be of the era they fought in.
Obviously there are things that older fighters did that you don’t do today. Some of them ran 10 miles. We know now that you don’t need to run 10 miles to get ready for a fight. You can sprint and do speed endurance intervals and run 3 and 4 miles and keep more muscle mass. Not produce estrogen which comes on when you run too many miles. And you will stay more explosive. So of course fighters in the past didn’t carry the same muscle mass as they do now.
But the fighters of this era lose 30+ pounds to get ready for fights. And we know that also ruins the testosterone. We know that causes fatigue. We know that damages the punch resistance. So in every era fighters do things counter productive to sports science.
Here is what I know for a fact. Because boxing is skill first like baseball they are the two sports that haven’t advance as much with sports science. Boxing also has weight divisions. Errol Spence is 5’9 ½ with a 72inch reach. Ray Robinson is 5’11 with a 72inch each reach. It’s not like in football where as an offensive lineman was 250lbs, 6ft tall. And now they are 320lbs, 6ft 6 inches.
It’s not like that in boxing. In fact most of these welterweights today are 5’8 and under. Kid Gavilan was 5’10 also in Robinson’s era. Leonard and Hearns and Benitez all would be taller and longer than the welters of this era.
My point is it’s not like evolution has produced a whole era of 6’1, 77 inch welters who can punch, are laser fast and never get tired. They are the same height and size of the past eras they just walk around heavier.
In baseball the average top pitch speed has only went up incrementally and that could be from the balls being played with. After the Steroid era the number of homeruns went down just like they did in past eras. It’s not like in baseball we have players hitting .400 on the regular.
Skill sports are skill sports. Errol Spence is a great fighter and he could compete in any era. But he’s not murking Ray Robinson, Kid Gavlian, Ray Leonard, Emille Griffith, Tommy Hearns, Wilfred Benitez, Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trindidad or Donald Curry. I’m not saying they all would beat him. But I am saying he would have a full night’s work out of everyone. Their skills and sizes are all comparable give or take..
I notice you are always talking about fighters that have the clutch gene and my question to you is, is there a certain type of fighter more likely to have that gene? Like a fighter who is meaner and willing to go for it or a fighter who's demeanor is more calm and knows never to panic? Because in basketball we always think of those guys that have that killer mentality and always try to take over late in games, but I don't think that is the case in boxing. Am I wrong here? Heck, I don't always think of that being true in basketball, but that conversation is for another time.
I was recently watching some throwback fights over the weekend and I feel like the fighters of the past era threw smoother combinations and were more in control. Do you think that is accurate? If so, why would that be? Just how they were trained back then or due to fighting more and being in the gym damn near year around?
Lastly, there has been some talk of Crawford vs Ugas taking place. How do you see that fight going? And would Ugas be a tougher fight for Crawford right now than say Porter, Thurman or DSG?
Bread’s Response: I like the Crawford vs Ugas fight. This is not the 1st time Crawford has tangled with a PBC fighter. He just hasn’t had an A lister yet.
I think fighters in the past threw smoother punches because they fought 15 rounds. So they learned to punch clean and smooth with over exerting the shots. Just a sign of the times.
Clutch Gene. This is very interesting. I think in basketball people give too much credit to that so called Killer Mentality. For example Kobe Bryant is known as a killer and he was for sure. But Lebron James averages more than him in the playoffs, has hit more game winning shots and is better in elimination games but Kobe gets more credit for being CLUTCH because of his personality not because of performances. Performances say James is better.
I do think personality plays a part. But I also think attributes play a bigger part. A guy like Kawhi Leonard has that cold personality and efficient game so he’s going to be clutch most of the times.
Now here is the thing. When a guy has Kawhi’s personality and he doesn’t perform people criticize and say he doesn’t have the fire. When he does perform they call him an ICE COLD KILLER.
It’s the same way in boxing. A guy like David Tua would get criticized for not putting that fire pressure on and allowing himself to get outboxed.
At the end of the day it comes down to results. But more than that I think both personality types can show the CLUTCH GENE. The fire and ice guys.
Some fire guys like Russell Westbrook try too hard in the clutch. Some ice guys like get criticized for not caring enough.
In boxing I think the fighters who don’t know how to process in stress situations lose their clutch gene. A guy like Danny Garcia who doesn’t look like an ATG. But knows how to process and not get taken out of form, has a clutch gene despite not looking to be as talented as many of his contemporaries.
Although things are going fast in a real fight. The fighters with the better clutch genes can slow the fight down in their minds and allow themselves to not be taken out of sorts. They control their breathing. They don’t make costly mistakes. They have a sense of awareness regardless of their personalities.
Floyd Mayweather has an enormous clutch gene. Outside of the ring he has a flamboyant personality. But in the ring, he’s calm, composed, fluid and he executes. He’s very unique. Some fighters like say Zab Judah who is also a fiery guy outside of the ring but in the ring, sometimes his fire gets the best of him and he makes costly mistakes that Floyd doesn’t.
Ray Leonard showed his clutch gene vs Hearns by showing fire. Against Duran and Hagler he showed restraint and control. He knew and processed what he needed to do in those circumstances. Obviously there are very few fighters like Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather.
Results are the bottomline but many fighters get to those results differently to show their clutch gene. The one thing we will all agree with is the fighter that doesn’t panic under resistance will have a better chance to show his clutch gene.
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