The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Tyson Fury vs. Muhammad Ali, Errol Spence vs. Floyd Mayweather, mythical matches, and more.
Hey Mr Edwards
I trust you and family are well.
I seldom write in this quickly after receiving a response from you as it takes a bit of time to go back and reassess my views in the light of your opinions. However, two recent separate comments, one by Errol Spence jr and another by Mr Bob Arum, really had my blood boiling.
Perhaps Mr Arum may be forgiven because of his age as, according to doctors, the onset of senility and Alzheimer's disease to which some elderly people are prone to fall victim can be slow and stealthy. I'm not suggesting that Mr Arum suffers from either ailment but, having regard to Muhammad Ali's body of work, how can he even think that Ali would not be competitive with Tyson Fury purely on the basis of Fury's size? I've seen some reaction that labels Mr Arum's comments an insult but that falls far short of a proper description. It is blasphemy.
Fury's resume is, in my opinion, far inferior to the pre and post exile resume of Ali. However, it is the latter record that shows you just what an inferior opponent Fury would have been for Ali. Both fighters were exiled from boxing for roughly the same period of time but for significantly different reasons. When Ali returned, he faced two top ten contenders in Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena before going directly into a fight with one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time in Joe Frazier. What did Fury do? He fights an old and shopworn journeyman in Sefer Seferi and a very limited Fransesco Pianeta before jumping into the ring with Deontay Wilder. Well, Seferi and Pianeta are not exactly Quarry and Bonavena and Wilder, with respect, cannot be compared to Frazier.
Ali had speed, timing and precision and hit a little harder than Fury. If an ordinary fighter like Kevin Johnson could hit Fury and put him down, how the hell does Ali fail to hit Fury? And Johnson was no more than a cruiserweight, really. Does Mr Arum realise that Ali's knockdowns were only at the hands of accomplished and fearsome punchers in Henry Cooper and Frazier? Ali fought his share of run of the mill opposition, especially between the "Rumble in the jungle" and the "Thrilla in Manilla" but none of them ever put him down. If Ali could manhandle a man as powerful as George Foreman, how could Fury's size be a problem? In Sonny Liston and Foreman, Ali went into those fights with many boxing writers and trainers fearing for his life. In fact, I hear that for the Liston fight, one newspaper guy quipped " I'm betting on Ali ... to live!". Has Fury ever been in that situation? Is there a Foreman, Frazier, Ken Norton or Ron Lyle among today's heavyweights? Mr Arum, in my view, is just a modern-day searcher for a "great white hope" and luckily for him, he's found one in Fury. No doubt about it, Fury is a formidable fighter in his generation but the jury is still out on him. He failed to defend the title even once after he won it the first time whereas Ali made nine successful defences in his first reign. Fury is yet to make one defence of his title in his second reign whereas Ali had ten successful defences in his second reign. Let's wait for Fury's first ever defence of his title before we start making him conqueror of the greatest heavyweight champion of all time with 19 successful defences in Ali. Do you agree with me Mr Breadman that Fury would simply have been another victim on the Ali resume? I seem to recall that you also think Ali could struggle with Fury but how could he, really? Ali in his prime was far superior to any heavyweight, past, present or future, in my opinion.
Can Spence please shut up and just step into the ring with Terrence Crawford? Does he even have a clue what Mayweather was like in his prime? In my view, Mayweather was past his prime when he entered the welterweight division but just look at what he went on to do. The last time Mayweather was in his prime was in his superlightweight slaughter of the late Arturo "thunder Gatti. Spence would similarly have been outclassed, cut to ribbons and humiliated by the Mayweather of that night. Spence, in my view, is just like Fury, among the best of his generation. But that generation consists of good and not great fighters such as Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia among others. These guys are not Pacman, Cotto, Sugar Shane or Margarito. Spence may be fooled by the fact that he is reputed to have gotten the better of Mayweather in some sparring sessions but does he understand there's nothing on the line in those sessions? Do you agree with me, Mr Breadman, that in a real fight a past-prime Mayweather would do to Spence what he did to Sugar Shane, Cotto and Pacman? Wasn't Joe Louis also said to be frequently poor in sparring? But just look at what he went on to do.
So , Spence should just stop hoping Crawford ages or stumbles against someone else and go for greatness by testing himself against Crawford. In Mayweather he is pitting himself against an ATG and he falls horribly short. I mean Spence, to me, is so one-dimensional that I can often hear him think while watching his fights. I'm just not sold on him until he beats the best fighter in the welweight division right now in Crawford.
Apologies for the long email but Mr Arum and Spence's comments could almost pass as trolling.
Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bread’s Response: Before I start you have to realize GREATER and BETTER are different. If Bob Arum suggested that Tyson Fury is greater than Muhammad Ali that would be blasphemy. Fury hasn’t done enough. But to suggest he’s better, while I don’t agree it’s more understandable.
I personally don’t read boxing articles often. I won’t say at all but very rarely do I read boxing articles. It’s just a personal choice. I will read historic perspectives, breakdowns of future fights and novel things that intrigue me. But general boxing articles I just pass by.
So I didn’t read what Mr. Arum said but I can believe he said it. One of his unique tactics is to say his current hot fighter could beat other great fighters he’s had. He’s done that time and time again and it really gets people going. He’s went from Ali to Leonard to Hearns to Hagler to Oscar to Floyd to Manny to Loma to Crawford to now Fury.
I’ve heard him say contradictory things about each one. I wouldn’t get too upset. Promoters have to promote their fighters. They make their LATEST their GREATEST. Those comparisons sell to the public. It is what it is. I have a great deal of respect for Bob Arum and his company Top Rank but everyone in boxing will say something that you can look back on and question their integrity. Most times it’s an opinion and opinions are SUBJECTIVE even if we don’t believe them.
As far as who would win between Ali vs Fury. I would pick Ali but it wouldn’t be easy. Fury is 6’9 and he can box. He’s no push over in any era. But Ali’s in and out rhythm on his toes is one of the underrated ways to fight taller stalkers. Ali would be fine in any era in heavyweight history because of his style and adaptable size.
I don’t know why people were so upset at Errol Spence’s comments regarding him competing with Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather is older than Spence but they did fight during the same time. Mayweather didn’t retire until 2015. Spence turned pro in 2012. Spence can’t adapt the mindset that he can’t beat another man that he not only sparred but could have fought if given the opportunity. Think about this, Canelo and Spence are the same age and Floyd fought Canelo. It’s a stretch but it’s not impossible.
I don’t blame Spence for saying what he said. I would have found it disrespectful if Spence said he was better than say Ray Robinson. Because Robinson is dead. He can’t fight him. And he hasn’t done enough. But to say he could beat a man that he could’ve fought is not out of line. I didn’t think he disrespected Floyd. He didn’t belittle Floyd or make any insulting remarks.
I guess he could have said Floyd is great and I don’t want to compare myself to him. That’s the politically correct thing to say. But I didn’t find it offensive. And I’ve heard young fighters disrespect older ones but not in this case.
Sparring is different from an actual fight. But it does have relevance. From reports Spence did well with Mayweather in sparring but I didn’t hear anything out of the ordinary, like he stopped Mayweather or beat him up every single time they boxed.
You guys may not know this but elite young sparring partners get the better of the more well known fighter more than 50% of the time. Here is why. The elite sparring partner literally trains to spar the legend or champ. He’s UP for the sparring. He’s preparing for him. The Champion is preparing for a fight with his opponent. He also is training and sparring other fighters. It’s an 8 week camp. The Champion is not going to destroy every sparring partner if he’s hiring kids as good as Errol Spence.
In contrast if Errol Spence were to hire Jaron Ennis and Vergil Ortiz and box them 3x a week for 8 weeks. I will guarantee you he wouldn’t get the better of the work every day. There would be some days where they really gave it to him. Spence would be training 2 or 3 times a day. He would be losing weight and restricting his calories.
There are many factors into sparring. It’s why you can’t let casuals view sparring sessions because they are too ignorant to know what’s really going on.
That being said if one sparring partner dominates the other in every session. Then it is relevant and I would assume that the sparring partner would have a good chance of beating the champion in a real fight.
If Spence were to fight Mayweather would Mayweather dominate him? I don’t know about that. Obviously Floyd has a greater legacy and is a better fighter. But beating someone head to head is different. We haven’t seen Floyd dominate a black urban athletic kid of Spence’s stature in his prime at 147lbs or above. The Spence that I saw against Chris Algieri and Lamont Peterson would be a handful for Floyd. I’m not saying he would beat him. Floyd is a tall glass of water for anyone fighting today and any other day. But Errol’s dog strong, he has the physicality of a 154, he’s a southpaw, he has a serious jab and he’s mean. That’s a competitive fight in my opinion.
As for Spence vs Crawford. I don’t know what’s going on. But the Pandemic and Spence’s auto accident doesn’t help get things moving. Let’s see what happens. I don’t believe either of them are scared of each other. They both have good reason to believe they will win the fight if they face each other.
I’m sure Crawford is thinking that he’s better than Brook and Porter. And if they can win 4 or 5 rounds vs Spence then he can win 7 or more.
I’m also sure Spence is thinking if Gamboa can hurt Crawford and if Benavidez and Mean Machine can win rounds he can win 7 or more and stop Crawford.
Let’s see how it plays out. It’s a great fight.
I’m curious how you asses controversial decisions historically. For example, do you give fighters who were robbed such as Whitaker vs Chavez or GGG vs Canelo the mental W when rating their career? Personally I do and I think it’s the right approach because f—k letting corruption adjust history.
Imagine if Henry Armstrong got the W when he fought for the middleweight title instead of a bogus draw! I think we should be judging him as if he won that 4th championship. We might put him above Robinson! Except in another interesting scenario, Robinson pretty much dominated the Light Heavyweight champ Maxim until the insane 105 degree heat took him out. Can’t really give him the mental W because Maxim could continue but don’t you think this is also a big addition to his legacy? To me I think it’s fair to say he proved he was the best light heavyweight in the world that night. What do you think Bread?
Filip in Toronto
Bread’s Response: This is a GREAT QUESTION!
Official results count more than people realize. Often times I use discretion when it comes to controversial decisions but if a fighter routinely comes up short by a smidge then I start counting it against him.
For example Razor Ruddock and Andrew Golota. Ruddock did well vs Mike Tyson both time but not enough to win. Vs other opponents the same thing kept happening. He kept losing. That’s who he is.
Andrew Golota beat Ridick Bowe up both times. Dropped him. Won way more rounds. And really took his career away. But Bowe had greater character. And Golota came apart because Bowe kept fighting back. That’s exactly what happened when Golota fought other guys.
So the boxing ring is a truth machine. There are cases where I look deeper into the official result.
Sugar Ray Robinson’s loss to Joey Maxim is interesting. I count the loss because he loss without controversy. He dominated the fight but he had to use so much energy in order to win the rounds because Maxim was so much bigger that it burnt him out. But the heat affected both fighters not just Robinson. So I won’t say Robinson was the best lightheavyweight in the world at the time. I will say he was the best fighter in the world P4P and dominating the lightheavyweight champion proved it.
What I give Robinson extra credit for is that being his only stoppage loss. I basically view him as a fighter who was NEVER stopped in 202 fights which is remarkable. Even the iron chinned fighters of the day suffered a stoppage or two in close to 100 fights. Robinson never suffered anymore defeats inside of the distance. That’s where I use my discretion in that case.
I give Whitaker full props for beating Chavez. Whitaker got jobbed.
I’m on the border with GGG vs Canelo. I thought GGG won but I’m on record to say I didn’t like his performance. I thought he was too hesitant and he showed Canelo too much respect. When you are advertised as a Horror Movie and you get to your Super Fight and you aren’t as scary as advertised human judges may hold it against you. Again I thought GGG won the fight but watching a fight on TV and sitting their live10 ft away is different.
I don’t agree but I can understand how a judge had it a draw. So I can’t give GGG credit for a close draw and just count it as a win. That fight wasn’t as bad as Whitaker vs Chavez as far as scoring.
In close fights with swing rounds if the boxing public just started awarding wins for who they wanted to win it would disrupt the integrity of boxing. If we start doing that for every close fight then what….So I’m careful about that. I just watch each fight on a fight by fight basis and I factor in how well the losing fighter performed and whether or not the controversy was valid.
Last week, you answered a question considering Manny Pacquiao's freakish physical attributes. I recently read Cornelius Boza-Edwards describe Rolando Navarrete as having similar attributes with the tree trunk legs and being a lot stronger than he looks. I've also read that Floyd Mayweather has freakish 26 inch long arms, which are longer than a few heavyweights. What other fighters you've seen that have crazy attributes that work for them? Boxers with attributes that are far below average that could work against them? Being that both Pacquiao and Navarrete happens to be Filipino, which attributes do you think could be ethnic specific?
Bread’s Response: Another great question. I personally look at fighter’s builds and physical make up from top to bottom. I have personal and sometimes private theories and observations on why certain fighters have certain attributes. And they are usually on the money.
I will share a few before I delve into your question. When I see fighters with good posture. I usually account that to a strong core and good stamina. It sounds weird but just think about the fighters that have really good posture. It doesn’t mean that every fighter with bad posture has poor stamina but there is a correlation. Example Shawn Porter. His posture is perfect. He has no slouch in his back. Excellent Stamina. I think the reason for this is the airways are open more. I also believe the strong core represents being able to sit up and/or walk straight without slouching.
I know fighters shouldn’t shake hands hard because it can damage the hands over time. But I look for fighters that have unique grip strength, big hands and big forearms. When I see this they always have heavy hands. They have a thud like power. Sharp power and thud power are different. GGG has incredible looking hands and wrist. So did George Foreman. They have THUD like power.
I also look to see how well a fighter can dance or if they can flip. Fighters who can do flips have athleticism. It doesn’t mean if a fighter can flip then he can beat a fighter who can’t. But being able to do flips equates with a certain amount of athleticism and more importantly a fearless quality. You can’t be scary and do flips. Your body won’t allow it to flip. Naseem Hamed can flip. He’s a fearless athletic fighter.
Fighters who can really dance. They have a level of coordination to them. They have a gitty up in their step. Floyd Mayweather, Ray Robinson and Hector Camacho can dance their butts off. See the correlation.
I watch fighters who can dunk a basketball. I come from a basketball background. I’m 6’3. I could dunk but I’m not a high flyer. My hops were ok but it was more from upper body strength than leg explosiveness. But being able to really leap shows a level of explosiveness which is one of the many reasons for punching power. Roy Jones is barely 5’11. I think he’s more like 5’10 ½. But he can dunk a basketball with 2 hands. People marvel at his athleticism but once I saw him dunk, it explained it to me. I would be willing to bet that 90% of today’s active fighters regardless of weight can NOT dunk a basketball. Most fighters athleticism don’t lie in that place. It’s rare. Roy Jones was rare.
I see how fast a fighter can run. Yes it counts. Fighters who can run a 400m in sub 60 seconds have elite speed endurance. Fighters who can run a 40 yd dash in 4.5 or under are fast humans period. And in the #1 fitness exercise for fighters, jogging. I look for fighters who can run 6 minute miles. Stephen “Scooter” Fulton can run 6 miles in about 38 minutes. I watched him do it. He has incredible lungs. I don’t need to see 6 miles that’s exceptional but I look for a fighter who can run 3 miles in say 18 minutes.
The fighters I have seen with significant attributes:
Floyd Mayweather’s arms. I have mentioned them several times. His arms are as long as Wladmir Klitshcko’s. Often times reach is counted from finger tip to finger tip but some humans have wider backs and longer fingers so that’s not exactly accurate. Actual arm length from the arm pit to fist is the way reach should be measured when it comes to BOXERS. I have no idea why networks don’t measure it the way I suggested. Diego Corrales was taller than Floyd but Floyd’s arms were way longer. Not just reach but actual arm length.
Of course we have Pacman with his freakish legs, big head and big fist. His core is of a man 135lbs and he has legs of a man 200lbs. So his big legs are moving around a smaller body.
Dwight Qawi was like 5’7 but his arms hung down to his to what seemed his knees. He was able to be a great fighter at 175lbs and everyone looked at his height. But his arms and tree trunk legs were of a much bigger man.
Aaron Pryor and Julio Cesar Chavez both have big head and were rumored have thicker skulls than the average person. I can believe that because both had crazy chins. The thicker your bones are the harder it is to penetrate to the organs.
Winky Wright hand long arms and a short torso. He was able to lay his elbows on his belt line and cover his entire upper body. Spawning his shell defense.
Vasyl Lomachenko has really short arms. And his body has acclimated. His feet are incredible. He’s able to cover ground very fast and efficiently. Loma never over reaches despite fighting 5’9 lightweights.
Muhammad Ali was rumored to have CAT EYES. It’s a condition to suggest that if someone moves and flinches towards you, you have the ability to NOT blink and keep your eyes open. Ali had weird reflexes. He could pull back at the last minute and see punches coming. Cat eyes may explain this gift he had.
The human body will acclimate to it’s dimensions. Whatever you’re born with, your body will adjust and overcome if you’re an elite fighter.
Whats up Breadman I got a hot question for you. The other day I was watching a mini documentary on youtube about Henry Cooper in which they talk about his boxing career and him knocking down Muhammad Ali in his first fight with him. Cooper talks about in both fights with Ali the fight is stopped on cuts and he says quote " Ali didn't beat me because he was a better boxer (or) he was a better puncher he beat me because I had a weakness around the eye because the eye opened up if I had been a Negro with negroid features flattened around the eye (i think this is what he said) the features which in Negros have I would have been Ward every way champion it's as simple as that I think". Obviously I don't believe Cooper would have been champion if had black facial features but I do wonder if certain races like Whites, Latinos, and Asian have an increased susceptibility to cuts around the eye due facial structure and differences in skin toughness.
Here is a link if you want to watch for yourself skip to 7:20
The Brit who Fought Muhammad Ali TWICE! | Henry Cooper | Trans World Sport
In this interview from 1992, the late British Boxing legend Henry Cooper talked us through some of the big fights he had with Muhammad Ali, and what motivate...
Prime vs Prime who ya got
Bowe vs Lennox
Bowe vs Tyson
Frazier vs Marciano
Frazier vs Holyfield
Marciano vs Holyfield
Bread’s Response: The language used by people who were born 80 years can be disturbing. And I won’t go into that too much because Henry Cooper is dead and not here to defend his comments.
I will say that he wouldn’t have been heavyweight champion. Getting cut is part of the game and if you get cut by a punch then the rules are in place for a reason. Ali threw slashing sharp shots. He beat him the same way twice.
Cooper was a competent fighter and he did well with Ali. He had his moments. He was no pushover. But fighters lie to themselves and when they talk to casuals they can get away with it. Ali was just better than him.
Cooper has double digit losses and was stopped numerous times and not all by cuts. Floyd Patterson knocked him cold with one shot. Ingemar Johannson kod him. So did Zora Folley. None of them where cut factor stoppages. I won’t say anymore about that.
A mailbag or two ago, someone asked about trainers and how much credit they get for certain wins. This got me wondering, Breadman... do you know of a fighter-trainer duo that clicked so well that there was a seriously noticeable drop off in the fighter’s skills when he and his trainer parted ways? I’m sure some people will think of Tyson and Rooney, or Arguello and Futch... what do you think of this? Any others leap to mind?
Bread’s Response: The tandem I think of the first is Ann Wolfe and James Kirkland. I just think that Wolfe pushed Kirkland in a way where regular training didn’t get him in shape. Her brutal methods are what he responded too.
Another that stands out to me is Pat Burns and Jermaine Taylor. I think as highly of Emanuel Steward as I do any trainer that has ever lived. I don’t who the best is because that’s relative to who you are training and when and there are too many variables to factor. But Steward is among the greatest if not the greatest. But Pat Burns did NOTHING wrong.
He led Jermaine Taylor to an undefeated record and the middleweight championship of the world vs an ATG in Bernard Hopkins and they turned the trick again and Burns lost his job.
Sometimes in boxing people get caught up in who is more well known instead of fighter familiarity. I’m not suggesting Burns is better than Steward. But there was no reason for Burns to lose his job. He was doing a great job. In fact he hooked back up with Taylor after losing his job and they went back on a win streak. Pat Burns caught one of the toughest breaks in history.
I think people were expecting Taylor to be this neat, perfect fighter and blow out all of his opponents. But that wasn’t him. He wasn’t a guy who was going to win by wide margins. He didn’t have the greatest IQ and he made mistakes. But he was big, he had heart. He had a great jab. He had pedigree and he was a real fighter. Fighters can evolve and get better but their baseline is what it is. Burns was doing a great job despite Taylor’s flaws and he cared about him as a person.
One more case stands out to me. Eddie Futch and Montell Griffin. I’m not sure how many fights Futch worked with Griffin but Griffin really fought some tough fights as a prospect. No one did him any favors. He was undersized and fought killer after killer. But what stands out is how well he did vs Roy Jones. Griffin was basically even with Jones before he was knocked down. I know the fight was controversial and I’m not saying Jones wouldn’t have won but Griffin was really performing. He was the first fighter to take advantage of Jones’s penchant to fight off of the ropes.
In the rematch Futch was not in Griffin’s corner. Jones won by 1st rd ko. I’m not saying it wouldn’t have happened anyway. But that’s just a big contrast in performance from one fight to the next.
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