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Daily Bread Mailbag - Extra Edition: Pernell Whitaker, Ducked Fighters, More

The Daily Bread Mailbag returns, with a special second edition for the week, as Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackles topics such as judging ducked fighters, the career and worth of Pernell Whitaker, fighters with great defensive skills, fighters in 'last stand' fights, and more.

If you missed it, read the traditional Saturday edition -

What's up Bread?

How you holding up in these trying times? This pandemic has negatively impacted people across all walks of life, and I know it's especially tough on fighters, trainers, and their teams.

With everyone being forced to self-isolate, boxing twitter has been quite busy lately, and through all the chatter, I have rarely been seeing Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker being involved in conversations. In my opinion, it's absolutely criminal! Pea was the best pound-for-pound fighter of the 90's and certainly an ATG. I was born in '92, and my earliest memories of him were at the tail end of his career in that '98-'00 window when he was past his prime. This time at home has allowed me to watch most of his fights that are available on Youtube, and Pea was a motherf--ker! I'm thankful for Lee Wylie's breakdown he provided last week to highlight just how good he was. Perfect fights that highlighted this to me were his JCC fights, two fights with McGirt and also two fights with Jose Luis Ramirez. In the second fights of McGirt and JLR he was absolutely dominant, after fighting tough first fights. We all know the shame that was the JCC fight. His jab was phenomenal and active, he developed footwork that accentuated all of his strengths and mitigated his weakness, and just brilliant IQ.

In your opinion, just how good was Pea and especially seeing him live? And what were the type of things your eye caught in order to separate him from a Roy Jones Jr as pound-for-pound best in the world? Which young or active fighters today most remind you of Pea? For me I see alot of him in Shakur Stevenson.

Mythical matchups:
Pea vs Pacquaio @135lb-147lbs
Pea vs Mayweather  @135lb-147lbs
Pea vs Duran  @135lb-147lbs
Pea vs Sugar Ray Leonard  @135lb-147lb
Prime Pea vs Oscar DLH @147lb
Prime Pea vs Tito @147lb

Much Love,
Stephen from Dallas

Bread’s Response: Whitaker is top 25 fighters ever. He’s every bit as good as the more celebrated Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. He’s among the 5 or 6 best lightweights ever. Top 15 Welterweights ever. He’s no worse than top 3 southpaws ever. And he has one of the best 5 jabs in boxing history. How is that?

He fought a perfect fight in the Ramirez rematch and against Greg Haugen. Also watch him vs Louie Lomelli, Poli Diaz and Fredie Pendleton. McGirt rematch was his last special performance. I saw him fight about 5 or 6 flawless fights. His lightweight run was crazy, He was going through entire fights without losing a single round. He reigned as champion at lightweight for 3 years. Think about that.

However, I don’t think he was head and shoulders above Roy Jones. I think they are roughly even as fighters. They both lasted about the same number of years as major players. Actually Jones lasted a little longer. Whitaker was more fundamentally sound but Jones was a freak and it didn’t matter. He got the same results. Both were underrated body punchers. But Jones was a better puncher overall and was more exciting. Both fought rough competition. The Fighter of the 90s was really a 1a and 1b type of thing if you’re honest. It was that close. Roy was actually the #1 P4P long before he got recognition for it. Whitaker had started to slip but Roy didn’t get the title until Whitaker lost.

Shakur Stevenson does remind me of Whitaker. He’s taller but they are similar. Terence Crawford also has some Whitaker in his game but not as much as Stevenson.

All of your mythical match ups are pick em in my opinion except Whitaker vs Ray Leonard. I think Leonard is a little too big, fast and athletic for him.

I think Whitaker is a bad style for Manny Pacquiao. I think he would control Manny with his jab.

The other fights are all razor close with Duran having a slight edge in my opinion.


Dear Breadman,

Thanks for the weekly education.

My favorite fights are Leonard - Duran 1 and Ali - Frazier 1, because of the defense moving forward displayed by the winners. Frazier and Duran are not always thought of as great defensive fighters. Come-forward fighters rarely are. To correct this, could you break down for us the various styles of defense for attacking or swarming fighters? Who are the greats that some of us might not know about? What are some of the great defensive performances by a guy fighting on the front foot and/ or moving?

I have in mind not only the two greats mentioned but also Chavez, Haron, Gatti, maybe you’d count Pacquiao in this discussion also. Who else, and what other fights should I be paying attention to?


Bread’s Response: Whenever I think of great defense I always think of what style a fighter implements. If you’re a non punching stick and mover you shouldn’t be getting hit no where near as much as a come forward volume fighter. So style matters when assessing defense.

When a fighter comes forward he usually slips or catches shots. It’s hard to parry and fight with your legs while attacking.

Julio Cesar Chavez vs Edwin Rosario is breathtaking. Chavez catches, blocks, slips and smothers Rosario. One of the great performances in boxing history.

Roman Gonzalez also has great come forward defense. He bends. He rolls. He catches. He turns. He’s really crafty with his defense considering how often he punches and initiates exchanges.

Dwight Qawi is also brilliant and coming forward with his defense. Watch him Matthew Saad Muhammad twice. It’s heartbreaking for me because Saad was my guy but Qawi was the truth.

How do you judge the accomplishments of ducked fighters, Breadman? I’m talking about guys who are/were being legitimately ducked by division champs (or fellow champs they wanna unify against). It’s hard for them... both in getting big fights and having their talents and accomplishments judged because they’re forced to pummel overmatched opposition. Do you take that into consideration, Breadman?

Who are some great fighters you thought were/ are being ducked? Hagler? Spence? Like you, I don’t buy that SRL ducked Pryor, but do you think others were guilty of that? With two losses to Wilder, everyone craps on Luis Ortiz, but he was the boogeyman just a short while ago... how do we judge him?

I personally always thought that great fighters being ducked was a huge open secret in boxing... we all know it happens but nobody wants to admit it... so how do we judge a ducked fighter and his accomplishments?

Greg K.

Bread’s Response: Yes I do. It’s one of the reasons why I give GGG a break. No one can tell me he wasn’t ducked circa 2012-16.

Riddick Bowe threw a belt in the trash instead of fighting Lennox Lewis. Lewis is universally rated over Bowe when they talk about their all time rankings and head to head hypothetical match ups. I’m not saying Bowe was scared of him but we certainly can’t blame Lewis for not making the fight. He deserves some credit.

I also agree Errol Spence was ducked. He had to become a mandatory and fight Kell Brook in the UK to win his first title. No one from the US 2012 or 2008 Olympic team had a tougher first title shot on the road. Then after he won the title he was trying to give out title shots in a red hot division and no big names stepped until Mikey Garcia did.

Hagler was ducked. Especially after Carlos Monzon retired. Hagler probably should have got a title shot in 1978. He didn’t get one until the end of 1979. He had over 50 pro fights.

The myth of Aaron Pryor being ducked is slightly overstated. I’m not saying fighters were lining up to fight Pryor but he didn’t wait as long as the MYTH suggest. Pryor was only a pro for 4 years and he was 24-0 when he got his title shot. He got his title shot in his hometown of Cincinatti, Ohio. That’s half the number of fights Hagler had and they come from the same era. Pryor could have probably been put in line for a title shot at 135 the year before but that would have been a little early for a fighter who had not won an eliminator yet.

Luis Ortiz was ducked a little bit but not overwhelmingly. He got two big shots vs Wilder and was offered a shot vs Joshua.

Some of history’s most ducked fighters are Sonny Liston who didn’t get a title shot until late. He should have had a title shot in the late 50’s. Because of this I rate him really high because I think he would have been champion earlier and had a more distinguished reign.

Charley Burley was ducked. Not by Ray Robinson but by the middleweight champions of the 1940s. There is NO way Burley didn’t deserve at least one title shot in a decade. Robinson didn’t win the middleweight title until 1951. Burley retired in 1950. Burley is one of the best fighters ever.

It’s obvious that Sam Langford was criminally ducked. He’s one of the best 10 fighters ever despite not getting a title shot through several divisions.

Jack Johnson who is guilty of ducking Langford was also ducked. He didn’t get a title shot until he was 30. Had he got one earlier his reign would have been longer.

Mark Johnson was ducked at 112 and 115lbs. I don’t hold it against Johnson that his record does not have HOF on it because he wasn’t given the opportunities.

Recently I will give you three fighters who I feel were ducked by it goes under the radar. James Kirkland. Kirkland was a straight killer, who was exciting and had a great record. He’s 34-2 right now with 30kos. During his prime for all of the excitement and carnage Kirkland gave the fans, despite being featured on HBO several times. Kirkland has never had ONE title shot. Not ONE! I know some of it is his fault because of the out of the ring stuff. But to think he’s never had a title shot. That’s very bizarre.

Guillermo Rigondeaux. Most of the media are not fans of Rigondeaux. I get that they don’t like his style. But Rigondeaux was straight AVOIDED for over 5 years and frequently INSULTED by the media. At 122 everyone seemed to roll through there and run right to 126. No one wanted to stick around because the super talented, counter punching, savant was there. It’s criminal Rigondeaux had to call out the baddest dude on the block in Vasyl Lomachenko at 130 in order to get a big money fight. Rigondeaux never fought Santa Cruz, Frampton, Quigg or Mares but they all fought each other. I’m not pointing anyone out specifically but for a whole era of top junior featherweights to have never fight one fighter and they ALL found a way to fight each other doesn’t seem right, does it?

Amir Khan. Khan is a strange case. I know he’s chinny. I know he’s very vulnerable. But Khan is a huge name and he’s had some very good wins. I’m not accusing anyone specifically of ducking Khan either. But overall it seems weird that he never fought Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Tim Bradley, Andre Berto, Adrien Broner, Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao. The other big name fighters who fought in the same weight classes during the same era. The only fighter I ever got the impression that Khan did NOT want to fight was Kell Brook. I think he would have fought anyone else had he got the opportunity. I know Khan is the brunt of a lot of jokes, but he has HEART. He fought Terence Crawford and Canelo Alvarez! That’s insane when you think about it.

I’m considering mentioning Terence Crawford. But let me wait just a little bit. When the Corona Virus Pandemic is over, Crawford should get a big shot at an A lister within the year. If not, he’s ducked.

Hi bread! First time writing in. I'm just wondering what your opinion is on Joe Frazier and how he would do against the heavyweights of the 90's? I'm talking about all the stand out fighters not named holyfield, bowe or Tyson. I've just watched some old footage and that guy was a buzzsaw!! Your thoughts? And  thanks..!

Bread’s Response: Joe Frazier would have been fine in the 90s. The prime Frazier from his fights with Buster Mathis up to the 1st Ali fight was awesome. Watch those fights and everything in between.

Think of David Tua but faster. A better engine and better defensively. Think Mike Tyson. Maybe not the same two fisted attack but more steady. A better infighter. Better stamina and much harder to discourage. If Tyson can win the title again in 96 after a long lay off. And if Tua can wreak havoc and be one of the best contenders of the decade, Frazier would have been a champion.

He would have gone head up with Tyson, Holyfield and Bowe and whoever else. And in a series of fights he holds his own and takes as many wins as he does losses. Frazier is an ATG fighter make no mistake about it.

Dear Breadman,

Watching Barkley-Duran. What are some of these 'Last Stand' fights that is like  the last great effort from a fighter. Not talking about last win, but that stood out with regards to opponent, whats on the line, age, expectations, weight difference, title fight etc. Im thinking bout B-hop vs Jean Pascal, Pacquaio -Thurman (which at the moment is coincidentally his last fight). And is it a coincidence that we think about these people as ATG? Chocalatito- Kal Yafai (yeah not the greatest opponent but still dismantled him as a smaller 'exposed by SSR bla bla bla ' fighter). Donaire vs the Monster?  Definitely wanna hear if you know more of the top (probably some older stuff Im not that in tune with, and maybe im wrong about my examples let me know...).

2nd question ( dont blast me for making this mail too long like you did the other guy last week): What is the most important thing for fighters like these ones to reach this level? Is it changing of your style like pacquiao (from a rabid straight left hand machine to a smart boxer), is it lifestyle  B Hop, is it great fundamentals and inside fighting Chocalatito/ duran, Defense like Floyd (still rate his Canelo fight as his most impressive one to me with regards to Last Stand). Like to hear your thoughts.

Mihjan from Morocco

Bread’s Response: There have been so many last stands in boxing. It’s too many to name but here are a few that stand out recently. Donaire and Gonzalez stand out recently but who’s to say that will be their last stands.

Jean Pascal wasn’t Bernard Hopkins’s last stand. How about beating an undefeated Tavoris Cloud. That was BIG time. Hopkins took Cloud to school and won the ligth heavyweight title for the 3rd time vs Cloud.

Erik Morales vs Marcos Maidana. People thought Morales would get steam rolled. And he fought the vicious punching Maidana tooth and nail throughout despite losing.

Michael Carbajal vs Jorge Arce. This may be the most underrated Last Stand of the last 30 years. Michael Carbajal actually won the WBO junior flyweight title in his last bout vs borderline great fighter in Jorge Arce. What a career! Carbajal was my guy and that was a BIG win.

Shane Mosley vs Antonio Margarito- Mosley was a big underdog going into this fight. Most didn’t give him a chance because Cotto had beat Mosley and Margarito had beat Cotto. Mosley fought the fight of his life.

Longevity is in direct correlation with IQ. And innate IQ to adjust. Simply does a fighter do the right thing at the right time. It’s different from skill. It’s different from technical ability. Technical ability is do you do things correctly. Skill is how well you do them. IQ is how you apply them. All of the fighters who have had a great success well after their primes have Great Boxing IQ. I never like to call a fighter dumb or stupid. That’s insulting and fighters deserve respect. But fighters who lack IQ don’t have sustained longevity. They always make costly mistakes and as their bodies slow down those mistakes get more and more prevalent and they keep making the mistakes over and over.

Speaking of Pacquiao his IQ is off the charts. It’s always been underrated because he’s so physically talented. But his evolution at 41 yrs old is so impressive that we take it for granted. No flyweight in history has had success as a welterweight. Pacquiao has a legacy at welterweight that could make him a top 10-15 welterweights in history. He’s undersized, and he has miles of wear on his body. Yet he’s still a top 3 or 4 fighter in the division. He has trick punches that he throws. He has relaxed defense that he implies. He changes speed and paces like no other. He’s a GRAND MASTER. I don’t think people realize what he is. Nothing bothers him. Losses, kos, height, reach, power, stances. He’s seen and overcame it all. But you need IQ to do what he does. IQ is more important than fundamentals, technique, skillset, power, speed anything you can name. Because IQ allows you to know when and not to apply your gifts. The MIND last LONGER than the BODY.

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User Comments and Feedback
Comment by Dasmius Shinobi on 04-09-2020

Is sad that ignorant fools believe they know more than Stephen Bread Edward. They believe they are the more experience and the expert analyst when in reality all of them are Rambo Couches, including me. Thank to this man, all…

Comment by The D3vil on 04-06-2020

2 weekly mailbags might make this stay home order not that bad:boxing:

Comment by jrpeltz on 04-05-2020

Roy Jones' opposition pales in comparison to Pea's...

Comment by Bigchip on 04-05-2020

Robinson ducked Burley. He admitted it. You keep coming up with this timeline as if it were impossible but the fight could’ve and should’ve happened. There are too many references that state this. Not sure why you are stubborn with…

Comment by ShoulderRoll on 04-05-2020

You can't tell me that Terence Crawford is being ducked when a fight with Shawn Porter is available and he won't take it. Crawford is the one ducking.

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