The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as the sensational trilogy fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, a possible fight between Fury and unified champion Oleksandr Usyk, Ray Leonard vs. Robert Duran, and more.
First off, major props to you for your prediction on how the Fury - Wilder fight would go. Big drama, Wilder trying to punch with Fury, Wilder's spirit not being broken... You were spot on about everything, except the winner, but this further evidences your ATG-status in terms of fight predictions. I'd like to touch on 3 things:
1. Wilder's willpower was BEYOND HUMAN. His legs were shot from the 5th round onwards, he couldn't get his second wind, yet he kept going for it. His pride level is something else. He's a GUN amongst guns. There was a look on his face of brooding intensity, and in spite of his stamina betraying him (with Fury's assistance), he kept going for it. He would've literally fought to the death had they let him.
2. Fury's in-fighting ability was on full display, and it surprised me that he did as much of it instead of just making Wilder carry his weight, as Klitschko habitually did with his opponents in the past. He would push his head onto Wilder's right shoulder and push his own shoulder against Wilder's so as to fully remove the threat from the right hand in close and then smack Deontay's body with his own right hand. He also kept trying to get an overhook with his left arm on Wilder's head, push it down and then hit him with the right uppercut. It's what caused the 1st knockdown after that big right he caught Wilder with.
3. Wilder almost always LAUNCHED his right hand, whereas Fury FIRED it. Wilder loaded up on his right, threw it in a TENSE way, and Fury caught onto it quick. Loading up like that could've also contributed to Wilder gassing as badly as he did. On the other hand, Fury had more variety in the way he threw his right, he threw it off-beat and RELAXED. As a result, he was quicker to the draw than Wilder with it. The exception was the right Wilder threw that caused Fury's first knockdown.
Keep up the good stuff!
Chris from Belgium
Bread’s Response: Thanks bro, I knew Wilder would fight hard. He pursued that rematch and he’s already rich. He really thought he could win and he fought like it. But I was wrong about the winner. Tyson Fury is special. It’s as simple as that. He has a special quality to OVERCOME. Wilder has dropped him 4x, and each time Fury gets up and hurts or stops Wilder. It’s insane.
1. Wilder’s determination was a sight to behold. He was possessed. He may not ever walk through that much fire again. He was exhausted mentally and physically and he never stopped trying. He almost willed himself to victory.
2. Fury is very clever at grappling, stealing shots on the break and in the clinch and most of all identifying where Deontay’s hands were. Fury is brutal inside. He breaks the myth of being tall and being a great inside fighter.
3. Great observation. Wilder does launch is right hand. He waits until the referee breaks him apart and he pushes off of his back foot and covers about 6ft in a launch to the opponent’s chin. He’s so infatuated by it, if you watch Wilder close, he’s always pulling his right glove so when he hits the opponent, he can feel the knuckle. The issue is his glove is not in place to catch a returning jab. Fury on the other hand just shoots hard right hands. He’s energy efficient on the shot. He doesn’t try to punch hard, he just hits hard. Fury won that fight with his mind.
My question is about Roberto Duran and Ray Leonard, and their first two fights. Its often said that Ray 'fought the wrong fight' in their initial encounter by standing and trading with Roberto. I know fans of Duran like Lee Wylie don't agree with this as they feel Roberto forced him to fight him in the trenches like he did. Where do you stand on this? Was Duran so good that night that ray simply had no choice but to fight him toe to toe? With regards to their second fight, Ray clearly had a plan to box and move and frustrate Duran, and Duran didn't seem in shape to cut the ring off and do anything about it. My question is, what would happen if the Duran of the first had faced the Leonard with the mindset/gameplan of fight two?
Would Duran's intensity and willpower been able to force ray to fight him or would Leonard's quick feet and movement have frustrated Duran and dictated the outcome of the fight? The main reason I'm curious is because of the 'Ray fought the wrong fight' story from the first fight it seems to give credence to the idea that all ray had to do to beat Duran was to box and move. That feels grossly unfair to Duran so I wanted your take on it. In more general terms how hard is it to cut the ring off on a fighter who's determined to be move/be elusive? Even someone as good at cutting the ring off as GGG had some trouble pinning Canelo down in their first fight. Going back to the first Duran Leonard fight, the skill level is off the charts in terms of in fighting, feints, and adjustments made. Are there any fights that spring to mind that are remembered for being a brawl but are actually high skill level contests? Thank you.
Bread’s Response: This is interesting especially the way I admire both Leonard and Duran. Here goes….I feel like Duran fought one of the greatest fights in history on June 20th, 1980. He didn’t fight over his ABILITY but he fought over his head. As great as he had been, he was never as good before that night and he never reached those nights again, despite the Davey Moore and Iran Barkley fight.
Often times a fighter does not know what type of fight he can win with until he test the waters. Leonard was on a KO streak entering the Duran fight. He had his best 2 KOs back to back going into the fight vs Davey Boy Green and Andy Price. Leonard was getting his man strength and by 1979-80 he was KOing most of his opponents. He was longer, faster and thought to be the more dynamic puncher vs Duran. Leonard had great legs but he didn’t fight against his normal style vs Duran in their first fight. If anything I don’t believe Leonard fought the wrong style, I think he fought with the wrong mindset.
He fought to HURT Duran, instead of just fighting to win. Duran had spit on Leonard’s family and insulted Leonard’s wife and it upset Leonard. I think that mindset cost him. I think during the fight, Duran hurt Leonard in I believe the 2nd round. Once he hurt Leonard, who was more of a killer than anyone knew at the time, tried to rip Duran’s head off. Duran was on his game that day and he edged Leonard in a great fight. It’s a disservice to Duran to say, “all Leonard had to do was box like he did in the rematch.”
Maybe Duran would have still won in June of 1980. I think Duran was as locked in as he ever was. I also wholeheartedly believed that while Leonard may not have fought the wrong style in the 1st fight, he could’ve fought better. For as great as Duran was, that was his apex. Duran never had the legs or stamina to track down another elite boxer. Everyone who beat him after the No Mas fight, moved or was too long like Hearns.
I also don’t discredit Leonard’s rematch win. I feel like Duran’s fans claim he came up from lightweight and beat an ATG fighter in Leonard. Then those same fans say he struggled to make weight. If you’re going to give him credit for being small, you can’t take away credit from Leonard for Duran not making weight correctly. I think Duran went to the darkest place he could and he just couldn’t get back there again. He was never able to. Duran was in shape in the rematch. His mind was just not as determined. Duran is great but he always makes excuses. It’s why he kept moving up in weight. That was just him. Leonard would not have know how to fight Duran if he didn’t test the waters in the 1st fight. Duran may not have spent all of his bullets if he wouldn’t have fought so wonderful in the 1st fight. Timing matters.
The 3 greatest fights I have seen in my lifetime are Hearns-Hagler, Castillo-Corrales, and Ward-Gatti I. It just occurred to me that one boxer from each of these epic fights is dead. Although they died from different causes, do you think what propelled them to give beyond what was humanly possible in a boxing ring somehow is related to their early deaths? I would love to hear your insight on this.
Thanks, Tony Sensoli
Bread’s Response: I don’t know but I don’t rule it out. Very good question.
How can you explain the difference between the best and the greatest? For example Ali is regarded at the greatest but was he also the best? Was the Bulls of Michael Jordan the best team ever or was it the greatest? What’s your perspective.
Bread’s Response: Tyson Fury is better than 99% of the heavyweights who have ever lived. But because of his inactivity and lack of title defenses, there are a few heavyweights who I consider greater. At welterweight Manny Pacquiao has had a tremendous career. It’s been greater than many at the weight. But I believe Donald Curry is better at the weight. Greater is your impact and your accomplishments. Better is who beat who, who would beat who and the eyeball test. Ali was the greatest and the best in my opinion. Michael Jordan is also the greatest and the best. Ali and Jordan are rare and special.
What’s good Bro Bread.
What an all-around tremendous weekend of sports we just had. I know this is boxing but just wanted to point that out. You don’t know how excited I was to find out you and J Rock had reunited, I’m sorry it didn’t turnout like you all had hoped. I know you can’t divulge to much as it relates to the perceived stamina issues it looked like he was having but I am going to touch on it a bit later. It was a great night of action all around but I have to jump to the main event.
What a great fight. Definitely one of the best in a minute. I’m a huge Wilder fan and I’m not going to attempt to play Monday morning QB but there are some things I noticed during the fight. I thought Malik had a great game plan for Wilder but as someone once said “Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the mouth” I thought Wilder took the first two rounds. Hear me when I say this, I am not calling Fury a dirty fighter, but I said in round 2 that it seemed like Fury was try to target the back or side of Wilder’s head. It really irritates me how the boxing pundits and fans forget that the first knockdown in Fury/Wilder II was a massive shot behind the head. Once Fury landed the punch Wilder was done for the fight. His legs were never the same. Fury managed to connect with the shot to Wilder’s ear in the 3rd and I thought that contributed to taking Wilder’s legs again. I thought Fury and team had a great plan also. He said that he would try to come in at 300 pounds and people question his sanity but Fury knew that there was no way Wilder could carry 300 pounds around that ring for 12 rounds with those skinny legs. Wilder doesn’t move a lot and he allowed Fury to crowd his space. I wished that he would have worked on more pivots to keep Fury off him and off balance. Wilder was almost like a sitting duck because he doesn’t move his head.
I wrote in during the 1st fight and talked about how the ref handled Fury’s knockdowns during that fight almost giving him extra time. If something happens once it may be a coincidence but the fact that Fury benefited from additional time after a knock down again is NO COINCIDENT!! The time clock does not lie. Fury was knocked down at 17 seconds and did not get back to his feet until 3 seconds. Ward even pointed it out during the telecast.
As good as the plan was from Malik and Wilder, I thought that the strategy of bulking up was Wilder’s ultimate downfall. In the second fight Wilder came in heavier and I didn’t like it. I would have rather Wilder come in at 215 and move more. His body is not use to carrying that much weight which also contributed to fatigue. I think the final 2 knock downs came from fatigue and the fact that he never really recovered from the terrific knockdown in the 3rd. Last that I will share as it relates to stamina. Wilder’s strength and conditioning coach is a former track sprinter. I ran a little track back in my day and I was also a sprinter 100, 200, 400, and relays. The exercise that we did was totally different from the distance runners but I can see how some of those exercises help with explosiveness like how he explodes on that 1-2 but those exercises would never help me with a distance run and that’s what I view boxing as. I’m not saying he should get rid of his guy because I think he has contributed to Wilder’s success but I think he should look to add someone to get him ready for those marathons that is boxing. I heard Rock say before the fight he had Covid. He hasn’t used this as an excuse but I know Covid continues to affect your body long after it is gone. Do you think it effected Rocks stamina during the fight?
Bread’s Response: Covid affected me physically much worse than most of the people I know who had it. I lost 16lbs, I didn’t sleep for 2 straight days and I lost my taste and smell. Julian had a tough case too but it wasn’t as bad as mine. If he’s not going to use it as an excuse then I won’t. It’s boxing and no one really cares anyway. He can come back, it's not over until he says it's over. Thanks for the well wishes.
I won’t criticize Wilder’s strength coach because if he had won, everyone would say he did a great job. On top of that I don’t know what they do in camp. Just because his coach is a sprint coach that doesn’t mean he can’t build stamina. In fact sprinting can build stamina. I personally have had fighters do sprints, then go back to miles and their mile times get faster. WE have to be careful criticizing without knowing. Maybe his strength coach has him use the versa climber, or stair master. Maybe he has him swim. Maybe they do mile runs on top of their sprint work. It’s really not fair to criticize because often times trainers don’t show everything.
I like Wilder around 215lbs also but it’s not what we like, it’s what he likes. He wanted to be bigger. He thought he needed it. And if you think you need it, then you need it. I think both Wilder and Fury hit each other behind the head. The ref kept warning both. I did see Wilder’s legs go but I don’t know if it was an illegal shot.
I think the biggest difference between Wilder and Fury is Fury has more control over his emotions and this is coming from someone who BET on Wilder. Wilder is such an emotional guy. He yells and celebrates after he drops Fury. He’s always so hyper and high strung. Where as Fury may be crazy but he doesn’t get too high or he doesn’t get too low. He has the ability to cope under the GUN. Wilder’s temperament burns himself out. Fury’s temperament keeps his candle burning. When you don’t have control of your heart rate and your emotions are in over drive, it’s hard to win close, long tough fights. Wilder reminds me of the great Gerald McClellan who was a killer. But McClellan was an emotional fighter and emotions come back to bite you.
Wilder does not have heart issues. He has the heart of a lion. But Wilder does not have the best coping skills and that is the biggest difference in these two tremendous fighters. At the top level, #thelittlethings matter most. Fury is just a little bit calmer, he copes with adversity just a little bit better. He sees the shots incoming and outgoing just a little bit better. And that’s why he was able to beat Wilder and never lose to him. Salute to both but if you’re honest and objective that’s Fury’s advantage. Wilder can hurt and drop Fury. But he can never put the right shots together to stop him because he gets too excited and ahead of himself. He’s dropped him 4x and has never stopped him. Fury on the other had has been able to stop Wilder. Fury took away all of the excuses in their final fight. At a certain point just give the man his props.
It was really nice to see you and J-Rock reconcile and be back in the ring together. Although you didn't get the results you wanted, I have no doubt that J-Rock is going to continue to be a player at 154lb and climb back to titlist again with you behind him. You've been on record and said in this mailbag that you believe Pernell Whitaker's win over Julio Cesar Chavez would've been the best/greatest win of the 90s and I agree. Since he was denied that, what fight do you believe receives that honor? Per the Ring Magazine Pound-for-Pound rankings at the time (and people can look this up themselves) Sweet Pea and JCC were ranked No.1 and 2 respectively when they fought in September '93. Would Roy Jones Jr dominant win over James Toney get the honor instead? When they fought in November of '94 James Toney was ranked No.3 by and RJJ No. 8 in Ring Magazine pound-for-pound rankings released in the April 1994 issue that year. James was also the No.1 ranked Super-Middleweight and RJJ the No.1 ranked Middleweight. For context, I was born in June of '92. What were the attitudes surrounding the build-up of those fights back then? Thanks to YouTube, you can get a feel for what was going on and believed from the broadcasts of the full fights, but nothing replaces the experiences of actually living that time. Appreciate the mailbag as always,
Stephen from Dallas
Bread’s Response: Best win of the 90s…….There are a few fights that stand out.
Simon Brown’s KO of Terry Norris. Norris had about 10 title defenses and he was top 3 P4P.
Evander Holyfield’s KO of Mike Tyson. Tyson was a 8 to 1 favorite and considered to be back.
Buster Douglas’s KO of Mike Tyson. Tyson was 38-0 and considered invincible.
Julio Cesar Chavez’s KO of Meldrick Taylor. Unification. Both fighters undefeated and top 5 P4P. Huge WIN.
Riddick Bowe dec win over and undefeated Evander Holyfield for the undisputed heavyweight title.
Michael Carbajal KO of Chiquita Gonzalez. Unification. Top 10 P4P fighters.
Roy Jones UD over James Toney. Both undefeated. Toney top 3 P4P, 44-0. Jones going for 2nd division title. Wow!
James Toney KO undefeated Michale Nunn who was 36-0 and a top P4P guy.
Tommy Hearns beats an undefeated Virgil Hill who had 10 title defenses.
Frankie Randall beats undefeated Julio Cesar Chavez who was 87-0.
I was born a lot earlier than 1992 lol…..If I had to pick one it would be really tough. But it would come down to 3. Holyfield over Tyson, Douglas over Tyson or Jones over Toney. I can’t call it but they are all close and historically significant.
What we saw Saturday night was something that will be talked about years from now. Wilder is one of the few that truly will die in the ring. What happened in the 11th round is what he wanted to happen in the 2nd fight. You can say that is dangerous and a trainer's job is to protect the fighter, but Wilder clearly believes otherwise. You have to respect it even if you don't agree with that line of thinking, and I don't. Anyways, two fights in a row he got his equilibrium jacked up. Do you think Fury targeted that area or it's just a flaw of Wilder's the way he turns his head? You could see it right away his legs were gone once again. But somehow he still was able to hurt and drop Fury in the 4th round and was even able to buzz him in the 10th round after being dropped from the 3rd round on. Depending on what Fury goes on to accomplish, Wilder's legacy may be boosted even after these losses. Fury can end up being the clear man post-Lewis era and Wilder could be the man that ran him the closest to a loss on two different occasions. I was just in awe of what I saw. A man with no legs and getting battered by a fighter with more skills and 40 pounds advantage and he kept on getting up and kept believing he could KO him. Wilder may not be the most skilled fighter or the best fighter out there, but he is now going to go down as one of my all time favorites and someone I will be mentioning to my kids and grandkids years from now.
Bread’s Response: Talking about death in sports is morbid to most but it doesn’t bother me. If that’s how Wilder feels I don’t mind it one bit. If he didn’t feel like that, we would not have witnessed what we witnessed. He’s smaller, less skilled and he was hurt. The only reason why the fight was great was because he’s actually willing to die. So let’s respect his choice. In this day and time, we get too caught up one’s beliefs. I don’t get into that. We have anti this, cancel that. Etc etc. I just respect greatness. Wilder proved everything he said he was. He truly went out on his shield and for all of the other fighters who would have submitted earlier and we aren’t allowed to question their hearts. We have to give Wilder extra credit for pushing through what he did. He’s different. Stand up Deontay. All you can ask a man to be is what he says he is. I think Fury is the puncher when him and Wilder fight. Fury takes Wilder’s punches slightly better than Wilder takes his punches. Fury punches harder than people realize and he knows how to hit Wilder. He also hits Deontay to the head and body and that counts.
Hey Bread - Sure you are getting a ton of e-mails regarding last Saturday's epic fight. And I will echo those thoughts - it was a modern boxing classic. Two men laying it on the line, with both unwilling to give an inch. Fury deserves all the praise he is receiving and is currently the #1 heavyweight in the world.
But, I want to touch on the possible Fury v Usyk unification match potentially down the line. Most comments I see give Fury a big edge, with many saying Usyk is too small to compete. I know I am in the minority, but think Usyk would give Fury a very tough challenge and have a much better shot at pulling the upset than most people think. Fury should be the favorite, but Usyk has a lot going for him in this match-up - he will be the quicker fighter, with better footwork, better punch selection and a better gas tank. And the theory that Fury will just lay on Usyk and maul him (like he did with Wilder) is not giving Usyk any credit for his boxing IQ. Usyk has the ability to step around Fury if he tries to mug him, which would force Fury to have to reset his feet and continually struggle to pin him down. And a fight a year from now, means Usyk will have another year to get used to the weight and division. If there is a fighter who can use Fury's size and body mass against him, it is Usyk. Believe you have said a 220-230lb heavyweight is NOT at such a disadvantage against the giants of the division, especially when you have the boxing pedigree of an Oleksandr Usyk. Bottom line, this fight would be very interesting and I would love to see it. Not asking you to pick a winner, just curious if you agree with my assessment.
Bread’s Response: I favor Fury over Usyk. But I saw Usyk beat Joe Joyce. Let me tell you something, Usyk can fight taller guys. I also saw Fury vs Otto Wallin. Anybody who thinks Usyk CAN’T win is crazy. I like Fury 55/45 in a battle of wit. The mind is more powerful than the body. Usyk has a mind that go to a similar place that Fury’s can go to. Usyk also does not allow his emotions to get the better of him. Usyk is as live as a wire vs Fury.
Hey Bread, you've spoken before about how the puncher in the fight is actually the guy who can take the other guy's shots better, not the one who hits harder. So, who is the puncher out of wilder and fury? By that definition it seems to be fury but most would say wilder. Have a good one and thanks for the mailbag.
Bread’s Response: By my theory Fury is the puncher. He takes Wilder’s punches better than Wilder takes his.
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