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Daily Bread Mailbag: Hagler-Leonard, Gassiev, Ryan Garcia, More

The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Marvin Hagler vs. Sugar Ray Leonard, Ryan Garcia, Murat Gassiev, favorite peak performances, Chavez Sr. vs. Taylor, and more.

Seems like, every few years, the debate of 12 vs 15 round fights comes up and fans argue the merits of both. What do you think, Breadman? Should 15 rounds be brought back or should they stay a thing of the past? Would the results of some recent 12 rounders have been different if they were 15 instead? Or would the pacing be so different that it’s not as simple as “Add 3 rounds and the other guy wins”? Are there even any guys out there now that could go 15 rounds? If so, who?

Greg K.

Bread’s Response: I would love to see 15 round fights again. But fighters would get seriously hurt because they play with the weight too much. They won’t move up because the rounds are 15 rounds. That’s not how athletes think. They will just keep cutting 25+ pounds.

What happens when the body is fatigued and you cut drastic weight, is oxygen does not flow to the brain correctly and you will see fighters get seriously hurt. We can’t sacrifice entertainment for health. I wish fights stayed 15 rounds for entertainment purposes. I think the last 3 rounds separates special fighters but it wouldn’t be worth it. The fighters cut too much weight and the heavyweights are too big.

You don’t see 260lb men running marathons do you? Well try to let one fight at a fast pace for 15 rounds….

Of course there are fighters today who can do it. Of course there are either disciplined guys who are fighting closer to natural weight or just gifted athletes who can do it. But as a whole the era would suffer and I believe someone would get seriously hurt within a year in a high profile fight.

Juan Estrada, Roman Gonzalez, Terence Crawford, Jose Ramirez, Vasyl Lomachenko, Ollie Usyk, Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Berchelt would all be fine in the 15 round era. There is a look that 15 round extremely fit fighters have that is hard to explain with words. These guys have it.

Hi Stephen,

Hope you're well.

Meanest Fighters

Who are the meanest and most vicious 5/10 boxers fighting today?
Those who truly enjoy hurting their opponents and have a mean streak.

MM (best night at the weight)

Spence vs Peak Margarito (WW)
Spence vs Tito (WW)
Chavez vs Mayweather (LW)
Mikey Garcia vs Josh Taylor (140)

Eubank Jr

What do you think of him?
I feel like he's underestimated. He obviously lacks a few things and
would always struggle with movers or very technical guys, but ultimately his gas tank, chin, will power, conditioning and fast combinations make him dangerous versus almost anybody.
I think any MW or SMW that brings it to him will have to go far to discourage him.
Think Roy Jones will be a good asset to him?

In a Street Fight

You can take one guy at every weight class. Who do you chose?

Murat Gassiev

Lost against arguably a top two cruiser ever at 24.
What's his celling and what did you think of him?
See him at HW?

Israil Madrimov at 154

What do you think of him?
He wants Rosario. Think he's ready? How impressive would it be if he got a strap within his first 6 fights?
See promises in him?

Gut Check

Do you think Ryan Garcia can take a punch and survive a hungry dog? I feel like he stands too tall.
Closes his eyes when he throws, might be vulnerable to the mid section and something tell me a Maidana type of guy (style wise) would give him fit.

Thanks and  take care,


Bread’s Response: When people talk about how MEAN a fighter is, I say to myself that 90% of fighters are mean in the ring when they’re front running. But my definition of MEAN goes beyond that. I want to see how mean a fighter is when his opponent is being MEAN back to him. Do you still want to destroy the opponent just as bad when he’s being mean back to you? That separates who’s really MEAN in my opinion.

The MEANSEST fighters active today from what I can see are…,,
Monster Inoue
Artur Beterbiev
Canelo Alvarez
Terence Crawford
Josh Taylor
Jermell Charlo
Jermall Charlo
Errol Spence
Vasyl Lomachenko

There is a young fighter I suspect is MEAN but I need to see him vs an elite fighter who punches him in the mouth first. So I won’t name him just yet..

Spence, Tito, Flip a Coin, Taylor.

I think Roy Jones will be good for Eubank. But we have to see how Eubank picks up on Jones’s concepts. Eubank has switched trainers a few times and it seems he wants to get better but he still has to settle on a concept. Boxing is all about the chemistry. The trainer wants his teachings to work. They are meant to work. But not every fighter can carry them out.

I like Murat Gassiev. I think he’s one of the 10 best punchers in all of boxing. I thought Usyk was a bad match up with him because Usyk can punch on the move and Gassiev likes to be set to punch. It’s a Joel Casamayor vs Diego Corrales type of style mesh but Gassiev can’t box like Chico.

I think Madrimov is really talented but 154 is stacked. Let’s see what he has vs a top 10 guy. It’s too early for me to tell. People seem to be crowning Madrimov but from 147 and above you don’t usually see fighters who have less than double digit fights ready to fight for a title. I’m not saying he’s not but I am saying that he hasn’t proven it yet.

I think Ryan Garcia is one of the most offensively talented fighters in boxing. But I agree he does stand tall. I don’t know if he has a chin because I haven’t seen him cracked yet but standing straight up is dangerous. Your body doesn’t take punches straight up. When you bend it shock absorbs the blow better.

Garcia has a gift though and it could be a curse. He stands up and whips shots as his opponents are attacking. Right now he’s always the fastest guy on the draw. But one day the other guy will have guns like his and we will see.

That Maidana like swarming style will give any boxer puncher trouble that can’t push them back or hurt them. So it depends on who is employing it.

ryan-garcia (5)_6


I will try to keep this short, but no promises. I’ve been sitting on this one for a while.

So, in many a past mailbag, you have dismissed the myth that SRL ducked Aaron Pryor. You have also said that Pryor being ducked is something fans have overstated as time goes by. For me, this raises some interesting questions… like: Just what do you think of Aaron Pryor and his career? Is it true his loss in the Olympic trials to Howard Davis Jr was controversial?

Do you consider him an ATG? An ATG at 140? How do you rate his first win over Alexis Arguello… is it one of the best wins ever? What were his best attributes? How does he stack up against the guys fighting at or around 140 today?

Match-ups for The Hawk:

Pryor vs Roberto Duran @140
Pryor vs Henry Armstrong @140
Pryor vs Carlos Ortiz @140
Pryor vs Miguel Cotto @140
Pryor vs Pernell Whitaker @140
Pryor vs Floyd Mayweather @140
Pryor vs Manny Pacquiao @140
Pryor vs Kostya Tszyu @140
Pryor vs Josh Taylor @140
Pryor vs Jose Ramirez @140
Sorry for being all over the place, but I have wanted your opinion on Pryor for a while, and finally decided to ask. Thoughts?

Greg K.

Bread’s Response: I think Pryor was more overlooked than ducked. He wasn’t the star that Leonard, Hearns, Duran or Hagler was. Benitez won his 3rd division title in 1981 before Leonard, Hearns or Duran did. Arguello won his also. Holmes was a heavyweight. Salvador Sanchez had a country backing him. Michael Spinks was a Gold Medalist. Ray Mancini who was also from Ohio had a bigger following. And Hector Camacho was loud and boisterous.

These were the biggest stars during Pryor’s prime. Unfortunately as far as star power he didn’t get the shine they did.

But the criminally ducked label is just not accurate. I’m not saying that fighters were lining up to fight him. But he was only a pro for 4 years  before he got a title shot. Let me take people back who don’t understand. Roberto Duran won his unification fight with Esteban DeJesus in 1978. Duran had both the WBA and WBC titles. He didn’t vacate them until 1979. Ernesto Espana won the WBA belt and Jim Watt won the WBC belt.

There was a time from 1979-80 that Pryor could have gotten a title shot but it wasn’t drastic and he wound up getting his title shot in August of 1980 at junior welterweight. Four years pro is about the average for stand out Americans. And Pryor got his shot in his hometown of Cincinatti, Ohio. The times and dates don’t lie. So I agree he was overlooked and most likely avoided but people in boxing scream DUCK often and it wasn’t exactly accurate. In fact Pryor and Tommy Hearns got their title shots on the same exact day. Ray Leonard got his 9 months before. And they all turned pro roughly the same time, with roughly the same number of fights.

What Pryor is, is a hard luck story. He had management issues, drug issues and he turned down the Leonard fight once which cost him.  Ability and star power are different and Pryor learned that the hard way. And when he finally got it and agreed to it in 1982, Leonard retired because of the detached retina.

As far Pryor’s career. I think he’s a flat out great fighter. Head to head I have a hard time picking anyone with a bullet to beat him from 135-140. I think he gives anyone of the greats hell. Including Duran, Whitaker, Chavez and Mayweather. Pryor was that good. He had a tungsten chin with crazy recuperative powers. He was indefatigable and he had the type of personality that didn’t tighten up under the bright lights. He was a crazy man. He also could box better than advertised and he had an elite jab with elite hand speed. Last but not least he was a volume swarmer. No one in the era at his weight was able to keep up with him.

He’s easily a top 3 junior welterweight ever. No matter who you put in the top 3, Pryor has to be in there. He has a strong case for #1. So he’s an ATG at junior welterweight.

I also think he’s an ATG fighter. Not a Mt. Rushmore type because he didn’t have enough super fights and longevity. But he did enough to be a top 50-100 type of fighter and I think that makes him an ATG.

His win over Arguello in their first fight is one of the greatest performances ever. Arguello was going for his 4th division title and that would have made Arguello a top 20 ever fighter if he had accomplished that in 1982. Pryor vs Arguello is considered to be the best fight on the 1980s and the 80s were stacked with great fights.

The WIN is huge but not as huge as Duran vs Leonard1 or Leonard vs Hearns 1. The reason being is Arguello was a little past it in 1982 and he was originally a featherweight. Also you have to factor in the black bottle. I am a huge Aaron Pryor fan. I think he’s absolutely a marvelous fighter. But from my gut feelings to my research, to simple common sense. There was something in that bottle.

As you get older it’s very difficult to admit things like that when you looked at fighters like super heroes as a kid. But going by everything I know about boxing today and Panama Lewis being in the corner, I assume Pryor was aided with a substance that wasn’t supposed to be in the bottle.

I still believe he’s a great fighter. I still believe he’s an ATG. But fair is fair. And if you bring up the WIN, you have to bring up the bottle.

Pryor vs Duran- I would take Duran because his defense is tighter in close. I also think Duran could maneuver Pryor with his physical strength.
Pryor vs Armstrong- I have no idea who wins that fight.
Pryor vs Ortiz- Hmm…I think Ortiz would clip Pryor in a shootout
Pryor vs Cotto- I love Cotto but Cotto doesn’t have the stamina to deal with Pryor.

Pryor vs Whitaker is a tough fight to call. Pryor would run into lots of Whitaker left hands but in the rock, paper, scissors of boxing I swarmer beats the pure boxer. Pryor’s underrated jab wouldn’t be as big as a factor vs a southpaw… I say 3 fight series.

Pryor vs Mayweather is also very tough. Instinctive volume has given Mayweather issues. Augustus, Maidana and Castillo twice. No one remembers but Castillo was performing well in the rematch and Floyd pulled out the last 3 rounds to take a clean but competitive 7-5 decision. I say Pryor could eke out a decision on Floyd. The deciding factor to me is how Pryor finished his combinations. He threw a 1-2-1. After the right hand he finished with a jab. Against the shoulder roll stance, the finishing hook gets blocked but a power jab is right in line. Cotto found that combination vs Floyd. Pryor is one of the few fighters who can match Floyd’s incredible late round stamina. Floyd’s underrated body punching could be a big factor but I just feel the pace would favor Pryor. Floyd slows everyone down to his pace but Pryor was never slowed down to anyone’s pace.

Pryor vs Pac this is a tough fight because Pac can play hunter but he actually likes buzz saws who come to him. Too tough to call for me. Whoever is having their best day on that day. Pryor’s poor balance in a shootout could favor Pac but I just don’t know.

Pryor vs Tszyu is an easier fight to envision. I like Pryor to stop Tszyu midway through. He’s just too rough and unconventional. Tszyu sort of needs time to think and probe and find spots. It’s why he does better vs boxers than he does vs instinctive pressure guys. Pryor is literally too crazy for Tszyu.

I don’t know enough about Taylor and Ramirez just yet.

For the record, when I’m asked about a hypothetical match up, I immediately think of if I had to bet who would I put my money on if forced. My objectivity comes with that because I’m more loyal to my money than I am to a fighter unless I work with the fighter.

Hey Bread,

I just saw Bob Arum’s interview a day back. When Chris Mannix asked him about Leonard Hagler rematch, Bob mentioned that a year after the fight there was an award function that was attended by each member of the Fab 4. In that function, Leonard insisted that Bob talk to Hagler and convince him for a rematch. Bob said that when he did ask Hagler, Hagler told him to tell Leonard to get a life.

This is quite different from the story that is conventionally known to everyone. Most people will say that Hagler got tired of Leonard not giving him a rematch and retired, only to see Leonard come out of retirement one month after his retirement. They say that Leonard finally offered him a rematch in 1990 for 15 million dollars.

I don’t know what to believe. Technically Bob was Hagler’s promoter and has no reason to lie. What do you think is true?


Bread’s Response: Often times in boxing what people think to be true is not true. I have literally seen fighters, promoters and media members tell public lies on various topics and laugh off the record. Whenever you hear a story always think who does the story benefit.

That being said sometimes a person can remember what he thinks is the truth and he may not remember everything in exact detail.

I don’t believe Bob Arum is lying. I think he’s telling the truth from the best of his recollection. Now if you ask someone from Team Hagler he will most likely say that it’s not true. And if you ask someone from team Leonard he will say it is true.

I didn’t hear his comments so it’s hard for me to tell. But whenever I hear one of these two sided stories I always go on my instincts and guts. At this point fans of both will believe what they want anyway. But I found something interesting about the 4 Kings. Ray Leonard is the most famous, most hated and most iconic. He seems to get the best and worst things said about him all at once. He gets criticism for ducking Mike McCallum and Aaron Pryor but those myths have been debunked. Hearns and Duran had more viable opportunity to fight McCallum and Pryor was really too small and Leonard actually offered him 2 fights.

I’ve been accused of being a Leonard guy and I am. But I’m fair and I only go on facts. I have an interesting fact for people. Leonard is the only one of the 4 kings to fight a rematch with the others. It’s so ironic that Leonard gets so much criticism for not giving everyone a rematch exactly when they wanted it but none of the others gave rematches at all. A fighter can only fight, one fight at a time.

You've pointed out the difference between fighters at their peak and fighters in their prime. What are some of your favorite performances of fighters who were at their peak? And how long do you think the average peak lasts?

What is your take on the rules for women's boxing? I get disappointed by the 2 minute rounds as the rounds end when the drama just starts to ratchet up and I've wondered if experimenting with 3 minute rounds would increase the appeal among casual fans as there would probably be more knockouts and more dominant women.

Bread’s Response: Favorite Peak Performances. Ali vs Williams. Tito vs Vargas. Leonard vs Hearns1. RJ vs Toney. Sanchez vs Gomez. Chavez vs Rosario. I can go on and on.

The average prime I would say for a great fighter is about 5 years. The average PEAK is about 2. Obviously it’s not an exact determination because number of fights matter and who they fight during this time matters.

Good question about women’s boxing. Before I can answer that I would have to know why their rounds are 2 minutes in the first place. If it’s because of  medical science then it should stay that way. Someone smarter than me would have to qualify to answer that. I don’t believe health should be sacrificed for entertainment.

Thanks for commenting on my question about bladed versus squares stances in your previous mailbag. I used to box and spar pretty regularly at a gym, but lately I just train at home (knowing full well that it can't replicate the realities of the ring).  Basically I do everything but sparring because, like you mentioned about yourself earlier in your life, if you hardly have the time to do it, but want to challenge yourself, you end up taking more punches than you should be taking and you end up getting frustrated. But I love the sport, and I am a realist, at the same time.

Anyway, to get to the point, I tried playing with the stances, and saw immediate benefits to pointing the right foot (I am orthodox) at the target. My right hand was suddenly "there" and I could throw it better. I could lead with it more comfortably, too, without feeling like it was too delayed.

But I do feel like I would be a bit more open to right hands, especially since I've always preferred having an active lead hand milling in and out in front of me. Is this a concern?

Also, do you  have any suggestions on types footwork and movements to use against the following TYPES of boxers? These can be visualized through shadowboxing and bag work, I imagine--your point about Andre Ward's shadow boxing like he's in there with someone was a great takeaway. I don't think enough people visualize an opponent when shadowboxing or doing bag work.

- aggressive, swarming opponents
- stick and movers
- counter-punchers

Thanks for your time.


Bread’s Response: You can point your rear foot towards the opponent and still blade your shoulder. Think about also pointing your lead shoulder directly at your opponent’s centerline. Both can be done. Shadowbox and play with it.

The thing about getting hit with too many right hands is a concern for all orthodox fighters. But that same right hand can crack you even if your stance is extra bladed. I’ve seen fighters who stay far over with literally their kidney pointed at the opponent. But a smart opponent will get behind their lead shoulder and drop right hands behind their ear and they won’t see them.

When a fighter is a sucker for a certain punch it’s for two reasons. One his stance or body type allows for the opening. And two he doesn’t see the punch for whatever reason. He has blind spot just like a car. Seeing the punch coming is the most important thing.

If you see the punch you can adjust your guard and stance. Your stance should not be set in stone. A great fighter can adjust it on the fly if he sees the punch because no stance is impenetrable. The arms and gloves are only but so big and it’s impossible to cover the entire front of the body above the waste with 2 arms and 2 gloves. So there will always be punches that can get through especially when you’re throwing punches yourself. It’s boxing. Eyes are the most important part of defense.

I've been reading about a yr and picked up a little here and there from the mailbag which tells me that you can hopefully/likely explain this to me, and any others who may be interested, very well.

In Chavez vs Taylor 1, during some of the between round rest periods, we can here Meldrick Taylor's head trainer, Georgie Benton, caution Meldrick against letting Chavez "carry you to fast."

Can you explain the tactic in depth any? The concern in Benton's voice seems to imply that this is something Chavez is doing/using as a tactic, a kind of gambit. I imagine that Georgie believes Chavez has either come in assuming/knowing,  or was convinced right away that he couldn't keep up with Taylor's speed and or match Taylor's work rate (if he were to try, would he just likely continue getting caught even more?) So he is going to roll the dice on Taylor hopefully blowing his load? Am I completely and utterly in the wrong left field? As a boxing representative of Philadelphia I thought you and the mailbag are a great place to try and get my question answered

Thanks for your time either way

Bread’s Response: You heard Mr. Benton correctly. Being carried too fast is a term often used in the gyms in Philadelphia. It simply means your fighters is working at too hard of a pace that you’re afraid he can’t keep up. Most trainers know their fighters. The good ones know what pace they can keep. And what pace will wear them out. Benton knew Taylor was winning but he obviously didn’t like how much energy he was spending to get the rounds. For as special as Taylor was, he wasn’t efficient offensively or defensively and it came back to bite him as he progressed.

Being carried too fast is not being efficient with your energy expending. There are fighters like Aaron Pryor who don’t seem to be efficient but yet they never ran out of gas. Then there are others who it caught up too.

I believe Benton saw that in the fight and he was trying to slow Meldrick down but still win the rounds. It’s hard because often times that depends on the fighter’s mentality and strengths. Whitaker could fight an efficient fight because of his jab, movement and defense. He could play defense and not worry about getting hit with anything big. He had an elite jab which is the most energy efficient punch.

Meldrick Taylor didn’t have Whitaker’s defense, or jab. So he had to raise his output in order to keep his opponent’s offense down. If Meldrick had a bigger punch and/or a flat out iron chin then he’s an ATG. He’s literally Shane Mosley but a better boxer.

If you have flaws in your game which most fighters do, you need a tangible quality you can depend on. It’s hard to out work Meldrick. His hands are lightening fast and he has pedigree so it’s hard to outbox him. But he wasn’t a huge hitter so he had to stand in their and scrap. He didn’t have an elite jab. And he was tough but his chin wasn’t dent proof. So what we had was a tremendous fighter but not an ATG. Kills me to think about it. I still feel Meldrick caught a raw deal vs Chavez. 

The great Johnny Bos used to talk to me on the phone often. He knew every style and I just soaked up his knowledge. He knew who could beat who. His mind was next level when it came to boxing. Timing of when the fight took place and styles were his go to concepts. He used to tell me that he thought Meldrick was actually molded to be too much like Whitaker and Meldrick couldn’t stand in front of guys the way Whitaker could and it cost him. I thought his perspective was interesting. I don’t know if he was correct because every fighter is not going to be an ATG and there is always a reason why. But nevertheless he made a credible point.

As I am reading the Tyson Holmes comparison in this weeks mailbag, you said that you rate Holmes higher on the ATG list. A mailbag or two ago you talked about the difference with being better/greater. I am curious to know if you rate Holmes above Tyson in both better & greater? In a previous mailbag (I think you were comparing Pacquiao and Mayweather) you said something like “if all things are equal, I give the nod to the fighter who won the fight” in a head to head comparison a la Mayweather. Since Tyson beat Holmes, are you saying Holmes is “better” or “greater” or both? Thanks for the insight Bread. You mentioned Teddy Atlas this week too. In my mind, I always compare you to him, just younger. In my opinion, you are this generations Teddy Atlas!

Mark Stoy McCahill II

Bread’s Response: I have a long way to go before being compared to Teddy Atlas. Atlas is a master disciplinarian. He commands discipline and sacrifice. I read when he talks about his love for Cus Dmato but also his differences in how they handled Mike Tyson. It’s deep because sometimes if you push too hard, fighters who weren’t raised like you were won’t respond. If you give them too much slack they run over you. Then as a trainer when you have sacrificed your time and money you don’t want to give up and let another trainer come in and get your 6 or 7 figure payday. Teddy is not perfect but he seems to handle this dilemma as good as anyone. It’s the biggest dilemma in boxing for trainers. I think his morals, integrity and the fact he doesn’t depend on a fighter to pay his bills is a big part. I’ve been watching Teddy for a long time from a distance and I don’t know what his bank account looks like, but I know a successful man when I see one. One of the things I made sure of before I started training fighters is that I could earn a living with or without boxing. The boxing money is great and I want and can use it but I don’t need it.

Lot’s of trainers can learn that from Teddy. I see trainers that take so much abuse from fighters that it damages their self esteem and legacy because they need the checks. For example people can say what they want about Abel Sanchez and Ernesto Rodriguez. But both of them walked away from big accounts with GGG and Jared Hurd because of their moral compass. Teddy Atlas has always had that.

As for Holmes and Tyson. I think Tyson beat Holmes while Holmes was past his prime but NOT a shot fighter. The win counts but it’s not a prime vs prime win. It can’t be dismissed. I think Holmes is the greater fighter being that he’s in the top 3-5 heavyweights ever. And Tyson is in the 9-15 range. I also think Holmes is better. I think he would beat more people if the top 50 heavyweights ever were all lined up. I just think Holmes’s jab and resiliency would give him a chance vs every single heavyweight ever. Where as Tyson is more dynamic but there are guys I think he just can’t beat.

Ironically I think I would favor Tyson to beat Holmes on their best nights ever just because of the styles.

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User Comments and Feedback
Comment by The D3vil on 05-17-2020

[QUOTE=BoxingTrav;20564799]You don't have to be a stan to think Floyd would beat Chavez. Floyd fought quite a few guys that were physical with him. Only Castillo made it close in Floyd's prime. Believe what you want but in between rounds…

Comment by BoxingTrav on 05-15-2020

[QUOTE=The D3vil;20564082]That's false. Morales lost to Raheem AFTER he lost to Pacquiao He was 47-2, only losing to the HOF Barerra at the point he had lost to Pacquaio Now, he wasn't at his peak, I agree, but peak &…

Comment by Oregonian on 05-15-2020

[QUOTE=ShoulderRoll;20564174]Nope. Morales beat Pacquiao, then lost to Raheem, then lost twice to Pacquiao. Check Boxrec. The fact is El Terrible was not in his prime OR at his peak when Pacquiao beat him. And Pacquiao never went after Raheem either…

Comment by ShoulderRoll on 05-14-2020

[QUOTE=The D3vil;20564082]That's false. Morales lost to Raheem AFTER he lost to Pacquiao[/QUOTE] Nope. Morales beat Pacquiao, then lost to Raheem, then lost twice to Pacquiao. Check Boxrec. The fact is El Terrible was not in his prime OR at his…

Comment by Shadoww702 on 05-14-2020

[QUOTE=Oregonian;20558529]—————- Castillo and Maidana both got rematched. Why couldn’t they replicate the same “blue print” and beat Floyd the 2nd time? Also, the “whole world”? Which world are you talking about? Every single Filipino I have met in person or…

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