The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Jermell Charlo's big knockout of Brian Castano, the rise of welterweight Jaron Ennis, Tyson Fury being pound-for-pound, Amir Khan, Kell Brook, and more.
After the great fight between Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano, last weekend, i have a simple question for which I personally do not have any explanation. Usually, when a good fighter starts his boxing career, he meets a lesser opposition in order to learn and progress, before fighting a better quality of opponents. When such a good fighter has heavy hands, very often, his early percentage of kos is quite high and the said percentage often decreases when later on, he meets higher quality of fighters. We even have examples of fighters such as Keith Thurman who was winning by ko almost all his fights when he started his career (i think he had 20 wins and 19 kos when he started), and who then hardly beat anybody by ko anymore when he competed at much better level. With Jermell Charlo we have, I believe a quite unique case? Indeed he has 35 victories, and while he had won by ko only 10 of his 25 first fights (40 pct) against lesser opposition which is quite low, then 8 of his last 10 victories against good and sometimes very good level fighters were by ko (80 pct).I cannot remember any other fighter who has such a profile? Do you have other examples of fighters who became world champions and who increased their percentage of kos from 40 pct to 80 pct when they fought at the highest level of competition? And what would be your explanation why a fighter who had a small percentage of kos against lesser opposition, is becoming a killer when fighting at world championship level ?thanks in advance for your kind reply.
Chris from France
Bread’s Response: Great observation. Jermell Charlo’s ko % has definitely increased as he’s went up in competition. And usually the ko% goes DOWN as the competition level increases. I don’t know if we have seen a case a drastic as his. I do remember Ray Leonard’s ko % going up after he became welterweight champion. And I believe Nonito Donaire’s going up also. Leonard was 6-1 with 6kos in title fights after he retired in 1982 after he kod Bruce Finch.
I think both Charlo’s are extremely athletic and have a high level pf physicality but they aren’t freaks in terms of talent. So their ability shows up better in longer fights against better opposition than it does in showcase fights. But you have to give credit to Jermell and Derrick James for believing in his power even when his record didn’t show it. Jermell always believed he was a puncher, even when his brother Jermall and Errol both had better ko% and had more knockouts with less fights.
What was interesting though is Jermell despite having a low ko%, had some nice 1 punch kos. I remember he really clipped Denis Douglin in a prospect fight. So maybe he was just at a cross between styles or he hadn’t learned to ko guys. Knocking out fighters is more than just power. It’s concentration. It’s punch selection. It’s changing the tempo. It’s finishing ability. It’s being able to punch or counter as your opponent is punching. It’s so many things. It’s also power. It dispels the myth that you can’t build power because you can.
What a great night of fights on Saturday! First, let me touch on Charlo/Castano for a second. To me, this was the best all around performance of Charlo's career. He made some settle adjustments by not staying on the ropes, going to the body more and landing his hooks in between Castano's shots. Charlo also upped his activity from the first fight and did not just look for the KO. In fact, he had Castano hurt on multiple occasions and did not go after him and I know James and Spence were not happy about that. After the 7th round, Charlo was in full control and was able to slow Castano's output down so even if he did not get the KO, he was on his way to a wide decision win. Very impressive performance and James has led his two top guns to some of their best performances in the last month. I think there is no question that Jermell Charlo will be going to the HOF after last night and what he had accomplished at 154.Now onto the young killer that you have been talking about years. I remember writing to you last year that I would not pick either Crawford or Spence over him and you agreed with me. Not saying those two cannot beat Ennis, it is just that I would not pick him. This guy is one of the most dedicated fighters I have seen and has God gifted physical attributes. The biggest critique of Ennis is that he gets hit sometimes but that's also because he is trying to hurt his opponent and taking risks. I was curious to see how he would fight Clayton who is defensively sound and isn't the most active of fighters. Well, Ennis fought very patiently and did not overextend himself at any point and waited to land his big shot. This is how he will have to fight against the top guys and I am one who believes his defense will look better as his competition gets better. You said last week that Spence/Crawford is an all time fight and I don't disagree, but I am crazy to think that even the winner of that fight may not be the best fighter in the division despite having all the belts? Can you think of any other examples of a situation like this one? Percentage game: Spence vs Ennis, Crawford vs Ennis, Mell Charlo vs Winky Wright.
Bread’s Response: This was Charlo’s best career performance and it came in his biggest moment for all 4 belts. I think he’s a HOF but it obviously depends on who is on the ballot at the time he's eligible.
Charlo did in fact up his activity. He also went to Castano’s body. When a pressure fighter tries to run you over, it’s a good idea to hit his body and take some of the gas out of his tank. Jermell did that. He also stayed off of the ropes and made Castano work harder to get to him. Castano was worn out at the end. Jermell got a good 2nd wind and actually wore out the pressure fighter.
Ennis will be better vs better opposition. Although I think he’s ready for a title shot, he’s still working on things. So when people see him sit on the inside or do certain things, he’s seeing what works for him and what doesn’t. He’s good enough to try stuff and get away with it.
Ennis knows how to dominate by leading with a brutal laser jab. And then when he finds the range, he allows you to lead so he can knock you out with a counter. Then if that doesn’t work, he pokes holes in your defense with shots around or through the guard. It’s very discouraging and Custio Clayton was discouraged. It you try to punch with him, he’s more likely sharper than you. If you wait on him, he punches hard enough to punch around or through your guard. If you move away you’re on the end of one of the best jabs in boxing. If you crowd him which seems to be the best bet, you have to walk through HELL. He won’t be easy to beat.
Percentage no picks:
Spence vs Ennis 50/50
Crawford vs Ennis 50/50
Jermell Charlo vs Winky Wright 40/60 for Wright. No knock on Charlo but Winky Wright was a rough dude to beat at his peak. He had a great chin so Jermell is most likely not clipping him. He’s busy with his jab. He’s physically strong, I think he would back Jermell up. In a very good fight, I would pick Winky by decision.
What up Bread, always been a fan. Respect everything you do.
My question is this…what’s your criteria for determining your p4p rankings? I’m not sure I’ve ever read where you break that down. Just curious as to what you look for. I’ve always tried to start with overall resume. Then it becomes who’s style and skills matchup with anyone at any weight class they don’t compete in. When I think about p4p I always wonder where said fighter stacks up against the best of any weight class. I’m just wondering if I’m missing anything. Also, why no mention on Fury on your list? When you look at it, could he have an argument for the best overall resume in boxing currently? Also, where would you rank the Fury/Wilder trilogy amongst other notable trilogy or more fights in the history of the sport? Keep up all the good work bro.
Bread’s Response: I think Tyson Fury is a P4P top fighter. He may not be on my list every single time I put out a ranking but he’s up there. When I think of a P4P list here are my criterion. First off I say to myself if everyone was the same size relative to their body dimensions. So if you’re a 6ft welterweight, you’re not a 6ft heavyweight. You’re a 6’6 heavyweight. I’m talking in literal terms for the analytic guys. So with all things being equal who’s the best. And who can beat more people. Then I check resumes. Resumes are important. Very important but resumes are relative to opportunity. Some fighters don’t get the opportunity to stack their resumes. Some fighters are in promotional stables where more chances are available in their weight class.
For example Jermell Charlo is considered a higher P4P fighter than Jermall Charlo because of his resume not his ability. PBC has a bigger stable at 154lbs, so therefore Jermell has bigger fights. Jermall fights at 160lbs where PBC doesn’t have as many fighters.
So I don’t penalize Terence Crawford as much for not having a great resume than I do a fighter who has the opportunity to fight big fights and chooses not to. Then I take into consideration accomplishments. Titles. Weight classes. Lineal titles. Ring titles. How many Ring rated fighters a fighter has defeated. Fighter of the Year. Fights of the Years. Then I come up with a list.
My top 5 doesn’t change often. The order does but not so much the names. Crawford, Inoue, Usyk, Canelo, Spence. That’s the Big 5.
The next 5 changes depending on who just fought etc. Chocolatito, Shakur Stevenson, Tank Davis, Josh Taylor, Tyson Fury, Juan Estrada, Beterbiev, Bivol and now Jermell Charlo all deserve mention. The last 5 can have any mix and match of the names I mentioned. I also want to say Loma is not done yet. He’s looked good lately. The winner of Haney vs Kambosos is in the mix. And you guys will laugh at me but Boots Ennis is ascending. Ennis doesn’t have the resume because he can’t get the fights. Those who know, know. If he picks up a vacant title this year the clamor for him with start to get louder. It’s more of an eye ball test thing than a resume for thing for him, but if you’re honest with yourself and watch him closely, you know he’s doing things that no one else can do. He may be the most talented fighter in boxing, in terms of pure boxing talent.
Hey Brother Bread short and sweet this week,
After Charlo's win who would you put on your Mt. Rushmore of 154 fighters? Also why has 154 never been as popular as 147, its an all-action division with very good athleticism. Could Amir Khan at any point troubled Floyd, maybe around 2012-2014? Also how would Kell Brook have fared against Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman around 2016-2017? I think those are the only 2 misses on his resume correct me if I'm wrong.
Bread’s Response: 154 has never been as popular as 147 because 147 is one of the original 8 divisions and 147 has had Henry Armstrong, Ray Robinson, Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquioa. 147 has always had the GUY.
Big props to Charlo for winning 4 belts and turning in his career best performance. I think he’s a Hall of Famer. But Mt. Rushmore is a big place. I suppose you mean top 4 ever in the division. That’s high status. Right now I don’t think he’s top 4 on Mt. Rushmore but it’s not fair to him because his career isn’t over yet. The best Junior Middleweights in history in my opinion are Tommy Hearns, Mike McCallum, Terry Norris and Emille Griffith. Griffith didn’t have a great reign because of the landscape in his era and he was simultaneously the champ at 147 and 154. But in terms of who’s the best fighters at 154 those 4 are at the top of the list in terms of ATG.
Then you have Felix Trinidad who had one of the best short runs I have ever seen in the division. Wilfred Benitez who also had a great short run. Oscar De La Hoya who I thought was robbed of his title vs Shane Mosley but had a really good run. And the HOF Winky Wright who was in the division for years. Wright unified, won the title multiple times and finished on one of the best hot streaks in division history. Off the top of my head I think Jermell is most likely top 10 but I wouldn’t put him on Mt. Rushmore just yet. I apologize to any great fighters I missed but it’s hard to remember everyone when I have to answer these questions off the top of my head. One more thing the era isn’t over yet. Let’s see what else Jermell does. He has 3 young studs ascending and he has a few older 154s that he hasn’t fought yet. Let’s see if he even stays at 154. He may increase his legacy.
I think Amir Khan could have troubled Floyd when he was red hot around the time he fought Devon Alexander and Luis Collazo. I think Khan would have troubled lots of guys around that time. Especially Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez style wise. But I wouldn’t have picked him to beat Floyd or Manny. No disrespect to Khan, but I just think he makes too many mistakes to beat ATG Mt. Rushmore type of fighters like Floyd and Manny. But I will also say he deserved the chance to prove it in the ring. Those would have been good fights in a short window.
I think Kell Brook would have been tough fights for Garcia and Thurman. Before the GGG fight I think he would have been the favorite over Garcia and no worse than even money vs Thurman. Brook is better than people realize. He defeated Shawn Porter more convincingly than anyone except Crawford and he fought Porter closer to his prime. He’s the reason a whole era of middleweights finally started to fight GGG. He gave Errol Spence hell for 11 rounds. And he had some real moments vs Crawford. Brook was a well rounded, fighter with plenty of heart in terms of who he was willing to fight. With different matchmaking, Brook could have been a HOF.
I enjoy reading your column greatly today as always. Interesting that you mention Richard Steele's stoppage in the Chavez-Taylor fight. I happen to think that Steele made the right move in stopping the fight even with 2 seconds to go. After winning the battles but losing the war throughout that fight, Taylor was finally at the last second left helpless and unable to defend himself, which is when a referee properly stops the fight. HOWEVER, if you watch the fight carefully after Taylor goes down, you will see that Chavez goes to the neutral corner but then drifts out of it and is well across the ring. At that point a carefully observant referee should have stopped the count until Chavez went back to the corner, and when Taylor staggered to his feet the fight should have been over with Taylor the obvious winner. No?
Best, Leslie Gerber, Woodstock NY
Bread’s Response: You’re contradicting yourself. How do you know Meldrick Taylor was helpless and unable to defend himself? Did he take any extra punches. After he got up did he fall again? I’m curious because he never had to defend himself again after regaining his feet. I’ve heard people say he lost the war but they only say that after the fact. No one diagnosed him for losing the war that night. He just looked like a guy who had fought 12 hard rounds with a great fighter. And he happened to win 9 or 10 of the 11 scored rounds by the way.
Of course Richard Steele didn’t see Chavez leaving the corner. Because he was in a hurry. He asked Meldrick Taylor was he ok and as he was asking again he started waving the fight off. If Steele would have asked Taylor to walk towards him. Or any thing of the sort the fight would have been over because time would have run out. If he would have looked back at Chavez and saw he left the corner the fight would have been over. There is a 10 second buzzer that right behind the corner that Taylor was in. Steele was facing that buzzer. Through peripheral vision I would assume Steele saw the buzzer.
Watch Tommy Hearns vs Iran Barkley 1. Steele let Hearns get up from brutal knockdown in which he hit his head and try to continue. Taylor was much more responsive than Hearns. But Taylor was the B side and Chavez was the A side. Never in the history of boxing. Has a fight been so hotly contested. Been stopped that fast after one knockdown, with the Hall of Fame at stake between two undefeated champions, in the last round like that. Never, ever have we seen a fighter winning a fight of that magnitude and the fight get waved off so suddenly. Also look at the official scorecards. They were too close. Taylor had won 9 rounds minimum out of 11 scored.
Stephen: I wanted to take a moment and follow up to your commentary which after the Bivol-Alvarez fight has once again become an issue in the fore front of boxing. I have always felt that it was a travesty and scoring maleficence that GGG was not give the victory in the 1st fight with Alvarez. I agree that using the term corrupt should be used very sparingly but there are different types of personal corruption as well as bias. Adelaide Byrd either through personal bias towards GGG or due to her gross incompetence, robbed GGG of a potential victory which he truly deserved.
The one redeeming thing is that since then she has never judged a major fight again and I take it never well, as her judging career for a major fight is over like CJ Ross. Unless judges are going to be held accountable this gross maleficence is going to happen again. I agree Tim Cheatham, Dave Moretti, and Steve Weisfeld are generally good judges but the scoring they turned in was a travesty, and Dimitri Bivol came within one round of being beyond robbed of a well-deserved victory that would have alter the trajectory of his career like it did GGG.
Your comment "They give too much credit to the fighter that is supposed to win based on what they think should be happening and what will eventually happen, instead of what is ACTUALLY happening." is inexcusable and has ZERO place in judging! Your idea of in “scoring a fight it’s time we get 5 judges. 4 judges at ring side and 1 judge watching on a monitor that has the same feed as the viewing audience” is a brilliant idea. Several years ago, the NHL replaced several referees right during the playoffs because they made so many egregious calls that they just had to be replaced and they were, which I thought that was great but too long in coming. IMO, those 3 judges should be required to explain to the boxing commission as to why they turned those scorecards in. If they could not adequately and plausibly explain their position then they should be removed from any major title fight going forward and be forced to judge lower-level fights and graded accordingly.
Also, your comment I believe Alvarez will fight GGG next at 168lbs. It makes sense and it’s the biggest winnable fight he can take. Winnable yes but to be candid this is not close to being a given for several reasons. One of your colleagues Doug Fischler made the same assessment in that he predicted that Alvarez would win the 3rd fight prior to the Bivol fight but now he is not so sure of that. Alvarez just took a beating from Bivol and win or lose in a third fight with GGG, Alvarez will take a beating as well (and these types of fights shorten careers, as trainer you would know this more than most) as GGG will not fold like Smith, Saunder and Plant did! Eddy Reynoso may reason it out that he could win the fight but it is not worth the war. If they fight next and my take is that they will, I would favor Alvarez slightly only because he has fought at 168 whereas GGG has not. However; if GGG can take his punching power with him and the fact that he does not have to drain down may make him far stronger. While Alvarez does have power and while he was able to slow GGG on occasion from coming forward in the second fight, he has never demonstrated that he possesses the power to really hurt or stop GGG. After this lose he may also be a little gun shy especially with the power that GGG possesses.
Even at 40 I believe that GGG certainly has better stamina than Alvarez and still seems to have a chin made from Adamantium with power that Alvarez no doubt respects. I believe that GGG will now go into an all-out firefight (sans Halger-Hearns) and frankly, in that scenario I would pick GGG but we shall see. His air of invincibility is forever gone (and this is a VERY big deal of how other fighters will now approach as well as fight him). I agree with you comment it will be tougher for Canelo now. Judges may not favor him as much. Fighters won’t respect him as much. They will realize he’s just a MAN. Mark this down, everyone will fight him harder now. Other than B level fighters, he no longer is going to just walk down and right through a fighter like he has previously. I also believe that Alvarez receiving these crazy scorecards may now be coming to an end.
This is a major inflection point for Mr. Saul Canelo Alvarez as to how he deals with this loss which at the APEX of his career, he was knocked right off a VERY lofty pedestal. I am paraphrasing but “Pride commeth before a very precipitous fall”
Bread’s Response: I see you have quoted many of my comments. I like that. I hope and pray that boxing starts to employ 5 judges. I’m very sure the bad scoring will be minimized especially if one of the judges gets to watch the fight from a monitor with the same feed as the viewing audience.
In regards to GGG. I’m a huge fan. But I question his stamina also. I don’t know what it is, but his lungs seem off to me. He struggles to breath in fights but his will and his heart get him over. I’ve read where several sports scientist state that training in the altitude is no good if you sleep in the altitude. They say the best way to do it is train in altitude then sleep at sea level. It seems like GGG has been up in the altitude too long. He has the same struggling face that Shane Mosley and Oscar De La hoya once had. I know they train hard but it seems like it’s something more. I hope he gets it together because Alvarez will be out for blood after his loss. I also agree that GGG will be more confident after seeing what he just saw. I think the remainder of Alvarez’s career will be fights to the brink and I wouldn’t be surprised if he lost not 1 but 2 more fights before he hangs them up.
What’s up Bread!
Appreciate you being so thorough with us in the BoxingScene Q&As. Got a question for you about defensive fighters. When I watch boxing broadcasts, often the announcers refer to great defensive fighters as boxers who utilize the entire ring or have great legs. A la Shakur Stevenson, Floyd Mayweather etc. I’ve always been curious though about what it takes to be a great defensive fighter that spends more time as an inside fighter. Who are some of your favor defensive fighters that doubled as great offensive inside fighters, and what does a fighter need to be great defensively while spending a significant amount of time in the pocket?
Bread’s Response: I love great defensive fighters but often times a style gets associated with great defense because a fighter moves away or is fast. Every southpaw is not SLICK. And every fast athletic fighter is not good defensively.
That being said when a fighters uses his legs, it’s an extra layer of defense and he has the ability to better time his opponents because the opponent is shooting at a moving target. It’s harder to sit in the box, throw more punches and still employ great defense. It’s the hardest style in all of boxing to master. James Toney, Julio Cesar Chavez, Roberto Duran, Mike Tyson, Canelo Alvarez and Jose Napoles have the best defenses I have seen for violent come forward fighters who I consider to be offensive. It’s hard for me to pick one but if I had to at their peak it would Duran or Chavez. But everybody I named is extremely hard to hit and their offense does not get stunted by being defensive.
There are some who say that Derrick James is a better trainer than Bomac because James is more fit and was a better fighter. Do you believe that to be true and do you think it will come down to the trainers in the Spence vs Crawford fight? Who has the better corner?
Bread’s Response: Who said that? I haven’t heard that because Derrick is in better shape than Bomac he’s a better trainer. This fight will cause lots of emotions to pour out. I know Derrick and Errol and both are super cool. I like them. I know Bomac and Red Spikes Crawford’s assistant trainer also and those are my guys. I’ve only met Crawford once and he seems cool. So you aren’t going to get me to get into the nonsense. Those guys are going to make 8 figures and people are going to argue and fight over their money like they’re family members. I can see the insults are starting to fly.
But I think Derrick and Bomac are both great trainers. They both have had 2 world champions. Derrick has had Errol and Jermell Charlo. And Bomac Terence and Jamel Herring. Two is a lot in this era when fighters don’t fight as often and they constantly switch trainers. Both have done excellent jobs.
As for Derrick being more fit, I think it matters if you’re the type of trainer who hits pads for 8 rounds and is constantly moving around. But if you have a team like Bomac does, I don’t think it’s a big issue. Derrick doesn’t have the same assistants around him that Bomac does. I don’t think it applies in this case because Crawford does not lack any conditioning. If he lacked conditioning it would be an issue. But he doesn’t. So I don’t get that point of view.
Let me tell you guys I few things. The winner of the fight will be the fighter who executed what he wanted to do the best. Whether it be gameplan or natural instincts. Obviously the trainers will have a big impact and whatever accolades they get for winning will be well deserved. But I don’t think Bomac’s weight will be an issue.
Angelo Dundee’s fighters has wins over Sugar Ray Robinson, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Wilfred Benitez, Tommy Hearns, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Sonny Liston, George Foreman and Floyd Patterson. Those fighters were trained by Eddie Futch, Ray Arcel, Fred Brown and Emanuel Steward. I didn’t know Angelo Dundee personally but he didn’t look to be in great shape and from my knowledge he didn’t have much of a boxing career.
The head trainer puts people around him to give himself the best chance at success. If you aren’t a pad guy you get one. If you aren’t the best strategist, you get help with game plans. If you don’t get your guys in the best shape, you get a good strength coach. But at the end of the day, you get the job done.
Derrick seems to be a guy who can do everything, where as Bomac has a team in place. Both methods have worked. My point is great trainers come in all shapes and forms. There are some great fighters who can’t train. And there are some not so great fighters and non fighters who can train. Being a great trainer is dependent upon knowledge, leadership and the ability to articulate what you know.
I’m not going to get into who the better trainer is because they’re still writing their stories. Just last year the media and fans crowned Eddy Reynoso the best trainer in boxing. But this year he loses 3 big fights in a row and now they say he can’t train anymore. Reynoso is still a great trainer, he didn't forget how to train. What I know is that all trainers will take their lumps if they’re fighter is fighting 50/50 fights or fights vs elite level fighters in their primes. Derrick and Bomac will win some and lose some as time goes on and the media and fans opinions will go up and down as the wins and losses come. I know better and I know both of those guys are the truth. They’re just different. Just Bud and Errol are the truth.
What’s up Bread?
I know you’ve talked about how today’s top fighters are relatively inactive compared to the past so I wanted to know if the following schedule is feasible in a given year for a world champion/top contender (assuming there are no major injuries, with eight-week training camps and a month of rest after the fight). January: Announce fight, March: Fight #1, April: Announce fight, June: Fight #2, July: Announce fight, September: Fight #3, October: Announce fight, December: Fight #4 - How realistic is this scenario? I’m sure there are other factors (TV dates, etc…) however it seems like the top guys should be able to fight at least three times if they need more rest
William in West Palm Beach
Bread’s Response: I don’t believe it’s realistic. I believe the most we will see at this stage from an elite level 12 round A side fighter is 3x/year max, like Canelo did last year. Four times is asking too much because there just aren’t enough dates. I would also add if we do see a guy go 3x as an A side he will have to be a PPV fighter or so talented that the networks bend over backwards to please him.
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