By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz rematch, Chris Eubnak Jr. vs. Canelo Alvarez, welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz, fantasy matches, and more.
Is it crazy for me to really want a Eubank Jnr v Canelo fight? Bit of a skill mismatch, but their styles may generate some serious action
Bread’s Response: I never thought about this fight but I think it would be action packed. This is good matchmaking.
Mr Bread, always a pleasure to read your columns. This time I won´t be writing in about Harry Greb, but instead some various boxing topics that it would be nice to see what a boxing expert like yourself think about.
1. Nice move by Julian Williams when he knocked down Hurd, to bump him off with the left shoulder to create distance to be able to land the shots. I think I have seen him do that move before, if I remember correctly. I remember my father taught me something similar back in the early nineties. He showed me that when your opponent leans his head against your left shoulder when you´re in close or in a clinch, just bump his head up with the shoulder, take a quick halfstep back and nail him with the right hand, on the volley so to speak. I later saw that same move done by James Toney vs Iran Barkley.
Was that move something you and Julian had trained on in the gym, or was it just by instinct?
2. Most people thought Jersey Joe Walcott beat Joe Louis in their first fight, and Walcott was winning the first fight against Rocky Marciano until he got knocked out by Suzy Q. If Walcott wins those two fights, where do you think he would rank historically? Do you think he would have ruled the division for some years or would someone like Ezzard Charles still have beaten him?
3. Erroll Spence Jr has a somewhat droopy left eyelid. The same as David Reid had. It had a big effect on Reids career, do you think it could affect Spence´s?
4. The cross-arm defence, like the one used by Archie Moore, George Foreman and Bert Cooper, just doesn´t make sense to me. What is the purpose of it? It doesn´t protect against hooks. It makes you open to body shots. It doesn´t put you in a better position to throw your own shots. It doesn´t protect against uppercuts (as evidenced by Cooper vs Holyfield, it is a wonder that Holyfield didn´t take Bert´s head of with all those thunderous uppercuts). Yes, Moore and Foreman are ATG´s so there must be something useful with that stance, I just can figure out what. Can you shed some light on this?
5. Kevin Kelley, "The Flushing Flash", was one of my favourite fighters to watch back in the days. Always exciting and with good skills. His fight vs the relentless Troy Dorsey is my favourite one. Kelley was still pretty green then, and for him to survive the immense pressure Dorsey put on him was really a hard test for Kelley. Also, his first fight vs Gainer and of course the Naseen Hamed fight are classics, both with multiple knockdowns.
How do you think Kelley would do against todays featherweights? I think he would beat Warrington and Magdaleno, and perhaps even Frampton and Valdez but I think Santa Cruz, Russel Jr and Shakur Stevenson would KO him. What do you think?
6. There are some great fighters who never won a world title. Of course there are Sam Langford, Lew Tendler, Charles Burley and Harry Wills but most people seem to forget Packey McFarland. He was a great fighter with only one loss in 113 fights (only losing his 9th fight). He beat Jack Britton several times. Where do you rank McFarland among the other uncrowned champs?
7. Some fighters have special attributes that help them in their boxing careers. For example Battling Nelson had a scull that was three times thicker than a normal scull, which made him able to withstand punches better. Henry Armstrong had a heart that was a third larger than the average persons, slowing down his heartbeat and making him able to fight at a fast pace. Those were physical attributes, but of course there must be mental attributes as well. For example, Loma seems to have a mind that processes what is happening and what he should do in the ring quicker than his opponents minds. Do you have any more examples of such mental attributes and which one do you think would be the most important to possess?
8. I know you have a theory about southpaws that they are more vulnerable to the body because they lead with the liver. I have to respectfully challenge that theory. Yes, in THEORY it should be true, but it is not proven to be correct. Think about all the great southpaws there has been. In recent years we have seen Sweet Pea Whitaker, Marvin Hagler, Joe Calzaghe, Manny Pacquiao, Winky Wright, Hector Camacho, Sergio Martinez, Antonio Tarver, Too Sharp Johnson, Loma, Rigondeux, Zab Judah, Ollie Usyk etc etc boxing from the southpaw stance. How often did we see them get stopped from body punches? Or even hurt to the body? I can´t remember one specific occasion, of the top of my head. Ok, perhaps Margarito hurt Manny in the body but he was so much bigger than Pac Man. Did you see the recent fight between Tevin Farmer and Jono Carroll? Two southpaws and rarely have I seen two guys go so much to the body, especially Carroll was bangin away downstairs. But none of them seemed to get hurt. On the other hand, we have seen conventional fighters hurt to the body, some several times. For example Marcos Maidana, Keith Thurman, Tommy Coyle and Arturo Gatti. Yes, there are southpaws who got hurt to the body, like Alberto Machado, but that is not the norm.
My explanation to this is that the southpaws keep their right elbow at a different angle over the liver. Most fighters go to the body by throwing a long left hook/uppercut behind the opponents right elbow. The southpaws usually keep their elbow a little bit further out to the side, towards the lower part of latissimus dorsi, thus protecting the liver better from that specific punch. A better way to reach the southpaws liver would be to throw the straight right inside the elbow but that punch is rarely thrown.
Am I right with this?
9. Who had the best defensive reflexes? Not the best overall defence, just the best reflexes. Pernell Whitaker, Wilfred Benitez or Niccolino Locche? Locche is my favourite, incredible defensive wizard!
It would be nice to hear an experts view on these topics.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge!
Bread’s Response: 1. Something we have practiced for years. We didn’t plan it we just practiced it until it becomes muscle memory. He did the same move to Michael Medina in 2014 and got the same result.
2. If Walcott would have beaten Louis and Marciano he’s top 10 ever at heavyweight and top 75 fighters ever. But you are a little off in your timeline as far as Charles. Charles beat him BEFORE the Marciano fight. Walcott came back and avenged the loss. So he was done with Charles by the time he lost his title to Marciano. They could have fought again but Walcott had already scored a brutal ko over Charles by that time.
3. I have also noticed Spence had a droopy eye lid. But I think he may have got it corrected. No I don’t see him having the David Reid issues. We are in 2019 not in 1996. Medical science has advanced since then. Spence will be ok.
4. I think they use it to rest and make their opponents open up and burn themselves out. It’s a defense for a larger fighter who is walking down their opponents. You don’t need great reflexes because you’re blocking and absorbing. I’m not crazy about it but it allowed aging fighters like Foreman and Moore to go into their late 40s.
5. Kevin Kelley was very good. Very good. He wouldn’t runt he table today but he also wouldn’t get ran over by the table. He had elite level punching power and heart.
6. Packy McFarland had a great record in a time where it was difficult to have one comparable to today. His record was as good as Pep’s, Robinson’s and Tunney’s. I have seen him rated in the top 10 ever at lightweight. He would make my top 10 ever as fighters who never won a world title.
7. This is too broad of a question. Every great fighter has mental and physical attributes that make them great or otherwise they wouldn’t be.
8. You’re being to analytical. You also forgot about the southpaws on the fringe undercards who get stopped all the time with body shots. Obviously elite level fighters are not going to get stopped often especially by body shots. But the liver is closer to their opponents. It’s simple logistics. The liver is on the right side of the body and the southpaw leads with the right side of their body.
Yes I agree a straight right hand can get there also.
9. Wilfred Benitez and Muhammad Ali have the best reflexes I have ever seen. But not so much the best defense. In a game of street slap box they both would be the best ever by far.
Hey Bread hope all is well. I wanted to see if you had a chance to see Boxrec list of all time great fighters. I know people will focus on Floyd being #1 but my biggest issue is Joe Calzaghe being left off. I think he is the most underrated fighter in history. I also thought Oscar was rated way too high. So my question is who do you think was the most overrated on the list? Underrated on the list? Who do you think is the best boxer to be left off?
Bread’s Response: Any ratings that is a programmed number system will be greatly flawed on a subjective athletes list. A certain degree of common sense and logic has to be factored in. The list was actually pretty good but it had some glaring flaws. I wouldn’t take it too serious to be honest. List are not the bible they are subjective. I would never call out a fighter and demand them off a list. But Ezzard Charles is universally recognized as top 10 ever and he’s way down the list. It is what it is.
Greetings and blessings, just want to keep it short and sweet and try for a few matchups that maybe haven’t come across your emails.
Leonard vs McCallum
Wilder vs Vitali K.
Mikey Garcia vs JL Castillo
Bhop vs Monzon
Ike Quartey vs Sugar Shane
Jack from Detroit.
Nice to hear from you.
Thanks for the feedback.
Thanks for the email.
Are the suggestions above helpful?
Bread’s Response: Leonard in a brutal high contact fight.
Vitali would outbox Wilder.
I can’t call Mikey vs Castillo. 3 fight series.
Today I would take Monzon over Bhop but that’s a tough fight to call. Bhop has a great chance but Monzon’s shot gun right may make it seem as though he’s dictating the action more.
I like Quartey over Mosley. Mosley didn’t defend a jab well at any point of his career. From Oscar-Forest-Wright-Cotto-Mayweather. Quartey by decision.
News recently broke that Usyk vs. Takam is now taking place in my very own Chitown. I'm not old enough to remember but some older heads were telling me that Chicago used to be host to many fights back in the day. These days the biggest fights in the city are UFC events which do pretty good numbers here. Can you recall any big name great fights that have taken place in Chitown? There is a very healthy amateur scene here but it doesn't really translate over to the pros. I think if promoters really started to take a look at the United Center or the Allstate arena they would see that those are great venues to host big fights. Legislation has recently been enacted that is bringing the city its first casino. Do you think this would help? Sports betting could perhaps assist with keeping big fights around the city. NYC and LA constantly have big fights. I'm not sure why the 3rd largest market in the country doesn't put on that many big shows. I'm not sure if you are familiar with Chicago as it relates to the fight game but could you offer any insight? Thanks Bread.
-Chris from Chicago
Bread’s Response: In the 40s and 50s they were plenty of big fights in Chicago. Sugar Ray Robinson actually fought Jake Lamotta, Gene Fullmer and Carmen Basilio all in Chicago.
I study regions and demographics when it comes to fighters. I actually talked about Chicago with a friend because I really like the city. With it’s huge population, tough inner city and up cold weather winters I can’t for the life of me figure out why Chicago is not a hot bed of boxing. New York, Detroit, Philadelphia and Washington DC area all have the same exact things Chicago has and they produce great fighters consistently. But Chicago rarely has 6 or 7 hot guys at the same time. It’s really bizarre and I don’t get it. I’m not sure if it’s the amateur system, lack of gyms or just athletes they go into other sports. But it is something I have wondered about.
Really good question.
If the grass roots fight scene in Chicago became bigger then promoters would bring some big fights there. Chicago has everything New York has. I actually like the city more. The food is great. The theatre district is great. The downtown is the best I have ever seen. In the summer it’s just awesome. No one would want to go there in December but a big show in July or August would be something. I’ve vacationed twice in Chicago I like it so much and stayed on the Magnificent Mile both times.
I was listening to Chris Mannix's podcast with Kevin Iole, and they were talking about Joshua and the adjustments he needs to make. Well, one thing led to another, and Iole said he would love to see Joshua with you, and then proceeded to compare you to Emmanuel Steward! I know you LOVED Emmaunel Steward and were a big fan of his, but Iole said you could be just like him since you guys communicate the same way with fighters. That is some high praise from Mr. Iole!
Light week of boxing but one youngster shined in Vergil Ortiz. I felt early on he was trying too hard for the stoppage and was loading up on his shots too much and that led to him taking some clean shots. But there is no doubt his power is legit and he is a top talent.
It is a shame that Ennis has been inactive this year due to managerial issues, but he will be back in action soon. I really hope he is able to get to get one of the top powers in boxing so he could get the shine the other youngsters such as Haney, Stevenson, Lopez and Ortiz have been getting. Just off eye test, I think he is superior than all the guys I mentioned. Maybe one day we get Ennis vs Ortiz mega showdown down the line? If so, I'm rolling with Boots!
Bread’s Response: It is high praise and I appreciate it. But I have a long way to go. Emanuel Steward is the best. I still remember talking to him after Julian Williams defeated Hector Rosario in AC. He gave me so much confidence. It was an awesome experience. We talked in the walk way of Bally's one on one for what seemed like hours.
I don’t want to comment on AJ too much because I feel bad for his trainer. Training is a thankless job. However I do feel confident I could help AJ. I’m very confident he could win the rematch with the right concept. Some are saying Ruiz smokes him in the rematch. But I’m not so sure about that. One adjustment and Aj wins an easy decision. Let’s see how it plays out.
Vergil Ortiz is super good. He’s violent, he’s big, he’s fast and he has killer instinct. I was impressed. But Boots Ennis is the best prospect at 147. The casual fans have no idea what marketing and promotion can do. It can change the whole course of a career.
Ennis vs Oritz will be a great fight someday but it’s a long time from now. Both are trying build as young contenders. Neither will get a title shot anytime soon.
Thanks for great comments on Ward-Kovalev.
Fantasy fight - Ali vs. Foreman 2.
What happens second time? George has proved over the years since that he isnt stupid and I dont think he would have got rope a doped twice. Can Ali win against a Foreman who has learned to pace himself?
In actual fact, why did no second fight happen?
Btw, this was my first exposure to boxing - maybe my earliest memory. I remember part of the radio broadcast when Foreman went down.
Also, I think Ali took a lot of damage in that fight. A whole lot, and was diminished afterwards. What do you think?
Last Q - any advice for Anthony Joshua in his current pickle?
Bread’s Response: Ali beating Foreman in a rematch would have been a tough order. Ali was 7 years older and he was really done by 1975. A year after his Foreman victory. I just don’t know if Ali could have pulled that off twice.
I think the pounding from the Foreman fight and 3rd Frazier fight ruined Ali’s physical ability. If you look at him after those fights he was fighting off of memory. He was really a shot fighter. I still don’t know how he pulled out that last round vs Ernie Shavers a few years later.
There is a myth that Ali waited until Foreman tired himself out then stopped him. That’s not true. Ali was winning the fight with a lead right hand. He used the ropes to propel him towards Foreman and Foreman couldn’t time it.
Foreman’s confidence was ruined after the fight. So Foreman was dealing with mental issues and Ali physical. I don’t know who would have won the rematch but my hunch is Foreman. Ali walks on water for me but he is human. I just don’t know how he could’ve absorbed those punches again. Foreman is the most powerful man in history. I’m actually glad Ali didn’t fight him again. It would have accelerated his decline.
Everyone keeps asking me about Joshua. I really like him but I don’t want to over step my boundaries. All I can say is it’s all about his mental approach. It’s one thing to know what went wrong. It’s another to know how to fix it. Joshua seems very intelligent. Let’s see if he can pull it off.
I wanted to ask what your take is Joshua’s chances in the rematch with Andy Ruiz. There’s been a couple of pictures running around of Joshua in training looking much less bulky than he has in the past. Eyeballing I’d say he looked in high 220s to mid 230s. Ever since the Klitschko fight I’ve thought he was carrying around too much muscle, and would eventually pay the price against more agile heavyweights( i.e Wilder, Fury, and to an extent Miller). I’ll admit I overlooked Ruiz like most folks. But going into the rematch, I’m finding it hard to see Joshua pulling something off. If it’s true that he planning on coming in with a lower weight, I’m concerned how that will affect his punch resistance (which is all that great) and of course his power. Then again who knows, he might pull off like Canelo did in his rematch with GGG and not be affected by the lost bulk.
Nathaniel Rodríguez Ortiz
Bread’s Response: I think Joshua has a decent chance to win the rematch. I really do. People point to his stamina. But I’ve seen him do well in the later rounds of fights. I think his issue is when he gets hurt, it seems to fatigue him and it takes a long time for him to recover. He doesn’t catch his wind as fast as say a Wilder or Holyfield. But as you pointed out they weigh less.
I have never believed a heavyweight has to be 250 in this era to be great. I do think it compromises the stamina but most in this era are that BIG so…
More importantly Joshua has to understand there is a difference between fighting TALL and fighting LONG. He has to understand which is better and why. I hear people repeat certain things in boxing but they have no idea why they are saying it. If Anthony can figure out which is which and which will be more beneficial to him he wins the rematch. The rematch will look like Lewis vs Tua if he does. If he doesn’t it will look like Dempsey vs Willard again. It’s really that simple for me.
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