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Daily Bread Mailbag: Kovalev, Golovkin, Canelo-Khan, More

By Stephen 'Breadman' Edwards

The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen 'Breadman' Edwards answering questions on the hottest fight of the hour, Amir Khan vs. Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, comparing Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev, and more.

What's up Bread?

I just wanted to get your thoughts on Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter.  I'm really looking forward to this matchup of top welterweights in their prime.  We often complain about how these types of fights don't happen enough so it's refreshing to see a legitimate 50/50 fight where both guys are "riding high" as you like to say.  I'm also intrigued to see how their styles mesh and I see two possible scenarios:

1. Thurman (the "skittish puncher" as you call him) runs Porter into something big

or

2. Porter ramps up the pressure and grinds out an ugly but effective win

What are your thoughts? and how do Thurman and Porter fit into your "Rock Paper Scissors" of boxing? Its fairly obvious that Porter is the swarmer/volume/pressure fighter but what about Thurman? I lean towards seeing him as the puncher as opposed to pure boxer but I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Peace,

William in West Palm

gennady-golovkin (15) (720x476)

Bread’s Response: In rock, paper, scissors. The volume pressure fighter can usually trump the pure boxer. But Keith Thurman is not a pure boxer. He’s a skittish boxer with a huge punch. In a historical view this fight reminds me of Juan Diaz vs Acelino Freitas.

I think both of your scenarios will take place. I believe Shawn Porter will make Keith Thurman over move. Thurman can be made to burn too much energy with the right kind of pressure. His movement is effective at times but it’s far from efficient. Shawn Porter is a bull.

At the same time Porter is not efficient defensively. I know guys who fight like him get hit. They all do. But fighters like GGG and Chocalito are aggressive but they have a calm to their defense. They roll, parry and absorb shots very smoothly. Porter is very easy to hit. He punches with his head in the air.

So in this fight you we have a pressure fighter with huge holes in his defense vs a moving puncher who moves too much. I have said this once and I will say it again. Both of these kids are made for each other. This is a true 50/50 fight. At this moment I slightly lean towards Porter because Thurman has really cooled off in my opinion. He hasn’t had a lights out performance in over 2 years in my opinion.

What's up Bread?

I have a few questions regarding Kovalev-Pascal 2:

1. What was your impression of the fight? (I wasn't surprised)

2. Is Jean Pascal done at the elite level? (I think so)

3. Why couldn't Pascal avoid Kovalev's straight right hand? He kept leaning to his right but that put him right in the line of fire.  Why couldn't he adjust?

4. Kovalev placed his shots extremely well when Pascal stood in front of him and tried to counter.  I'm sure it wouldn't have changed the outcome but it seemed to me that Pascal could have tried to smother Sergey's power by crowding him or tried more lateral movement to keep from getting picked apart.  Maybe it wouldn't have made a difference but I would have liked to see him try something different.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts,

Bread’s Response: Kovalev is just better than Pascal. He does everything better. Pascal may be faster but it means nothing because Kovalev’s movements are more purposeful and he’s a lot quicker. His thought process is better. He makes up his mind and he executes. Pascal is more of a scatterbrain.

I think Sergey Kovalev ruined Jean Pascal. I think that term gets overused in today’s boxing. A knockout or even a bad beating does NOT ruin every fighter. Especially when these guys are fighting twice a year and have months to recover. But in this case I think it’s accurate. Pascal’s reaction time is slowing down, he’s a partier outside of the ring. His technique has always been poor and now that’ he’s slipped some it will look worse. Pascal’s handlers need to find an exit plan for him. 15 rounds in the ring with the Krusher have zapped him.

Pascal couldn’t avoid the right hand because he does lean too much to his right. You can lean to your right to avoid a right hand but your timing has to be special. Floyd Mayweather, Georgie Benton and James Toney type of special. Pascal is fast but he’s not a defensive fighter. Kovalev also blinds Pascal with a jab often. Pascal can’t even see the right hand most of the time. The last reason he keeps getting hit with it is because he doesn’t make Kovalev keep his hands in his pocket. Pascal doesn’t jab or punch enough in general. If he did Kovalev would have to protect him self more instead of walking in doing whatever he wanted.

Pascal can’t “smother” Krusher because his feet aren’t in sync with his attack. Pascal is only good for a quick burst of punches then he falls into a clinch. He does not step in with each punch like say an Andre Ward where his feet will be under him in balance. Therefore he will never be able to effectively smother a fighter like Kovalev. Smothering Chad Dawson after a quick outburst was different because Dawson is a slow thinker. Kovalev is not.

What's up Bread,

As of more recent times there has been another emergence of really good Eastern European fighters. What's is your thoughts on another 2012 Olympian (Gvozdyk) from Ukraine. I believe he will be a problem in the lights heavy weight class. I also want some feedback on a triple G and Kovalev comparison?

2012 Ukrainian Olympian

Gvozdyk- 2012 bronze medalist robbed in the semifinal match.

Now on to Triple G and Kovalev. I think you always make the point that Kovalev is the best straight punching fighter. I agree with you on this point, he also has good feet, great ring generalship, and a solid counter game. I suggest Triple G has the same, minus the best straight punches, but he cuts the ring off as good as some the GOAT stalking fighters.  The reason I think Triple G is better is his mental make up (we have not seen this in the pros yet, but you see it in his amateur fights). There is a reason why Triple G dominated the amateurs and Kovalev was a good amateur. Triple G has fought and beat almost everyone already (he just doesn't get flustered). He has not been pushed to the next level in the pro ranks. We have seen the best of Kovalev and he is good but we have not seen the best GGG. What are your thoughts and I'm not comparing them if they fought each other but as overall fighters? I think Kovalev will get beat by Ward pretty thoroughly. I think Triple G is a much more difficult fight for anyone.  Thanks

Bread’s Response: I’m not familiar with the fighter you have mentioned but I will look out for him.

You know the sense is GGG is a little more blue chip than Kovalev. He’s a little more refined. I think that is because of their amateur pedigree. I’m not arguing either way because they are still both forging their legacies. But if you ask me to break it down I will.

Kovalev is the best straight puncher in boxing. To the head and body. The way he breaks you down is brutally beautiful. Because he didn’t have Golovkin’s amateur credentials maybe he came into his own later. His road seemed harder earlier. But he has indeed turned the corner. It’s a marathon not a sprint and Kovalev has closed the gap between him and GGG and right now pulled about even.

Often times the best amateur is the fighter with the most resources. It also can be a case of the fighter who has matured the quickest. It’s definitely a good gauge but for me it’s not the end all. For example Javier Molina is a 2008 Olympian who fights at 147 and 154lbs. There are literally 10 American kids between those weights who I feel have progressed way past him but yet he was the Olympian in 2008.

70% of the time the best amateur is the best pro but the remaining 30% is a large number. Guys like James Toney and Bernard Hopkins were not great amateurs but turned out to be phenomenal pros.

GGG is the best hunter in boxing. His left hook to the body is at an all time level. He seems to have everything except great handspeed but his timing and placement make up for it. I also believe he has a better chin than Kovalev. He seems to show less when tagged although neither guy has been stopped. The knock on GGG is his opponent level. But I don’t knock that. I know when a fighter is being ducked and GGG is being ducked.

Kovalev can get fights so he gets the opportunity against the better guys. But let’s ask ourselves. Can GGG beat the 5 best guys Kovalev has beat in a p4p or literal sense? I say yes. Kovalev’s best 5 victories have been against Bernard Hopkins, Jean Pascal, Nathan Cleverly, Ismayl Salakh and Gabriel Campillo.

Golovkin’s 5 best victories are David Lemiuex, Martin Murray, Willie Monroe, Curtis Stevens and Grzegor Proska.

If we go by threat level and not name value or past accomplishments I don’t think their competition levels are that far off. Throw out Hopkin’s all time resume and it’s almost even. I’m not a person that just repeats things for the sake of repeating them. I think Kovalev’s competition has been a little better but not by as much as has been repeated.

The difference is Kovalev is made to fight on the road in his opponent’s back yards and he was forced to take what looked like 50/50 fights earlier in his career. Campillo for example.

Right now I say both guys are dead even. I won’t give GGG credit for being able to rise to a certain level because he was a silver medalist. Because rising to a level in a 3 round fight is different than doing it in a 12 round fight.

greetings Breadman!

I'm a fan of your technical analysis and insightful breakdowns and I look forward to reading your articles each week.

What's the latest news with J-Rock and how do you see 2016 shaping up for him? Love seeing him in action and can't wait for his next bout.

As a fan of the sport, what 3 bouts that are roughly 50\50 in nature would you like to see happen as soon as possible? What would be the respective strategies for the two contenders in each bout and - gun to your head - who would be your pick to win?

And then, for a real challenge, if you could do the same as above for your top 3 fights that should have taken place but didn't!

Thanks in advance, and best wishes to you and yours,

Connor from sunny old England.

Bread’s Response: Vasyl Lomachenko vs Guillermo Rigondeaux. I think Loma should box aggressively in and out. Rigo should wait to counter punch. I don’t like what I saw out of Rigo in his last fight. I don’t know if it was slippage or rust. But he is going to have to be 100% to beat the younger bigger fighter. Right now I say Rigo wins.

Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev. Ward can fight a Roy Jones type of amateur fight. Look at his fights in the 2004 Olympics. Especially the one vs the tall Makrenko. If Ward fights like that I don’t believe he will lose to anybody. But that was a 20 year old Ward. He’s 32 now.

Kovalev should do what he does. Jab, step in jab again and look for his right hand. Simplistic killers are very efficient. Right now I’m leaning Ward.

Roman Gonzales vs Naoya Inoue. Man this fight is guaranteed lights out skill level on display. Gonzales has a mix of Roberto Duran and Alexis Arguello to his game. I think he should smother and turn Inoue. Inoue is a highlight machine. If I’m with him we keep the fight on the outside as much as possible. Right now I say Roman edges it.

Ok I will pick 3 fights. One from the 80’s, One from the 90s, And one from the 2000s.

Bowe vs Lewis. Bowe should have jumped on Lewis early. And forced him into exchanges. Lewis was a great but he could be rattled. I think if Bowe puts hands on him early he had a great chance. If I’m Lewis I slow the fight down and try to land my right hand. Gun to my head Lewis but it’s no foregone conclusion.

Tommy Hearns vs Mike McCallum. Hearns has to box McCallum and not let his pride take over. Hearns is quicker and longer. McCallum has to get Hearns to try and knock him out. McCallum has an all time great chin and he’s a great body puncher. I say Hearns outboxes him but has to hold on late for a tight decision.

Kostya Tszyu vs Floyd Mayweather. This is a tremendous fight. The way to beat Tszyu is to back him up and crowd him and I’m not sure if Floyd would want to do that. I would tell Floyd to be himself and sort of let his instincts take over. He usually finds a shot to score enough points to win fights.

Some assume because Hatton beat Tszyu and Floyd beat Hatton then Floyd beats Tszyu. I am not one of them. Tszyu was a little done by 2005 and Hatton had the right style and was in his prime. Hatton was underrated in the mid 2000s. Tszyu could really box and had no problem catching a difficult rhythm. Check out his fight vs Vernon Forrest in the world championships. This is a tough one for me I go back and forth. Today I say Floyd by the skin of his teeth.

Bread,

What’s up?

I thought Garcia DEFINITELY got a gift against Mauricio Herrera, and the victory against Lamont Peterson could’ve easily went the other way. Herrera dominated Garcia, and against Peterson, Garcia fell apart down the stretch of that fight. That being said I give Garcia benefit of the doubt based on his already impressive body of work, but let’s see what he does at 147lbs which I think is currently a much more competitive division than 140lbs.  Garcia due to his 140lb pedigree and title win is considered one of the top dogs  at 147lbs, let’s see what he can do against Thurman and/or Porter and Errol Spence.

I think that Timothy Bradley DOMINATES Pacquiao! Atlas is a teacher and he’s teaching Bradley nuance of the boxing game, Bradley already knows how to fight. Bradley is punching crisper and with more pop cause Atlas has him off of that weight lifting stuff he was doing with his father. Bradley’s physique is muscular but the muscles are now more supple then tight. He’s teaching tempo, how not to waste his movement, positioning, angles, combination punching on the move, better defense and how not to be greedy in there. I think Bradley’s going to befuddle Pacquiao because Roach isn’t really noticing the subtle schemes Atlas has added to Bradley’s game. After Bradley humiliates Pacquiao, Mayweather will come out of retirement and fight Bradley for his 50th fight…and win!

Pacquiao’s and Freddie Roach’s delusions and underestimation of Bradley (and Atlas) is gonna bite them in the @$$. I may end up eating my words on this, but I’ll know tonight depending on how well Jean Pascal fights against Kovalev. I don’t  think there was anything that Roach could do to help Pascal, and then when he said that Pascal was better than Roy Jones – I’m still on the floor laughing.

Bread’s Response: What’s up big Rob? Listen bro you’re not the only knowledgeable person who thinks Mauricio Herrera beat Danny Garcia convincingly. I don’t argue against the notion too hard.  But I honestly thought it was a close fight that could have went either way. I’ve only watched the fight twice and my score changed, which changed the winner but that’s not fair to either man because your view becomes tainted when you have to score something over again.

In the Peterson fight I simply think Peterson miscalculated when to start his attack. I thought Peterson won the event but Danny won the fight.

And yes I am curious to see what route Garcia takes at 147. He has some really tough fights ahead of him over the next few years.

I don’t think Freddie Roach really meant that Pascal was better than Roy Jones. By being around Pascal you will know that he thinks a prime Roy Jones is the TBE. So what I believe Roach was trying to do was give Pascal a higher sense of worth.

As for your Pacquiao vs Bradley prediction I agree 100%. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bradley stopped Manny. I hate picking against Manny because he has fooled me BIG several times but I think he’s a shot fighter. He has a carefree nonchalant attitude towards boxing these days. Tim Bradley still wants to be an all time great. Pacquiao did ok vs Mayweather but his lack of a solid game plan bothered me. He had no answer for Floyd’s clinching which totally threw him off. That tells me he’s become dismissive in certain areas. Whenever I see a dismissive fighter or trainer a humbling experience is soon to follow.

Pacquiao does not have the stamina or explosiveness he once had. But yet he still hasn’t hired Cotto’s conditioning coach who works side by side with Roach. This tells me something…. Not only is Pacquiao dismissive, he’s complacent. That’s a terrible recipe in boxing.

Pacquiao is still over stepping his jab and getting hit with that “pivot out right hand”. Algieri and Bradley both were able to clip Manny with that shot. The problem is neither guy can punch like Juan Manuel Marquez so the flaw wasn’t as noticed in those fights. I think this is the biggest mistake of Pacquiao’s career besides fighting Marquez 4 times. In my opinion he beat Bradley both times. There was no reason for this. There are so many guys he could have fought. Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Amir Khan, Sadam Ali, Jesse Vargas, Jose Benavides and even Terrance Crawford. And Pacquiao picks the guy that he has been in the ring with him for 24 rounds already. #Badmove

Bruh, I just went to Boxingscene for a lil daily bread and thought that I misread something. Canelo vs Khan!? This has to be a misprint. So let me get this straight…….Khan turns down a winnable fight with Special K, to take a beating from Canelo? The weight differential will be enormous. I mean, the first time he gets tapped on the chin, it’s over. Am I wrong? Whew, Amir is in tough! But, I remember you saying long ago that Amir aspires to be great and this only reinforces that sentiment. I will say this…..on the one hand, it shows true grit to step up and fight Canelo. On the other hand, this move shows just how much Khan was afraid of losing to Brook. Not to say he ducked him, because he’s clearly taking on the tougher challenge. I guess what I’m saying is that a loss to Canelo wouldn’t hurt his ego as much as losing to his long-time rival. 

Bread’s Response: I agree with you 100%. Khan just can’t stomach losing to Kell Brook. Boxing is huge in the UK and that fight would be for legacy defining bragging rights. If he loses to Canelo he can spin the loss and say look I took on the lineal middleweight champion of the world. No one thought I would win give me my props.   

After watching Kovalev fight and his power who would you say is the hardest puncher P4P?

Now that Andre Ward fight is signed to fight Sullivan Barrera how do you see that fight playing out?

Barrera I feel is to basic, not fast enough and doesn't hit hard enough for a slick man like Ward

With rumours that Hopkins vs Golovkin how do you see that fight if made at 168?

I think Hopkins could take him all 12 with his size and craftiness. Everyone I feels overlooks Golovkin height he looks about 5'9.  

Mosley vs Judah 147lbs

Mosley vs Trinidad 147lbs. 154lbs

Mosley vs Mayweather 135lbs.

Mosley vs DLH 135lbs

Mosley vs Whittaker 135lbs. 147lbs

How you see them fights?

Bread’s Response: Best puncher and hardest puncher are two different things. Kovalev is definitely top 5 hardest punchers. But sometimes the hardest puncher is not an elite fighter. So let me phrase it like this ,Kovalev is top 5 hardest punchers amongst the elite fighters. As an example Dmitry Kudryashov just lost. He’s not an elite level fighter yet and probably won’t ever be one. But for pure brute force his punching power seems unreal in my opinion. Youtube his knockouts of Francisco Palacios and Juan Carlos Gomez and you will see what I mean.

But as for Kovalev he has to be top 5 hardest punchers punchers amongst the elite. He never loads up on his punches. He punches straight and to the point. They don’t give you the appearance they will be hard but the impact on them is amazing. As you know I have categories for my platinum level punchers. I considered Kovalev a “Speed Thudder”. But after careful review I now consider him a “Heavy Handed Debilitator”. My prevalent Speed Thudders were Joe Louis and Julian Jackson. Some of my  Heavy Handed Debilitators were Alexis Arguello, Carlos Zarate and Carlos Monzon. After reviewing it I think Kovalev fits into the Debilitator category more.

I think Ward vs Barrera will look like Ward vs Edwin Rodriguez. Rodriguez was outclassed but he was a real threat throughout. I see the same thing in this fight. Ward should win his usually shut out but it may get a little chippy.

Mosley over Judah. He was just a little too rough and strong for Zab in my opinion.

Tito would beat Mosley. We missed a great one their. I think Mosley gets hit too much for a puncher like Tito but this would have been a great fight.

Mosley vs Mayweather at 135 is a toss up in my opinion. Mosley was a wrecking machine at 135 and he was a rare volume power puncher. Floyd had some rough nights for some reason during that time in his career. He had a tough fight vs Emanuel Augustus at 135. He had two extremely close fights vs Jose Luis Castillo at 135. He even had a tougher than expected night vs Victor Sosa at 135. I don’t what was going on around that time with him but Shane Mosley from 97-99 was a monster and undefeated. That was a totally different fighter than the one we saw fight Floyd in 2010.

Mosley vs Oscar. This is another tough one. I was Shane edges him at 135. Oscar was a little immature physically at 135. The best Oscar I ever saw was in 1996 vs Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. I say Shane edges him in a great fight.

Bread!

This is my first time writing in but your bread bag has been getting me through my morning bus ride for a while now.

What do you think about the Canelo vs Khan match up? I was just as shocked as anyone when I saw the news. I'm assuming that Khan sees a weakness in Alvarez's legs, and that he'll be able to use footwork and in and out movement to survive Saul's attack while scoring points on the move. However, then I hear Khan talking about bulking up in size, in my opinion losing his only potential advantage (speed and legs).

What do you think about this matchup? Can Khan win this fight? If so, how?

-Scott from LA

Bread’s Response: I’m going to let out a little secret in boxing. 90% of the fighters are fighting a weight division or two too low. Often times in the gym here is the scenario:

Hypothetically a 160lb fighter will be training for a fight. The 160lb fighter is about 167lbs cutting weight working towards his goal of 160lbs. He walks around when he’s not training over 180lbs so he’s not feeling his best.

He decides to spar a fighter who fights at 147lbs. The 147lb fighter has no fight in the books but he’s just training to stay sharp. He’s about 160lbs.

The two fighters decide to spar and the fighter who fights at 147lbs gets the better of it. Uninformed people are all shocked. But those that know, know better.

I’m not saying that this happens 100% of the times. Obviously it depends on who the fighter’s are. But I am saying that it happens extremely often. When an athlete is depleting mass amounts of weight, he’s losing something in his physical make up unless he has it down to a science. Your organs don’t function the same. Your reaction time is not the same. You don’t take a punch the same. And your calorie intake is low so your stamina is not the same. Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao both went up to welterweight and dominated and no one could figure out why. Yes they were great fighters. But it helped a great deal that they didn’t deplete themselves making weight.

As long as the size the difference is not so immense that the smaller fighter can’t get close to the bigger one, with skillsets being equal I always give the smaller fighter a chance, as long as he can take a punch. Leonard vs Hagler, Duran vs Leonard, Spinks vs Holmes……

In this case Amir Khan is about an inch taller and he has much longer arms. Canelo Alvarez is much more dense and powerful so the trade off is about equal. Khan is faster with his hands but his feet are always out of whack with the rest of his body. Canelo does not have the fastest feet in the world but he has quickness to go along with his fast hands. Canelo also is a better natural boxer than Khan and has better defensive reflexes. In my opinion Canelo has the much higher boxing IQ. Amir Khan makes too many mistakes on a consistent basis.

That’s why his performances are so up and down. He looks blah against Carlos Molina and Julio Diaz, then he looks tremendous vs Luis Collazo and Devon Alexander. Then he looks just ok against Chris Algieri. He can never sustain consistent elite level performances and it’s because of his IQ.

What do you make of the racism claims by Jean Pascal involving Sergey Kovalev? How come this is not being talked about more?

Bread’s Response: I don’t know if Kovalev is a racist or not. But I do know there is a lot of truth in jokes. If indeed he was joking about the T shirt picture of Adonis Stevenson looking like a monkey, someone at Main Events should give him a refresher on Public Relations. If he doesn’t know that what he did was offensive then maybe he’s not a racist, maybe he’s ignorant or just doesn’t give a dam. I don't know....

But here is the thing that people don’t know. Gym or Locker Room humor is different from public humor. Off the record you will hear athletes make all types of stereotypical jokes or comments involving other races. Guys will say  “those blue guys are fast.” Or “I won’t let a purple fighter beat me.” Or “Those orange fighters don’t like it to the body.” The comments go even deeper.

Here is what I believe should happen. HBO should interview Kovalev along with his trainers and grill him about the Social Media incident. They had no problem doing a segment on Floyd Mayweather leading up to the Pacquiao fight about his domestic violence issues. Krusher Kovalev is an HBO fighter. He makes a lot of money. If he wants to joke about something like that then he should be held accountable. Let’s see what he says. Maybe he will say he is. At that point what can you do?  He’s not running for office, he’s a fighter. It’s not a crime to be racist.

The second thing that needs to happen is Adonis Stevenson needs to get him in the ring and deal with him. Stevenson is the one he was making a mockery of. Stevenson is the one he wants to fight. Every person who has ever been insulted with a racial joke could only wish to be in Stevenson’s position. They get to legally kick the person’s ass that offended them and get paid for it.

Send Questions and Comments to dabreadman25@hotmail.com

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User Comments and Feedback
Comment by j0zef on 02-08-2016

Bread's columns are usually good, and this was no exception. I also like his comments that HBO should grill Kovalev on racism jokes to see what he says. It's fair and necessary at the same time.

Comment by angad10 on 02-08-2016

i rate pascal higher than adonis because atleast jean had the balls to fight him..twice! if kova said all that racist **** about me, id jump in to fight him. win or lose. kova is a tremendous fighter but he…

Comment by royjonesjrKTFO on 02-08-2016

This is a "secret" that most fighters are fighting a division or two below their natural weight classes? I thought everybody knew this by now. Canelo, Chavez Jr., Ward are obvious ones that are prime examples of doing this.

Comment by Progrssive_Jedi on 02-07-2016

Unlike most of those who, at least this guy doesn't buy into this asinine narrative any top fighter in the world is a bum.

Comment by wlliam on 02-07-2016

[QUOTE=aboutfkntime;16450263]I don't agree with the resume comparison. Kovalev has beaten much better fighters than Golovkin has. Kovalev has shown more, against better opponents..... he is clearly ahead of Golovkin.[/QUOTE] Style and form theyre comparable... ...but with style, form, AND MOST…

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