The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez, Gary Antuanne Russell, Jaron Ennis, Joan Guzman, Thomas Hearns, and more.
Sky Sports are running some articles called "Hidden Figures" as part of Black History Month.
Yesterday was Randolph Turpin who famously beat Ray Robinson. After reading the article, I dug a bit deeper and his life is fascinating. Post-retirement there were issues of bankruptcy, wrestling and a mysterious death (suicide/gang shooting).
I then fell into a rabbit warren of linked fighters and read about Freddie Mills, a lightweight world champ in the late 40s. Again, incredible life...ended up in showbiz and was also found dead in suspicious circumstances.
Anyways, it got me thinking that a film of these stories would be awesome (even if it lacks broad appeal). What other boxers have had such "colourful" lives that you think it would translate well to film? E.g. Ruben Carter or Mickey Ward.
Love the mailbag as always! Keep well.
Joe from London
Bread’s Response: Aw man most boxers live colorful lives, we just don’t know it because all of them aren’t famous. But let’s see….I would love to see full films done on Sugar Ray Robinson, Archie Moore, Oscar Bonavena, Arturo Gatti, Emanuel Steward and Ricardo Williams Jr. Each one of them has interesting underworld ties that I would love to see on the big screen as well as interesting boxing or training careers.
Who do you think will win if a featherweight tournament was announced at 126lbs between the 4 major titleholders? For making it more practical, we can replace Leo Santa Cruz with Xu Can. Basically, the 4 champions are Navarette, Can, Russell Jr.. and Warrington.
Who do you think will come out on top?
Bread’s Response: Gary Russell Jr. And my dark horse would be Navarette.
Who are some fighters you’ve come across that embody the idea of never judging a book by its cover?
Like maybe they’ve had some struggles, but you never write them off? Or you don’t dismiss them because they look fat/out of shape? Or maybe something as dumb as “well he doesn’t look scary/intimidating? Or maybe you’re training a guy for an opponent you’re familiar with and you warn them by saying “he may not look like much but DON’T underestimate him”? Who are some fighters that fall into this category?
Bread’s Response: Oh man ok… Glen Johnson, Orlando Salido and Derrick Chisora.
Cheers ... Jaron Ennis is a great prospect. For me, he is the best non-champion under 25 years old in the world. It is, for me, the # 2 among champions and non-champions under 25. And I strongly agree with you that Ennis has a huge chance of being P4P # 1 at some point in the future. Having said this about Ennis, and considering that you have said that 70% of the time the best amateur will be the best professional; and knowing that, according to Boxrec, Gary Antuanne Russell beat Ennis in the amateurs by 75% (3-1); so Russell is a prospect worth talking about. What is your opinion on G.A.Russell?
Bread’s Response: Very interesting point. I think Gary Antuane Russell is the TRUTH. He’s dog strong. He has pedigree. He’s vicious. His father and brother are excellent coaches. And yes he did beat Ennis in the amateurs. They fought in the Olympic Trials. I think I saw 1 or 2 of their fights. Because Ennis is so talented if you wait and try to box he picks you apart. So Russell just smothered him and fought a mauling fight and won.
I’m interested in seeing Russell progress as a pro. I think he’s ready for the top 10 now. The reason Ennis is starting to get the shine is because of how smooth and asthetically pleasing his style is. Russell is sort of mix between Shawn Porter and Errol Spence. Ennis is sort of mix between Too Sharp Johnson and Roy Jones. The masses will want to see Ennis more. But as you point out that doesn’t mean he’s better.
I like them both. But I think Ennis is further along and he’s in a hotter division. But boxing is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Let’s see how things turn out for both.
Who are some guys you think could’ve been on Sugar Ray Robinson’s level if their careers had turned out different? Part of me thinks Thomas Hearns could’ve been on that level if he’d gotten those wins over Leonard and Hagler… maybe Barkley too. Or if Foreman beat Ali and reigned the rest of the Seventies and capped it off with a win over Holmes. All big what-ifs… but humor me.
Who are some guys you think could’ve been as good as, or even better than, Sugar Ray Robinson had things worked out differently?
Bread’s Response: You named two for sure. If Hearns beats Leonard and Hagler in then he’s 42-0 in 1985. He’s the best fighter of the decade and he’s just 26 years old with 4 HOF scalps on his resume and a 3 division champion. Anything he did after that would have been cake icing. He could have even lost to Barkley later in 1988 like he did and it would have been viewed as an OFF NIGHT. Hearns was very close. But you can’t lose your 2 Super Bowls. I’m a big Tommy Hearns fan by the way.
If George Foreman beats Ali and reigns until the 70s are over and beats Holmes at the end of the decade. He’s the best fighter ever. That’s a decade long run in the division’s best era ever. Foreman would have been about 55-0 had he stayed the course he was on before Ali. And the best heavyweight is LITERALLY the best fighter.
Julio Cesar Chavez. If Chavez beats Pernell Whitaker and Frankie Randall, he has a case. Because in 94, he got revenge on Meldrick Taylor for their controversial 1st fight. This would have made Chavez a 4 division champion at over 90-0. We wouldn’t have seen him whine and surrender vs Oscar. We wouldn’t have seen him really past it at Kostya Tszyu. The perception of his greatness would be next level although he is an ATG.
Roberto Duran. If Duran doesn’t quit vs Ray Leonard. Just loses competitively. Doesn’t have these weird nights where he loses to guys like Kirkland Lainge and Robbie Sims. And uses his matchmaking pass vs Hearns he’s right there with Robinson.
Roy Jones. If Jones simply stays at heavyweight after he beat Ruiz. In my opinion Jones made the biggest mistake in boxing history. I think Jones would have been the favorite over the 2003-04 versions of Tyson and Holyfield. Lewis retired in 2003. Jones had a good chance to beat Toney, Byrd, Holyfield and Tyson. I even give him a chance vs the 04 version of Wlad. I would favor Wlad but Wlad broke down mentally often in tough fights. He also didn’t have elite stamina. Even if Jones would have lost some and won some at heavyweight. The perception of him changes. He was 34-35 at the time. Losses from greats are excused at that age under the right conditions. We would have never seen fights like Tarver and Johnson.
Floyd Mayweather. If Mayweather does not retire after Ricky Hatton and simply lines up the field. Paul Williams, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley, Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, Sergio Martinez etc. Maybe throw in Kostya Tszyu when he left 135 in 2004 and his case becomes stronger. I know he fought some of the guys I named but the fights happened so many years later than they could have. Historians punish Mayweather for his timely matchmaking.
Manny Pacquiao. If Manny Pacquia would have beaten Mayweather and kod Marquez once he has a great case. No Flyweight in history has ever been close to being the best welterweight in the world.
Ray Leonard. If Ray Leonard does not get a detached retina and retires in 1982. Donald Curry, Marling Starling, Mark Breland, Milton McCory, John Mugabi, Mike McCallum and Tony Ayala are all young emerging stars. Aaron Pryor was also lurking at 140. From 82-87, when he fought Hagler he had a great field to work with. Even if he lost one of two of those fights, he has a case for being as good as Robinson. As long as he didn’t lose by a bad stoppage. Leonard’s injury really cost him
Pernell Whitaker. If Whitaker simply beats Oscar and Tito, and of course gets the official verdict vs Chavez and Ramirez. He’s an undefeated, untouchable Olympian, who wins 4 division titles as a pro, and retires undefeated.
Good evening sir,
I just watched the match between Humberto Soto & Joan Guzman again, at some point in the fight, the commentators talked about a potential fight between Manny Pacquiao and Joan Guzman, Larry Merchant said he didn't feel like that was a fight Manny would want to take as Guzman's movement would be a problem for Pacquiao.
What do you think of Larry Merchant's assessment, how do you think the fight would have played out had it happened.
Bread’s Response: Back in those days there were talks that Joan Guzman and Edwin Valero could beat Manny Pacquiao. Anything can happen in boxing. But abbreviated greatness always gets enhanced. I think they both would have been very competitive against Manny. But for so many people to say they would have beaten him because of gym stories and unfulfilled potential, I think is misleading. No one on either of their resumes suggest they could beat Manny. And both have mental and discipline issues.
Looking back at both I am more comfortable saying Manny would have beaten Guzman than Valero. I think Valero had the better chance but Manny is special, special. The Manny that got David Diaz in 2008, my goodness. He probably kos both.
I hope all is well with you and those around you.
Recently Floyd was on Shannon Sharpe ( Shay Shay!!) podcast and said even when he fought at 154 he walked around at 150-155. Pacquiao also fights at a weight he walks around at. I have read Lomachenko stays around 145 when not in camp. Do you think one of the advantages they have is not having to deal with the weight cut and fighters should stick closer to their weight? Due to consuming less calories for diet, more roadwork to lose weight, and just the final days of sweating it out/ water flushing. Or are these fighters just so good that it would not have mattered either way?
Please give me your thoughts on the following:
Lomachenko likes to stay in pocket, do you think he will change his gamplean for Teofimo by going backwards? Teofimo can crack and if Loma stands right in front of him, he is bound to see how good that chin is. What chance you give of Teo if loma changes it up?
Bread’s Response: There are pros and cons to weight cutting. If you’re a guy who is 6ft and walks around at 190lbs but you fight at 154lbs. And you invest in nutritionist and you run a strict diet program you have advantages. But not everyone is like that. I have seen fighters WING it and cut 30lbs. That’s not going to get it. But if you do it right and you have a good rehydration program it works.
If you’re asking me what do I prefer, it depends on the fighter. Only special fighters can give up the size Mayweather, Loma and Pacquiao give up. So yes they walk around close to their weight. Yes they can eat a calorie full diet which allows you have to have more energy and it allows you to think more clearly. All of them are strong physically, they have good chins and they are highly skilled. If some fighters fought closer to their natural weights they would be average. So you have to take everything into context.
I don’t know how effective Loma would be going backwards vs a taller fighter. I have to see them stand next to each other because height and length can be deceptive. I think Loma is a pressure boxer, who would rather come forward. So I don’t know if Loma can beat Lopez moving away.
But I do get what you’re saying. I think Loma has to be patient. I don’t think he has to force the fight. Lopez wants to run him into something. You can STEP to an opponent without OVER PUNCHING or doing anything careless. Loma can not over punch in this fight. Loma can use non punching aggressiveness with probing, feints and his feet.
I think this is a great fight. And I can see both guys winning. I think Lopez win, lose or draw is going to perform. He puts himself too much out there to not perform. If lays an egg, he may never recover mentally because how much he has talked. But I believe the kids has it. I think he’s going to fight very well.
The key to the fight for me is simple. Can Loma get BEHIND or outside Lopez’s lead shoulder. If he can, he can turn Lopez, and peck him to death. If Lopez can keep Loma, in between his shoulders lines. Basically keeping Loma in front of him lined up, Lopez can clip him.
You’ve talked about a few great boxing performances, you’ve singled out Chavez vs Rosario as perhaps the greatest pressure performance, but what would say are some of the greatest slugging performances? Let’s say… top 5 greatest slugging performances ever?
Bread’s Response: People in boxing don’t respect Sluggers the way they respect boxers as far as great performances. But I think they deserve equal credit. I don’t know if my top 5 will be accurate because I’m doing this off the top of my head.
It’s also hard to narrow it down to 5 but here goes. George Foreman has two! He slugged HOF Joe Frazier and Ken Norton to bits. Just awesome performances.
Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling II. Louis just brutalized him.
Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks. What an ambush.
Diego Corrales vs Jose Luis Castillo. War Corrales.
Bread - Love the mailbag. I had a training/strategy question for you. At lot of trainers and commentators talk about fighters having to punch in combination. And when I see fighters and triainers work on the mitts they seem to work combinations of 5, 6, 7 punches, sometimes more. Yet, on fight night I rarely see fighters throw combinations of more than 2-3 punches. Now, I know some of that is simply that you’ve got another guy firing back at you, but I would think there should be some opportunities to throw high punch (4 or more) sequences in the heat of battle? Am I completely wrong here?
Thanks man. Keep up the great work.
Bread’s Response: It’s hard to hit an elite fighter who is not hurt with 5 or more punches at a time. It’s also fatiguing and it leaves you open to be countered. There are opportunities but everyone is not programmed to take those type of chances.
It’s not that you’re so wrong, it’s just that you may not realize that it’s not easy. It takes compliance. You have to have a non reactive fighter and a really coordinated free flowing fighter to land 5 or more punches on the norm vs the Elite. Manny Pacquiao, Muhammad Ali, Ray Leonard, Roy Jones, James Toney, Meldrick Taylor and Juan Manuel Marquez. Sometimes talent spoils us. In your case maybe watching fancy pad routines have spoiled you.
So no you aren’t completely wrong. It just takes a skill to do it that not everyone has.
I’m a long time reader. But this is my first time writing in. You could say that i’m a casual+ boxing fan (i know more than the average Joe, but i don’t pretend to know the finer nuances of the fight game).
Whenever i see these talented millenials (Shakur Stevenson, Devin Haney etc.) talking about wanting to fight x talented champions, i can’t help to think ”you’re talented but you’re not a grown man”, and i always end up thinking something along the lines of ’there is no way a grown man like for example Terrence Crawford would allow him self to get beat by a kid - no matter how talented the kid (20-23 y/o).
If you put all the PR stuff aside, how far off base am i? If for example Stevenson where to fight Loma next week, would it be a 50/50 type fight?
I guess what i’m wondering is, how close (skill wise) is it at the elite level between an up and comer and a champion?
Please shed some light.
Goran from Sweden
Ps. I know you can ”be” a man at an early age (provide for your family etc.) But it’s just something about this new younger breed that makes me think that they are not Ali, or even Crawford tough when push comes to shove. Guess only time will tell.
Bread’s Response: Believe it or not athletes hit their physical primes much sooner than we realize. Sometimes in boxing we catch on too late. Roman Gonzalez was in his prime years before we saw him on HBO. Look at Oscar and Tito. Oscar was rolling at 23-24 years old. He was even up with Whitaker at 24. He beat Chavez at 23. Tito was so advanced in his early 20s that he was really done by 28. Floyd fought Genaro Hernandez at 21. Ray Leonard was 23 when he fought for the title and 24 when he fought Duran. Hearns was 22 when he fought Leonard.
Babying fighters is a new thing. It really is. Most great fighters are ready to GO by 25. Some take longer but that is the average. I think the mind and composure still gets better in the late 20s and early 30s. But reaction and physical peak is at it’s apex in the 20s. Just look at a video of your favorite fighter at 23, then look at him at 30. At 30 he may be more refined and composed but at 23 he’s on fire.
I’m saying this to say that some fighters are ready to go in their early 20s. If Stevenson and Haney want the killers now, give them the killers. Let them prove if they are special or not.
IF you go to any gym in America you will see something that no one will admit publicly. An elite prospect or amateur kicking a seasoned pros butt. It happens on a normal basis in the gym. A very normal basis. The reason why is because in a contained environment for lesser rounds, the younger, more reactive fighter usually gets the better of the work. If that younger fighter has physical toughness then that can carry over to a real fight.
I love Terence Crawford. I think he’s the best fighter in the world. But Vergil Ortiz and Jaron Ennis are real threats to him. They have 10 years less experience but they also have 10 years less wear and tear. Youth is something else and there is a difference between the amount of punishment a 33 year old has taken and what a 23 year old has taken.
Toughness is something that can be built upon. Sometimes it’s natural. Sometimes it’s cultivated. Lots of the greats had toughness from the beginning. I want to see if Stevenson, Haney and the rest of the new young guns have it. I say give them what they want. The earlier we get a Superstar the better the legacy will be. He will have more years to entertain us. Holyfield sure didn’t lack any toughness or manly qualities going 15 rounds vs a killer in Dwight Qawi at 23 years old and 11 fights deep.
Hope you're well.
TEOFIMO VS LOMA
It's an interesting fight in which insiders' perception seems to differ from the general public. From what I read online, Teo is going to be slaughtered. A young cocky hype job.
Strong but way too early for him. Loma has been appreciated for a few years and benefited from exciting and flashy analysis videos and highlights reals online.
Insiders, boxing minds, pros, seem to give him a real chance.
What's your take?
Emotionality - Regardless of the skills and experience disparity, Teo seems to be locked in, and as a young undefeated star, his pride will push him and I don't think he'll quit.
I feel him more emotional than Loma who appears to be cold as a machine.
In what cases in history was emotionality for a fighter an advantage - in the sense that it pushed him - and the opposite?
Like being transcended by the crowd, pushing beyond one's limits because of a personal grudge, convictions, ego, honor, etc...
Timing of the fight - Everybody says the timing is great. Not under or over-cooked. Sure.
But aren't we a little biased? We know Loma is still prime but not at his peak, we know he's a bit small, and Teo is heading to 140 soon.
But in a perfect world, which doesn't exist, of course, you as a coach, wouldn't you have wanted 2 more fights for Teo? From gatekeepers to one solid early KO of a solid yet way different fighter than Loma in Comey?
Basically, I feel like Teo is the goods but it might be just a little early.
Imagine two years ago Ennis stops a decent titleholder at WW in the second round in Horn fresh from his Pacman win. He's now a freshly crowned WW champ.
Is he ready for Crawford right after though? He might get outclassed, in late 2018.
Yet, you know he's the goods today. It's all about timing.
Father and Son - Did you have a chance to watch the two episodes of Blood Sweat and Tears? Lopez seems to have a complex relationship with his dad.
What do you make of it? What's your gut feeling about all this drama?
Soro vs Jermell 154
GGG 2014 vs Jermall 2020
Teo vs Kingry 135
Teo vs Taylor 140
Teo vs Prograis 140
Mikey vs Taylor 140
Teo vs Broner 135
Bread’s Response: I don’t believe Lopez will get slaughtered. If he does then put Loma in the HOF, Sunday morning. He’s an ATG and a top 100 fighter ever. Lopez, is bigger, a harder puncher, almost 10 years younger and has major pedigree. This is no easy fight for Loma. Linares wasn’t easy. Campbell wasn’t easy. Lopez is harder to beat than both.
This fight is about 51/49 in my opinion. Slightly in Loma’s favor.
The Emotionality part only comes in if Loma fights a stupid fight or if Lopez is hurt or tired and needs to dig deep. Lopez has to be focused. Throughout history I think it played a part in Frazier vs Ali 1. Frazier was so charged up, he was wiling to die that night. And he almost did but he got the win he needed. There are too many others to name but Holyfield vs Tyson 1 stands out. Holyfield was talking in tongues walking to the ring. He literally was under some type of spiritual elevation. Looking back Tyson didn’t have a chance.
The Timing of the fight is the Timing of the fight. I don’t want to overthink a decision made by Team Lopez. Here is the thing. The physicality of the fighters makes this fight almost even. 135 is Loma’s ceiling weight. And 135 is a weight that Lopez will not make too many more times. He’s going to be a welterweight in the next 4 years. Physicality means a lot in boxing.
I feel bad for Lopez in the relationship aspect with his father. He seems hurt but I don’t want to get into it. It’s complex and in the end it can be a gift and a curse. I’ve had a similar relationship and your emotions become an enigma. They are all over the place. The one thing I will say is this fight rides high on his father. If things get tough on Lopez, his dad has to be patient with his adjustments. Loma is a great fighter and he’s not going to lay down in 2 rounds. Lopez may lose some rounds and get busted up some. His dad has to stick with him emotionally and not down talk him and become too frustrated. If that happens Lopez and his dad will be together in that ring. What they don’t want to happen is Lopez be out there by himself because Loma and his dad are a UNIT. Lopez has to win WITH his dad and not in SPITE of his dad.
Jermell, GGG, Teo, Taylor, Flip a coin, Taylor, Broner of 135 flip another coin.
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