By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as the junior middleweight champions fighting each other, the top pound for pound fighter in boxing, the decline of Glen Tapia, PED use coming into play when boxers are considered for the Hall of Fame, some mythical matches and more.
Who do you think is the #1 pound for pound fighter in boxing? I haven’t seen any of your list.
Bread’s Response: At this exact moment I would say Terence Crawford. If everyone were the same size he’s the fighter I would feel most comfortable betting on. But if the winner of Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux puts on an all time great performance I would reconsider. That fight has some serious historical significance.
Who would you favor to win if the Charlos were to fight Andrade or Lara? Also I know you are big on betting odds who do you believe will be favorites.
Bread’s Response: Tough question. At one time Andrade was more advanced and further along than both twins. Andrade is older and he was a better amateur. Actually the same thing can be said about Lara. But something changed in 2015. The gap closed greatly.
All of the fights are basically even fights depending on who was having the best night. But if I had to bet I would say both Charlos would beat both Andrade and Lara. But I wouldn’t bet the house because the fights are so close. I just feel like they are rising and Lara and Andrade are pretty much the same guys they were for the last few years. I also feel like Andrade’s inactivity would come back to bite him vs those guys now.
What in the hell happened to Glen Tapia? He was viewed as an elite level prospect with Top Rank now he’s a complete punching bag. Was he overrated? Did James Kirkland ruin him?
Bread’s Response: It’s hard to say if Kirkland ruined Tapia. The term ruined gets used too much in boxing. Sometimes the level just reveals what the fighter is. Sometimes prospects will only go on to be decent fighters vs the top level guys instead of elite.
Tapia took a beating vs Kirkland but I thought he was struggling before he fought Kirkland. I watched some of his fights and I always thought he was overly muscled and tight. He used to always get tired and his fundamentals and technique weren’t the best. So who knows? I think Top Rank did the best they could in getting him as far as they did. This is an undervalued era of 154lb fighters. From 2008-12 some very good fighter turned pro in that weight area. Some even have HOF potential. I never viewed Tapia as blue chippy as some of the top guys who I speak of so I didn’t expect him to be a stand out among that crew.
Demetrius Andrade and Erislandy Lara have the same exact problem. No one cares about their fights once you watch a few rounds of them. Both guys had outclassed fighters in front of them and did the same exact thing. Coasted to boring decisions. I wouldn’t care if I ever saw either of them again.
Bread’s Response: Andrade and Lara are elite level talents. They need other elite level talents to bring out the spark in them. Matchmakers have to realize this and not showcase them vs certain opponents.
But I think you’re wrong in this particular case of criticism. I think Andrade and Lara are what they are. Neither guy ran and they both out threw Alantez Fox and Terrell Gausha. They didn’t out throw them by a little bit either. They were considerably more busy. Andrade and Lara also both took the fight to their opponents at times. So they were there to be hit. I know when I see a bad milking it type of performance and their performances weren’t that. I think you have to blame the opponents for not doing more.
I give Gausha and Fox a great deal of credit for stepping up and taking fights no one expected them to win. But at the same time they have to take responsibility for not making the fights more exciting and action filled. Andrade and Lara put a lot more hurt on them, than they did Andrade and Lara. You have to be fair and objective when you analyze fights. These lackluster fights were not the champion’s fault. Andrade and Lara made the fights and were more aggressive than their opponent’s.
I read where someone asked Doug Fischer does he consider PED use when claiming a fighter should be in the HOF and his answer was interesting. He actually named names and said yes. I would like to ask you the same question. Do you reconsider HOF consideration on fighters who you suspect or are known PED users? Also how can this problem be solved.
Bread’s Response: Well 1st off I’m not that important. I don’t vote on who gets in the HOF or not.
I also don’t want to get into the suspect stuff as far as considering someone for the HOF. In the 90s there wasn’t a lot of PED testing so therefore all of the greats around that time can be suspect.
I personally try to keep it simple. If a fighter has failed a test, refused testing or admitted to using then yes you have to reconsider his accomplishments. It’s only fair. I won’t name names out of respect for retired fighters. We all know who they are. And most will get in the Hall. This is not baseball.
Fixing the problem is simple to me. I don’t know how smart I am but I know the people who run boxing are smarter than me. If they wanted it fix it would be fixed.
Read closely what I’m about to say it only requires common sense. In what other sport do the athletes who are being tested get to determine when the testing starts, how long the testing will be, which testing agency they will test with and which one of their opponents get tested? The answer is no other sport besides professional boxing. Not even amateur boxing is that counterproductive.
The boxers deserve some blame but most of the blame is on the infrastructure. The networks could simply require any fighter on that network be randomly tested. Once you get the promoters on board testing won’t be a negotiation tactic it would be a requirement.
Can we imagine Usain Bolt telling Justin Gatling if we are going to race in the Olympics you have to take testing. But the testing will start when we announce the race. And if Justin Gatling wants his chance to be a Gold Medalist he has to adhere to the demands. The system of testing in boxing is so absurd it’s laughable.
You simply can’t make big money in boxing without the networks period. They really control the money. So if the networks required fighters to test in order to make this huge money the fighters would have no other choice. The networks are more powerful than the promoters and the fighters. They really call the shots because they can approve and disapprove bouts…..
Is Floyd Mayweather the smartest fighter ever? I know we call him the TBE but it’s hard to be TBE with 50 fights. But I think he has a reasonable case for being the smartest guy ever.
Bread’s Response: You know what, he does have a reasonable case for being the smartest fighter ever. His IQ is off the charts and I wouldn’t argue with anyone who says he is. There are few other guys have arguments but Floyd is at or near the top of the food chain in that IQ category.
Mythical Match ups. Oscar De La Hoya vs Canelo. Felix Trinidad vs GGG. Andre Ward vs Roy Jones. Juan Manuel Marquez vs Alexis Arguello.
Bread’s Response: De la Hoya vs Alvarez is a really good fight. Canelo has really closed the gap hypothetically vs some great fighters. I’m not sure if Oscar would have been able to hang with GGG like Canelo did. The best Oscar ever looked at 154 was against Mosely and Vargas. He had life and death in both of those fights. Oscar and Vargas traded winning rounds until he caught Vargas and although I thought he beat Shane Mosley in their 2nd fight, he had a tough time down the stretch. If you twist my arm I say they would have to fight 3 times to decide it. Right now I slightly lean Oscar because of his jab but Canelo has improved so much I may change my mind next year.
Tito vs GGG is a brutal fight. Tito was not known as a great middleweight but his performances vs William Joppy is as devastating as anything GGG has ever done. GGG is not hard to hit and Tito has the heaviest left hook of the last 25 years. Tito is a pressure fighter but he also likes fighters who come to him. GGG will bring the noise. The one punch you can hit Tito with is a jab and GGG has the best jab in boxing. No one ever ate Tito’s shots and just walked through them. GGG has one of the best chins I have ever seen. I would have loved to see if he could walk through Tito’s hook. Tito also had the better gas tank. I’ve never seen him fatigued. Right now I say GGG on size and physicality but this is another great close fight that I wouldn’t be surprised if Tito won.
Andre Ward vs Roy Jones is a fight historians will debate for some time after Ward’s career is put in perspective. I know most people easily take Jones over the field at 168lbs but this is no easy fight. Two fights tell me that. Jones’s fights vs Mike McCallum and Montell Griffin. McCallum was dominated but he offset Jones with subtle feints and a clever left hand. Watch that fight very close. Montell Griffin was able to get low vs Jones in their 1st fight and not only jab up but also counter him with hooks. Roy’s defense up against the ropes was to cover up and then counter underneath. Ward is a master infighter.
Roy has a big advantage vs Ward as far as range. Ward is a little taller but he doesn’t have the long arms and long legs that Jones had. If you look at Ward’s anatomy he has short arms and a long torso. Roy Jones had really long arms and long legs. Jones was really rangy to be 5’11. Jones didn’t jab often but his hook was as good as everyone else’s jab. He has a speed and power advantage in this fight. They both have master IQ’s and mind quickness. But Ward is the better infighter. I think Jones’s lead hook, sneaky right hand and other worldly reflexes would keep Ward honest enough. Remember Roy is a lights out puncher, you can’t just run up on him and try to bully him.
If you twist my arm I say Jones pecks and pokes to a really close decision and is able to score points like he did vs Eric Harding and Tarver 1. But it wouldn’t be easy. Roy had a fundamental flaw of just backing to the ropes even in his prime vs busy fighters with good jabs and Ward would pick up on that and win his share of rounds.
Marquez vs Arguello is another excellent matchup between fighters who are rated in a similar place historically. Neither fighter is a defensive genius and both are two of the better offensive fighters in history. Marquez is a master counter puncher with some of the best punch variety I have ever seen. He is also one of the more resilient fighters in history. He has been knocked down several times maybe over 10 times but he always gets up to not only finish fights but he often stops the fighters who have dropped him.
Arguello could be the best puncher in history 135lbs and below. His body punching is easily top 10 ever. His right upper cut and left hooks to the body were just sick. He had a hard jab and long brutal right hand to finish the combo. On top of that his hook off the jab was the best in boxing for many years and maybe best ever. You couldn’t tell if it was a hook or a jab until he turned it. For a visual reference the shot Johhny Gonzales knocked Abner Mares out with. I have studied Arguello very close. His prime was from around 77-81. He is not a great athlete but his technique, delivery and power are on par with the greatest punchers in history. Including Joe Louis. That’s how good of a puncher he is. His apex performance vs Alfredo Escalera in their 2nd fight.
For as great as Marquez was, he sort of had letdown performances vs his other guys. He fought Pacquiao like a demon but watch his fights vs Tim Bradley, Freddie Norwood, Marco Antonio Barerra, Floyd Mayweather and Juan Diaz. He’s not a one hit Pacquiao wonder by any means. But he fought Manny better than he fought any of the other elite fighters of career. He gets credit for being able to handle Pacquiao’s style when no one else could.
I say after a slow start Arguello drops Marquez is a violent shootout. He goes to the body enough to sap some of Marquez’s late surge and wins a split decision. Don’t let the Pryor fight fool you, 140 was Arguello’s ceiling weight, he was on the other side of his prime and Marquez wouldn’t have beaten Pryor either.
Bread, did you watch Dillian Whyte's fight on Joshua-Takam card? Do you think he poses any threat to Wilder at all?
Bread’s Response: Yes I did. Anything can happen in boxing. Whyte could clip Wilder. But I would make Wilder a huge favorite to beat Whyte. Whyte has slow reaction time in my opinion. Wilder has a really fast first step with his 1-2. I also think Whyte is slipping a little bit. His form and balance is not the best. I know people think Whyte could beat Wilder but I’m not one of them. I think Wilder ends this fight in 3 rounds.
What did you think of the Joshua fight? And what is your pick in Wilder vs Stiverne?
Bread’s Response: I think Joshua is the face of international boxing. He has the look, the charisma, the temperament and he has the opponents. I thought he did a solid job. I think his punch selection is good, I think his speed is good and he has good instincts.
His stamina is a concern and it will be until his career is over. It has nothing to do with him not being conditioned. His body just needs a recovery period and it’s noticeable. Sergio Maartinez used to get tired around the 4th round and then he would get his 2nd wind a few rounds later. Joshua’s tired stage comes around the 6th. Watch him closely. Joshua is one of my favorite fighters in all of boxing but if I’m being fair I would say he’s too heavily muscled. All in all he did a solid job vs Takam.
I want to give Takam props though because he fought a heck of a fight. I keep telling you guys you don’t have to be a giant to compete with giants. Takam is not a great fighter. But he hung tough with a beast who is considerably bigger than him on 2 weeks notice. His temperament and skill set allowed this. I also think the stoppage was premature. I’m not saying Takam would have won but I am saying that referees should not play fortune tellers. Anything can happen in boxing. Joshua could have shot his load. Takam was coherent, he was fighting back and he was being defensively responsible. He deserved a chance to keep fighting.
I am picking Wilder to win. Stiverne simply does not have the upbeat gas tank to pressure Wilder effectively enough. Stiverne is tricky but he’s complacent with his pressure. He has to take too many bombs from Wilder in order to get to him. If he fights at a faster pace he will fatigue himself. He has a chance to clip Wilder but other than a Sunday punch, wilder outboxes and out punches him.
Your thoughts about Tito vs Mayweather in their prime.
Bread’s Response: Oh geez. What a fight! Some would assume because of the Oscar fight, Floyd would outbox Tito. Others would assume because of the Castillo fights, Tito would out fight Floyd.
Head to head this is a really tough match up for me to call. I watched Floyd Mayweather fight two fights that left me in awe. One was his perfect fight vs Diego Corrales. That performance is as good as any performance in the history of boxing. He started with a jab. He moved his jab from the head to the body. Then he started landing a hook when Corrales was bracing himself for the jab. After the hook started landing he threw a right hand over the top. He also never went overboard he just kept boxing and punishing Corrales but never overly pressed for the stoppage. For a purist that fight was masterful.
Floyd’s performance vs Zab Judah was also breath taking. I know Judah is not in Trinidad’s league but Judah was ready that night. Judah was fast, sharp and he was on. Judah knocked Floyd down unofficially, won 3 of the first 4 rounds and was hitting Floyd with big shots. Floyd didn’t panic. He found his rhythm around the 5th round and swept the rest of the fight. Floyd boxed aggressively off of his front foot from a high guard. No shoulder roll, no extra moving. People don’t realize how hard it is to win a fight at the top level in more than one way. They also don’t realize how difficult it is to sweep 7 straight rounds vs an elite talent. Floyd did both.
Trinidad was an absolute serial killer. He ran marathons so he’s one of the few fighters who can match Floyd late in a fight. His temperament is also one that could match Floyd’s. Tito didn’t panic when he lost some rounds. He kept pressing. Even in the Hopkins fight which clearly wasn’t his night, he kept going at the larger fighter. Tito’s performance vs Oba Carr, Mamadou Thiam , William Joppy and Fernando Vargas were as good as anything you will see from a linear pressure fighter.
I believe Floyd is better in a p4p sense. But Tito’s size and ability to disregard punishment from much bigger fighters pose a huge problem from Floyd. Remember Tito took Roy Jones’s punches at 170lbs! His chin was very good despite him being dropped often.
As I’m typing I’m assessing the fight. It’s very close for me. Let’s just say they would have had to fight 3 times to decide.
I read that you said you feel Charlo would be the most likely to unify. I like Charlo, but I think he would try to be to technical against Lara to win. I thin he would probably beat Hurd but idk, I am not sure how good Hurds chin really is, he may be like Margaritio. And I have never seen Charlo fight a guy who is going to pressure him like Hurd. The one I am most convinced of though, is that Hurd beats Lara. He is a bigger better version of Angulo. He will walk through Laras shots to land his own and he doesn't appear to really ever be discouraged. I don't think Lara is anywhere near as durable as Trout. He breaks Lara with pressure, determination, and throwing punches while Lara is throwing with little regard. Idk, What are your thoughts on Lara vs Hurd?
Bread’s Response: Hurd gets hit too clean in my opinion to beat Jermell Charlo. But you fight the fights in the ring not on paper.
Lara vs Hurd is an interesting fight. I don’t think Trout is more durable than Lara. I think Trout is easier to hit so he has to show his durability more often. Trout is not as defensive minded as Lara.
I think Lara is a winner and he does what he has to do. I think his opponents gets frustrated and they pressure him with unconfident pressure. Angulo and Molina were steadfast. They both got to him. Hurd is riding high and the kid does not stop coming. I once thought Lara outboxes Hurd easy but not anymore. Lara would have a tough night on his hands at this point. Lara has not been under the gun in 3 years and he’s 34. I’m not picking Hurd at this time but I would love to see the odds on the fight. I also notice that Hurd is more confident in fighting Lara than he is Charlo. If you listen to his interviews, Lara is the guy he wants. He sees something in Lara…..Fighters know.
Have you seen Arias in a live bout before? Can you tell me your opinion of him? He speaks very confidently regarding his upcoming Jacobs bout. Would you agree the following questions are important for this bout to favor an Arias win?
How will Arias handle Jacobs pressure as I see Danny coming forward each round after experiencing 12 with GGG?
Does Arias have enough punching power to keep Danny from walking him down?
If you say yes to Arias punching ability, I'm feeling upset in the making, potential KO win for Arias.
How do you feel about John David Jackson's game plan for Arias or do you know enough to comment?
Bread’s Response: I have seen Arias. He can fight. He’s not a super athlete as far as speed and quickness but he knows his way around a boxing ring. I would describe his style as a technical brawler.
I don’t know if Jacobs will box Arias off the front foot or back foot. I suspect he will go towards him and attempt to bomb him out early. Jacobs has some boxing skills but he’s not a cutey. He had to fight like that vs GGG but that’s not usually what he does.
Middleweights are 180lb men when they aren’t boxing. Sure he can punch hard enough to hurt Jacobs.
I don’t know what Jackson’s game plan is so I can’t comment on that.
I do expect a real competitive fight…
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