By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Mikey Garcia, Floyd Mayweather vs. Sugar Ray Leonard, some thoughts about candidates and winners for yearly awards, and more.
Hi Breadman! Always enjoy your thoughts on everything in boxing.
Who would you like to see Lomachenko fight next? I think Mikey Garcia at 135.
Who in boxing had the best engine?
Bread’s Response: I think Loma needs to unify at 130 before we talk of 135. Davis and Berchelt are real fights he is not guaranteed to win. I would favor him to win but he has to do it in the ring. At 135, Easter, Garcia and Linares are all tough fights.
What I see often happening in this era is fighters jump weight before the clean out the threats. You have guys claiming to be 3,4 and 5 division champions without beating their biggest available threats in the division they left. I don’t want to see Loma do that. If he got too big for 126 which is understandable because his Olympic Gold was 132, I don’t think he has outgrown 130 yet. If he doesn’t get all of the belts at least try to get 2 or 3 of them before leaving for 135.
The best engine in boxing. The fighter who has the best stamina and endurance over 12 rounds…..hmmm….I would say Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko. I can’t choose between these two. They are both monsters late in fights and I have never seen either remotely tired. I also will give Errol Spence an honorable mention but I need to see him vs more top level opponents. But Spence’s stamina seems A+.
Hey bread, I saw you respond to somebody on twitter implying BJS was juicing for the lemiuex fight and I really don't think he was. The Ingle gym has been training him hard. If you look at the shape he was in for the artur akakov fight (I think 14st for a while) I don't think the stamina improvement is that surprising considering that for the first time he is on a proper diet and training routine (there were a lot of videos of him running in an altitude tent).
I also see people making the same accusations about AJ. Again, I don't think he is performing at a level beyond what can be expected for somebody who trains like he does and with his build. His stamina isn't what it would be if he were less muscular and his chin isn't the best either. People seem to just be going off of his looks but it is possible to look like that without taking anything. What are your thoughts on these two? Thanks, -Sam
Bread’s Response: I didn’t imply Saunders was on anything. A fan implied that to me. But here is the thing. In this era it’s reasonable to speculate. Saunders looked unreal the other night after struggling for his last 3 fights. Anytime you see that, it’s reasonable to ask what kind of testing was done. I have been giving Saunders major props for one of the best “Stick n Move” performances I have seen in while. But I would like to see him do that under VADA consistently because of the era we are in. And that is in no way implying he’s on something banned. Saunders fought his ass off and I think he’s 50/50 or better vs any middleweight in the world if that wasn’t a one night hit.
I don’t know what Anthony Joshua is on or isn’t on. What I do know is he’s one of my favorite fighters in boxing. But Deontay Wilder is calling him out and to fight Wilder you have to start your VADA testing early. Let’s see what happens. I don’t jump to conclusions about a boxer’s performances these days. Because some of my favorite fighters of the past were cheaters. As of now I assume Joshua and Saunders are clean fighters, until someone proves otherwise.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and the questions from everyone else. They always give me a new insight. I got a couple questions for ya if you've got a couple minutes.
1. Vargas just won recently but I'm not sold on that win. I don't know how he does against the top 5 WW's out there. He seems a bit robotic and waits on his guy, or he won't take the lead enough. Maybe that's his style. It was a win and that's good. Who knows, maybe I'm being too hard on the kid...
2. Which fighter learned more: Canelo vs Golvokin? Who is capable of making the more and better changes in the rematch (assuming it happens in May before age sets in more for GGG)? You got GGG in your top 10 MW's all time?
3. How would Spence have done against the WW's of years past?
- Ray Leonard
- De La Hoya
4. Lastly, man I'm just frustrated by how infrequently all these guys fight. Maybe they make too much at the top level. Who knows. It's so annoying, especially when half those fights are "waiting room" fights since another top guy isn't in the ring with them for whatever reason (schedule, promoter, etc). It kills me! You know Harry greb fought 25 times in on year? In that year he fought Mickey Walker AND Maxie Rosenbloom in the same month, and he even fought Gene Tunney in that same year too (maybe that's why Springs Toledo ranked Greb as his number 1 guy) Boxers these days, I tells ya...
Thanks for your time. Keep up the good work.
Bread’s Response: I think Jesse Vargas is a solid fighter. His win over Sadam Ali is looking better and better. But here is the thing. Sometimes well rounded fighters have to be matched really tough in order for us to see how good they are. Vargas lost pretty clean to, two aging fighters in Pacquiao and Bradley. But they are both HOF. He struggled against a slew of prospect level opponents. And he beat Sadam Ali who just gave a great performance vs Miguel Cotto.
Right at this moment I say Vargas is a solid fighter but not a A+ talent. He would beat some guys but I don’ think he beats young prime fighters in the top 5. But Vargas is a gamer, let’s see how his career progresses. There are some big fights out there for him at 147 on the PBC side of the table.
I don’t have GGG in my top 10 middleweights ever. But I do think he is top 20 champions at 160. Middleweight had some great fighters that never got the opportunity to fight for the title like Charley Burley and Sam Langford.
I don’t know who learned more in the first fight. But I think both can improve. Golovkin’s punch selection was off. The only thing he could land was a jab. He didn’t land many good body shots, he didn’t make Canelo pay for going to the ropes and he kept missing the right hand over and over. GGG needs to step over to his right and hit Canelo in the kidney or short rib with the right hand instead of trying to hit him in the head from too far out. Canelo saw it everytime and rolled it. I think Abel Sanchez is a great coach. Sanchez and GGG will have to figure out why Canelo was so comfortable on the ropes and why GGG didn’t punish more when he went there. For the last 5 years GGG has been the best fighter in boxing with his opponent’s back toward the ropes….
Canelo has the advantage in the rematch in my opinion. He has felt the power. Power punchers take some time to get used too. But as your body becomes accustomed to the power, if the power is not wearing you down you can take it better. I am not in Canelo’s head so I don’t know what he felt. But if he can hold his ground more and get off without having to escape consistently, he will have a huge advantage in this fight. His hand speed and sharp punching already kept Golovkin honest. Imagine if he got off more and didn’t move as much. He would put himself in the danger zone to be kod but he would also put more hurt on GGG. Let’s see what happens.
Everyone you named for Spence to fight is an all time great and/or HOF. Spence is a great young talent but he just got to the elite level. He beat 1 elite fighter in Kell Brook who is not better than anyone on the list you gave me. Ask me this in 2 years. Let’s see how Spence handles, Peterson, Thurman, Garcia, Porter, Crawford and emerging Josh Taylor before we get into hypotheticals vs legends.
It does bother me how infrequent top guys fight. And I’m not one to say they should fight 4 or 5 times per year. But 3 times in a year is very feasible. Everytime an elite talent fights 3 times in a year he becomes a star. GGG, Wilder, Kovalev…..Lomachenko just did it in 2017. It can be done.
I think it’s the mentality of the era. Everyone waits to see weaknesses in their peers instead of being the one to expose them. Attrition is the secret to matchmaking in the last decade or so. No one fights hot fighters. They wait until they see them “exposed” then the fights get made. Think about it. 90% of the big fights happen now “AFTER” a subpar performance.
I have to say I am convinced Lomachenko is already better than and has surpassed Mayweather in terms of ability and resume? I know he doesn't have the incredible marketing power and self promotion of Mayweather and on the face of it Lomachenko looks clearly to be the better boxer? Did Mayweather ever envision being eclipsed so soon? Your thoughts?
Bread’s Response: You’re a very sick young man. Those are my thoughts. Loma is a special talent but it’s way to early to say he has a better resume than Floyd Mayweather. As far as ability he you may have a better case but you’re still off and here is why. We need to see if that ability carries over vs elite guy after elite guy.
8 years ago Jorge Linares looked to be as good as Alexis Arguello or Salvador Sanchez. But it didn’t turn out that way. You guys have to stop. How are old you? What is your nationality? I am very curious as to what demographic would produce such a skewed opinion.
Trainer of the Year? Fighter of the Year?
Bread’s Response: Now that the year is over I have candidates for each. I really haven’t decided yet and as I type I will try to figure it out.
Trainer of the Year is usually given to the Trainer of the Fighter of the Year. In my opinion that’s an easy way to analyze although in some cases it can be true. In my opinion the Trainer of the Year is simply who did the best job training a fighter or fighters at the top level. How did the those fighters respond to the training? In my opinion 5 trainers have stood out in 2017.
Derrick James. His job with Errol Spence and Jermell Charlo has just been awesome. You can visibly see his teachings in both fighters. Andre Rozier has made a late push. Danny Jacobs has looked improved and Sadam Ali just scored a career defining victory over Miguel Cotto. Eddy Reynoso, Saul Alvarez’s trainer. If there is ever an underrated trainer it’s Reynoso. Alvarez is not adding all of these facets to his game by himself. Anatoly Lomachenko, can anyone teach such perfect balance and execution than Lomachenko. Brian Mcintyre, the trainer of Terrence Crawford. Crawford was not the best amateur. He was not always this highly touted. The strides Crawford have made in the last 5 years is not all god given. The world needs to know who Mcintyre is.
This was a really tough choice for me. And it simply came down to what Trainer had to go up against the biggest threat. What trainer was key in the most significant performance and victory. Lomachenko and Mcintyre did great jobs with their charges but both of their fighters were big favorites going into their big fights. Reynoso’s fighter Canelo Alvarez performed wonderfully but I don’t think he beat GGG.
So that leaves Andre Rozier and Derrick James. Rozier is doing a great job but he lost the fight vs GGG with Danny Jacobs. So my choice is Derrick James. James scored 3 dominant ko victories with his charges in 2017. Jermell Charlo looks to be one of the most improved fighters in boxing. If you look at Charlo in 2015 and you look at him now there is a significant improvement in his performances. Errol Spence also went to the UK and scored a come from behind stoppage vs an excellent fighter in Kell Brook. Because of what Charlo and Spence did in 2017 I will say that Derrick James is the 2017 Trainer of the Year.
Fighter of the Year comes down to 4 choices for me. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Anthony Joshua, Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko.
SSR defeated an all time great fighter in Roman Gonzalez. He crushed him in the rematch and edged him the 1st fight. Because I thought he lost the 1st fight he won’t be my Fighter of the Year but because of his lack of mainstream press I feel as though he’s being severely overlooked and deserves a mention.
Terence Crawford had a tremendous year. He fought 2 real hardcore fan’s fighters in Felix Diaz and Julius Indongo. Crawford not only stopped both capable fighters but neither fight was competitive. In most years Crawford would be an easy choice. In 2017 he’s not easy for me because I’m not that high on Indongo but Crawford winning all 4 belts at 140lbs is historically significant and it doesn’t involve any favorable matchmaking.
Vasyl Lomachenko fought 3 times in 2017 which is huge for me. It really bothers me that most of the top fighters settle for 2 fights/year. Lomachenko was dominant in all 3 fights and he fought a legitimate great talent in Guillermo Rigondeaux. He stopped all 3 opponents.
Anthony Joshua scored the most significant victory of 2017 with his ko of HOF Wlad Klitschko. But I don’t know if that makes him the fighter of the year. He’s not performing at the level of Crawford or Lomachenko and Carlos Takam his other opponent for 2017 is just a solid top 15 guy.
I’m really torn and as I write this I will have a Co Fighter of the Year. I can’t choose between Lomachenko and Crawford. I feel they both had equally successful years. So my 2017 Fighters of the Year are Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko.
Did you see Lomachenko call Gervanta Davis out? Do you think that fight happens and how does it play out if so? Also who can challenge Lomachenko from 135 on down?
Bread’s Response: Yes I saw the call out of Davis. I think Davis is Loma’s biggest threat at 130lbs. Davis is one of the 10 best punchers in boxing. He can really punch. People compare him to Floyd Mayweather. But that’s comparison is off. Mayweather was much longer, had a much better jab and always was a superior boxer. But Davis is clearly a better puncher even at 130lbs. Davis is a mixture of Mike Tyson and Zab Judah in my opinion. I don’t view him as a great boxer. I view him as a talented, fast, athletic puncher. He’s lights out with either hand. He’s short but he’s a big kid for 130lbs. Loma would have to be careful engaging a kid who punches so fast and so sharp, especially early.
Loma’s big advantage over Davis is maturity. The boxing ring is a truth machine. Whatever your qualities and flaws are will come out in that ring. Loma’s boxing ability and maturity would show over the course of 12 rounds. For example Judah was able to crack fighters like Tszyu and Cotto early in fights. But over the course of time their maturity levels and calm demeanor were able to overcome him. I see the same thing happening in this fight.
There seems to be a disconnect among urban talents these days. A large % of them seem addicted to their cell phones and social media. I’m not saying this is the case with Davis because I have never watched him train in the gym. But I do see a lack of concentration from him in fights. With Loma I watch him doing mind exercising drills before and after his workouts. In the urban gyms I see top level fighters staring at their phones before and after their workouts. There is a reason why Lomachenko’s mind seems to work better than everyone elses.
I also think Leonard Ellerbe and Floyd Mayweather know what they are doing as far as matchmaking. Davis is their best young talent. I don’t believe they would put Davis in the ring with Lomachenko at this point. Mayweather was an international amateur. He respects the game. He knows how good you have to be to be dominant on the international level. If you listen to him talk you will see that he always gives Olympians and Amateur World Champions their props. He knows how good Loma is at this point. So I don’t think this fight has a chance of happening anytime soon.
I think Robert Easter, Jorge Linares and Mikey Garcia are Loma’s biggest threats at 135. I think he beats all 3. Head to Head Loma beats everyone at 135 and under.
Did you see the little war of words between Floyd Mayweather and Ray Leonard on social media? Floyd said he would’ve made easy work of Leonard and Hearns. Do you agree? Also who had the better career and who wins head to head Sugar Ray Leonard vs Floyd Mayweather.
Bread’s Response: I actually did see it yesterday. I think it was all in fun. Mayweather and Leonard are the common comparisons between fans these days. Both guys are extremely competitive and both think they are the best.
To start off no I don’t think Floyd makes easy work of Tommy Hearns. Hearns is actually a tougher stylistic match up than Leonard. Hearn’s 78 inch reach and laser jab would be a nightmare for Floyd. I actually talked with Emanuel Steward about both fights and he told me personally that Ray and Tommy would be too much for Floyd. Steward had tons of respect for Floyd but he just didn’t think he had the temperament to beat Hearns. Steward maintained that you have to “fight” Tommy and not box him. And Floyd is a boxer by nature and he would not have taken the chances necessary to get to the physically more dominant Hearns.
Obviously Steward trained Hearns so he’s bias. But I actually agreed with his assessment. Leonard needed a transcendent late round rally to overcome a prime Hearns. People don’t realize how good Hearns was. There are no more than 10 men in history who could have beaten Hearns head to head who fought around 147-154lbs.
Onto Leonard vs Mayweather. This is the hypothetical match up that is asked about the most. Both relate to each in contrasting eras. First off I think Floyd is just phenomenal. He is one of the greatest junior lightweights ever. He has a case for being the best and he’s no worse than top 5. In my opinion he’s one of the top 15 welterweights ever. Welterweight is the greatest division in boxing history. If you look at most top 10 all time p4p list. 50% of the fighters named will have made some of their legacies at welterweight. Did I mention Floyd won the junior middleweight title a few times. Floyd’s accomplishments are just outstanding. He has defeated over 20 ex or current world champions.
Floyd has also made more money than any other fighter and he retired undefeated. Some don’t agree with me but I believe Floyd is an all time great and one of the top 25 fighters in the history of boxing.
Sugar Ray Leonard did not retire undefeated and he didn’t have the longevity that Floyd had but he accomplished just as much. He won 5 titles in 5 different weight classes. His 4 scalps of Benitez, Duran, Hearns and Hagler are the 4 best wins collectively by any fighter since. Ray Leonard also made huge money and if you factor in when he made his money into today’s currency he would be beyond rich. In fact he’s still rich and he turned pro over 40 years ago.
If we take everything into consideration I would say Leonard did more. Hagler and Hearns both have cases for top 25 fighters ever. No one would rank them below top 50. Benitez is top 100 and is better than anyone Floyd has ever beaten. Yes Benitez at 36-0 and 21 years old is better than Cotto, Oscar and Shane. Pacquiao is better historically but Pacquiao was well past his best day when he and Floyd fought. Roberto Duran is no worse than top 10 fighters ever.
There is a myth that Duran was some small lightweight who jumped to 147 and took on Leonard. But the reality is Duran was no small lightweight. He outgrew the division and he took his time facing Leonard. He took 2 years of progressively tough fights, 8 in total before he challenged Leonard. Watch his fight with the great Carlos Palimino. It was one of the better performances ever at welterweight. Duran was the world’s best fighter when he fought Leonard. Leonard gets tons of credit from me because he is the only fighter in history to defeat the #1 fighter in the world 3 times. Duran, Hearns and Hagler were all the world’s best fighter when Ray Leonard defeated them.
Head to head Leonard and Mayweather would pose problems for each other. These days Leonard has poor posture as a 61 year old man but he’s taller and longer than Floyd. Their hand speed is about equal but it’s different. Floyd’s more neat and calculated. Floyd can’t punch in combination like Leonard. But for one shot he’s just as quick and fast. Leonard has blistering hand speed like Camacho and Taylor. Leonard is the much better puncher to the head and body. In late 1978 he hit his stride with his power and he became a brutal puncher. Youtube his fights with Daniel Gonzalez, Andy Price and Bruce Finch. At no point in his career could Floyd punch like Leonard.
Defensively people consider Floyd infinitely better. But I think it’s a stylistic and mindset preference. Ray Leonard was a boxer puncher killer. Killers get blood on their hands. Floyd Mayweather was a defensive calculated pure boxer who had a great offense when he chose to display it. They were wired differently.
Whenever Floyd went into a killer or offensive mode he got hit some. Zab Judah, Demarcus Corley, Miguel Cotto and Emanuel Augustus fights show this. In these fights his defense is no better than Ray Leonard’s. Their physical gifts are similar in my opinion. I think Floyd is neater and Leonard is a little more dynamic.
Both also had stellar amateur careers. Mayweather being a Bronze Medalist and Leonard being a Gold Medalist. I bring this up because it shows a layer of adaptability and quick thinking. Most great amateurs who aren't heavyweights have these qualities.
In this fight they both have great left jabs. Neither is known for their jabs. That’s just because most of these boxing scribes don’t know what they are looking at. Both go to the body well but Ray Leonard is an exceptional body puncher. See the 6th and 7th rounds of the Hearns fight.
I think both would take turns leading and countering but somewhere after the 5th or 6th rounds a fight would break out and it wouldn’t be a boxing match anymore. Leonard could really box but he could also fight like an SOB. Floyd’s gift is he’s always better than everyone in the 2nd half of fights. Floyd is a true “Deep Water” fighter. Floyd has gotten the better of everyone of his opponents late for the exception of Jose Luis Castillo. The problem is Leonard is probably better late. Leonard kod Floyd Sr. late. Hearns late. Benitez late. Kalule late. He even surged late in the 13th, 14th and 15th to push Duran late. Most people don’t realize that there was mild controversy with the scoring in Duran vs Leonard 1 because of how strong Leonard closed.
When Floyd faces a sharp boxer like Leonard he usually takes his time. He’s so sure of himself he will even concede some early rounds. See Zab Judah and Oscar De La Hoya fights. The problem is he can’t do that with Leonard because of Leonard’s phenomenal stamina.
I say Leonard wins a hard fought decision in a 12 round fight. In a 15 rounder he stops him late in a dramatic fight. Sugar Ray Leonard is the best fighter since 1980!
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