The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Manny Pacquiao vs. Errol Spence or Terence Crawford, Mike Tyson, veteran trainer Robert McKracken, Moruti Mthalane and more.
Hey Bread. Hope you and your family are safe.
I've been seeing a lot of talk about Pacman taking on one of Spence/Crawford when this pandemic is finally over. My question is this: Are we really sure Pac has found the fountain of youth? His win over Thurman is great on paper but when you consider the fact that Thurman hadn't fought in almost two years and was almost stopped by Lopez, it makes you wonder if Thurman was already damaged goods. It can also be argued that Pac's last real quality win was vs Tim Bradley in 2016.
It would be a shame to watch an ATG like Pac get brutalized by the likes of Crawford/Spence and be forced to hang them up afterwards.
How do you Pac's chances vs
Bread’s Response: I don’t think Pac has found the fountain of youth. I think he’s a genetic freak. I think he’s unique. He has slipped physically but his mind has advanced. He has about 70 fights and he’s literally fought everyone and every style. So his mind and skill set has went to a MASTER place and while his body has slipped, not so much where he can’t be great. The more you do something the better you get it. Manny has been fighting since 1995.
The Keith Thurman win was REAL. Thurman is one of those fighters who takes off. I know he’s had some injuries but can you imagine the injuries Pacman has after being a fighter for 25 years. Come on now. Pac looked like he was DEAD when Marquez kod him. I’m not giving anyone 10 years younger than him, who is about 15lbs naturally larger any excuses in a fight.
Thurman was inactive going into the Shawn Porter fight. He was inactive going into the Danny Garcia fight. He beat both of them and was sharp. So he got a tune up then he fought Pacman 6 months after his tune up. That’s the norm for him at this level. He didn’t perform bad vs Pac. He was sharp. It came down to Pac being able to land tide changing shots. Pac took Thurman’s shots better than Thurman took his.
Manny has evolved into a master boxer. People don’t realize it but that’s what he is at this point. He’s athletically more gifted than every fighter in this era. And because of his experience his skill level is off the charts. I don’t know how book smart he is, but his in the ring smarts are off the charts. Watch him close, he’s actually much better defensively than he was. His DEFENSE has allowed him prolonged success but he’s viewed as an offensive fighter so his defense gets overlooked. He leans off of right hands and he calmly steps back in with 1-2s. He parries jabs and he throws a hybrid hook right jab over the top. He mixes his attack up, from head to body or body to head. He changes sequences up constantly. He dropped Thurman with the up, down, up sequence. He slides his head to the RIGHT and shoots out a left hand as he’s being jabbed. He closes his guard off really good and shells up in defense. Manny has really good defense. I didn’t even mention his feet when he hops in and out away from punches. He used to get caught in no man’s land jumping in but he’s found a way to not get caught in that spot so often.
Most of all Manny enjoys boxing and he has fun in the ring. When a fighter is having fun he doesn’t get stressed out. Look at him in his stare down at the press conference vs Adrien Broner. He doesn’t take himself too serious. It’s easy to learn and correct yourself when you approach things like that. We are looking at something special my man. Don’t discredit it. Keith Thurman was the #1 welterweight in the world based on recent accomplishment and Manny beat him CLEAN.
The thing about Manny is he’s slipped but he was so much higher than everyone else besides Floyd Mayweather that slippage has not made him a shot old fighter. Let’s go back a few years..Look at the Marquez fight. He was on fire and got clipped. Then in his next fight he shuts out Brandon Rios who was still a beast in 2013. Then he beats a HOF level fighter in Tim Bradley. Chris Algieri was undefeated and riding high and Manny dominated him. Next he fights Floyd and wins 4 rounds but loses. That’s not drastic slippage. After Floyd he beats Bradley again more convincingly. Then he beats Jesse Vargas. Vargas is no joke. He gives everyone a tough fight. Manny gets some bad scorecards vs Jeff Horne. I thought Horne’s grappling threw him off but he had a strong 2nd half and I thought he won the fight. But it didn’t bother him because losses don’t stress him. Remember he’s having fun. He takes off a year and stops Lucas Matthysse. The year off didn’t bother him. Then he beats Adrien Broner who was actually sharp vs Manny but Manny is just operating at an ATG skill level. Then he beats Thurman who wanted to fight Manny. That’s important, it’s not like Manny picked on him. Thurman was the #1 PBC welterweight going by accomplishments. I don’t think this is a big resurgence because while he’s slipped from his 2008 form it’s been gradual. He never performs what you call bad. He never has back to back off nights. He never has a fight where you look and say, oh wow he doesn’t have it anymore. All of the performances have been even keel in my opinion with the Jeff Horne fight being the worst but I think that could have been travel and Horne’s wrestling. We will never see another Manny Pacquiao my friend.
I don’t pick him to beat Spence or Crawford but I respect the fact that he would be willing to fight them when others didn’t want to. Let’s just see the fights and give Manny his respect. If Manny beats either one of them while doing VADA it’s one of the top 10 accomplishments in welterweight history. I can’t think of another welterweight in their 40s that had that kind of win under their belts.
I think Manny would be a slight favorite over Mikey and Danny Garcia because of the speed factors. But they are even fights in my personal estimation.
I suspect Shawn Porter would be a slight favorite over Manny on the strength of Porter’s performance vs Spence and the physical strength advantage. The bookies will look at the Jeff Horne fight. I also view that as an even fight.
What's up Wonder Bread-man,
Thanks for keeping us readers occupied by adding more mailbags. That's a great contribution!
I saw a recent mailbag where you presented a perspective about Mike Tyson being underrated for his accomplishments, and should be praised more for coming back after three years from jail and winning the title. This is true. However, I do recall strongly from my family, friends, and fans in neighborhood saying "Who is this Mike Tyson guy..what's all the fuss about?" I recall watching fights with my Dad as a young man and going to bars, movie theaters, and fight parties with HBO in the living room. I remember plenty of people chattering something to the effect... "Here we go again, Mike Tyson just knocked out a guy out of their prime that Larry Holmes already defeated in their prime, two years or three years BEFORE!, BIG DEAL".
I'm not doing any boxing research to approve or disprove my faded memory so I may have some facts wrong, but I hope you get the BIGGER PICTURE. Nevertheless, I recall the following Mike Tyson fights that Tyson fought as a top ten contender or champ which mostly or all were Larry Holmes Leftovers: (Trever Berbick, Carl 'The Truth" Williams, James Quick Tillis, Tony Tubbs, Bone Crusher Smith, Pinklon Thomas, maybe Greg Page, perhaps more, etc.). That's too many 2nd chance title losers. Tyson then fights Larry Holmes, who was probably 15 years older than him and out of shape. Not a good look.
Before Tyson, I also recall being 14 years old finishing the 8th grade at J.H.S. and then me graduated High School, and Larry Holmes WAS STILL THE CHAMP!
I guess Larry Holmes was just the Champ, but Mike Tyson was the Champ And a Celebrity, so each of their careers are distorted.
What's your perspective on Larry Holmes 6 year run as champ? What was Larry Holmes level of competition compared to Tyson's? Larry Holmes had to be better right, because he beat them FIRST before Tyson did? Yes, Tyson knocked these guys out, but they lost to Holmes already, so weren't they underachievers with no shot of winning?
In summation, looking back, I thought Mike Tyson's two part Championship run before jail was Overrated, but winning the title the second time after three years in jail, was Underrated.
When you average Overrated with Underrated with you get.....Average. Not too bad, but not too good. And smack in the middle was Razor Ruddock, the secret Cash out Fight. (Tyson won, but it wasn't easy).
Lenny, Kansas City, MI
Bread’s Response: Hey Lenny. Glad you wrote in.
First off, Mike Tyson was as highly regarded as any fighter in history had ever been during his 1st title reign. From critics, to fans, to other fighters. It’s very rare that you see a fighter who was viewed as highly as Tyson was at THAT particular time. There was nothing AVERAGE about him.
When you do write in it’s important to fact check and do research unless you have a photographic memory when it comes to boxing. Because you’re criticism is off. You make it seem as though Tyson feasted off of Holmes retreads. But that’s off.
For one, Tyson became champion in 1986. Holmes lost his title in 1985. So of course they will fight some of the same opponents. How could they not? Holmes fought some of the same guys Ali fought. Ali fought some of the same guys that Liston and Marciano fought and so on…..
But you OVERSTATED your case. Holmes never fought James “Quick” Tillis, Tony Tubbs and Pinklon Thomas. Neither Tyson or Holmes fought Greg Page. Now if you make your comment to someone who doesn’t go back that far, they may nod their head in agreement but I know better.
So Tyson was the #1 contender and he fought the WBC Champion in Trevor Berbick. Berbick fought Holmes a few years before and lost a decision. What is Tyson supposed to do? Not take his title shot. I mean that’s ridiculous. The only way you can assure not fighting someone that someone else fought is to fight everyone in their PRO DEBUT. It’s IMPOSSIBLE.
Bone Crusher Smith held the 2nd belt that Tyson won. Tyson wanted to unify and Smith was the WBA champion. So Tyson fought him and beat him. Holmes also fought Smith a few years before.
Tony Tucker was 34-0 and the IBF champion. That was Tyson’s belt trifecta. Tyson unified the belts and put some order in the division. Holmes never fought Tucker.
Before Tyson’s reign the heavyweight division was looked at as a mess because fighters that critics didn’t think highly of became the WBA champions of the late 70s and 80s.. Bone Crusher Smith, Tony Tubbs, Greg Page, Michael Dokes, Tim Witherspoon, Pinkon Thomas, Mike Weaver, Gerry Coetzee etc and none of these fighters could put together more than 2 successful title defenses without losing. This all happened while Larry Holmes was also the champion in the WBC and later IBF.
It’s important we get the scope of the time…..
Tyson also fought Marvis Frazier who Holmes fought. Frazier was 10-0 when he fought Holmes, who was 44-0. That wasn’t a fair fight my man. Tyson fought Frazier when Tyson was a prospect not a long reigning P4P champion. Tyson had only been a pro a year and a half when he fought Frazier. That’s a solid fight for a prospect. Frazier only lost 2 career fights and that was to Holmes and Tyson. But he fought them at totally different times in his career and most importantly theirs.
Carl Williams is the 4th fighter they have in common. Go watch Holmes vs Williams on youtube and get back to me. During the time they fought many people thought Williams beat Holmes. Tyson kod him in 1 round. I don’t view it as feasting on an opponent if Holmes struggled with him and Tyson dominated him.
Their 5th common opponent was Michael Spinks. Holmes lost to Spinks twice. The second decision was very controversial. Tyson kod the undefeated Spinks in 1 round. Who could have an issue with that fight? Tyson vs Spinks was a closed circuit Super Fight.
Here is the thing about long REIGNS. Most likely they won’t be littered with HOF names or ATG. The most credible and common thing to look for is how many times they defended vs RING RATED opponents and if they fought the best available fights consistently. Tyson did both in his reign. Holmes did too but not to the extent that Tyson did because Tyson unified and Holmes didn’t. Lot’s of fighters won titles on Holmes’s watch. No one won a title on Tyson’s.
I respect both fighters and I think they’re both top 10 heavyweights ever. I rate Holmes higher than Tyson. Holmes is no lower than top 5. I rate Tyson on the lower half of the top 10. I think Holmes was cursed by his birthday. He was the champion between the two most charismatic champions ever. Ali and Tyson. He couldn’t talk like Ali and he couldn’t punch like Tyson. But he was just as good a fighter as both. But the IT factor does count.
One of the reasons I rate Holmes over Tyson is because Holmes was only stopped one time in 75 fights over 30 years. All of Tyson’s losses were by stoppage except for his DQ to Holyfield. Holmes showed more resilience in pressure moments when things were NOT going his way. He responded to adversity far better. And every single heavyweight champion in history has been visually hurt or knocked down. Resiliency is a valuable trait.
But while Holmes had more title defenses. His reign was not far and away better than Tyson’s. Just look at their opponents and what they did. Tyson unified and was more dominant. He didn’t have any controversial wins during his reign. Holmes had more defenses and he responded to adversity better but he had some rough spots. Limited fighters like Renaldo Snipes and Earnie Shavers dropped him hard. But Holmes showed chops that Tyson never showed at any point. Tyson never came back from a knockdown to win a fight. Holmes by a slight margin but not by as much as you think.
Tyson gets criticized because he was a more dominant fighter. Dominant doesn’t always mean better but domination does resonate. For example Tony Tubbs was a talented fighter who was 24-1 when Tyson fought him. He was ex heavyweight champion of the world. Tyson kos him in 2 rounds and people call him a BUM. He wasn’t a BUM. No one ever brings up that 3 years after Tyson kod Tubbs, Tubbs fought a HOF Heavyweight and probably beat him. That heavyweight’s name is Riddick Bowe. Tyson’s record is littered with capable fighters that gave other credible or elite champions hell but he smoked them early. You can’t fall into cliché trains of thinking. Be a free thinker and do research.
Head to head Tyson dominated the fight with Holmes. Before you say that Holmes was shot he continued to fight for 15 years after! And he only lost 2 more fights over that time. He also beat an undefeated Ray Mercer in 1991 and won 4 rounds from a prime Evander Holyfield in 1992. He wasn’t shot in 1988 when he fought Mike Tyson.
It’s interesting that you bring up Holmes and Tyson. I’ve always thought that Tyson would be a nightmare for him even during Holmes’s prime years. You could always hit Holmes with looping right hands. His knockdowns to Snipes and Shavers were looping right hands. Tim Witherspoon kept hitting him with looping right hands….
So I was listening to the boxing genius Teddy Atlas. I really believe he’s a genius when it comes to the fighter’s MIND. So Atlas was saying in an interview that Cus Dmato once told him that Tyson would ko Larry Holmes. He said Dmato said this when Tyson was about 13 years old.
Atlas went on to say that Dmato said Tyson could beat Holmes at that time in a 3 round fight but he wouldn’t be able to in a championship distance fight yet but at some point he would be able to. He thought that Holmes sort of POSED a little after his jab and that he could be cracked with right hands.
Atlas said he actually bet someone when he heard that Tyson and Holmes were going to fight that not only would Tyson win but he would ko Holmes early with a right hand. Before I ever heard Atlas’s interview I always felt that Tyson would most likely have beaten Holmes in a head to head fight. This sort of assured me because as we know Atlas is not a fan of Tyson.
Wanna exercise your multi-sport knowledge background, Breadman. For your readers who may not know what a five-tool player is, it’s a baseball term for a position player who can hit for average, hit for power, field, run, and throw. Basically, a guy who seems to be able to do it ALL.
Now, I wanna put that in a boxing context… who are the ten most complete boxers of your lifetime? Guys who can fight inside and box outside… great offense AND defense… blended precision and effective aggression… Guys who seem like the total package. Who, in your opinion, are boxing’s ten equivalents to a five-tool player?
Also, while I’m thinking of it… who would you say have the best career reinventions? I read an article once detailing the career of Duran. In it, the writer pointed out that, while never truly losing his aggression, Duran relied more and more on precision and counterpunching later in his career. True? If so, that’s an impressive reinvention. I know Foreman transformed himself tremendously during his comeback. But who are some others that you think did a stellar job reinventing themselves?
Bread’s Response: Great Question. And nice and short like they need to be.
Yes Duran reinvented himself because his pressure was so immense as a lightweight that his cardio couldn’t keep that up as he got older. So he turned himself into a master in the box fighter. He literally could stand in front of anyone and simply just test skills. Master Classmen.
Best career reinventions. I’m going to go on my lifetime….Two fighters stand out. Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao. Barrera loses twice to Junior Jones who was able to outbox him from distance. Barrera was a pure pressure fighter and left hooker in his first 40 fights. Then he evolved into a violent boxer puncher with an elite jab over his next 30 fights. I don’t think people realize how great his transition was. He did all of this while keeping his excitement level. Barrera was something I tell you.
Manny Pacquiao was a left hand dominant seek and destroy fighter. As time went on and as he rose in weight, he is now and in and out boxer puncher with an excellent lead hand. Unreal.
The BEST 5 Tool Fighter of my lifetime…
Ok let me state the tools. Offense, Defense, in-fighting, out-fighting and I will say IQ. I will pick fighters who I think are ELITE in each category, in no order…
Now people have to realize that these aren’t the necessarily the best 19 fighters of my lifetime. These are just the guys who check the 5 boxes. Manny Pacquiao rates really high as a fighter but Manny is not an elite in-fighter in my opinion. Larry Holmes also rates really high but I don’t think his defense or infighting is elite. Aaron Pryor is a fighter I think is better than lots of guys on this list but Pryor wasn’t a great defensive fighter. So hopefully people will understand when they don’t see guys like that on the list.
Thanks for all the time and effort you put in to educate all the novices like myself about the art & history of boxing
Your reply in regards to the Mikel Kessler question got me thinking about Carl Froch's career and watched a few old fights. While watching the Groves rematch I thought Rob Mcracken did a great job getting Froch to box more and the finish was a great shot set up by the throwaway left hook.
It made AJs performance in the rematch with Ruiz pop in to my head. In the past you've mentioned how Hagler was one of the greatest rematch fighters. Who are the greatest rematch trainers in History?
Bread’s Response: The tough part about being a trainer is you get judged on a fight by fight basis. People were calling for Robert McCracken’s job when AJ lost. Then AJ goes a pitches a shut out in the rematch. See how that works.
I never thought about this before but McCracken has been money in rematches. In Both of Froch’s rematches he performed better vs Groves and Kessler. And Obviously AJ did better.
Robert McCracken deserves props and the next time one of his fighters loses people need to give the guy a break.
I really don’t know who the best rematch trainers are in history. Because it’s too hard to determine if the fighters kept the same trainers for rematches. So I can only go by the fights where I know fighters kept the same trainers.
Angelo Dundee helped Ali win his rematch with Frazier, Norton and Spinks. In fact Ali is undefeated in rematches throughout his career he’s 10-0 in rematches.
Emanuel Steward didn’t have Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield when they lost to Oliver McCall and Riddick Bowe. But he had them for the rematches and they performed excellent. Steward also won a big immediate rematch with Lewis vs Rahman and Hearns did better vs Ray Leonard in the rematch than he did the 1st fight.
Jack Blackburn who was Joe Louis’s trainer has to be the top dog among rematch trainers. Louis was perfect in rematches.
The Petronelli Brothers were also money in rematches. Marvin Hagler as you stated was undefeated in rematches.
Obviously the fighter has to compartmentalize the adjustments. But getting a fighter through a tough loss and coming back to win is the hardest job in boxing.
In previous mailbags you’ve spoken about fighters who don’t look good in showcases . E.g. fury v wallin.
What do you attribute this to ? Boredom , complacency, or something else ?
How do you deal with this as a trainer? Do you lower expectations for the smaller fights & accept it because the fighter raises his game for better opponents, or does it anger the trainer?
How do you mitigate the risk of a fighter who looks like he’s not giving it his all ?
Bread’s Response: There are many reasons why certain fighters don’t SHOWCASE well. The surface level reason is style. Well rounded fighters who are NOT offensively dynamic, freaky athletic or big punchers sometimes have a hard time showcasing. I remember watching Winky Wright fight Angel Hernandez on HBO before he fought Shane Mosley. Mosley is just the more aesthetically pleasing fighter. Wright sort of jabs with a high guard and just wins. His specialness doesn’t show up as easy because he doesn’t overwhelm.
The same can be said about Vernon Forest and Bernard Hopkins. Shane Mosley and Felix Trinidad look to better than them. Mosley and Trinidad are big punchers. They ko people. They rely on raw physical gifts which are easier to see.
Throughout history the fighter who relies on their physical dominance are easier to showcase especially when they are punchers. Even a fighter like Pernell Whitaker you can showcase because you can’t hit him and he’s going to pitch a 12-0 zip shut out and you will see his other worldly gifts.
50% of the time dynamic offensive fighters get slightly overrated early on in their careers because of this. It takes the well rounded fighters longer to catch on.
Great Fighters like Marvin Hagler, Bernard Hopkins, Winky Wright, Emille Griffin, Carlos Monzon, Larry Holmes, Eusabio Pedroza have historically not showcased well and had the critics lukewarm on them. But as time went on they showed their worth vs elite opponents. They rely on their minds more instead of their bodies and the mind is harder to see working.
The other reason is complacency and dismissiveness. It’s just that simple. Some fighters become dismissive and they just don’t “get up” for fights unless they’re threatened. No one will admit it and they all will claim they trained hard. But training hard and training believing that the other fighter can hurt you and beat you is different.
As the trainer what you can do is simply match your fighter accordingly. Motivation other than self motivation is just temporary. After being around a fighter you know if you’re fighter is dismissive. If you see the signs then don’t match him soft. Match him accordingly because it’s better to lose against a highly regarded opponent for more money than it is for a lightly regarded opponent for less. You just have to know you’re fighter.
Hey Mr Edwards
I trust you and your loved ones are staying safe.
Recently, I read a few of the comments made at the bottom of Boxingscene.com columns and now I really, really understand why you don't bother. The things these contemptible people say about guys who put their lives on the line everytime they step into a ring shouldn't be published, full stop. Isn't there a way to stop them?
Now on to two very quick points. In my last mail I asked you whether Moruti Mthalane is not the best Flyweight in the world. I know you don't overlook the smaller fighters and the question could have been lost in my long email.
Let us look briefly at Mthalane's resume. He turns pro in late 2000 and goes on a 14 bout unbeaten streak before he is inexplicably tko'd by countryman Nkqubela Gwazela in a fight for the vacant WBC International Flyweight title in 2004. He thereafter goes on a streak of 9 unbeaten fights before he is tko'd by the great Nonito Donaire in late 2008 for the IBF and IBO Flyweight titles. That was the last time Mthalane lost a fight. In more than a decade, he has gone on a 16 fight unbeaten run that saw him pick up the IBO Flyweight title and become a two-time IBF Flyweight champion. The latter streak included back to back tko victories over compatriot Zolani Tete in late 2010 and John Riel Casimero in early 2011. He never lost the IBF title in the ring and is that sanctioning body's incumbent champion at the time of writing this.
As we know, Tete went on to claim the WBO Bantamweight title and was considered by many to be the best Bantamweight fighter in the world until he recently ran into a haymaker from Casimero that separated him from both his senses and WBO title. Casimero was in the conversation to face a man you consider to be not only the best puncher in boxing but also a definite pound for pound entrant in Naoya Inoue before the coronaviris literally shut the sporting world down.
Is Mthalane's body of work not impressive? I'm not asking whether he is a great fighter or a pound for pound entrant. I'm just saying isn't he the best Flyweight in the world right now?
Antonio Cervantes v Roberto Duran (provided stonehands had not jumped straight from 135 to 147 pounds).
Terrence Crawford v Aaron Pryor at 140 pounds
Errol Spence jr v Simon Brown
Keith Thurman v Milton McCrory
Gary Russel jr v Dany Lopez ("Little Red")
Thank you and just continue to school us.
Johannesbrg, South Africa
Bread’s Response: I will tell you a great story of Troll Karma. True Story by the way. There was a troll who kept saying horrible things about a fighter’s sexuality. The Troll had said some bad things about a few fighters but he was really fixated on one specific fighter and his sexuality. One day the fighter caught him out at a barbershop and beat the living sh-t out of the troll on video. I can’t make this up. The fight was a 30 second beat down and he put the troll in the hospital. What I have to say about Trolls, is Karma is undefeated. Emails, gps location etc are traceable these days.
Moruti Mthalane is the longest reigning top fighter at flyweight. But I don’t know if he’s the best. The kid from Japan Kosei Tanaka is straight NASTY. They have to fight in the ring to decide who’s better. Mthalane is more established but that doesn’t mean he’s better. Tanaka looks like a top 20 P4P guy in the world.
Duran by late tko over Cervantes. Duran is just too fast and athletic for Cervantes.
I can’t call Crawford vs Pryor. Let me learn a little more about Crawford. Aaron Pryor is a unique fighter. That swarming style, chin and indefatigable spirit are rough to deal with head to head. You have to hurt Pryor and hurt him bad to beat him.
Errol Spence vs Simon Brown is a death match. Simon Brown should have HOF consideration. He was the real deal. Brown’s performance vs Tyrone Trice in their 1st fight was a classic. And his victory over Terry Norris in 1993 was one of the best 10 wins of the 90s. Brown was not PROMOTED the way Spence has been so the perspective of the fight is Spence beats him. But that’s not how real fights work. I just don’t know. I have to see a little more of Spence. Because Brown had a nasty, roll and counter game that could give Spence trouble. Watch the first Terry Norris fight.
Thurman vs McCroy. You know what I would take McCrory by upset. I know McCrory lost bad to Donald Curry but Curry caught him cold and Curry was special at his peak. McCrory showed real chops vs a prime Mike McCallum. I think he would have edged out Thurman by decision. McCrory was a big 147, and he had big fighting spirit. I think his size and will would have allowed him to outwork Thurman who fights in spurts.
Danny “Little Red” Lopez is just a little too slow for Gary Russell. If he caught him he could clip him but most likely he wouldn’t catch him. I like Russell in this fight.
The idea that many fighters are irrevocably altered after enduring an absolute war of a fight (win, lose, or draw) seems to be fairly persistent. Many people point to Joe Frazier after the first Ali fight as a quintessential example. Frazier just wasn't the same after that--not that he was necessarily a shot fighter (although some might argue), but he clearly would never be at his apex again due to that battle.
My question is, why does this idea seem to almost not apply regarding older era fighters--I'm thinking more specifically about fighters from, say, 1900 through the 1930's. For instance, Harry Greb had, by modern standards especially, an absurd amount of fights, but people rarely mention him or many fighters during his time having undergone a real war of a fight that forever changed him. People mention many of these older era fighters eventually becoming shot due to a ridiculous amount of fights, but rarely, it seems to me, due to an out and out war.
Love the mailbag! Thanks and I hope you and your family are doing well!
Brandon from ATL
Bread’s Response: Interesting……not an easy question but I have a two part answer.
My first reason for this not being a bigger factor 100 years ago was how often fighters fought. The decline was less noticed. Here is an analogy. Children grow about 2inches/year. Now if you see your niece/nephew at 3 years old and you don’t see them again until they’re 8, you will notice they grew about a foot. But their parents don’t see it as much because they see them every day.
Well fighters fought 8-12 times a year on the average 100 years ago. So decline is less perceptible and losses were just more common. Very rarely did fighters go over 30-0 without a blemish. But if you study film on a fighter from 100 years ago and you watch him in his 20th fight, then watch him in his 70th fight you may will most likely notice decline that wasn’t noticed during that time because of the space gap.
Often times tough fights get overstated for ruining fighters. The word SHOT in boxing is overused. If you have a bad night as a prospect it’s just an off night. But if you have one after being kod in a tough fight, then people will call you shot. What if it was just an off night?
In Joe Frazier’s case I think it was his style and effort that took his PEAK away. He gave so much of himself in that 1st Ali fight it was no more to give. I would assume the training camp, the motivation of the being in the biggest fight ever, was a physical and emotional high he couldn’t keep going to. It’s not always the punishment it’s the PUSH a fighter needs. Frazier only fought one style. Frenetic pressure.
A laid back, long punching style last longer. It may or may not be more effective but it definitely last longer. No one fights like Joe Frazier in their 40s. But people can fight like Bernard Hopkins in their 40s. The styles take different traits to make them work. There is a viciousness in the way Frazier fights that men don’t carry in their 40s.
The thing is every fighter is an individual. Some guys can have war after war and talk fine and fight fine. Look at Orlando Salido. Then Some guys can be shot in less than 30 fights. There are so many variables. Genetics. Body types. Training habits. Testosterone levels. Weight issues and style.
Genetically some people are predisposed to taking punishment. Some aren’t. Some have more red blood cells, some have less. Red Blood cells carry oxygen to the body. The more oxygen your body has the better your stamina will be and the better you will take a punch.
Body Types. Some fighters have thicker bones. If you’re bones are thicker it’s harder to hurt you. Some fighters have huge heads like Chavez Sr. His son inherited his big hard head. And Chavez Jr. if nothing else he has solid punch resistance.
Training habits. Fighters who don’t maintain a decent level of fitness in between fights shorten their careers because the camps take too much out of them.
Testosterone is important. It’s a reason why athletes take it. But your natural testosterone levels go down as you get older and if you keep cutting massive amounts of weight. Some men naturally have higher testosterone. Some don’t cut weight and it helps them retain it.
Weight issues are what they are. You will NOT cut 25+ lbs continuously and not be affected especially if you stay in the same weight class. It’s impossible without PEDS unless you’re genetic freak. Fighters feel horrible cutting that much in a short period of time if they aren’t on PEDS.
I bring this up because 100 years ago the critics didn’t know or talk about the stuff they do now. So advancement in the human body lets us know certain things they didn’t know 100 years ago. Some times these things can cause panic, sometimes they’re accurate.
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