The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as the early career of George Foreman, the current corner of Gervonta Davis, possibilities for Manny Pacquiao in 2020, legendary fighter Tony Zale, and more.
At what point in a fighter's career do they no longer require the services of a promoter? I would imagine that when a fighter reaches a certain level of popularity amongst the fans, or if they have accomplished some hige boxing milestones, would they be wasting money by employing the services of a promoter? Have Crawford and Spence achieved this yet. Interested to get you take. I am a LONG TIME follower of yours and would appreciate your insight.
Bread’s Response: All fighters need PROMOTION, it doesn’t matter if it’s from a PROMOTER or himself, or PR etc…….
Good evening, Bread,
I was interested by the post & your reply on Jack Dempsey drawing the 'colour bar'. There is a truly brilliant biography of Jack Johnson called 'unforgivable blackness'. According to this, in the early 20th Century almost every white boxer, with the honourable exceptions of Joe Choynski & Stan Ketchel, was violently racist. It was what it it was. They reflected the society they grew up in.
If you approved a racist world view, drawing the 'colour bar' was an acceptable, in fact morally necessary, action. The problem was that Jim Corbett, Jim Jeffries & Tommy Burns had all fought black fighters earlier in their careers. Their refusal to defend against them, once they won the title, clearly had nothing to do with a morality, however twisted, more with unwillingness to risk losing.
By the time of 1930s/40s, fighters no longer specifically 'drew the colour bar', but black fighters could still be overlooked, frozen out & denied a title chance.
I'm sorry for the v long-winded build-up to my question, which is whether Tony Zale is one of the best 10 middleweights ever?
Zale is usually remembered for 'those 3 epic wars for the ages with Rocky Graziano', as though he & Rocky were at a level, but this overlooks that Tony was 33 when the 1st fight took place & had spent 4 years out in the navy during WWII. We know what absences of that sort of length did to Ali & Tyson & I think we can fairly assume that the Zale that fought Graziano was nothing like the Zale that accounted for Hostak, Apostoli & Abrams. Also, the 3rd fight wasn't an epic! Having appeared to misplace them somewhere, perhaps absent-mindedly in his sock drawer, Tony found his skills & foot movement & gave Rocky a completely one-sided beating.
I've always championed Tony as one of the ATGs. He had skills, footwork, a granite chin, punching power with either hand & may be the best body puncher of all time, if it isn't Mike McCallum. And yet.. he didn't fight Lloyd Marshall, Holman Williams or Charles Burley.
Does that mean Tony wasn't an ATG? Bread, I'm genuinely just asking for your views on this one?
Bread’s Response: Tough Question….let’s see.
My grandfather was born in 1931. That’s only 66 years after slavery. He actually knew slaves when he was a small child. He told me boxing was very racially divided but it was accepted because people take on the perspective of their times.
Now my grandfather was born in the 30s. I can only imagine what it was like in the 10s and 20s. But you make a good point. While drawing the color line can be an excuse, maybe ducking was the real reason. I don’t know but I can imagine you have a great point.
Now let’s go forward to Tony Zale. You make another great point. He missed a good number of black fighters during his reign. It’s ironic because Ray Robinson gets the stick for ducking the great Charley Burley but Zale was the champion during Burley’s peak at middleweight and no one ever brings it up. To be fair to Zale WWII put the titles on freeze during that time. But before and after the war, Burley was there. I don’t know if it is intentionally left out or if it’s just an oversight. But it is relevant to bring up.
As for Zale as a fighter I do believe he’s a great middleweight. But you asked me was he an ATG and top 10 middleweight. Here is the thing about being an ATG that I have to think about. As time goes on, more fighters have to be rated and sometimes a fighter may end his career as the best ever or maybe top 5 in a division. Then after 50 years, fighters pass by that same fighter and he may not be top 10 anymore.
Tony Zale retired in 1948. At the time of his retirement I can imagine he was hovering around the top 10 at middleweight. Fighters like Greb, Walker, Flowers, Ketchel and Fitzsimmons would have been over him but he can fit in some where after them. But since his retirement Robinson, Hagler, Monzon, Tiger and Lamotta have come along and moved him down notches.
I’m not going to disrespect Zale and his family by saying he’s not an ATG. Because I honestly don’t know. It’s too hard to determine when a fighter is in his unique position of being moved down as time passes by. But I will say if I were rating the top 10 Middleweights ever at this current moment he wouldn’t be in the top 10.
However I want to say a good thing or two about Zale. He had to be one of the toughest SOB I have ever viewed on video. And yes his body punching is among the best ever. He didn’t have a signature body punch but like McCallum he just touched you with hard hands over and over again. It’s will breaking to fight someone like Zale. Zale also was one of the best combination punchers I have ever seen as far as mixing body and head shots. He went up and down stairs as good as anyone ever. He’s definitely HOF worthy and was a great fighter in his era.
Happy 2020 Breadman!
Can you share any of your insights as to potential bout match ups in the first quarter "20"?
Who may be the front-runner opponent for PacMan?
Who may PBC sacrifice, if any to T Crawford?
Do you think A Joshua accepts a mandatory, if so, which one?
What type of fighter level do you expect Spence to agree with, initial post accident bout?
Would you agree Top Rank gets too much criticism for as strong as their fighter line-up & company structure is?
Thanks again for your insights, very much appreciated!
Bread’s Response: I don’t know who Pacman will face. I thought it would be Mikey Garcia. But now it doesn’t look to be. Danny Garcia is fighting in January and I’m not sure if it’s enough time to come back and fight in the 1st quarter of 2020.
I don’t know if Manny feels like tassling with the rough Shawn Porter. And Errol Spence may not be a good match up for him. I honestly don’t know. And I think that’s a good thing. The world will be intrigued by who he selects.
I don’t like the word sacrifice in boxing terms but I get what you’re saying. I was thinking Ugas, could be a PBC fighter that Crawford could face, but let’s see.
Errol Spence is a GUN. I think he wants a tough fight. But my guess is it won’t be Pac or DSG in first one back. There has been a lot of money invested in Spence and I think his brain trust will pick someone good but not have more than a 25% chance to beat him. But who knows Spence may over rule them and go for a top guy.
Not sure on AJ I don’t think he will face a puncher again until it’s Wilder. So whoever the most viable non puncher is, I think that’s who they fight.
I don’t criticize Top Rank. I think Brad Goodman, Bruce Trampler and Carl Moretti are awesome. I don’t know anyone else over at Top Rank but those 3 guys are money. Who’s criticizing Top Rank? Fans. Boxing fans are mostly idiots. Seriously we have the worst fan base in all of sports. I can only talk boxing with 1 out of 10 people who try to talk boxing with me. In my opinion Top Rank is the barometer. If you can’t make it with Top Rank, you can’t make it. You just weren’t good enough. Their match making allows you the best chance to win a title.
For example I bet heavy on Jamel Herring to win a title. He was the underdog but he got to fight in his home state. He fought on Memorial Day Weekend. He’s a veteran. That’s what Top Rank does for you.
Kelly Pavlik got to over 30-0. Miguel Cotto got to close to 30-0. Floyd Mayweather got to over 30-0. Oscar De La Hoya was a 4 division undefeated champion. Yuri Gamboa was a top P4P guy. Juan Manuel Lopez got 30-0.
Seriously any prospect that couldn’t make it with Top Rank just wasn’t good enough.
Now I assume you’re quietly suggesting that either Top Rank fighters don’t get paid as much as PBC fighters or you’re talking about the Terence Crawford situation. Well PBC does pay their fighters well. It’s true. I mean Al Haymon is a genius and that’s all I can say about that. And yes more fighters have left Top Rank and went to the PBC than the other way around. Both companies make stars and are great companies. The infrastructures are just different.
If you’re talking about the Terence Crawford situation, yes Top Rank has to do something to get their best fighter a big PPV fight. It’s not a criticism it’s a fact. Let’s see if they can pull it off. As a fan of boxing I’m rooting for them to get Crawford a BIG fight. He deserves it. But in the meanwhile they are paying him huge minimums so let’s not go overboard. They haven’t delivered him a PBC elite but they have paid him well. So………
You will get a bunch of Tank questions/comments so I will make it quick here. I'm not one that wants fighters to change trainers after one tough performance, but I do think it is clear that he is a guy that lacks focus and needs more of a structured/military style camp to fulfill his potential. Unfortunately it won't happen at home and he probably needs to get away like he did that one camp with Cunningham. Uber talent, but talent only takes you so far when you refuse to put in the proper work.
Anyways, I was thinking of 2020 and the young prospects/fighters that are looking to make big moves. Stevenson is WILLING to go to England to fight Warrington which is kind of unheard of from a blue chip prospect with at this age, but he doesn't care and I love it! Vergil Ortiz Jr is talking about getting the top WWs and even mentioned Crawford! Teofimo Lopez is lined up to face Lomachenko in a PPV fight! And it made me sad, but Jaron Ennis is kind of stuck in no man's land. I know you know his camp, have they told you their plans going forward? Like why doesn't he link up with one of the top promoters/advisors? You damn well know that is pretty much the only way you can get certain fights/notoriety. With majority of the top fighters with PBC, you would think it would be an easy decision, but I do know he is with Cameron Dunkin, and in the past he has shipped all his guys to TR. Though that has caused a bit of a rift between him and TR as he ended up losing all those fighters from Crawford to Mikey Garcia to Donaire.
Bread’s Response: I don’t believe Tank Davis needs to switch trainers. Calvin Ford is his guy and that’s that. Davis just has to find the self esteem and discipline to not allow himself to get heavy in between fights. His general fitness needs to be better in between fights. Some fighters workout because they have a fight. But the best fighters workout for fun. Swimming, biking and just overall fitness maintenance will take Davis far. But that’s up to him to build his structure around him. I often see like an assistant with fighters. Not a trainer or strength coach but just an assistant. A person who wakes them up. A person who goes to gym with them. A person who gets their health stuff for them. Tank needs an honest, discipline resourceful person in his everyday life. That’s it. And it’s gonna be, what it’s gonna be.
You’ve mentioned in the past that the stock of some fighters rises if guys they beat go on to have great careers (like Sanchez’s win over Azumah Nelson or Mayweather’s win over Canelo). So, does that mean the stock of a win can fall if that fighter’s career tanks? Do we think less of Larry Holmes’s win over Gerry Cooney or Ali’s win over Leon Spinks or Chavez’s win over Meldrick Taylor because after their respective losses, those guys were never the same? I’m curious about this one.
Bread’s Response: No I don’t lower the stock of great fighters and performances on the usual if their opponents fall off. I look at things on an individual basis.
Gerry Cooney was a real contender. He was red hot. And in my opinion he was Holmes’s best title defense. There is no way anyone can dismiss that win because Cooney didn’t go on to be champion. And on top of that he gave Holmes a great challenge.
Leon Spinks was one of the best amateurs we had ever seen. He was a Gold Medalist in a time when the US had to go against Cubans and Russians and had no head gear. Spinks burned out fast but he was no bum. Drugs, size and training habits can do that. But he wasn’t a 7-0 local Golden Glove kid. He was a 7-0 all time great amateur and gold Medalist who was fighting an over the hill champion. It was what it was.
Meldrick was another Gold Medalist. I think Chavez deserves full credit for ruining his prime. That may sound sick but boxing is brutal. I still say Meldrick got screwed over by the referee but no one can deny that Chavez put a beating on him. But let’s all remember Meldrick went on to win a welterweight title and he defended that title a few times before his big drop off.
All 3 deserve full props for those wins. All in all I think boxing fans and media try to discredit wins. All wins at the top level are relevant. Getting up for world championship or elite fights are an accomplishment.
Whats up Bread,
Congratulations on ur continued success, its great to see !
I recently listened to a podcast where you stated how if Foreman didnt lose to Ali , he may have been the greatest heavyweight ever.
Foreman strikes me as the type of boxer that you wouldnt use as a model for another fighter if you were training them. To the eye, he did so many things that didnt look "sharp", fundamental or fluent.
As I have matured in my understanding of the sport, I recognize the intangibles he brought to the table, such as his " control" skills and etc.
In your opinion, what made him great and what skills and attributes made him so? Thanks !
Bread’s Response: Yes George Forman was 40-0 when he met Ali. He was only 25 years old. He was a Gold Medalist and he had already kod 2 HOF in Joe Frazier and Ken Norton. If he beats Ali that’s 3 HOF and literally no one on the horizon who could have beaten him until Larry Holmes is ready to fight him which wouldn’t have been until 78. Foreman would have been the favorite to beat Holmes. I don’t know who wins that fight but even if Foreman loses just think of his legacy. If he wins there is no one in the 80s that could have beaten him. He’s all wrong of Tyson stylistically. You’re talking about a 2 decade run.
Now I know that’s a lot to take in. But just think about one fight in 1974. As great as his career was everything changes if he beats Ali.
When people criticize Foreman it’s because they don’t know what they’re looking at. His brute force, control, physical strength, and punch delivery are unreal. People say Wilder is the best one punch guy in history. Well Foreman had an uppercut with both hands, a thunder jab, a winging right hand, a short straight right hand, body shots with both hands. And Foreman was murder from every range. Wilder has a whipping or straight right hand and he has to build up body momentum to hurt you. Foreman could be standing still.
Watch the combination he kos Norton with. To hold that in perspective, Holmes went life and death with Ken Norton 5 years later! Man Foreman was something. In my opinion he’s the most powerful human to ever box. I still don’t know how Ali beat him in 1974. Whenever I watch Foreman’s ko of King Roman I get frightened.
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