By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards discussing the junior middleweight division, Keith Thurman's victory over Danny Garcia, Manny Pacquiao doing drug testing, Curtis Stevens vs. David Lemieux and much more.
As deep as 147 is I also think 154 is deep and intriguing. The Hurd vs Harrison fight showed that. When will J Rock be in action next?
When discussing Errol Spence last week you mentioned work rate. I think a lot of fighters try to emulate Floyd's efficient counter punching style in the ring and train slower than they should. Seems like guys train to fight in sprint like spurts with hard fast punches or sharp counter shots but they are not preparing themselves to fight full 3 minute rounds in a winning manner. While Floyd would slow a fight pace down he trained like a madman to have stamina. Manny does the same thing whereas I see broner and Deontay having to lay back and wait to counter rather than leading and dominating fights off their jab and working for the full 3 minutes. Some of this is strategy but seems to be about inability to maintain a work rate. Am I off base? On a related
Am I wrong to think that over fascination with hand mitt work out with 8-10 shot combos is leading to this? Could a lot of fighters benefit from old school techniques like road work, 3 minute 360 degree heavy bag workout at a fight speed work rate? Also I saw Keith Thurman, Floyd, and Ortiz riding bicycles I think it is a great way to build long term stamina and it is a counterbalance to road work with less pounding on the feet and knees. Do you use the bike with any of your fighters and is it a good cardio exercise for fighters.
Bread’s Response: I think fighter for fighter the 154lbs division is the best in boxing.
Floyd and Manny have superior stamina than most of their contemporaries for various reasons. They are genetically superior. They don’t cut weight. They train harder and more proficient. They’re all time greats in an era of very goods.
There is an enigma about mitt work. People say there is an over fascination about it in this era. Then they point out Floyd and say how come guys don’t train like he trains. Well Floyd made the fancy pad work popular. I think the pad work he uses is special for him. He may not do the exact routine on a live opponent but it sharpens his mind and enhances his cardio and defensive principals. Other guys do it because he did it. That’s the dilemma. I never knock his pad work because I understand exactly why he does that routine. To be able to do that round after round enhances your mental stamina and concentration. If you haven’t noticed Floyd has some of the best mental stamina ever.
The bike is a good cardio for boxers. But the bike wouldn’t be my only cardio. I think efficient running is the best, followed by swimming.
Long time reader, first time writer. Would like to say your mailbag is the most insightful and objective anywhere.
You mentioned the other day how fighters have great nights, ie Marcos Maidana in his first night against Mayweather.
Assuming Tyson and his opponent were on their peaks and both have great nights, who would be able to beat Tyson, and how do you see the fight play out?
Thanks, and keep up the great work.
Waldo, South Africa
Bread’s Response: The one thing you never want to do is overrate a fighter because of a great night. Mike Tyson is one of my favorite people in boxing period. But I think he gets underrated in certain instances and overrated in others.
To me his best night was his fight vs Marvis Frazier. I say Frazier and not Spinks because if you look at his body and times the fights happened…. Tyson was a couple of years younger vs Frazier, he was actually faster and the destructive behavior had not set in so much.
Tyson would be a handful for any of the top heavyweights in history on his best night. Despite his criticism he’s an all time great heavyweight and he would probably ko any of the current top 5. Before you guys go crazy he’s roughly the same weight as Deontay Wilder with much more refined boxing skills.
The problem with Tyson is his prime didn’t last long enough and he couldn’t overcome adversity once he lost a step. That’s what makes Ali, Louis, Foreman and Holyfield more special than him. Their character and will power proved greater than Tyson’s. Tyson is like another great 80s fighter Donald Curry. Curry was a fantastic talent. He rates really high in head to head in match ups. Some would’ve made him even money with Leonard and Hearns that’s how good he was. But Curry never overcame the stack once it was slightly against him. So you always go back to his “best night” analogy.
The problem with that theory is a great fighter has to find a way to win a fight on his worst night even if it’s in his prime. You can’t tell me fighters feel perfect every time they step in the ring. Even when things are a little “off” great fighters need to be able to win more than they lose.
I think Ali, Holyfield and Foreman always beat Tyson. Just too much character and skillset. On a great night Tyson has a chance vs Joe Louis, Joe Frazier and Rocky Marciano because of styles. Lennox Lewis, Riddick Bowe, Sonny Liston and Larry Holmes are all hard to call. I think he always would match up favorable with Holmes. His Holmes victory is underrated. Holmes went on to beat Ray Mercer 3 years after Tyson beat him so he wasn’t completely shot when Tyson beat him…Holmes didn’t slip punches he caught them and Tyson had crazy fast hands. Holmes got dropped by less dynamic guys. Tyson has a great chance to beat Holmes.
Bowe like Tyson is one of those on his best night guys. Bowe was hit clean, super clean even in his prime. I think it was a major reason for his fast decline. Tyson and Bowe is 50/50 on their best nights. Lennox Lewis was very skittish and he would have to be vs Tyson. Lewis was not difficult to hurt. I say he beats Tyson but I’m not so sure. I think Liston would always be too much for Tyson although some historians think otherwise.
I took your advice and bet the over in Thurman vs Garcia. I wanted to bet Thurman by ko, good thing I didn’t. What do you think of the fight? Was it well fought do you agree with the decision? Do you think Garcia needs a new coach? How come Thurman’s coach never gets any credit? Where do both go from here?
Bread’s Response: Yeah I wasn’t sure on the winner but if you look at both fighters neither kos their elite competition so I didn’t think it would end in an ko.
I actually enjoyed the fight. Especially the first 10 rounds. I thought it was intense both guys were on and they were trying to hurt each other. I think the critics are killing the fight because Keith took the air out of the ball in the last few rounds. Keith has to be careful doing that because he looked like Oscar De La Hoya vs Felix Trinidad. He would have never been able to live with himself had the decision went against him.
Thurman and Garcia were countering the heck out of each other early. They were also ripping some nasty body shots. Maybe not consistent throughout but nevertheless…They put in good work. I think Keith’s inability to take body punches get overstated. No one likes it to the body. Luis Collazo is left handed. He got to wind up and hit Keith on the liver side of his body with a clean shot. So Keith was hurt from the punch. He didn’t go down and he won the fight by ko. But yet the critics keep saying Thurman does not like it to the body. Well guess what no one likes it to the body and that shot hurts everyone.
It’s not Keith and Danny’s fault they aren’t Leonard and Hearns. I thought both showed flaws but they also showed a high skill level. Maybe not an all time great level but a high level nevertheless.
Danny probably has reached his physical ceiling although technically you can always get better. You can get better at 28 but Angel got him this far. A new coach for what? He’s not a tracker. He’s a sharp, clever hybrid counter puncher. He’s never going to turn into Julio Cesar Chavez cutting the ring off. On top of that Danny is loyal to his father. If his father didn’t approve of the new coach no way would Danny hire someone. They have a special bond. It’s only 1 close loss in a unification bout to an undefeated fighter. Geez give them a break.
I don’t disagree with the decision. Naked eye tells me Thurman edged the fight. Disclosure I don’t score fights while watching them with a pen and pad. He seemed a step ahead of Danny but Danny rolled and caught a lot of punches. It was a good fight. I have no problem with 115-113 Thurman. That seems to be in line with the consensus opinion.
Dan Birmingham is an excellent coach. He won Trainer of the Year twice. I think there are 2 reasons he gets no credit. One is he’s humble and does not seek attention. Two is Keith Thurman always shouts out his old coach Ben Getty and he never talks about Dan in interviews. So most people don’t know Dan Birmingham is his coach. Watch Thurman’s post fight interviews after every victory Keith talks about Ben Getty and he never mentions Dan Birmingham. That's why a lot of the public don't realize the excellent Birmingham is his coach.
Thurman is the star of the division at this point. Danny is still a star in his own right. He’s just not the top guy. They both will still make 7 figures their next fight. This lost does not really hurt Danny’s stock in my opinion. Let’s hope we see these guys fight again this year. With the inactivity of this era I can see both taking the rest of the year off which would be a shame at 28 years old apiece.
I am an admitted Pacquiao fan. I want to know why he doesn’t get the credit for doing VADA after he was falsely accused of PED use and still winning. I also want to know why Roberto Duran is rated over guys like Tommy Hearns who beat him but Pacquiao is not rated over Mayweather who beat him. What could Manny do to be rated over Floyd at this point in your opinion?
Bread Response: Great question!
I give Pacquiao credit for doing VADA and still winning. But I don’t think we should make a monument for him in honor of PED testing because he was not an advocate until he lost to a fighter in Marquez who many suspected was ON PEDs. Before then Pacquiao was a let the commission do the testing type of guy. So yes he deserves credit for doing VADA but he doesn’t deserve pioneer status.
Duran is rated over Hearns because he is 7 years older and he’s looked at as a much smaller fighter. Duran also outperformed Hearns vs Hagler, Leonard and Barkley. None of those guys stopped Duran except for Leonard in the No Mas fight and they all stopped Hearns.
I think Floyd is slightly rated over Manny because of his undefeated record, they are roughly the same age and he beat him head to head. I know where you’re going with is, Manny is smaller and Floyd waited on him. I know what you’re trying to say. Unfortunately for Manny he had to win that fight and he didn’t. I understand the Duran case and Max Kellerman agrees but it is what it is.
Manny had the best PPV run as far as destructive performances I ever seen from David Diaz to Antonio Margarito. He was so “on” during that time I can see why his fans rate him over Floyd. But he’s older now and he lost to Floyd and you guys have to learn acceptance. I think it would be tough for Manny to ever surpass Floyd at this point. I think he will always be slightly under him. If Floyd is top 10 all time. Manny will be in the top 15 range give or take few pegs.
Off the top of my head Manny would have to beat Floyd in a rematch. Then he could say the shoulder injury held him back. Or maybe convincingly beat a great fighter like Terrance Crawford while testing with VADA. Beating a prime Crawford would give Manny a decent argument. Not sure if that puts him over Floyd but it opens the books again. Crawford seems to be special. I appreciate Manny’s greatness. I think the dude is once in a lifetime type special. But sometimes things are what they are. Floyd outsmarted him in the end and it looks like the history on them two is written.
Why all the controversy for in the Thurman vs Garcia fight. I thought Thruman won clean but even one of the judges who scored it for Thurman had a bad night because he scored the last 2 rounds for Thurman which makes no sense. Also what about the rest of the card. Is Lubin that good or was his opponent that bad? And poor Chad Dawson can’t get a break, a few years ago he looked like a Hall of Famer. Now he’s a gatekeeper it seems taking the Andre Ward fight completely stole his career away. What a shame!
Bread’s Response: I think people really don’t understand how to score fights. They say things like you can’t run the last 3 rounds and win a title. Well you can run the last 3 rounds if you win the first 9. It’s not one big 36 minute fight. It’s 12 separate rounds with no carry over affect. I even hear prominent trainers and boxers repeat this and it’s the reason why there is controversy because scoring a fight is not scoring an event. It’s simple math whoever can win 7 rounds in a championship fight wins as long as there are no knockdowns or point deductions.
In this particular fight I think the controversy stems from Thurman milking the clock in the end and Danny’s defense. Lots of times Thurman was punching but Danny seemed to be riding and blocking lots of punches. Then in the end Thurman moved a lot. The crowd was pro Garcia so that equals controversy. I knew a few swing rounds would be up for grabs and I predicted controversy. It happens no biggie. I’m a fan of both kids, they put a lot on the line, especially in this brutal climate of social media. Very few seem to have respect for fighters.
Erickson Lubin was touted as the best bet for the USA to win a Gold Medal in the 2016 Olympics. I think he is very good but it’s hard to tell how good. He passes the eye ball test but he was dropped by a non puncher a few fights ago. He’s fought some guys with some really good records but they have all been Latino fighters who fight the same style. His last opponent seemed to be wearing a knee brace and was off a year and a half. That being said I still think Lubin is a tremendous talent but it’s just hard to assess exactly where he is because he's been matched so well. However he has earned his title shot and I think he will be very competitive with Jermell Charlo. Charlo has more experience, is physically stronger and bigger. But Lubin is faster, was the much better amateur and Charlo just really struggled with John Jackson. It’s a really good fight in my opinion.
I was just talking about Chad Dawson to a fighter who thinks Dawson is a HOF. I told him Dawson has some great victories over Hopkins, Tarver, Johnson and Adamek and I wouldn’t mind seeing him in the HOF. But the critics will point out that his best victories were over old fighters and when he fought fresher younger guys like Pascal, Ward and Stevenson he lost bad. Now this happens. This reminded me of Jermaine Taylor vs Carl Froch. What a shame! Chad was winning and outboxing Fonfara and then a body shot and the life seeped out of him. What a tough break. I think Chad will be remembered as an excellent fighter. But not quite a HOF fighter. He’s one significant victory away in my opinion.
Who are the 3 best prospects in boxing? Everyone is high on Lubin and Verdejo but do you know any that go under the radar.
Bread’s Response: It’s hard to say because everyone has a different definition of prospect. There are fighters with over 20 fights and over 25 years old that some consider prospects. Then there are guys who turned pro at older ages and have less than 10 fights but are world champions. You have guys like Dmitri Bovol and Artur Beiterbiev who are much more advanced than the average American prospect with the same number of fights. I don’t know if you can count them as prospects, they seem to be contenders with a low number of fights.
Lubin seems to be everyone’s top prospect and I won’t argue that, the kid seems to be the goods. But I think I know a kid who is just as good. There is a kid named Jaron “Boots” Ennis who is 9-0 out of Philadelphia who is the truth. Ennis is so good I think he could beat most of the top welterweights now in 8 round fights. He’s not even 20 yet. Keep an eye out, he’s not with a big promoter, he didn’t go to the Olympics but if he did he would have been the best fighter on the team along with the talented Shakur Stevens. He’s that good.
Andy Vences is a top rank prospect. He’s sound fundamentally. He has a sick work ethic. He’s big for his weight and he understands how to box. He goes under the radar but I think he may be better than Verdejo he just doesn’t have the amateur background.
David Benavidez is also really good. He’s young but he has a composed way about him. He goes to the body like a 10 yr pro and he’s really tall for 168 pounder. Benavidez could beat most of the top 10 now at super middleweight if given the opportunity.
What do you make of Leonard Ellerbe’s comment that too many of todays fighters get too friendly with each other and make it so they can’t fight. What circumstances do you feel should keep fighters from fighting?
Bread’s Response: I think Leonard Ellerbe has a great point. But I can’t give you an exact situation where fighters can be too close to fight. Friendship is subjective. I have seen one guy say he was too friendly with another guy but the other say they aren’t. One would turn the fight down the other would take it.
From the outside looking in I don’t think blood family members should be made to fight. Asking brothers to fight is tough and I don’t blame brothers for not fighting. I also don’t blame guys who have the same trainer for not fighting. When you have two guys in the same gym, who learn the same dialect from their trainer. A bond forms. I’m not saying they can’t fight. I’m just saying it’s understandable if they don’t. Other than that it’s boxing and it’s an individual sport. But I like to judge cases on an individual basis.
I know you are a big Danny Garcia fan but he’s average at best. He can’t cut the ring off, he doesn’t jab and he’s slow. The only thing special about Danny is his chin. I will give him credit he takes a great shot. But other than that he’s an ordinary fighter who benefits from fighting old fighters for titles.
Bread’s Response: I am a fan of Garcia and after this fight I am a bigger fan. I never said Danny was an all time great. I said the kid can fight and his sum total outweighs his parts.
I said this on Twitter so I will say it to you. If Danny could do all of the things that he’s being criticized for not doing then he wouldn’t have been the 2 to 1 underdog despite being the more proven fighter. Danny has areas that he can work on for sure, but most fighters do.
But ask Keith Thurman if he’s ordinary. Danny has next level concentration. His eyes are so good he has the ability to counter almost anything. He can even counter a punch that he is hit with. That’s special. Danny also makes the most out of his physical ability. He’s not a super athlete, yet he was one of the best amateurs in 2008 and he is one of the best 25 fighters on the planet. I know kids with more ability but less accomplishments.
As you stated Danny has a great chin. One of the best in boxing. Danny also has a cool about him under fire. He doesn’t get rattled under the gun. Most fighters come out of their comfort zone. Danny does not. You’re picking the kid apart like most “experts” instead of giving credit to Keith Thurman. Thurman beat a really good fighter.
Stylistically Danny does not fight great on the move forward. Sort of like Canelo. He’s going to have to figure out a way to get over that. It only cost Canelo in one fight so he’s doing fine. People say James Toney had the same problem but if you rewatch Toney vs Nunn you would disagree. But this is not the worst thing in the world. It’s Danny’s gift and curse. He’s a great counter puncher standing still or while your coming to him. But he doesn’t lead well while going forward. I think Danny can figure it out and get over this. He has a high and flexible IQ.
This is the reason why fighters don’t risk it all. You fans and media members overdo it with the criticism. So the fighter says it’s not worth it, and may as well milk the game and make my money. Danny did the best he could and Keith won. Maybe he can come back make some adjustments and win a rematch like Leo Santa Cruz did. It’s not out of the question. Let the kid live why don’t ya.
Who do you like in the shootout between David Lemiuex vs Curtis Stevens? No way this fight goes the distance.
Bread’s Response: Stevens is a great counter puncher and Lemiuex likes to lead so many see Stevens clipping him. But often times great counter punchers like Stevens wait on that shot all night. Stevens is a little bit like Danny Garcia, he doesn’t like to lead. The problem that Stevens has is he’s shorter than Garcia and he fights 2 full divisions higher. So his laying back has really cost him some decisions.
I actually think this fight will go late. I don’t know what the over and under is but I think this fight goes at least 7 or 8 rounds if not the distance. People confuse temperament with punching power. Stevens and Lemiuex are both huge punchers but unless Lemiuex over presses this does not have to be a shootout. Stevens does not have the workrate or aggressive style to initiate a long hard shootout.
I’m going to go against the grain in this one. I say Stevens buzzes Lemiuex early with his patented catch then hook counter. Then Lemiuex sort of boxes, smothers and outworks Stevens and wins a decision.
I think GGG is going to have his hands full with Danny Jacobs. Do you think the Pirog loss is behind him? What fights show flaws in both fighters? How did you break the fight down?
Bread’s Response: I think if Jacobs gets off to a good start he’s in the fight. He will gain confidence that he belongs in there with Golovkin. Some fighters have sick delusional confidence like Ali. Then some guys like Jacobs are momentum fighters. They’re like a college ball team. Once they get a couple of buckets and the crowd goes crazy then they go on a run. I think Jacobs will need this in this fight.
I think The Pirog loss is behind Jacobs. Jacobs was a pup back then and Pirog was a seasoned killer we just didn’t know who he was. I think Jacobs is stronger and more experience now so I don’t hold that loss against him.
I think the Kasim Ouma fight shows a way to attack GGG. It’s not really a flaw, no fighter is perfect. But Ouma was able to attack up the middle and hold his ground because he had a super fast first step. Watch that fight when you get a chance. But I will say Ouma is one of those happy go lucky crazy kids. He was a child soldier and he killed people. He’s not going to have confidence problems. Jacobs is a cerebral kid, he thinks. Ouma is instinctive. Jacobs will have to have the confidence to stay in there and not let GGG push him to the ropes and fire like an SOB up the middle. Easier said than done. But Kell Brook and Ouma both had success doing it. No coincidence. But they both have two things in common. Both were smaller so they were faster getting off. Both have uncommon swag and confidence. If Jacobs has that Buster Douglas, "I have already been through hell mentality, he can do some things."
People give Jacobs crap for the Pirog fight but Pirog was really good. So good I think he could have challenged GGG for supremacy had he not had that back injury. The fight that I saw a flaw in was his fight with Ishe Smith. Smith fought a really good fight vs Jacobs. So good that his corner thought he was pulling even going into the last few rounds. Listen to the audio.
Smith was able to effectively pressure Jacobs and back him up and Jacobs resorted to taking something off of his punches and just throwing scoring blows to get the win. Smith is a natural 154 pounder and not known as a big puncher. The Smith fight was before the Pirog fight so Jacobs was a very young fighter. But if I’m a Jacobs backer it would slightly worry me that he resorted to throwing flurries and sort of gliding and moving to a victory like that over a smaller fighter who is not a huge puncher and Jacobs is known a killer puncher. Ishe Smith walked right to him and challenged his power. I will concede Jacobs wasn’t ready for Pirog at the time but the Smith fight is still perplexing me. I can’t tell if Smith hurt him, if Jacobs got tired or if Smith was too strong for the young Jacobs at the time despite the size difference.
Both GGG and Jacobs are very talented. Both guys can throw every punch. Both guys hit hard. Jacobs’s hands are faster but not by as much as some think. GGG is fearless at the point of attack so it allows him to land on faster fighters. GGG has educated feet so his lack of athleticism does not come into play often. GGG is GGG. He’s a horror movie that works behind a pole jab but he’s jabs into you. He’s the best fighter in the world if he puts you on the ropes. No one is better! He’s brutally even handed. He does need a 2nd wind after his initial onslaught but no one can take advantage of it. Watch the Martin Murray fight close. He needed that 2nd wind. But Murray was on the retreat so…
Jacobs is an athletic attacker. He hasn’t used his boxing skills much lately. He’s been blitzing everyone. That scares me because GGG boxes his way to his knockouts. Jacobs has a huge right hand. He throws it straight and round. He’s a really good fighter. He does not jab enough but I suspect he will this fight. He hasn’t had to use his jab as much in the past.
Now, there is something that stands out to me and it’s not their styles. Jacobs has not been under the gun in a very long time. The Pirog fight was 7 years ago. He fought Ishe Smith 8 years ago. No other fights on his resume have prepared him for the monster he is facing. That’s very concerning. People attack GGG’s resume but Brook, Lemiuex, Stevens, Monroe and Murray are solid dudes that no one is lining up to face. Jacobs fought Peter Quillen but he blitzed Quillen. That fight lasted less than a round. That’s not Jacobs’s fault but nevertheless his level of competition and resistance since Pirog has been much lower than GGG’s. Jacobs has not had to wonder whether he was winning or not after 3 rounds. Besides a Sergio Mora left hook he hasn’t had resistance.
If Jacobs had some solid rounds in with a guy like Andy Lee or Hasan Ndam in, it would have benefited him greatly. Matchmaking is just as important in building champions as training. Jacobs is going to have to have a perfect training camp because his recent in fight experience has not been on the level of GGG. Let’s see how it plays out. I think Jacobs is live in this one.
Is there a difference between cutting the ring off and walking a fighter down? I got into an argument in the barbershop and we need clearance. If there is can you give examples?
Bread’s Response: Hell yes there is a difference. What GGG and Roman Gonzales do is cutting the ring off. They make the ring smaller. The cut the ring in half and then in quarters. They are two of the best ever at it. George Foreman is also a master at it and it’s one of the reasons why Ali laid up against the ropes. If he would have moved he would have expended too much energy.
What Marvin Hagler did was walk you down. He’s attacking but he’s not stepping over and trapping you in corners. He’s coming forward attacking and beating you up. I notice that urban fighters sort of do it how Hagler does it. It’s a more of an athletic attack but as I stated before they don’t really trap you. Watch Lamont Peterson when he’s in that mode. Walk down, walk down! High level amateurs from the DMV and Cincinatti area are masters of that “walk down”.
Now I will add this. Stalking. Stalking is what taller fighter who’s instincts to attack do. Watch Krusher Kovalev. He doesn’t really cut the ring off and he’s not walking you down. He’s stalking you but he’s keeping his distance with a jab. Klitschko, Kovalev and Wilder stalk you. They’re scoring with a jab but being aggressive while doing so. But their particular jabs are meant to keep you on the end of them not to step into you. There lies the difference between a stalker and a pressure fighter cutting the ring down. One is trying to ko you with a long range shot, the other is trying to get up close on you.
I hope I helped you with visuals and explained the difference.
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