The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such teaching your child to box, Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez, the legacy of Roy Jones Jr., the career of Azumah Nelson, and more.
What's up Bread?
Last mailbag you mentioned 8 years old was a good age to start teaching boxing to your child. I was curious how much it costs on average to fund your child's journey through the amateurs. Is it expensive as far as the traveling, equipment, and entering different tournaments? Are sponsors available to non professionals? What costs can parents expect to incur for the total amateur experience? Also, do you have any suggestions to keep a young kid motivated? Any thoughts on balancing the parent and child dynamics while striving for success in boxing?
Bread’s Response: The better your child is the more you will travel to National Tournaments. It’s always an expense. Plane Tickets, Hotel Rooms, Food, Miscellaneous….If your child becomes one of a select few top rated boxers by USA boxing they will get sponsored but that’s a small percentage of the National boxers.
There has to be a balance of fun and hard work. Elite athletes of all ages work hard. Butt hey also should have fun. You know your child’s personality so you will know how to bring the best out of him/her. You know what they like and don’t like and you know if you’re pushing too hard. For example last year my daughter made the AAU Junior Olympics in 3 events at 8 years old. It started to stress her out as the events became bigger and bigger. Locally she was lost 1 race out of 40 but she felt a different energy once we got to the Junior Olympics. I took her to Best Buy and brought her a brand new tablet and downloaded some cool games to take her mind off of it. She finished 5th in the USA. This year my wife took her. My wife took her Disney World to take her mind off of the hard races, the JO was near Disney…. But she wasn’t as stressed and she didn’t cry. Because she evolved and grew over the year’s time. She did better, she’s #2 in the USA now. You will grow with your child.
I work my fighters and my children really hard. But I also form fun relationships with them. I tell them when they aren’t performing up to par and I compliment them when they are. Everyone’s personality isn’t the same. Some people can’t take criticism. Others love it. Again you have to know your athlete and child. Boxing is an interesting sport. MY son claims he wants to box. He plays football, basketball and runs track. But he hasn’t asked me in a way where I’m convinced that he REALLY wants to box. So I’ve taught him the basics but we haven’t started training hard yet because I don’t know if he wants it as bad as he wants football, basketball or track. You can’t force boxing on anyone. They have to love it.
I’m sure a lot of sports have it, but it always seem to me that nostalgia was especially strong in boxing. Everywhere you look, it seems like you run into a few older guys who go on and on about how the older fighters are ALWAYS superior to the fighters of today. Like, you throw a few mythical matchups at them, and they always pick the older fighter over the more contemporary one. Got wondering… when do you think nostalgia clouds some fans’ judgment, Breadman?
What are some mythical matchups you’ve been asked about, where it seems like you favor the newer fighter? And it shocked people that you picked the newer guy?
Bread’s Response: Nostalgia is a real thing. Sometimes it’s accurate. Sometimes it’s bias. I was born in the mid 70s so the fighters from the 80s have had the biggest impact on mind psyche. Until this day I think Ray Leonard is the best fighter I’ve seen.
I think they are more than a few fighters today who can hold their own throughout history. Loma, Bud, Spence, Inoue, Canelo, Beterbiev, GGG and Usyk can fight in any era excel. I don’t have a specific head to head match up that I get asked that I can think of. But there are times I favor the current fighter. I will admit that I think fighters of the 80s and 90s are better overall. It’s not so much nostalgic for me is how often they fought, their ambition and mentalities.
A while back, came across an article about the career of Azumah Nelson. In the comment section, someone referred to him as “Ghana’s GOAT”, to which someone else replied, “Forget Ghana, he was Africa’s GOAT!”. What do you think of Azumah Nelson? Is he Africa’s GOAT?
Like several others, I was introduced to Azumah Nelson through his fight with Salvador Sanchez. When I first watched it, I was surprised. The way I heard folks tell the story, it had sounded like Nelson was a very green prospect that Sanchez schooled. But I didn’t get a Floyd-Canelo schooling like I thought I would. Do I think Nelson learned a lot from that loss? Sure. Yes, Sanchez took Nelson’s best shots better than the other way around. But up until that fifteenth round, it seemed to me like Nelson was holding his own. Am I wrong? How does Nelson hold up?
MM’s for the The Professor:
Nelson vs Lomachenko @130
Nelson vs Saddler @ 126
Nelson vs Pep @ 126
Nelson vs Hamed @126
Nelson vs Mayweather @ 130
Nelson vs Barrera @ 130
Bread’s Response: I think the world of Azumah Nelson. He was a MONSTER. He’s probably one of the 10 best fighters of the 80s. He’s a top 15 featherweight of all time. And he’s a top 6 or 7 junior lightweight of all time. He is most likely the best fighter ever from Africa. Only Dick Tiger and Marcel Cerdan can argue.
Nelson was what I call a GUN. He took a short notice fight vs Sal Sanchez and took him to HELL. You watch that fight closely and Nelson was WITH him until exhaustion did him in late. I thought Nelson possibly won 6 or 7 rounds. Nelson was a huge even handed puncher. He was a finisher. He had a every punch. He looked a little straight legged but that was just him. His Apex performances of Wilfredo Gomez and Jeff Fenech rematch are ATG. Great fighter.
Nelson vs Loma flip a coin.
Nelson vs Saddler flip a coin.
Nelson vs Pep, Pep close decision.
Nelson vs Hamed, Nelson ko.
Nelson vs Mayweather, Mayweather close decision
Nelson vs Barrera, Nelson late stoppage
I hope people appreciate Loma, whatever happens in the Lopez fight. He truly is chasing greatness.
First he concedes a pay cut from Top Rank, and then concedes some of his own purse to Lopez simply to get the fight.
Call him stupid or determined, but this is the type of thing fans always clamour for.
I don't think I've ever seen an A-side do that, especially not vs a killer. Have you?
Also, I don't think you watched the eWBSS (it was a PC vs PC video game tournament to entertain fans during lockdown). The HW final was Tyson vs Ali. Tyson won.
I know your thoughts on this MM. Point I want to make is, although less probably, it's possible. Hope fans realise this too and don't yell "over the hill" if Loma loses.
Lastly, I cannot thank you enough for your mailbags.
Especially the "daily" versions of the daily bread mailbags during lockdown (almost got us readers excited there).
Bread’s Response: Thank you my man. Here is the thing about boxing. Everyone finds a way to complain and a way to make excuses. If Loma wins, Lopez’s fans will say he was GREEN. If Lopez wins, Loma’s fans will say he was past his best days. It’s just how boxing works. I’m just happy we are getting a great fight.
With all that is going on other sports as far as protesting the systemic racism and racial injustice, do you think it will trickle over to boxing? Do you think boxers will protest and not fight etc etc? I’m not sure how that will work but I am curious as to your thoughts on it.
Bread’s Response: Good question. I really don’t know if the protest will happen in boxing because boxing is not seasonal it’s all year around. So the elite fighters only fight twice a year. In the NBA they play 82 regular season games not including the playoffs. So it’s just different to protest in a team sport that has a schedule. A boxing match has to get signed and agreed to by both fighters.....
I’m thinking as I’m typing and I just don’t know. I can’t answer this question, it’s tough. But here is what I will say. If a boxer or boxers decided to Protest and sit out a fight or fights, I would support them. And if other boxers were NOT willing to sit out a fight or fights, I would not condemn them.
I think this is a personal choice, like religion and politics. And from what I have seen, people insult and attack if you don’t fall into their line of thinking. Everyone has different outlooks these things. Some athletes spoil their family with their money. Some athletes are philanthropist. Some athletes spend freely. Some are dedicated 24/7/365. Others are not. Some are young and some are older. In boxing I wouldn’t expect a 22 yr old to think like a 35 yr old. For example a 35 yr old fighter who is likely getting his final title shot, may not be willing to sit out a year. Where as a 22 yr old, may be willing because he has time.
I am curious to see what happens in boxing now that you asked because I never boxing much thought as far as the protest because it’s not a team sport and it doesn’t have the platform that the NBA and NFL have.
I remember you saying that it’s harder to jump weight after 147lbs and you are correct. You often see fighters who will win a title at 108 and then 112. It seems common. But none of this eras welterweights have won titles at 154. Only one of the champions at 154 have won a title at 160. Why do you think this is? And if a fighters wins his titles in 2 or 3 of the original 8 divisions does it automatically make them a HOF?
Bread’s Response: I think it’s harder to win titles after you reach 147 because the talent pool is bigger and the men are larger. There are fighters at 147 who walk around at 175-80lbs that won’t move up because they will be facing a 154 pounder who is 2 inches taller and that 154 pounder walks around at 190. It’s just how it is.
I don’t want to qualify anything as automatic HOF induction but some accomplishments are high qualifiers.
Quick example. Over the last 20 years since 2000 only 2 fighters that I can recall have won titles at 160 and 168. Arthur Abraham and Billy Joe Saunders. I don’t want to start counting these WBA regular titles. So that’s 2 in 20 years.There have probably been 10 fighters at 108 who have won the title at 112lbs. I don’t have an exact count but that’s my estimation. It’s just easier
A high qualifier for me is a trifecta of 154-160-168. Canelo did 154-160- regular title at 168-175, which qualifies for me. He’s special and he’s a HOF. That’s a very hard trifecta. I think if a fighter accomplishes that even if he doesn’t beat great fighters but wins legitimate belts then his HOF stock rises. Jermall Charlo is the only other fighter of this era who is close to all 3. He has 2 but 168 won’t be easy because the PBC 168 pounders are heavy work in Plant and Benavidez.
Another high qualifier is winning a real belt at 147 and real one at 160. It’s rare. Only Miguel Cotto has been able to do it since Oscar De La Hoya and De La Hoya won his 160lb belt on a very controversial decision. Before him Tito Trinidad. Before him Tommy Hearns, Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran. This is a very thing in boxing. This accomplishment has not been watered down with time and belts.
Just like the trifecta of 147,154 and 160. Again no one in this era has done it. Cotto is the last fighter to do it. Before him Oscar and Tito. Before that again Leonard, Hearns and Duran. Before that Emille Griffin. And no one else. I think this kid Jaron Ennis has an outside shot because of his height and athleticism but it won’t be easy.
It’s also very hard to win a title at 135 then at 147. 147 Being that cut off line. If you throw in the 140 trifecta lets look and see who has done it. Terence Crawford and Adrien Broner recently but before them the 2 best fighters of the last 20 years Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Shane Mosley did it at 135 and 147. Oscar did 135,140, 147. Whitaker did 135,140,147. Duran did 135 and 147. Before them Henry Armstrong! 135 and 147 champions became a little more common in the 90s-2000s but not so much so where just good fighters could do it.
Abraham, Saunders and Broner are the only fighters I’ve named who aren’t HOF locks. They have chances but they aren’t locks as of yet. I would debate this with analytical boxing Geek. Jumping weights after 147 is usually held for special fighters. It has not been common enough and watered down enough where 4 or 5 fighters do it in a short time period.
[Roy Jones] fought more killers in his prime than he gets credit for? As John McEnroe once said, you cannot be serious
Besides Toney, name those KILLERS...in their prime
He was the most under-matched fighter in recent memory
Bread’s Response: I get tired of you guys disrespecting the Great Roy Jones Jr. But I have time today. I saved this question for last…
Roy Jones was not under matched. Let’s not make bland blanket comments. Let’s be specific. As a young prospect before he fought for the title he fought Jorge Vaca, Jorge Castro, Glenn Thomas and Percy Harris. Thomas was 24-0, Harris was solid, and Castro and Vaca were some rough customers for a prospect to fight. Ask around? Jones washed everyone of them. Castro and Vaca were also Ring Rated in the Top 10. Which counts for a lot.
Speaking of Ring Rated Fighters faced which is a good way to judge a fighter as far as fighting the best available fighters Jones fought, Jorge Vaca, Jorge Castro, Bernard Hopkins, Thomas Tate, James Toney, Vinny Pazienza, Tony Thornton, Merqui Sosa, Bryant Brannon, Mike McCallum, Montel Griffin 2x, Virgil Hill, Lou Devalle, Otis Grant, Reggie Johnson, David Telesco, Richard Hall, Eric Harding, Derrick Harmon, Julio Gonzales, Clinton Woods, John Ruiz, Antonio Tarver 3x, Glen Johnson and Joe Calzaghe. That’s 28 fights vs a Ring Rated Top 10 fighter. That’s insane.
Now I will go deeper. In 1992 we were in a Golden Era at middleweight after the retirement of Marvin Hagler and the belts being split up. In the top 10 was James Toney Bernard Hopkins, Mike McCallum, Reggie Johnson, Lamar Parks, Gerald McClellan, Steve Collins and Julian Jackson. Roy Jones is the only one to fight 4 of the line up. The only one. All of the fights weren’t at middleweight but he found a way to fight 4.
As for the killers in the prime comment. Roy had to fight real fights to win his world titles. Bernard Hopkins was a killer. He was 28 years old. Roy was 24. Hopkins was a ko artist at back in those days and he was on a 22 fight win streak. The only reason why he didn’t have a 12 year reign instead of a 10 year reign was because of Roy Jones. So if Hopkins was pre prime then so was Roy. It was both of their 1st title fights and Hopkins was 4 years older. It’s funny Hopkins was on win streak before he fought Jones and didn’t lose another fight for 12 years after he fought Jones, but you make it seem like he couldn’t fight when he fought Jones. Hopkins was a monster his entire time at 160. Don’t downplay his greatness because Jones beat him before his title reign.
Jones defended that title vs a real guy in Thomas Tate and iced him. I know you believe in real contenders. Tate was one. As a stay busy fight Jones fought Sugar Boy Malinga in 1993 after he won the title. He brutally kod him. AFTER the Jones fight Malinga went on to win the WBC Super Middleweight Title beating Nigel Benn and Robin Reid. But let me guess Malinga was a nobody.
So Jones moves up and fights the # P4P in the world and he fights a perfect fight vs James Toney. People want to use the weight as an excuse. But Toney looked his career best after moving up from 160 but when he fights Jones at 168, weight became an issue.
So now Jones is a 2 division champ and he’s really untouchable at 168. His toughest fight during that reign was supposed to be Merqui Sosa. Sosa gets voted to have the best chin boxing and Jones fights him in his hometown at a catchweight. Jones stops him in 2 rounds.
He also takes on an undefeated tough guy in Bryant Brannon who tried to bully. Jones absolutely brutalizes him and trend starts. All of these tough guys try the same thing and no one can hang.
Jones moves up and fights Mike McCallum another HOF. McCallum is older but he’s still capable. It’s not Jones’s fault that McCallum is the interim champion of the WBC. Jones wins easy. No one beats McCallum easy who was a late bloomer by the way.
Next Jones fights a 26-0 Olympian Montell Griffin who had defeated James Toney twice. He gets DQ and comes back kos him in 1 round. Right after that he fights Virgil Hill another Olympian and great fighter. He scores the ko of the year. Hill was close to his prime. He went on to win the Crusier weight title AFTER Jones stopped him.
Jones then goes to unify immediately vs Lou Del Valle. Unifications are big. Then in the following year he unifies again vs the underrated Reggie Johnson. No one talks about his reign at 175.
David Telesco was a real fight. He was another guy calling Jones out bothering him. Jones beat him also in his hometown.
Jones then goes on to fight Eric Harding. Harding got the fight for the being the 1st man to defeat Antonio Tarver. Harding could fight his butt off. After Jones beats Tarver he fights Julio Cesar Gonzalez. Jones washes him but there is a caveat. The knock on Jones’s ledger at 175 is he didn’t win the 4th belt (WBO) vs Darius Michalchewski. Gonzalez is the 1st man to defeat Michalchewski and he did it after Jones beat him. Gonzalez also went on to defeat Glen Johnson, Montell Griffin and David Telesco. But I guess he was only a bum when Jones fought him although he did all of this AFTER fighting Jones.
Jones then scores another underrated win over Clinton Woods. Jones is the only man to stop Woods. Woods went on to be a solid champion after Jones stopped.
Jones has many wins that grew legs.
He moves up to fight John Ruiz and wins the heavyweight title. Ruiz wasn’t the lineal champion or the #1 guy, but he was solid. I’m not fan of how Ruiz fought but he wasn’t an easy out. Jones just made it look easy.
Now Jones moves back down and beats Antonio Tarver. He won the 1st fight. Tarver was a killer and in his prime because of his late start.
Things went down hill for Jones after the 1st Tarver fight. He 35 at the time of the rematch. Post Tarver, Jones was still good enough to beat Jeff Lacy, Anthony Hanshaw, Prince Badi Ajamu and Omar Sheika.
I won’t discuss Jones’s mishaps. I feel as though he should’ve fought one of the 3 UK Super Middleweights. There was some time. Benn, Eubank and Collins. Especially Collins after he defeated both twice. Collins wanted the fight. Jones didn’t have to fight all 3 but 1 is a legit complaint.
I also believe Jones should’ve fought Michael Nunn who was available. But Nunn lost and the crazy WBC lawsuit came about with Graciano Rocchigiani. I still don’t know how that happened.
Then there is Darius Michalczewski. Jones won the WBC, WBA and IBF titles. Michalczewski was the WBO champion for many years. This was the Super Fight at 175. So Jones wins 3 belts and Michalczewski never attempts to unify during his entire reign and people blame Jones for NOT making the fight. Michaelczewski fought every one of his career fights in Europe, the majority in Germany. Not once traveling to the US. People knock the contenders that Jones fought but Michalczewski fought Richard Hall twice, remember him. Montel Griffin, Virgil Hill and Julio Gonzalez. All Roy Jones victims.
Some say Michalczewski was a killer. I think he was. You don’t get to 48-0 with 23 title defenses and not be. But Roy Jones was the bigger star. Roy Jones proved more. Let’s stop the BS. We know who is at fault for not making a fight. We all can act a certain way but we really know. This was an 80/20 thing as far as accountability. No A+ star during their prime from the USA has ever been expected to go fight on foreign soil in a close to 50/50 fight. Obviously Jones could have but should he have is the question. I think more of the blame lies on Michalczewski.
So those are critiques of Jones’s illustrious career. He gave rematches to in his close fights to Tarver and Griffin. He unified at 175. And he looked for killers in Toney, Hopkins, Hill, Tarver, Johnson, Sosa and Tate.
I guess you can say he should’ve stayed at heavyweight. But that in my opinion is just Jones making a poor choice that cost him.
Oh I forgot when he got old, he didn't have fundamentals so he lost. But 99% of the fighters get old at 35. How come those fundamentals didn't help Bernard Hopkins, James Toney, Reggie Johnson and Virgil Hill when they fought him. They all had great fundamentals.
All in all Roy Jones is a top 20 fighter ever. He’s the best Super Middleweight Ever. He’s a top 15 light heavyweight. He’s a top 20 middleweight. And he was the best fighter of the 90s. Stop it with the Roy Jones bashing. His resume is better than some of the so called “I will fight any body guys.”
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