By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns, with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Billy Joe Saunders and his drug testing scandal, the career of Mike Tyson, the UFC aftermath with Khabib and Conor McGregor, Jose Benavidez vs. Terence Crawford, and more.
Man i enjoy your work, your insights on the sport are phenomenal! Could you comment on the full body of work on Mike Tyson’s career? Granted, he appeared to be a force of nature that wrecked havoc on the heavy weight division for a 3 and 1/2 year period but how does that amount to a hall of fame career? He lost his most meaningful fights by KO. Don’t get me wrong because i am a huge Tyson fan. However i have followed boxing religiously since then Cassius Clay got dropped by Henry Cooper then stopped him. I just don’t see Tyson in the same light as The greats of the 60s and 70s, maybe the second tier level fighters of that era like Ellis, Foley, Quarry, Chuvalo and Bonavena, yet those guys would have given him hell. Am i off in my thinking?
My next question will Tyson Fury’s height negate some of the effectiveness of Wilder’s powerful straight right?
Bread’s Response: Mike Tyson is a great fighter. He’s a HOF. And he’s somewhere between 8 and 15 on the all time heavyweight rankings. Great punchers are usually at least slightly overrated in their primes. And they are usually underrated post prime. Tyson’s post prime shortcomings are contributed to his style(high energy) and his lifestyle. But make no mistake, he was good enough for long enough. Let’s look at his career.
Tyson destroyed Trevor Berbick to win the title. Most look back and laugh at Berbick. But Berbick was a solid era guy who had some decent wins vs Pinklon Thomas, Mitch Green and Greg Page. Berbick had a rep for upsetting young prospects. But because Tyson destroyed him 2 rounds, history rights him off as some bum. Berbick is equal to say Dillian Whyte of this era.
He then beat Bonecrusher Smith who had a spotty record but he was the WBA champion and he had just beat a HOF talented Tim Witherspoon. Tyson went directly to a unification. No showcases.
After Smith, Tyson went to a real contender in Pinklon Thomas who was 29-1 and looked at as a threat. Tyson stopped him in 6.
After that he went into another unification and vs Tony Tucker. Another unification within a year of winning the title. Tyson was 21 and he unified all 3 belts within 10 months. In this era it takes a fighter forever to unify and if they’re too young all you hear is wait, wait, wait. Tyson did something that Larry Holmes failed to do in 7 years. The other best heavyweight of the 80s.
After Tyson beat Tucker he went straight to the Gold Medalist of the 1984 Olympic Games that he didn’t make. Tyrell Biggs and Tyson was a big fight. Biggs was also undefeated. Again Tyson gave the public the fight they wanted vs the best available opponent. Tyson stopped Biggs.
Right after Biggs he stopped Larry Holmes. In history older champions with big names usually face younger ones in their primes. Most times the older champions lose but if you aren’t on the level the older champions can and will defeat you. Tyson stopped Holmes in 4 rounds. The year was 1988. Revisionist who don’t like Tyson make it seem as though Holmes walked to the ring with a cain. What they never mention is Holmes beat an undefeated Ray Mercer who had just relinquished the WBO title 3 years later in 1991. Holmes also won 4 rounds vs a prime Evander Holyfield in 1992. You can’t be shot in 1988 and not be shot in 1992. That Holmes victory was quality whether you like it or not.
After Holmes he knocks out Tony Tubbs in 2 rounds. Tubbs is called another BUM. What’s funny is Tubbs was 24-1 and from Cincinnati. Cincinnati always produces good amateurs. This again may disturb some people who don’t like Tyson. But Tubbs lost to Riddick Bowe 96-94 3 years AFTER Tyson smoked him. Some people thought Tubbs beat Bowe…….Let that sink in when you discredit Tyson’s reign of terror.
Tyson then beat Michael Spinks in his superfight. Spinks gets dismissed as some lightheavyweight. Spinks is an ATG lightheavyweight and was a top 5 fighter of the 80s. The 80s was one of the best decades ever. Spinks had time to grow into heavyweight and Tyson was only 6 lbs heavier when they fought. Spinks was a great fighter. And that was a great win. Oh did I mention Spinks was the lineal heavyweight champion of the world.
After Spinks, Tyson beat Frank Bruno and Carl Williams. Bruno was decent. No world beater. But I want you guys to watch his fight with a prime Lennox Lewis many years later. He was even on two judges score cards and up 59-55 on the other. Again I can’t make this up.
As for Carl Williams. Watch his fight with Larry Holmes and get back to me. I think Williams beat Holmes. Tyson smoked him early.
After Williams of course Tyson lost to Buster Douglas. And here comes the trouble. In the Douglas fight Tyson showed chops in losing. He took a bad beating but he never stopped trying to win. He even dropped Douglas late but it was Douglas’s night and things like that happen.
That was Tyson’s 1st reign as champion. Put that reign up against Larry Holmes’s reign and Joe Frazier’s reign. I’m telling you it’s no big difference. Fighter for fighter. Win for win.
After Tyson lost to Douglas they didn’t shy him away from punchers. He fought Alex Stewart who was 26-1 with 26kos. He had went 8 rough rounds with Evander Holyfield a year before. Tyson again smoked him in 1.
Razor Ruddock was a guy who was avoided. Ruddock was also a brutal puncher who had scored one of the nastiest kos in history vs Michael Dokes. Tyson fought him back to back in a 3 month span and it probably took away his prime. Tyson beat him twice and it showed chops.
Before Tyson went to prison he consistently beat his biggest threat. Ring ranked top 10 contenders. Ex world champions and two 1st ballot HOF and ATG in Spinks and Holmes. Yet again people say he fought all bums.
In actuality Tyson beat his opponents easier than his contemporaries and because of this he made them look like bums. They weren’t bums. Tyson didn’t have one miss during his 1st reign and he always fought the best available guy.
After he got out of prison. He again unified in back to back fights. Bruno and Seldon. And he took on Holyfield. We all know what happened. Holyfield beat the remaining prime out of Tyson. Holyfield for my money is a top 30-35 fighter ever. In a P4P sense Holyfield is extremely hard to beat. And in a literal sense I can’t think of 3 or 4 men who would beat him head to head circa 185-200lbs.
Here is where things go bad for Tyson. After his physical prime at 30 years old. He couldn’t muster up a big win in the skeptics eyes. Wins over Frans Botha, Clifford Etienne and Andrew Golota weren’t good enough for a past his prime small heavyweight. Botha had just gone 12 hard rounds with Michael Moorer. He was 39-1. Etienne was 24-1 and had beat an undefeated Lamon Brewster. The same Brewster who kod Wlad Klitshcko. Again Tyson defeats common opponents much more comprehensively than his rivals. But he doesn’t get credit.
Again Joe Frazier was done at the same stage and same age. Sonny Liston never again fought for a world title. Tyson is comparable to both yet both are more highly regarded. I have no horse in the race I’m just stating facts. Tyson unified the division twice and has more title defenses than both.
Tyson’s style would never age well. He was a 5’10 heavyweight who relied on fast twitch freakish movement to get inside. So while he did lose to Lewis and Holyfield. He beat Holmes and Spinks. All 4 are just about equal historically. No small pressure fighting heavyweight has aged well in their 30s. So Tyson is not alone.
I do agree that Tyson didn’t respond to adversity well late in his career. And he did have some front running moments. It came out as time went on. But his overall body of work is just as good as Dempsey’s, Holmes’s, Frazier’s, Liston’s, Marciano’s and Bowe’s and many others who are rated in the same place as he is. I think Tyson’s character comes into question and rightfully so. But Tyson fought high quality fighters and he doesn’t have huge misses and ducks on his resume. Just look at the landscapes when he was fighting.
I put Ali, Louis, Foreman, Holyfield, Lewis, Johnson, Holmes and Marciano in front of him. But everyone else he has an argument to be equal to or over.
Tyson Fury has boxing ability. Fighters who can box and have excellent jabs are always hard to beat. I expect him to win rounds vs Wilder.
Did you see the incident with Khabib vs McGregor? I know you don’t watch the UFC but this was big news. What are your views?
Bread’s Response: I did see the aftermath. It was unfortunate that things went that way. I respect Khabib for standing on his morals and principles. That’s honorable. I do however think he made a mistake. From a LIABILITY standpoint the promoters have to pay insurance. Khabib went into the stands and that’s never acceptable unless someone from the stands went in on you. Khabib went over the cage.
After seeing the news I started to research Khabib and man I really like the guy. I love the bear video. I love his respect for his dad. I love his perspective on religion and life. He’s a man’s man. I think he will take his punishment on the chin whatever it is and stand on what he did.
I think McGregor is also a man’s man. People don’t like McGregor but look here no one can take being choked out. James Toney can tolerate as many punches as I have ever seen a fighter take. But once someone started choking him he tapped out. It’s oxygen. We are humans! I don’t think McGregor QUIT. I think he capitulated just like every other fighter does when being choked out.
I also like that fact that McGregor decided to not press charges on his attacker. He certainly could have. That was a cheap shot from whoever the dude was who jumped over the cage. You have to respect McGregor’s stance on that.
Other than that. I don’t have much to say.
In light of BJ Saunders being stripped do you agree with the decision? I think secretly none of the promoters want VADA because they know these fighters are juicing. Where does Andrade go from here?
Bread’s Response: Yes I agree with the decision. There should be no such thing as taking a PED in the off season or non competition An advantage is an advantage. A PED can help you in camp. It’s the whole point of taking it. To gain the results in camp for the fight. I don’t believe in that nasal spray stuff for one minute. The only thing I question VADA on is recreational drugs like marijuana. I do wonder if marijuana is an actual PED and can help a fighter fight.....
I’m glad VADA is catching more cheaters. I’m happy the WBO stripped him. He had an advantage over Andrade no matter how you slice it. Now it’s reasonable to suspect PED use for his up and down performances. Saunders has looked sensational and awful. It makes a reasonable person wonder…
Of course some promoters don’t like VADA. VADA will catch their stars and lose money on promotions. Promoters aren’t choir boys.
Andrade should be a big favorite to win the title on October 20th. His opponent is inexperienced, untested, and much slower. A fight is a fight. But I expect Andrade to win within 4 rounds.
Breakdown the Crawford vs Benavidez fight? Where do you rank Crawford P4P? There is a video of Crawford and his team heckling Benavidez at his media day. Thoughts?
Bread’s Response: Crawford is one of those rare zones. He’s just clicking. He’s smooth. His mind reacts and processes to every situation he’s seen. He’s just in that place where special fighters operate. He’s where Whitaker was at when he fought McGirt in 1993. Some weight rise that Crawford has done in 2018. Lightweight to welterweight.
I expect Crawford to win. But I don’t expect a total blowout. He ignited a fire under Benavidez. A real fire. And pride can take a man a long way. Benavidez will fight. He will take more than he normally would unless he gets hit with a nerve ending shot that ices him. Benavidez has pedigree. But I think Crawford is a class above. I think Crawford is too smooth and too fundamentally sound. Benavidez lost his way a few years back. I don’t know what happened but he was awesome as a young prodigy sparring Manny Pacquiao. Now he throws wider, telegraphed punches and he doesn’t stick to gameplans in tough fights. I think he lost Mauricio Herrera.
I think Crawford will win this fight with his jab and counter punching but I think Benavidez goes the distance. I also think he scores an early knockdown but Crawford gets up and goes to work. I think Crawford will separate himself after 5 or 6 rounds and I think he wins 8 or 9 rounds on the cards. But I don’t believe it will be easy. Benavidez has a LOOK in his eyes of a man who is tired of not getting his just due. He believes he should have what Crawford has and he’s going to give it his all. You can’t measure a man’s ambition and Benavidez wants this fight. He wants this moment. The thing that will separate them is Crawford’s ability to stay neat and concentrate. Benavidez gets sloppy late while Crawford stays on point.
I rate Crawford and Lomachenko as the 2 best fighters in the world. Flip a coin. Today say 1a and 1b.
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