By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as tonight's fights on ESPN and Showtime, Bernard Hopkins vs. Marvin Hagler, the skills of IBF welterweight world champion Errol Spence, the next finishers in the history of the sport and more.
Thank you for doing your mailbag. It's one of the few things i make sure to read, if I see it.
Boxing became my 2nd favorite sport a few years back but I still don't understand it the same way I do basketball, for example. Your mailbag makes it's a little easier.
I had a question about the sanctioning bodies. Why is it possible to look at the top 10 fighters from each organization and maybe only 3 would carry over into each other one? Also, are some groups really tied to certain promoters or is that just a traditional under the table thing. The WBO and Top Rank for example.
This was longer than expected. Thanks, again sir.
Bread’s Response: Connections, resources and affiliation plays a big part in who gets ranked. If you see a certain promoter is getting the majority of his fighters title shots at a specific sanctioning body’s title then you can assume they have a working relationship with that sanctioning body.
My questions may seem random, but I appreciate all things boxing, and I really appreciate the thought you put into your answers. Much respect. Here are some things I'd appreciate your thoughts on the following:
1. Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs Bhop - who wins and how?
2. Prime Lennox Lewis (late 90's prime) vs prime Iron Mike (between 86-88 prime years) - who wins and how?
3. LSC vs Mares rematch?
4. What's your take on the GGG vs Canelo negotiations? Is either side trying to back out? Is this just negotiating so they meet in the middle (55/45 or something like that)? It seems like there's too much money to avoid the rematch. It seems like they are withholding to make us want it more. Take it away, we yearn for it more. Thoughts?
5. How much do you believe in light sparring? Some gyms go hard for hundreds of rounds, and I think that can actually train bad habits. What kind of shadow boxing drills and routines do you have your fighters go through? I've heard some coaches prefer shadowboxing to heavy bag work (even become critical of bag work - why?).
6. When you see an amateur fight happening, what type of components do you usually see in a winning fighter in an amateur fight? What do you think is more important: aggression or lower punch output but with more punches landing? Do jabs matter much in amateur scoring?
North of the border
Bread’s Response: 1. Man this is a tough one. Hagler’s peak was from about 78-82. He was really a special all around hard nosed technician. Hagler had a hybrid way about his game. He wasn’t all pressure but he was far from a pure boxer. The Bhop that fought Trinidad is a rough night for any man ever at 160, including Hagler, Robinson and Monzon. If you twist my arm I say Hagler. I think he’s a little more active and activity in a fight where both guys have iron chins that will most likely go the distance is important. I also can’t get the 1st Robert Allen and Antwione Echols fights for Hopkins out of my head. Both of those guys really pushed Hopkins to the edge in his prime so I imagine Hagler could edge him slightly.
2. This is a weird fight for me. Some days I think Tyson clips him. Lewis was clipped by big right hands by guys slower and less dynamic than Tyson. Then I think about Tyson paying Lewis that step aside money. For some reason Tyson was never in a hurry to fight Lewis. Today I say Tyson by mid round tko. The 88 version of Tyson was a monster.
3. Both Santa Cruz and Mares are putting together HOF careers quietly. If Mares wins he’s in. This fight is really important. Santa Cruz has a really good high disruptive jab. He showed a major adjustment in the Frampton rematch. I think it will be a close drawish type of fight. Expect controversy. But my pick is Santa Cruz by 1 or 2 points.
4. I don’t really care about the negotiations. I try not to get into that stuff. All I can say is I expected GGG to ask for more. Most people thought he won the 1st fight. And Canelo tested positive before the rematch. It was predictable in my opinion GGG wouldn’t take the same deal he took for the 1st fight.
5. Light sparring is good when you have fighters who are far apart in weight or in ability level. But make no mistake live sparring gets you prepared for a real fight. Intensity and punching harder spends more energy. So in order to get ready for a real fight you need live sparring. The rounds should be monitored and you don’t want your guy constantly sparring over his head with killers but you need live work.
Shadowboxing is important. It builds concentrations, technique and believe it or not stamina especially in the legs. But I wouldn’t neglect bag work for shadowboxing. They enhance different functions. Why can’t you do both?
6. The winning fighter is usually the faster twitch guy. He’s usually the guy who is also the faster thinker. A 3 round amateur fight is frenetic and 90% of the fighters who we consider to be special amateurs have fast minds. They have the ability to process and react. The guys who we say have pro styles slow things down a bit more and rely on conditioning and power more.
The most important thing in an amateur fight is the guy who is reacts the quickest and who is most accurate. It’s very simple. It doesn’t matter if they are going forward or backwards.
Of course a jab is important. It’s a straight shot that the judges can see snap a head straight back.
Best mailbag in the game! I saw you post on Twitter that Ray Leonard is the best finisher you ever saw. Tell me what qualities make a great finisher? Tell me who are the 10 best finishers ever and who are the 10 best at currently? Thanks
Bread’s Response: This is hard because there were so many great finishers from the 40s, 50s and 60s. I will do someone a disservice by not naming them. But I will try my best.
The qualities of a good finisher is a fighter who can function under chaos. When he has his opponent hurt, the tension raises because everyone gasp in anticipation. The fighter who can slow things down in his processing while everything looks faster to those watching. The fighter who is accurate in the moment with his punches. The fighter who has confidence in his stamina because in order to finish you have to put out more energy. The fighter who has good IQ and instincts. He has to be able to put together the correct sequence of punches in order to force the stoppage. There is nothing more frustrating to see a fighter get his opponent in trouble and he goes crazy missing punches, looking sloppy then shooting his load and having to take off 2 or 3 rounds because he’s so depleted. In this era of boxing we have terrible finishers. There are only a few elite level finishers in boxing right now. I’m not sure I can even name a dozen.
Currently GGG, Jermall Charlo, Monster Inoue, Artur Beterbiev, Errol Spence, Terence Crawford, Mikey Garcia, Gervonta Davis and Regis Prograis are the only fighters who I look at and see an elite level finisher. Adrien Broner used to be better than all of them at finishing in his 130lb and 135lb days. He was literally lights out when he got you hurt during those times. I know Broner gets plenty of criticism but if you watch him finish a fighter when he got them hurt before he moved up to 147lbs, he was like 100% from the field. His finish of Jason Litzau was brilliant. Broner reminded me of Ray Leonard with his blistering finishing ability. Man I don’t know what happened to THAT Broner but he was a terrific finisher a few years ago.
I have a disclaimer for my 10 best finishers ever. This is not an official list and I’m sure a historian will be able to counteract my list. But this list is of the great fighters that I have studied.
1. Joe Louis- Calm demeanor great punch selection, pin point accuracy. See Rematch with Schmeling
2. Ray Leonard-Blistering finisher but great punch selection and stamina and would overwhelm his prey with extended combinations. See Andy Price fight.
3. Ray Robinson- See Leonard comment but with more one punch power. You can swap 2 and 3 and it wouldn’t hurt the list
4. Aaron Pryor- Relentless finisher who wasn’t a big one punch puncher but he had a huge ko% because of his other worldly finishing ability. See Arguello 1 fight.
5. Ike Williams- Ruthless sadistic man. See Beau Jack fight.
6. Felix Trinidad- Tito was not a flurrier. He put hard compact shots in and refused to be held. Similar to Louis. See William Joppy fight.
7. Alexis Arguello- A slow starter who usually calculated a brutal late finish. Unreal punch selection, he never neglected the body when finishing. See Andy Gannigan fight
8. Michael Spinks- Spinks was as a good a finisher as there was in the 80s. He had an uncanny surprise finish because he punched out of the clinch with vicious intent. See Mustafa Wassabi fight
9. Mike Tyson- Tyson was a blitzer. He was awesome in the 1st three rounds of a fight. See Marvis Frazier fight.
10. Roberto Duran- Brutal and calculated. Duran was a master at late finishes during his reign of terror. See Hector Thompson fight.
Check youtube of all of the finishes I speak of.
Bread I love your list. I can’t believe you do them from the top of your head with no google look ups. I’m curious as to who you think has the 10 best jabs in boxing? It’s the most simple punch but no one speaks of it.
Bread’s Response: I do most of the list you guys ask me off the top of my head because it is my opinion. So it’s easy to gather my own thoughts. You’re correct the jab is the most important punch in boxing. It’s so important it’s overlooked. I know some great jabbers that never get compliments on their jabs. Terence Crawford comes to mind. His jab is money from both stances but rarely when he fights do you hear him getting praise for his terrific jab.
Ok 10 best jabs in boxing:
2. Sergey Kovalev
3. Terence Crawford
4.,5. Charlo Brothers
6. Errol Spence
7. Julian Williams
8. Caleb Plant
9. Leo Santa Cruz
10. Vasyl Lomachenko
What makes Errol Spence so good? He only has two championship fights yet he’s considered one of the 10 best fighters in boxing. Praise has always been heaped upon him even though he didn’t medal in the Olympics. I have to admit nothing really stands out to me as special yet the critics see him as special. Does he have any weaknesses?
Bread’s Response: Errol Spence has plenty of qualities that make him good. He’s extremely strong for a welterweight. Part of his strength lies in his strength and the other part lies in his stamina. He doesn’t weaken or give the impression he’s weakening as the fight goes on. Kell Brook became fatigued when they fought where as Spence remained strong as the fight went on. When you don’t give the impression of a let up it breaks the opponent mentally because he can feel your movements and punches. I’m sure Brook felt what I’m speaking of. You also have to give Spence credit for traveling to fight a real champion. It’s never easy to fight in another country because of the food, time zone and jet lag. Spence overcame it all. On top of that Brook won about half of the rounds and got off to a good start. So we know Spence is not a front runner who folds when things don’t go his way.
Spence also has a simple style. He doesn’t try to do too much. He stays within himself so he’s efficient. He keeps his hands up at all times. His feet are up under him at all times. This keeps him in punching position. Staying in punching position is very important especially when you fight an attacking style. If you look at a fighter like Shawn Porter. He attacks also. Porter is well conditioned, he’s extremely strong, he has a great chin and he was just as good as Spence was an amateur. But Porter is not as efficient as Spence. Porter misses lots of his shots and he falls out of position often where as Spence is always in position. Not to discredit Porter at all I just wanted to illustrate 2 attacking fighters in the same division but the balance and punching position is the reason why Spence has more kos in less fights.
Spence is very heavy and even handed. His right hook seems as heavy as his left hand and he has a tremendous jab. He also could be the best body puncher in boxer. Sometimes a fighter has subtle brilliance instead of eye popping brilliance. Spence may be more Mike McCallum than he is Roy Jones.
Every fighter has habits that can be taken advantage of. All you have to do is look close. Spence doesn’t have anything glaring though. He’s well rounded. He doesn’t have elite level speed in my opinion but he makes up for that because he’s not afraid to get hit and he stays in punching position. Other than that I have noticed one thing but I wouldn’t call it a flaw yet. He may be a little susceptible to looping shots. He complained a few times to the ref when Lamont Peterson looped some shots in and they looked clean from my angle. He was also hurt vs Emanuel Lartey as a prospect with a looping temple shot. Spence doesn’t really slip punches he blocks them. So Peterson and Lartey looped shots around the guard. That may be one thing to look for in the future. But the one thing about time and elite competition. Weaknesses, flaws or habits reveal themselves. So let’s see how things play out. Right now Spence is a tough out for anyone 147 or 154. He would most likely be favored by the sports book to beat anyone in both divisions, that’s saying something. He’s super good and I actually agree with his rankings. He’s top 10 P4P.
What do you think are big fights and/or events of the second half of 2018? The first half has been excellent but we didn’t get Canelo vs GGG so it kind of teetered off a bit?
Bread’s Response: I love hard core fights as well as big events. I’m looking forward to the finals of the WBSS at Cruiserweight and Super Middleweight. A real player and champion will be crowned. I’m also looking forward to the bantamweight tournament starting. Whoever wins that one is a top 3 or 4 p4p fighter in the world.
I’m looking forward to Mikey Garcia vs Robert Easter. That’s a really big hard core unification. Garcia is a favorite but Easter, is undefeated and in his prime. He’s also putting himself through a tough camp. I expect him to be live and give it his all.
Jermell Charlo vs Jarrett Hurd is a big unification but I’m not sure we have enough time in 2018 for it to happen.
GGG vs one of his mandatories. If GGG can clear out his mandatories it will cement his legacy. He has some really tough mandatories.
Danny Garcia vs Shawn Porter. I love this fight. I think it sets up a major opponent for Errol Spence and it’s a 50/50 fight.
I don’t really understand the Eddie Hearn platform that he will be using. But I am curious as to what his huge events that he promised.
Last but not least I’m hoping Joshua vs Wilder gets made. It’s a legacy defining fight between two in their prime, big punching heavyweights. It’s a rare fight.
Who wins the fights this upcoming weekend? How do you see each one going?
Bread’s Response: I like Charlo over Trout but I’m not sure he smokes Trout. Here is why. Charlo has scored basically 3 one punch kos in a row. That’s not something that occurs often at the top level. He’s really hot. That’s like a guy scoring 50 pts in 3 straight NBA games. You have to come back down to earth eventually. So I think Charlo will win but I don’t expect him to spark Trout out cold. I actually think it will be competitive for a while. Trout can box. He does know how to win some rounds.
I like Crawford over Horn. I think Horn is a tough, awkward bruiser, who has a tough rhythm to catch. But I noticed a big flaw in his game. Horn expends too much energy in order to be effective. His prime won’t last long unless he evolves. He fights out of a bounce or a swaying rhythm and jumps in and out. The longer the fight goes the easier he will be to time. I expect Horn to rough house, head butt and mush Crawford early. But Crawford has some of the best concentration and adjustment principles in boxing. At some point he will adjust. I like Crawford by late stoppage or 117-111 decision.
Santa Cruz vs Mares will be Barrera vs Morales without the offensive fire power. I think both guys will have moments but Santa Cruz is long for the weight. He has a really good jab and straight right hand. I think his 1-2 will be the most judge friendly combo of the fight. I like him to nip it but expect controversy, expect Mares to think he won. Don’t be surprised at another drawish type of fight.
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