The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Chavez vs. Taylor, David Benavidez vs. Demetrius Andrade, Shakur Stevenson, Navarette vs. Conceicao, Anthony Joshua, Matias vs. Ergashev, and more

Hi Bread, thanks for taking my question.  

Last week you wrote about Taylor's loss vs. Chavez.  I was wondering: if you were Taylor's coach, would you have instructed him to play it safe in round 12 (feeling he was ahead on the cards) or have him keep the pressure on, since he was the B side and you wouldn't want to trust the judges?  Would your answer be different if he were the A side? And, on a broader scale, should ANY trainer in ANY fight advocate their fighter to play it safe since it's playing with fire to assume you know how the judges are scoring the fight?

Nick Mesa, AZ

Bread’s Response: This is a great question. I’ve been in this situation as the B side with Julian Williams vs Jarrett Hurd. I told him to win the last round, I thought we were up but I didn't KNOW it. I’m glad I did because the fight was closer on the scorecards than I thought it was. It really depends on your instincts. 

I never blamed Lou Duva for telling Taylor to “fight” in the 12th round because Chavez was the A side. And one judge had Chavez up which was unjust. So, I get why Duva told him to win the round. 3 years later Chavez got a draw vs Pernell Whitaker that he didn't deserve. And a few years before that Chavez got a decision over Rocky Lockridge a Duva fighter that could've gone either way....It’s easy to say after we know the score that Taylor should’ve stayed away and played it safe. But in that moment you go with your instincts.

If I feel as though my fighter can get ko'd and he’s winning super clean, I would tell him to stay away and be safe. If I felt my fighter was acclimated to the power and wasn’t in danger of being stopped , I would tell him to close the show and keep doing what he’s doing to build excitement for his next fight. There is no definite answer. There is no set answer. It’s instinct and understanding what you’re up against. Knowing how I am, the majority of the time I’m going to tell my guy to close the show because scoring a fight is too subjective and that doesn’t usually favor the B side fighter.

Ssup Bread,

Hope you are having a great day. What do you make out of Shakur's performance this Thursday? Did he just have an off night? Man, that was some Rigondeaux vs Agbeko level terrible performance. Don't get me wrong, while I will admit that I prefer boxer-punchers and swarmers, I also enjoy watching out fighters. Even the counterpunching ones. I loved Floyd's performances at 140 and absolutely love watching old Ali fights and when I say Ali fights, I don't just mean his bouts with Norton, Foreman and Frazier but this bout was terrible. I have enjoyed Devin's fights as well but Shakur vs De Los Santos was one of those fights that I wish should have been declared a 'no contest'. I mean, there were rounds difficult to score simply because neither fighter landed anything clean. Such a timid performance from a guy considered a generational talent is not acceptable when boxing is slowly and steadily dying. He felt like a fighter who did not have confidence in his chin and hence was fighting so timid. Am i reading too much into it or did Shakur just have a bad night?


Saurabh Kumar

Bread’s Response: I still think Shakur is the goods. Shakur by decision is one of the safest bets in all of boxing. But I will admit that his fight vs De Los Santos was not his finest night. I think the big question is, was it an “off” night or was it more to it. I think it may be a little bit of both. I watched Shakur fight Jeremia Nakathila and it was a similar performance but it was a couple of years ago, so all was forgiven. Nakathila is another fighter who had a big ko % who seemed to be a big puncher….So there are some parallels. 

My instincts tell me that Shakur is a minimalist vs certain opponents. Although he has a fiery personality, he’s conservative in the boxing ring vs big threats. I don’t have an issue with that. He won and winning comes before entertaining although entertaining is important. But when you tell your opponent, you’re going to “F#$% him up”. And those sound bites are used as part of the build up. You can’t throw less than 20 punches/round and settle for a decision and not get criticized. 

I don’t think it’s time to push the panic alarm. I think Shakur is still one of the best 10 fighters in the world. But time tells all. And right now Shakur is more comfortable outboxing and playing it safe vs big sharp punchers. It’s not the worst thing in the world. It’s just the truth at this particular point. Every fighter is not a natural serial killer. Especially if they aren’t big punchers. Diffusing a big puncher, and stopping them is not something that everyone can do. For as good as Shakur is, that’s the one thing he has to work on. This also comes down to temperament. Anything can be improved upon. And this is something that Shakur can learn over time, if he works on it enough. 

I think we also have to give De Los Santos his props. That kid is sharp, strong and explosive. You can tell that he has quick reaction time and power. I have noticed this quality in the current Dominican fighters. They play baseball as youths and baseball is all about explosive power, accuracy and reaction time. So this is embedded in them. Energy is transferable. And Shakur could “feel” the threat. He could feel De Los Santos’s energy. I could see it through my tv. I knew he was a threatening fighter. We have seen Shakur break fighters down and stop them. We just haven’t seen that Shakur vs big punchers. Maybe it will come, maybe it won’t. But it’s not a technical thing, it’s a matter of being comfortable with the temperament that it will take to do this. 

I also believe that Top Rank will match Shakur accordingly now. They now know what type of opponents to match him against. Some fighters need to fight elite opposition at all times to look good and be appreciated. For example Bernard Hopkins. Hopkins looks better vs elite opposition like Trinidad than he does vs showcase guys. Then you have guys like say Mike Tyson who you can match with showcase guys and he will blast them out in 1 round and the crowd doesn’t care that the fighter was Not elite because of his ferocious skills. Where as Shakur’s skills are sublime….

I wouldn’t be surprised if they matched Shakur vs Raymond Muratalla. Because Muratalla kod Nakathila. And now that we have seen Shakur play it safe twice, and Nakathila went the distance with Shakur, I can see Muratalla and his team be confident in fighting Shakur next. The promotion can be based on Muratalla koing a fighter who went the distance with Shakur. But let me tell you something. Shakur will be better and look better vs fighters he doesn’t have to dominate and stop. If he’s in a situation where he can JUST win and show his skills, I think he will flourish. It’s why he needs fights that are close on paper or he’s the underdog.

And for the record the real concern would be what will happen if Shakur is losing to a big puncher or a guy that can hurt him like say Whitaker was vs Hurtado or Leonard was vs Hearns. Will Shakur go for it? That’s my biggest question but as of now, let’s see his career play out before we rush to judgment. I just talked about Hector Camacho in my last mailbag. Camacho was a great fighter in my opinion but not an ATG because when he was losing, he took pride in not being stopped and he didn’t try to win certain fights. Where as guys like Whitaker who was also a boxer, always tried to win.

Hope all is good n happy gobble gobble day sir.

Seeing Shakur walk out with Crawford and Mayweather got me saying uh oh. Is it pretty boy Floyd or Bud the finishers, or the outclassing Money May? I just got a bad feeling about the fight in that it may end up boring and just go for the W. When it started I saw both had skills and speed and kept hoping and hoping. I watch till I had to change the channel. Few minutes later I have another burst of hope that a fight would start and change it back. I know what I was thinking: it’s a decent platform, a headliner on ESPN for the young fighter, coming after a marquee NFL game, it’s following a fun fun fight, it’s a world title in the fight capital of the world. Can you share your thoughts while watching the fight, or maybe how you would advise Shakur if you were in the corner? I know you are as respectful to fighters and trainers as they come, but do you push for the entertainment side or keep doing what you’re doing for the win?  I watched with non boxing fans and it definitely did not make them boxing fans. I think Shakur missed out on something even though he is a young, talented, 3 division champ.

Respectfully, Kevin from MD

Bread’s Response: That was a nice platform that they put Shakur on. A world championship fight on a Thursday night, 2 days before a big race car event in Vegas. You can’t be mad at the promoter. That type of fight builds a superstar. If I was in Shakur’s corner that would mean I know him well because I have seen him box countless rounds in the gym.  So I would know what I can ask him and know what I can’t ask him. I wouldn’t force him to do anything against his natural temperament. If Shakur over presses and gets ko'd people will question his IQ. You definitely want to impress and entertain. But nothing comes before the W.

It’s hard to say what I would advise Shakur to do because I honestly didn’t hear his corner’s instructions during the fight but from what I know his grand father does a good job with him and I can’t second guess that. But I have seen Shakur press fighters. I have seen him be violent and stop fighters. Again, He put a beating on Jermel Herring. I suspect it was just a matter of him not being so comfortable vs De Los Santos. I have seen fighters wait a little to be aggressive. If you watch Mayweather vs Pacquiao you will hear Floyd Sr. tell Floyd to be more aggressive. And Floyd told him not yet. I also heard someone tell Tank to step to Rolly and Tank also said not yet. Fighters know…..

Shakur also is a masterful defensive fighter. But I don’t consider him a master counter puncher like Tank and Floyd. It’s a big difference. So Shakur’s defense is stepping back very quick before the opponent can zero in on the target. It’s simple but brilliant. But he’s not a brutal counter puncher off of this defense. So that’s something else we need to consider. There are lots of caveats as to why he’s not comfortable attempting to ko or be more impressive vs a big puncher.

Dear Breadman, I realize it may be too late for this Saturday, so perhaps you could answer next weekend? Navarette vs Robson Conceicao: for me Robson was a clear winner (in the ring, but not on the scorecards); anyone who gave Vaquero more then 4 rounds must have been biased. My question is related to such verdicts, that I do not call controversial, but unfair, which better illustrates the problem. What would you say about a revision panel? I am talking about past fights. It would require a few experts with no vested interests (easier after some time) that would review given fights and could change the decision with implication of changing boxers' record. That would be without change of champs linage, which is not feasible anyway. Would not it be a great way of recognition of men/women, putting huge effort and health at risk, for misdeeds of the past? Some of them are no longer with us... This obviously requires a fight footage and a decision, from what level of fights it will be done (e.g., let's say only world champs bouts). I am talking here about recent fights, as the one mentioned above, too - here, however, it would be harder to get through powerful interests groups, so harder to achieve impartiality.

Mind you that other sports tried to recover credibility in the past: weight lifting - changing categories thus erasing old WRs (world records); athletics had also a plan to erase WRs, but it did not come through.  So how do we retrieve credibility of professional boxing, the sport we all love?

Marek from Cracow PL and Surrey UK  

Bread’s Response: I thought Robson won all of the rounds that he wasn’t getting hurt in. I have no problem with a draw which means Robson won 7 rounds and Navarette won 5 but because of the 2 knockdowns the fight was 113-113. Robson may have won 8 rounds…I don’t like the idea of a review board long after a fight. That would create more controversy of decisions are over turned. Boxing needs fixing but that’s not the way. The review board should be immediately after fights. If they aren’t going to change decisions which I’m up in the air about. They should be able to ORDER immediate rematches and suspend officials who made bad calls…at least….   

What happened to Anthony Joshua’s squeaky clean image? I watched the press conference for “Day Of Reckoning” and was shocked by his actions. He refused to answer questions from the host, used profanities in an interaction with another heavyweight and flipped the bird. It’s no big deal in the boxing world and I’m not saying he’s a bad person. It just doesn’t match the image that was carefully crafted for so long. In your opinion, why has he decided to let that image go?

Bread’s Response: I think Joshua is simply tired of people thinking he’s soft. So he’s being more abrasive. But the thing about being tough is you don’t have to act tough to be tough. It’s in you, not on you. As Andre Ward likes to say. I’m not saying Joshua is wrong for feeling like he feels. But if he kos an elite fighter, everything will work itself out and he can keep the image he built…..

Whatup Bread,

Couple things here, what were your thoughts about the ending to Floyd and Victor Ortiz. Imo a LEGAL, cheap shot but still a cheap shot nonetheless . I only ask because I don’t think I’ve read you speak on it and you strike me as a trainer that wouldn’t be okay with that. Floyd did it also against Gatti and Mosley and I do agree with protect yourself at all times but still a cheap shot, right?Also, a MYTHICAL matchup of the Shakur we see tonight in a dreadful win against a 135 pound Maidana that fought Broner and Floyd in the first fight. A Chino that makes 135 comfortably not weight drained or any of that nonsense or just that type of fighter if you will? I don’t think Zepeda punches hard enoughAlso have you considered a secondary mailbag so we can talk the Sat fights “on time”? Thanks for your time and love the bags

Mike from San Antonio

Bread’s Response: I have no issue with what Floyd did to Mosley or Ortiz. I can’t remember the Gatti scenario exactly so I would have to review that before I speak on it. But Ortiz was doing dirty stuff to Floyd. He head butted him really hard. Then he wanted to play nice and keep hugging and touching gloves. I don’t blame Floyd for knocking him out. Ortiz deserved it. For anyone that has an issue with Floyd but not Ortiz, they are biased. You brought up Floyd but didn’t bring up what Ortiz did to him to start the rough stuff.

Mosley kept trying to be Floyd’s friend by excessively touching gloves. Floyd got tired of it and punched him in the mouth. Mosley called him out. Got the fight and thought he could punk Floyd. Floyd was the tougher man and he showed it. Floyd wanted blood and after Mosley hurt him, he wanted to play nice and Floyd wasn’t having it. That’s the night I knew Floyd could hang with anyone close to his prime weights in history.

Because Floyd talks so much about the business and money. Often times his opponents don’t recognize he’s a competitive killer. Naazim Richardson told me personally that he felt if Floyd was ever hurt, he would sprout wings and turn into a dragon. So he knew but I think it shocked Shane to see that. I love what Floyd did. Not like, but love!

Hello Breadman,

First time emailing in, so just want to say I'm a huge fan of the mailbag over the last 6/7 years and all the knowledge and history you drop while remaining impartial. Looking forward to the fight this weekend but i do feel it is a comfortable Benavidez win. I think Andrade starts fast and could possibly drop Benavidez but Andrade stops him inside 6. On to my question though, i hear it mentioned how this is the eliminator for Canelo (i agree) and how he has ducked both. This seems harsh to me. Both Andrade and Benavidez are great champions and Canelo did sidestep these boogeymen. I feel like both Andrade and Benavidez have done the same thing they accuse Canelo of though. Andrade had the boogeyman in Janibek, who he vacated a belt in order to pursue other options. Andrade was the name in that mandated fight and he chose to go another route. Then with Benavidez, you have another boogeyman in Morrell, who is calling Benavidez out constantly and Benavidez kind of does what Canelo did to both and allude to the fact he needs to earn his shot against him. Im purely a boxing fan who wants great fights. So i want Canelo to fight the winner but, i would have also loved to see Andrade and Benavidez fight the so called boogeymen in their ways too. I like to think im balanced as a fan, so would love to hear your perspective on this? How do you see the fight playing out?How do you see Matias v Ergashev going too?


Jack, England.

Bread’s Response: Matias vs Ergashev is hard for me to call. I know more about Matias but he’s not hard to figure out, he’s hard to beat. Ergashev can punch but I wonder if he has that extra gear. I haven’t seen it. There is value in betting Ergshev because he’s a considerable underdog. But in a straight up bet, I would take the dog I know in Matias.

I think Benavidez vs Andrade is an intriguing fight. I can see Andrade troubling him. But it’s hard for me to pick Andrade because of what I don’t know about him. I haven’t seen him under this type of pressure. I also don’t think that Benavidez’s is a s easy to hit as some think. He blocks a lot of shots so it looks like they’re getting through but in fact he catches a lot of shots on his gloves. He also SEES everything which is important. He never gets hit OUT of position. He’s also reactive. I think that’s one of the things that burns out his opponents. So from everything I know I will take Benavidez by decision or late stoppage. If it goes the distance expect controversy.

You know something, there is always a fighter that is willing to fight a gun. Boxing is humbling. You can be a guy who calls everyone out and you love the feeling that guys won’t even test themselves vs you. It enhances the EGO. But low and behold someone will come along and want smoke with you. Morrell seems to be hell bent on fighting Benavidez. He’s not scared of the monster. Let’s see if it happens. Same with Andrade. Andrade was looking for big fights. But there were guys who were willing to face him. Everybody was NOT ducking Andrade. Janibek surely wasn’t.

I think it becomes so intoxicating to a fighter that most won’t fight them, so that when someone calls them out it throws off their self esteem. They literally have a look on their face as if to say, “what does he see in me that no one else does.” I'm not saying this is the case with Benavidez and Andrade concerning Morrell and Janibek. But overall fighters who get are chronically ducked, don't like it when a fighter hunts them down for a fight.

Hi Breadman,                

I pray God is blessing and continues to bless you and your family and the fans of your mailbag and their families. What do you attribute all these terrible lackluster performances too? Shakur Stevenson, Charlo, Canelo vs Bivol, Fury vs MMA guy, Porgeis vs Zorilla. It seems like a lot of boxings biggest names are stinking it up more than I can ever remember. It is bad enough that we fans must be subjected to bad decisions, too many champions and fighters avoiding each other but now terrible performances by the fighters too. It is beyond pathetic and a lot of it has to do with inactivity.  The fighters need to stop talking so much and focus on performing better. There is just too much hype, and these guys can’t live up to it. I’m tired to of when guys like Stevenson stink it up there is always that idiot who says we don’t appreciate the art of boxing. As if we don’t know mediocrity when we see it.  Mike McCallum and James Toney gave you 3 of the greatest fights ever based on technical skill. You can be skillful and still be entertaining.  A lot of these fighters are like Ben Simmons and James Harden. They are about the bag which is okay but if they keep giving minimum effort to get the bag and not entertain the fans the sport is going to keep losing outlets like HBO and Showtime.  I can see ESPN dropping the sport next if this nonsense keeps going on.                                                                                                              

God bless and take care,                                                                                                              

Blood and Guts from Philly 

Bread's Response: You make some good points. I watch James Toney vs Mike McCallum 1, once a year. No clinching. Feinitng. Body Punching. Countering. Leading. Jabbing. Parrying. Catching. Slipping, Rolling. That fight displayed every layer of defense. And every layer of offense. It was violent but it wasn't careless slugging. It was violent science at it's best. But my only disagreement is that everyone can't be Toney and McCallum. They were special. Super special. And both were natural high contact fighters with great, great chins. So engaging in that violent manner was 2nd nature to them. They weren't worried about getting kod. They can stand up in any era. 

I respect your comment. And I don't disagree, I just think we have to be open minded. Everyone won't fight like Toney and McCallum. And bad nights have always been part of the game. 

Yo what up bread man, I’ve been following your work a long time. I really value your boxing opinion. I gotta question for you. If someone told you they’ve never seen a boxing match before and wanted to get into it. What would you tell them to look for in a fight. Where should there eyes be glued to in the ring to know what they are looking at? For an example the David Benevidez vs. boo fight. Thanks again man. 

Bread’s Response: Short but hard question. I love it. First off I would tell them to enjoy the fight. And be humble with their assessment because it takes a minute to know what you’re looking at. I would tell them how to score a fight. I would tell them you score a fight in 12 individual rounds with no carry over effect. Then I would tell them that scoring a fight is simple but not easy. The fighter who is landing the more cleaner punches and avoids more cleaner punches usually wins. I wouldn’t explain Ring Generalship and other small nuances just yet because I wouldn’t want to cloud their minds. I would tell them the fighter that they would rather be objectively after each round usually wins it. Then as the fight is going on I would give them small things to look at in the flow. This was a sensational question.

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