By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards discussing topics such as Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin, Floyd Mayweather vs. The Hawk, giving his thoughts on the numerous weekend fights, the Charlo brothers, and more.
I just want to know what you think about Josh Kelly!?
Bread’s Response: Josh Kelly is very charismatic and physically gifted. I want to see more.
I trust everything is well with you and yours. Happy New Year and congrats to Philly and the Eagles. I haven't written in for a while. So much gets covered with the many contributors to your Bag that I just sit back and enjoy and as usual you are all over it.
Just a few items. Errol Spence is scary....he's like a terminator. Relentless, Hagleresque, skilled and cerebral with his hostility. Anyone at welterweight has their work cut out for them. I think if Terrence Crawford carries his speed, power, conditioning and sharpness to the division, then Spence v. Crawford is the Leonard v. Hearns of the millenium. If TC does carry those qualities then I would pick him as the favorite, if he gets through the early rounds (1-6) without absorbing to much and that pick is by a razor.
Joshua v. Wilder. Hard to pick. Could be like Foreman v. Lyle. They each have to get through their next bouts obviously. I don't think much of Ortiz but he's a live threat early. Wilder's gangly stature worries me at times but he cracks like a MF! Haven't seen much credit give to Mark Breland for Wilder's success. Have you an opinion on that?
Where do you rate Vaughn Alexander in the current middleweight picture?
You play it close to the vest when it comes to J-Rock and the game plan, so I will just say that I hope you and the team are on track for another shot. Be well.
Tony T. from Harlem
I hope one of these networks make you an offer(analyst, blow by blow, etc.) you can't refuse.
Bread’s Response: Thank you I hope the networks make me an offer also. I may need to hire you as an agent.
Spence is really good. I was super impressed by his most recent performance. I really hope he can start fighting 3x/year over the next few years. I want to see what his peak will look like if he’s active. Spence does have some Hagler in him. Young late 70’s Hagler. But I describe him as a hybrid lightweight Mosley and light heavyweight Moorer. He has that hard southpaw jab, imposing volume and physicality and he can box off the front foot. I see lots of potential in Spence. He looks like a guy who could make a HOF run.
Crawford vs Spence looks like a super fight. I think they are the 2 best welterweights in the world and I think it should happen by 2020. Don’t laugh but that’s how long it takes to make Super Fights in this era.
Joshua vs Wilder is another super fight. I think it will be easier to make than Crawford vs Spence. It is a tough pick. As good as both Joshua and Wilder are, I think they are both inexperienced in certain areas. When I look at them I don’t see them as polished as guys like Tyson, Bowe and Lewis at similar stages of their careers. Maybe it’s the amateur pedigree I don’t know but I find it interesting. When fighters haven’t peaked out it’s tougher to pick who will win. I do think Joshua is further along but that doesn’t mean he HAS to win. Let’s see what happens in their next fights. I favor them both in their upcoming fights.
Mark Breland should get more credit for Wilder’s development. But Breland is so humble and quiet it probably doesn’t bother him one way or the other.
I haven’t seen Vaughn Alexander fight in a very long time. Let me check him out.
When you wrote that the physical gifted guy has the advantage in the first fight and then the steady boxer can start to turn things around once he gets used to those new things that gifted fighter presents, you mentioned Marquez's KO of Pacquiao. What's your take on Marquez? Would his legacy be at stake if he didn't get that KO? What holds up his legacy, in your mind, without that Pacquiao KO?
Also, in the GGG vs Canelo rematch, is Canelo the physically gifted fighter that GGG is now used to and thus is better prepared to handle in the second bout? Have his eyes and mind adjusted to the physical rarities and nuances that Canelo presented, or is GGG the puncher that gets beaten by the boxer in the rematch like Ward did to Kovalev the second time after a close first fight?
Going back to Pacquiao, who wins at featherweight when both are at their best Willie Pep or Manny Pacquiao? Is that another case of the boxer needing time to figure out the puncher, or does Pep get blitzed by Pac?
Another thing you mentioned was that fighter's need to convince themselves of certain things in order to keep their confidence or to excuse losses, which is why a close decision loss is best for a fighter. Is it this line of thinking that typically makes fighters not always able to transition successfully into coaches? You'd think a fighter would have the experience that translates well to coaching, but I think that things like their need to live life through their own lens might make them poor coaches. Am I being ignorant here? I have of course seen some good coaches that were fighters (McGirt and Roach to name a few).
Lastly, and a bit off-topic from the above, but I wanted your take on Tommy Loughran. Personally, I think he's severely underrated. In fact, I think he might have a better case than Tunney in all time great discussions. Tunney got the benefit of the doubt in every close fight, and is remembered largely for beating a faded, inactive pressure fighter in Dempsey. In fact, if you really look at the Long Count, who knows how people would look back on him.Tommy, however, beat Greb like Tunney did, and he fought more HW's in their primes while he himself was probably past it, fighting up in weight when he beat both Braddock and Baer. Your take on Tommy and where he ranks among the other top LHW's? How does he hang with the other LHW's in boxing history?
Thanks for answering my random questions; I always appreciate reading up on boxing analysis and hypothetical musings from people I respect.
Bread’s Response: Marquez is an all time great fighter. He’s one of the best counter punchers I have ever seen. He’s one of the most resilient fighters I have ever seen. He has to be top 5 ever from Mexico and he has top 3 victories ever in the history of the country.
But Marquez has been very fortunate. I thought he lost 3 straight fights to Manny Pacquiao. Fights 2 and 3 were razor close but the knockdown in fight 2 was the difference. Fight 3 I think he outperformed expectations but that doesn’t mean he won. In fight 1 people who hate Manny Pacquiao never bring up that a judge admitted to scoring the fight wrong. When has that ever happened in the history of boxing? I can’t remember a time. Marquez also was knocked down vs Marco Antonio Barrera and the referee missed the knockdown and then took a point away from Barrera. My goodness was that a horrible call!
Watching Marquez in his physical prime was a treat. But he was a little hot n cold and he had loads of trouble vs Black Fighters. Freddy Norwood beat him in a close fight. Floyd Mayweather beat him. Tim Bradley beat him.
Marquez was a great fighter and he was special. But I say he was very fortunate because you don’t often see the B side in a big fight get 4 chances to beat a star like Manny Pacquiao. That has not happened in over 60 years.
If Marquez doesn’t beat Manny I think his legacy would be held on winning 4 titles in 4 weight classes. No Mexican fighter has ever done that before. I would say his greatest victory would be the ko of Joel Casamayor.
Great question about GGG and Canelo. I think Canelo is more talented physically but GGG has rare heavy hands it’s a rare gift. The type of hands you have to feel in order to get used to them. His power is uncommon. Ask any of his sparring partners or opponents. I think both fighters have some adjustments to make. GGG has to figure out why he didn’t go to Canelo’s body. He also has to block Canelo’s escape route of rolling out to Canelo’s left and avoiding GGG’s big right hand. Canelo has to stop GGG’s pole axe jab and he has to find a way to get his hands off a little more. Let’s see what happens.
Pep vs Pac at 126. This fight is closer than historians will think because Pac has so much more physicality. Pep was a featherweight his entire career. Pep also was a stick and move out fighter and that plays into Manny’s hands because Manny gets to step into his power punches. Today I say Pep out boxes him.
You make a great point about fighter coaches. People come up with their own prerequisite on what type of past experience a coach should have. Despite so many coaches coming from different backgrounds and experiences. I don’t want to say that ex fighters make poor coaches because that’s not true. There are some excellent ex fighters who have made some great coaches. Just like there are some ex fighters who make really poor coaches. I personally think the qualities a good coach needs is intelligence, the ability to articulate and teach and simply being able to win. Great coaches come in a variety of forms and anyone who says anything different is not a good coach.
Tommy Loughran has a case for top 5 ever at light heavyweight and he has an old time case for the best fighter ever from Philadelphia. He’s underrated because most of the media does not research or go back further than when they started watching boxing. So they develop a complex of it they haven’t followed the fighter or saw him then the fighter doesn’t count. Loughran is easily an all time great and he would hold up against any light heavyweight in history.
Bread, Floyd might have only fought 2-3 times at that weight. More offensive fighter pre-welterweight which would make a mythical with The Hawk a compelling matchup. Who would you favor?
Bread’s Response: In the rock, paper, scissors of boxing. Volume can overcome great pure boxers. See Sandy Saddler vs Willie Pep. See Henry Armstrong vs Barney Ross. See Rocky Marciano vs Joe Walcott.
Aaron Pryor in a head to head analysis is brutal on anyone in history. I don’t think he had to physicality to beat the better bigger welterweights in history. But from 135-140 there are few I favor over a prime Pryor. During Pryor’s prime run from 79-83 if you watch his fights you see an equal fighter to Floyd Mayweather.
Mayweather had a way of taking over late down the stretch but Pryor was indefatigable. Mayweather discouraged his opponents. But Pryor was a true crazy man and he did not discourage. Mayweather lowers the outpoint of his opponents. Pryor was a freakish, volume attacker. Pryor was a little reckless on defense and Floyd would put his hands on him. But I view Pryor as Emanuel Augustus in HD on turbo fuel. I know people will get pissed but this is my honest opinion. Pryor would beat him. If you guys don’t believe me youtube Pryor vs Lenox Blackmoore, DeJuan Johnson, Alexis Arguello and Antonio Cervantes. Pryor was a rough dude for anyone in history.
You give the Charlo Bros some objective credit despite the rampant rumors of PED use of both. I want to give you some credit especially since one of them faced your kid. I don’t have to be objective and I can say their rise is very suspect. Especially Jermell’s who has a 50% ko ratio and now he’s a one punch ko artist. My question is do you think they can take over boxing and will they be the kings of their respective divisions?
Bread’s Response: I give the Charlo Bros their props because those dudes are rumbling tough and delivering in a big way. They are also smart fighters and intelligence goes a long way with me. Obviously I have heard the PED rumors also but they haven’t failed any test so you can’t take credit away. Now if they start doing FULL VADA and their performances change I will be fair and speak on it. Just like I will be if their performances stay the same. You guys say I love GGG and Andre Ward. But I have seen both of those dudes look like great fighters under VADA. So I’m fair with my analysis all the way around. I respect Juan Manuel Marquez but he didn’t look like a beast under VADA against Tim Bradley….
It’s not hard for me to be fair because I’m wired in a way where I don’t answer to anyone. I just call it how I see it.
I think the Charlo Bros can take over boxing but I don’t know if they will. Lots of things will have to happen and one of those things is they will have to get the big fights. They will also have to prove if they are just really hot right now or great fighters in the long run. One punch kos can be misleading……
I think Jermell has a chance to unify all of the belts at 154 but he may not get the chance. Sadam Ali is with Golden Boy and you know how that goes. I would favor Jermell over any of the champions at 154 and stylistically I would make Lara his toughest fight.
Jermall has a tougher route at 160. I would favor him over most at 160 but there are sharks in the water at 160. GGG, Canelo, Andrade, Derevyanchenko, Jacobs, Saunders and Murata are choppy waters. On an individual basis Jermall may be able to beat them all but collectively if he has to fight them all I don’t think he runs that lot without a loss or 2. It will be interesting to see who he has to fight. That’s a real tough line up for this era.
BJ Saunders and Danny Jacobs from a stylistic stand point with be tough on him. Saunders and Jacobs can both fight in a fast stick and move style. Stick and move artist are the toughest in history to overcome. Willie Pep almost unbeatable at his peak. Ali unbeatable in the 60s. Hector Camacho tough to beat in the 80s. Jermall has a great chin but he is hit very easy with straight power punches. Saunders has a fast straight left hand like Austin Trout. Jacobs has a fast straight right hand like Julian Williams. So those won’t be easy fights for him. And I didn’t mention GGG and Canelo who are the most experienced…
The main thing I give the Charlo Bros credit for is their IQ. I know they are big and strong and have big time physicality. But their IQ is what impresses me. Take away the out of the ring nonsense and you realize they have very high IQ. Before fights they are locked in and not messing around on cell phones. Cell phones is like crack to a young fighter’s mind in this era. The Charlo Bros lock in before fights and you don’t see them on their phone staring in space close to fights.
Another aspect of their IQ is in their best performances. Jermall was at a speed disadvantage vs Julian Williams. Williams was hitting Jermall with 1-2’s at will. Instead of over pressing and continue to get lit up and he let Williams lead, and he countered the same 1-2 with a great uppercut. It pains me to say it but that’s high IQ.
Jermell had a tough fight vs Erickson Lubin. Lubin is actually more talented as far as getting his hands off. He was a better amateur and he developed much faster. When Jermell was 22 he was no where near ready to think about challenging for a world title. I know people say Lubin was rushed but I don’t buy that. What cost Lubin was matchmaking and Jermell’s IQ. If you notice in the 1st round Jermell threw about 4 punches. He knew he couldn’t just throw a bunch of fast amateur flurries with Lubin. So he conceded the volume. He kept feinting. Derrick James his coach always talks about punching where the opponent is going to be. Jermell feints and steps in and throws a hybrid shovel, hook/uppercut and clips Lubin. That’s high IQ.
The key to taking over boxing is they have to emerge as PPV fighters. Right now for as hot as they are they haven’t been the Main Event of a Showtime or PBC card yet. So the promoters will also have to do some extra things. Let’s see how it plays out.
Let’s mix and match the welterweight division. Since no one wants to Errol Spence let’s see take some of the rest of the guys and mix them with each other and against Spence. Spence vs Porter, DSG,Crawford and Thurman. DSG vs Porter, Vargas and Alexander. Crawford vs Thurman and Spence.
Bread’s Response: Dam bro you gave me a bunch of match ups. Ok Spence does seem like boogeyman at the moment and I’m glad Danny Garcia has openly said he would fight him.
Spence vs Porter would be all action and be a FOY type of fight. Porter has the strength, stamina, pedigree and chin to be nip and tuck with anybody. The difference in this fight in my opinion is punch accuracy. Spence is a sharpshooter. He hits you in the flank with his right hook. Then he hits you on the temple with it to your head. He brings his southpaw left hand down the middle and up underneath on a shovel shot. And Spence’s jab is one of the best in the business. Where as Porter just punches and overwhelms you. But Porter’s punches aren’t as clean and eye catching. In both of Porter’s losses punch accuracy has been the difference. I assume it will be the difference if he fights Spence also. Favor Spence 65/35
Spence vs DSG is also a good fight. Spence is the bigger and better athlete. He probably has too many physical advantages. But Danny has unique IQ and timing. Spence can be hit and Danny has impeccable timing. Danny also has an underrated great chin. I think Danny would give Errol a tussle and I wouldn’t be surprised if Spence tempered down his attack on Danny and just tried to win a decision instead of trying steam rolling him. Danny’s no look hook is deadly, I’ve seen it up close. Favor Spence 60/40
Spence vs Crawford is the real super fight. Crawford has better natural boxing ability. But Spence has great fighting instincts and he has superior physicality. Both have great stamina and make good adjustments. I think Spence punches harder. Crawford is a little more fluid. Um……I can’t call this one right now because I haven’t seen Crawford and welterweight. 50/50
Spence vs Thurman. Thurman is this eras version of Acelino Freitas. He fights exactly like a Prime Freitas. I think he’s physically tougher though. Freitas quit when you put heat on him. Thurman fights harder thus far. I think Thurman over moves but so far no one has made him pay for it and carried him faster than he needed to be. Spence gets hit and Thurman stops on a dime and fires big shots. Stylistically they both have advantages but mentality will play a part. Right now Spence is all fighter. I think Thurman is now a different fighter mentally than he was 3 years ago. I favor Spence 52/48
DSG vs Porter is another tough fight. I’m curious as to who would be the betting favorite. I suspect Danny would be slightly. I think Shawn would press Danny but Danny likes that. They both have great chins. Danny doesn’t use his jab or feet enough but he makes up for it with his power counter punches. Again in a close fight I think it comes down to who gets hit cleaner. Shawn gets hit cleaner than Danny. Danny by a controversial decision. Favor DSG 51/49/
DSG vs Vargas. DSG by decision I guess. Vargas is hard to call for me. He’s very hot n cold in his performances. It’s bizarre watching his fights. He struggles all the time then he drops Tim Bradley and stops Sadam Ali. I just don’t get Vargas. But DSG has proved to be more consistent. Favor DSG 60/40
DSG vs Alexander. In Alexander’s prime I thought he was all wrong for Danny. Just a bad style for him. I don’t know if alexander is in his prime anymore. Let’s see the Ortiz fight. I won’t make a pick on this fight until I see if the old Devon Alexander is back.
Thurman vs Crawford. Right now I just think Crawford is a little bit better. Just a little bit though. Not as much as some assume. Crawford was hit rather easily by Gamboa and Lundy early. And both throw scatter punches like Thurman. This will not be an easy fight for Crawford. Lets Say I Favor Crawford 55/45.
The WBC just ordered Jorge Linare vs Mikey Garcia, but it seems that Linares vs Lomachenko will get made first. Who do you favor in both of those match ups?
Bread’s Response: Linares is one of the more talented fighters that I have ever seen. When I first saw him I thought he was a mix of Oscar De La Hoya and Ricardo Lopez. But after watching him under a different lens I observed he’s more talented than good. Let me explain.
Zab Judah is oozing with talent. But when you put him in the ring with Miguel Cotto, Cotto is the better the fighter.
Amir Khan is more talented than Danny Garcia but when you put them in the ring together Garcia is better.
Derrick Gainer was a supreme talent. But he couldn’t beat Juan Manuel Marquez.
If you notice something about all of these talented fighters I named you will notice that they aren’t dominant performers vs elite level comp. They don’t put together those Whitaker and Mayweather type of 12-0 shut outs for 7 or 8 fights in a row. They have the talent but there is something missing. I assume it’s mental application on a consistent basis. Because the physical gifts are there. The most noticeable example of this in this era is Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell. Ward has the mental capacity to dominate elite level fighters and Dirrell hasn’t shown it yet. But physically one would most likely assume Dirrell is more talented.
Linares vs Garcia would similar to Cotto vs Judah. Garcia is like an Alexis Arguello is in offensive efficiency. He may give up something defensively but his feet are up under him, his hands are up, his elbows are in and he’s locked in on the target. He’s not a speedster but he hits everyone clean because his mind processes at a different rate. I like Garcia to stop Linares late.
Linares vs Lomachenko is an even more daunting task for Linares. Loma processes better mentally but he’s also more talented. I think Loma is the most talented fighter in the world at this moment. Linares does have a size advantage in this fight. Loma has short arms and he’s not as tall as Linares. So maybe Linaes can come up with a great strategy and win. Who knows? I know Linares backers will bring up the Salido Loss. But I think that’s a forgivable loss. I also think Loma has improved since then. Salido came in at 128 ¼ for that fight. That’s a lot of weight for a fighter who is a weight bully and struggles to make weight. He also went into Loma’s cup often during the fight. But Loma didn’t fold he processed as the fight went on. He got stronger and more acclimated as the fight went on and he almost stopped Salido with body shots in the last round. That tells me something about his mental capacity. Since the SD loss he hasn’t come close to losing.
I think the Linares will get oohs and ahhs early. But as the fight wears on the mistakes will pile up. Loma will process better and start to break him down. Loma doesn’t look like a hard puncher but his body work is brutal and there is something happening in his fights. In his 10 wins 8 of them have come by stoppage. So maybe he’s hitting the opponents too easy and it’s uncomfortable for the corner and referee so the fights are getting stopped. Whatever the case may be I won’t call him a ko machine but I will call him a stoppage machine. He’s just stopping these guys from accumulation and class.
If Linares can beat either guy I say he goes into the HOF but unfortunately I don’t think he will. I know some credible boxing people who disagree with me on this but that why they fight the fights. I can’t wait!
This weekend big fights. Groves vs Eubank. Garcia vs Rios. Benavidez vs Gavril and Alexander vs Ortiz? Who wins and why? I’m betting so handicap it hard.
Bread’s Response: You guys put the pressure on me but never send me a check…
Ok Groves vs Eubank has potential FOY written on it. Two offensive fighters, with a lot at stake. Eubank makes some mistakes but I actually think he’s more well rounded than Groves. Groves does have a major experience edge….I think Groves is the better puncher for one shot but Eubank probably has the better chin. Both have excellent handspeed but Eubank can crack off a series of shots as good as anyone in boxing.
The one flaw I have noticed about Groves is his posture. He fights in a stressed out posture that kills his stamina. He’s like hunched over and just not very relaxed. Groves is always burning himself out and fighting a frenetic fight despite his skill and talent. This won’t be easy for Eubank but I think he wins. Maybe a stoppage but I wouldn’t bet that. Controversial decision because Groves never gets blown out on the cards.
Danny Garcia should tear Brandon Rios up. I was a huge Rios guy when he fought at 135. He threw some of nastiest, shortest shots in boxing. But he was one of those guys who didn’t have the physicality to move up. He was so much bigger and stronger than lightweights that they simply couldn’t hurt him. But I haven’t seen that Rios in years. I think Garcia really puts a beating on Rios. I think Garcia dominates him and I would surprised if anything else happened.
Benavidez vs Gavril1 was a great fight. The question is did Gavril fight over his head. And did Benavidez get better. I think Benavidez is the real deal and I think he will improve off of that performance. I like him to pull away this time and win by stoppage around 9 or 10.
Alexander vs Ortiz. I expect Devon Alexander to win this fight. He’s just the more mentally consistent fighter, he’s shown the better chin and he responds to adversity better. Ortiz can punch and he has some talent but I think his best days are behind him. Alexander is not a big puncher but I look for him to discourage Ortiz with his jab and volume. Look for him to discourage Ortiz because he will try to win every round. Consistent fighters break mentally fragile ones.
I was watching Pascal vs Hopkins and it got me to thinking.. has any fighter won more fights as N underdog than Hopkins? I’m thinking Trinidad, Tarver, Pavlik and Pascal off the top of my head.
Bread’s Response: Yes Hopkins has delivered big as an underdog. I didn’t even know he was the underdog vs Pascal. I assumed he was a slight favorite. But nevertheless yes Hopkins has made his legend on winning fights as an underdog. Most fighters in this era won’t even take fights as an underdog.
The only other fighter I can think of who has won more big championship fights as an underdog is Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao was the underdog in his title shots at 112, 122 and 126. He was also the underdog vs Oscar De La Hoya. He scored a ko in each of those fights.
I just read that Andre Dirrell with be fighting Jose Uzcategui. Dirrell is hard to figure out the talent is undeniable but he struggled bad in that last. Is the Dirrell the best fighter from this era who never won a world title? Can he win one this late?
Bread’s Response: Hell yeah he can win one. Caleb Truax is the champion and Dirrell would open as a betting favorite to win that fight.
I also think Dirrell is the most talented fighter of the last decade to not win a world title. I will say that I thought he beat Carl Froch. The media didn’t like Dirrell flopping so no one talked about the bad scoring. If you watch that fight Froch couldn’t get anything consistent going and Dirrell was cracking him with big shots. Dirrell won that fight mathematically, but the judges penalized him for his demeanor.
In this fight Uzcategui is tough for Dirrell. I watched their 1st fight and I was concerned for Dirrell. He kept getting pushed to the ropes and the corner. I also thought Uzcategui was able to hurt Dirrell multiple times. The DQ was warranted but the 1st shot AT the bell actually hurt Dirrell before the illegal follow up. Dirrell was in the corner when the fight was stopped. Another concern for me is Dirrell was losing on 2 of the judges scorecards at the time of the DQ.
In fights like this the usual trend is the superior boxer is winning early then the grinder starts coming on late. Uzcategui was winning by 2 and 3 points on 2 of the scorecards and even on the last one. That’s very concerning.
This is a close fight to me but if I’m made to pick I take Dirrell on pedigree. Dirrell is visibly more talented. He has every advantage for the exception of durability. Dirrell also knows this could be his last chance. I assume he took this fight super serious and he knows he can’t lose. Another reason I’m picking Dirrell is I believe he can fight better than he did in the 1st fight. I think what you see is what you get with Uzcategui. The key for me is can Dirrell score points and win rounds without giving up too much ground and being forced to the ropes. I wouldn’t bet but I think Dirrell wins a close decision. I expect him to have some rocky moments, he may even go down but I think he wins the fight. This fight shouldn’t be close given how good Dirrell is but history tells us it will be. This one will be intriguing.
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