The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Andre Ward vs. Joe Calzaghe, the tactics of Floyd Mayweather, the legend of Salvador Sanchez, close decisions, and much more.
Hope you are doing well and staying healthy. Quick question, them I'm out. As I teach my son to box, I always try to teach him to find a strength of an opponent and take it from him.
Would u find it more useful to exploit a weakness of someone.
I imagine some can do both but I want to keep it simplified for now
Masahiko Harada vs donaire
Floyd patterson vs the real deal
SOG vs Calzaghe
Thanks. And blessings to u and your family.
Bread’s Response: Wow! What a question. There is no right or wrong answer. “Sun Tzu actually writes about engaging people with what they expect.” Which sort of settles them into an predictable response and you wait for that extraordinary moment.
So I would say teach him both but exploiting a strength is more demoralizing. I’ve actually made gameplans on both but taking away a strength leaves fighters demoralized and beaten mentally because you beat them at their own game. It also forces them to reevaluate if it was really a strength in the first place. Weaknesses can be exploited also but often times fighters work on their weaknesses and they improve them. Great question. Your son is in good hands.
Harada by decision in a classic.
Holyfield in a brutal war where he’s hurt but overcomes it. Patterson is better than people realize.
You guys always ask me about Ward vs Calzaghe. It’s really a pick em fight. I think they would have to fight 3 times. I don’t see either stopping the other. I think the fights would all be close where opinions vary. But my gut tells me Ward would have an edge. It would be slight but I think Calzaghe was hit a little cleaner. And in this type of fight I think that matters. But it would be a titanic struggle. Calzaghe is right there with Ward and many experts believe he would win. I get inboxes all the time telling me he would.
Hope you and your family are well. I’m born in the 90s and love going on YouTube etc to watch and study the special fighters that competed before my time. There is one that had constantly stood out to me and has become my favourite boxer of all time, Salvador Sanchez. In your opinion what made Chava such a special fighter and how far do you think he could have gone in the sport if he had not tragically passed?
Bread’s Response: Salvador Sanchez was already a top 5 fighter of the 80s and he passed in 1982. I think his matchmaking made him special. He fought real fights on a consistent basis. It made him better. Patrick Ford and Pat Caldwell were tough fights that he barely won. People don’t remember those struggles. Juan Laporte, Ruben Castillo and Azumah Nelson were also tough on him. His super bowl was Wilfredo Gomez but Sanchez was tested and tested and tested. It made him better.
He had perfect balance. He had layered defense. He could slip. He could block. He used to bend his knees. He had great feet and excellent balance. He had a great chin. Great concentration. And remarkable stamina. Sanchez was doing innovative high tech workouts in the early 80s. He had mental stamina like Floyd Mayweather. He was a sharp, clean puncher. He had a nasty liver hook. A sharp right hand. A a steady jab. He was as complete a fighter as you will see.
I think Sanchez would have won multiple titles maybe up to 135. But you have to remember a fighter like him can be slightly overrated. Not because he wasn’t special because he was. But because we didn’t get to see him fight after his peak baselined. You can only be but so good. And although he died at 23, there is a good chance we saw his peak. He was 44-1-1 when he died. So we didn’t get to see him at say 28 or 29 as a lightweight. If he’s around until the late 80s then he’s fighting an ascending Chavez, Camacho and Whitaker. I’m not saying he wouldn’t have beaten them but it’s hard to say. Boxing is funny like that. Imagine if Mike Tyson passes away in 1989? Or if Felix Trinidad passes away right after the Joppy fight.
As great as Wilfredo Gomez, Alexis Arguello and Julio Cesar Chavez were, we got to see them drop off of their peaks. They all took losses and were stopped. We didn’t get to see that with Sanchez. So his career looks a little more perfect because of the abrupt ending. I love Sanchez by the way. I probably watch more of his fights than any other fighter. He’s as good as Leonard, Duran, Hearns, Hagler and any of his contemporaries of the 80s. What a fighter!
Whats up Bread?
I noticed that Mayweather always set up the pull counter the same way. Head over his front foot, weight on his front foot with either both hands up or slightly down. And most times, opponents would throw the jab. Maidana was the only one that was able to counter his counter. Why didn't more trainers or fighters notice it was coming? How did they continue to fall for that trap time after time (20 years)? I could tell it was coming when watching. Also, he said he doesn't watch tape of his opponents. Do you believe that? I think he watches extensive tape because he mentioned Cotto was susceptible to the right hook left uppercut combo after watching his fights with Judah and Mosley. But he quickly said he doesn't watch tape he just noticed it in passing. How important is watching tape to a fighter and trainer? Who needs to watch more film? And what does each look for when watching tape?
Bread’s Response: You have a good set of boxing eyes. Mayweather would always bait his opponents into his pull counter by making his head APPEAR closer than it really was. Then after you tried to jab, he would of course PULL and COUNTER.
But here is the thing. Watching it from tv and recognizing it and doing something about while you are in the ring is different. A lot is going on in that ring. That’s why I’m careful how I criticize fighters. I will criticize a fighter’s training habits or character before I will criticize a technical or tactical mistake. You have to realize they are being punched in the face and body under stress while trying to process and think quickly under fire. It’s not easy.
I would assume that trainers and fighters noticed Floyd’s pull counter. But it’s obviously harder to deal with than it is to talk about. Yes Maidana was sitting on that right hand counter and he dipped his head to the left as he threw his beautiful right hand. Floyd showed some chin taking that shot. I was there and everyone went silent when he got clipped. That’s a ko shot because Floyd was punching while Maidana was and that accentuates the power on the shot.
That’s why we have to give credit for brawlers showing IQ also. That’s not just a “boxers” compliment. Maidana was on point with that shot.
I believe that ALL fighters watch their opponents at the elite level. They may not all study extensive tape. But to not watch at all, I don’t believe that. Floyd was killing Cotto with a right hook, left uppercut combo. I remember that vividly.
I think it’s more important for the trainer to watch tape. A trainer is the teacher. He has to set the plan. The fighter has to trust his eyes and carry the plan out. You look for many things on video…
All fighters have tendencies. They may not all have weaknesses but they all have tendencies. You can take advantage of either. You can set the pad work according to tendencies. You can set the conditioning according to the game plan and opponent. If you need to use speed you will run more sprints and work on speed. If you need to be stronger you will work on strength work. Etc.
While observing tendencies I observe a fighter’s go to punch and what his solutions are to certain problems. I also try to pick up on when he gets tired and when he gets a 2nd wind. For example Sergio Martinez always started sharp and fast but needed a big 2nd wind around the 5th round.
Terence Crawford on the other hand is not hard to hit early but something clicks in his mind around the 4th or 5th round and he runs the table in most of his fights. I wouldn’t call it a major weakness for either fighter but it’s a tendency.
Everyone cries foul over close fights with razor thin decisions (like Ward-Kovalev I, Canelo-GGG II, or De La Hoya-Whitaker). You have made the point in the past that close fights can indeed be robberies. But what are some fights that were robberies in the sense that everyone but the judges think the guy who got the nod straight up LOST? I think of De La Hoya-Sturm, Williams-Lara, Pacquiao-Bradley I. What fights do you recall the decision being announced and your reaction was “WTF?!”
P.S.: Going back to close fights for a minute… why do fans go nuts over some close fights but not others? I mean, Canelo-Jacobs was a close fight that Jacobs clawed back into, where the argument could’ve been made for a draw… much like Canelo’s second fight with GGG. But I don’t hear anyone go bonkers over Canelo-Jacobs the way they do with Canelo-GGG 2. What gives?
Bread’s Response: I thought De La Hoya vs Mosley 2 was a bad decision. I thought Oscar won that fight. I thought Whitaker beat Chavez. I thought Oscar beat Tito. And Tito is my GUY but I acknowledge he didn’t win that fight. I mean honestly there are too many to name. I saw a lower level fight between Omar Douglas and Edner Cherry. Douglas won 8 rounds and they gave it to Cherry. I think they mixed up the scorecards. It was beyond obvious Douglas won that fight.
All fights are different. Some fighters have more rabid fan bases. I think Jacobs did well but I didn’t think he won. That was a close clear fight in my opinion but I’ve only seen it once…..Maybe GGG has a bigger fan base than Jacobs. Speaking of GGG and Jacobs. If you watch that fight closely, that was a close fight. There were like 4 swing rounds. Jacobs has a more reasonable case for winning that fight than he does vs Canelo.
I saw your Twitter post about the transcendent fighters. The ones who had great records who others from their eras inspired to be like. You hit them all on the nose. If I remember correctly you went Louis to Robinson to Ali to Leonard to Jones to Mayweather. I know the fighter you’re talking about. You only named 6 fighters over almost 90 years. I saw some people try to argue you with other names but those are the guys. Who do you think will be the next guy after Mayweather?
Bread’s Response: I don’t know. A good win or 2 is not enough. Being the #1 P4P guy is not enough. Yo have to be the dominant guy of the era. A big fight maker and taker. You don’t need a perfect record but it has to be pristine. You have to be the guy that more fighters aspire to be like than any other. You can’t just give it out. It has to be earned and you know it when you see it. It’s more than greatness or being an ATG.
I really don’t know who it will be. I do have a few candidates. Terence Crawford but he has to get moving. He needs the Errol Spence fight and probably a belt or 2 at 154.
Vasyl Lomachenko actually has a shot because lightweight is so stacked. If he could simply run the table of Davis, Garcia, Haney and Lopez and RETIRE. He’s that guy. That won’t be easy though.
Shakur Stevenson has a shot. He already has won a title at 126. He’s tall and big for the weight. He has a chance to be a 4 division titlist. If he can run through 130 and 135 and be a PPV star in his late 20s…
Devin Haney. He has the swag and the ability. He also has the age. But I’m not sure if he will get the big fights at 135 and 140 is stacked with some big strong guys.
Teofimo Lopez could be the guy but I need to see more. If he sparks Loma and moves up to 140 he’s on his way.
Monster Inoue has a better case than most think. But he’s so small I think he would need to win titles all the way up to 126 and beat a great American fighter to be considered. His size is working against him and I think that Donaire fight was harder than people realize.
The darkhorse is Jaron Ennis. Ennis has the size and ability to win titles from 147-160. But promotional affiliation counts. He could be a great talent like say Demetrius Andrade who hasn’t caught on to the mainstream. Or he can be a mega star. Once you pass 147 it’s harder to jump weight. And every fighter who has ever won a welterweight title and middleweight title was an ATG. Not just a great fighter but an ATG. That’s not an easy feat. Ennis has the dimensions to do that.
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