The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Deontay Wilder's split trainer Mark Breland, the upcoming fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez, Muhammad Ali, and more.
I just read that Mark Breland would not be working with Deontay Wilder anymore. I wanted your thoughts of Breland as a coach and what do you think caused the split? Was it throwing in the towel vs Fury or something more?
Bread’s Response: This is boxing my friend. When an elite fighter loses, especially by stoppage you should expect a change in the corner. It’s just how it goes. I try not to speculate. The fans and media usually do by making up lies to fit their personal narrative. I literally have no idea why they aren’t working together anymore.
Looking at Wilder’s team they have multiple colorful personalities. Breland is unassuming and soft spoken. After Wilder lost I expected Breland to be let go because he seemed to be the only one in favor of the stoppage. The team seemed upset with him. Jay Deas even said that it was his call because he’s the HEAD TRAINER. Which does matter. The referee actually ask in the dressing room who is the CHIEF SECOND in the corner. And for the record I’m not saying I disagree with Breland stopping the fight. I’m just saying that stopping the fight seemed to be an EMPASS among Wilder’s team.
I don’t know how good of a trainer Mark Breland or Jay Deas is. Because I have never talked boxing with either. And I have never watched them work in the gym. But I do respect their results with Deontay Wilder. They took a limited technical fighter to a 5 year champion run, 10 title defenses and 42-0. You have to respect that!
Everyone criticizes them for Wilder’s lack of boxing skills. But sometimes you have to appreciate the results instead of nitpicking the race. So Wilder makes big mistakes. His defense, balance and overall boxing ability is not elite. But I tend to give Deas and Breland extra credit for getting so far with an under weight heavyweight, with those flaws. See how that works. Wilder is an athletic, big puncher. So they let him be athletic and punch…
I hear so many discredit Breland. But I always say, go build a heavyweight champion. Make 100 million dollars. Get him to 42-0 and make 10 title defenses. It sounds easy but someone, somewhere did something right. Maybe if Wilder was more technical instead of being unpredictable he wouldn’t be as effective. Who knows?
For the record I actually think Wilder is an excellent but flawed fighter. He’s a gamer. He’s fast. He’s athletic. He’s durable. He has composure. He’s clutch. And he has real heart. I think he has a chance in the rematch simply because he’s not going to be caught by surprise if Fury steps to him and is aggressive. That shock value of Fury’s change of style won’t happen again. I also believe Fury was in the ZONE and it’s hard to be in the ZONE every fight. You have to come back down to earth.
As for Breland. I don’t know if he’s a great trainer. But I do know he was an excellent fighter and he always carried himself with respect and dignity. I try to be complimentary and positive and there are TWO things that really stand out to me about Breland. One is he stopped that fight with an undefeated fighter in a huge fight. That took major balls because that’s the hardest thing to do in boxing especially when the fighter can change the course of fight in one punch like Wilder. Breland stood by his decision and you have to respect a man of conviction.
I also respect that Breland who was NOT as successful as his 1984 Olympic teammates who went to Main Events. Still managed to live a fruitful life outside of boxing. Per reports Shelly Finkel set up a nice annuity for each of the stand out Olympians and Breland is only one who kept it and until this day he brings in 6 figures/year because of it. If this is true which I believe it is, that’s an awesome investment for a boxer. This is a sport where the averages of that happening is slim to none. But Breland broke the mold with DISCIPLINE. I commend him for that, and when I first got into boxing I told fighters about Breland and his discipline with that annuity.
I hope Breland and Wilder both prosper without each other. Trainers and fighters going their separate ways is just part of the game, especially after a loss.
Longtime reader (first time writing in) and admirer of your work. Thank you for imparting wisdom, perspective and context to the sport and life. Appreciate you brother.
I came across an Undefeated article (link below) that highlighted one of the most pivotal months in sports regarding Black athletes (October 1970). The article provided a fascinating recap about how the factors that elevated the climate of sports in the South.
I was particularly moved about the references in the article that provided context and insight into Ali’s comeback fight vs. Jerry Quarry. The amount of support Ali received from the “who’s who of the Black society was astounding” (ESPECIALLY in such a time where you could have so much at stake to lose).
Being that your grandfather (I think that’s who you reference) put you up so much on boxing and sports in general - I have two questions related to this topic:
1) If your grandfather ever talked about this moment - how would he explain the climate and the importance of Ali’s comeback fight, in Atlanta, GA of all city’s?
2) Maybe not yet in boxing, but would you consider the outpouring of activism in the fight for social justice and equality from the athletic community comparable to the 60’s - 70’s? What’s your perspective / highlights on the importance of both?
Blessings to you and your family Bread!
Bread’s Response: No he didn’t talk about the support Ali got for this exact comeback fight. But he did talk about Ali constantly. He revered Ali. We lived in Philly and my grand pop and his crew loved Ali more than they did Joe Frazier who was a Philly resident.
Although they were all military men. They loved with Ali stood for. He always correlated Ali’s stubbornness outside of the ring, with his character inside of it. He used to tell me that Ali was a freak for pain and that it’s impossible to stop Ali on his back. As I got older I realized what he meant. And it was true. Ali literally didn’t allow himself to be kod. His corner stopped the Holmes fight and I have no doubt he would have kept taking that beating until the 15th round. He explained to me that Ali took in pain and punishment different from other humans. That he put himself out there with his big mouth, so his pride was his biggest weapon. He had to live up to what he talked. My grand father was not a boxing trainer but because of his hard back ground in the streets of Philadelphia, where he was a Korean war veteran, business man, loan shark, police officer and family man of 10. He understood character. He always said Ali’s character is the greatest in the world’s history. He believed Ali could be a great General.
2. I do think the outpouring currently and what happened in the 60-70s is very comparable. There are slight differences but there will be because times and technology is different. What I am looking for his a HERO to emerge in 2020. Ali turned out to be a hero in the 1970s. Grown men cry about him. I know it. I’ve seen it. I met him in 1981 when I was a kid and this is no exaggeration. People acted as though they were meeting a GOD. If this era produces an Ali like figure in one of the major sports I think it would special.
But the problem is the world is filled with too much HATE. I don’t know if that’s possible in the Social Media age with people allowed to insult with no repercussions.
I remember a few of these fire fights, mostly the G-man vs. the Dark Destroyer and Castillo vs. Corrales I where the fight just took everything out of the fighters. We know what happened to the G-man, and Benn wasn’t the same, either. Castillo and Corrales weren’t simply the same after their first fight. I don’t believe Baranchyk will ever be the same, but I saw Zepeda, though hurt more than once, had plenty left. I ask you, if you are his trainer, do you put him in with the winner of Taylor/Ramirez next? Is what he wants/ deserve. Did not seem to me that this fight took a lot out of him.
Bread’s Response: This is a very good question. I was a big Diego Corrales fan and he definitely lost a step after Castillo 1. In fact he never won another fight. Nigel Benn also was not the same after the McClellan fight. I think part of it is when a fighter EXHAUST his physical and mental resources in a fight. Mentally going through another camp is also a huge factor. It’s hard to keep putting out to get into that type of shape again.
I don’t like to say what I would do because it’s sort of undermining his trainer and he’s doing an excellent job. What I will say is he deserves a title a shot. And if he dares to be great and he wants the winner of Taylor vs Ramirez, give him what he wants. He’s earned it. Give him some time off. Let him rest up and give than man what he wants. This is boxing, sometimes you can cherry pick and pick the wrong cherry.
Hope all is well.
I wanted to pick your brain.
The way I see it, Teofimo Lopez has faster hands, is younger, has more size, and more power than Loma. (Like you explain, though, that doesn't mean Lopez is the puncher in the fight).
What are some fights, like Canelo vs Floyd Mayweather, where one fighter had obvious and numerous physical disadvantages and still won the fight? I think if Loma pulls this out, it's the biggest win of his career.
And I can be greedy here, what's your opinion of the makeshift shoulder roll Teofimo Lopez uses?
Bread’s Response: Hmmm. I don’t think Floyd had many physical disadvantages vs Canelo. Floyd is taller, longer and faster. His stamina is better and his feet are better. Canelo hits harder and is bigger. The biggest advantage Canelo had was he was 13 years younger.
I do think Floyd vs Canelo is a good comparison to this fight but Floyd wasn’t outgunned vs Canelo. He was just the older fighter. In this fight I don’t know if Loma is outgunned. I have to see them line up and bump. But still in all with the age difference and buzz of the fight I can see a Floyd vs Canelo comparison.
I can also see a Oscar vs Chavez comparison. People forget about that one. Chavez was older but he was actually still a champion. Oscar was the young big punching gun.
Let’s see who else. Let’s try Duran vs Moore. Duran the older 32 year old legend. Moore had teen number of fights. New York swag. Big puncher.
Maybe one more this one will trip you out but Holyfield vs Bowe. Bowe was younger, unproven and a big puncher. Holyfield the older, smaller great fighter.
This type of questions really exercises my brain. I never google. I just freestyle and see what I can come up with.
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