The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson rematch, trainer Ben Davison, Youtubers in boxing, Gary Russell Jr. and more.
I just finished watching Alexis Arguello's whole career (all televised fights). Man what an entertaining fighter! The technical ability and power has got to be some of the best I've seen at light weights. I was born in 86. Not sure how old you are but were you able to follow some of his career as it happened? Just want to know your opinion of him, his style and how you rank him historically. And do you agree he has one of the more entertaining styles? Also he seemed like a genuinely great guy. Very respectful gentleman. It's kind of annoying how personalities like this are considered "boring" these days.
I noticed that in some fights he could get outboxed but then would come back hard and get a stoppage or win most rounds down the stretch. Who are your top 5 fighters ever to be able to do this on multiple occasions?
Also in several of the broadcasts the announcers would say that his goal was to fight Duran. How do you think that fight would have went if it happened?
Could you also break down Arguello vs Mayweather Jr, Pacman and Chavez with a little detail?
Filip in Toronto
Bread’s Response: I’m 10 years older than you and I watched Arguello as he fought. Then later he became one of my most studied fighters.
I rank Arguello as one of the top 50 fighters to have ever lived. That’s off the top of my head. He’s a top #10-15 featherweight ever. He’s top #3 junior lightweight ever. He was one of the 10 best fighters of both the 70s and 80s. Arguello lost his first title shot then won 19 straight title fights through 3 divisions. He was a CLUTH performer. I also rate him as a top 20 puncher ever and he has a case for the best puncher ever from 135 on down.
Down the stretch fighters I like to call them. He could be the best I’ve seen. Top 5. Juan Estrada, Joe Louis, Carlos Monzon, Roberto Duran and Alexis are the best at what you’re talking about.
I think Duran was too big for Alexis. Duran had a huge physicality advantage although they were close to the same weight at one moment. Duran was a big lightweight, while Alexis was a skinny featherweight. Duran was able to win a title at 160. While Alexis topped out at 135lbs. Alexis was taller and longer but Duran was more athletic and his bone density and muscle frame would be overwhelming. Duran was better than Pryor and bigger. It’s just not a fair fight.
People assume Mayweather would be a bad style for Alexis in debating who’s the best ever at junior lightweight. I’m not disputing that. But here is my take. Skill fighters like Alexis who aren’t super athletic compensate for their flaws. It’s no big deal to them to not be overly fast because they never relied on their speed. It’s like saying Manny Pacquiao is too short, Manny has always been the shorter fighter.
Arguello had a rhythm breaking jab, perfect balance, and the best power punch variety of his day. He could throw a ko body shot with either hand and a ko head shot with either hand. I won’t argue that Mayweather would win a decision. But Alexis is a better than Diego Corrales and he would make his push. Let’s remember Jose Luis Castillo is not fast or athletic either. Skill and timing are just as important. Today I say Mayweather by decision.
Alexis vs Chavez is the fight. I think they would have to fight 3x. Chavez had better boxing skills than people realize and I could see him trying to overwhelm Alexis. But Chavez had some tough nights at 130 and he would be in Alexis’s wheel house. I would very interested in seeing if Chavez could take an elite body attack being given back to him. Arguello was just as good to the body as Chavez was.
Alexis vs Pac man…. these are tough calls. Again I can see them fighting 3x. I can see Alexis clipping Pac late. At some point he would time the ambush. But Pac is special. Being clipped doesn’t mean a thing to him and he would put hands on Alexis. These are some tough mythical matchups. At 130lbs Alexis Arguello was as good a fighter as I have seen.
What’s going on Breadman, like you I’m big on Félix Trinidad. His fight against Mayorga was the brutal beautiful fight I ever saw it turn my like for boxing into a love. You say you favor Tito against any 147-54 fighter in the past 25 years does that include Canelo at 154, Mayweather and delahoya (in a rematch) at both weights. How bout Spence and Crawford ? I personally think Tito’s punching power, relentlessness and overall pure violence would be to much for even those ATG?
Bread’s Response: Man Tito was my guy. All of the fights you named would be really tough on Tito but him at his best I wouldn’t pick against him in one of the fights.
It’s common to say now because of his 3 losses he was one dimensional. But I never call a fighter one dimensional. I go by their effectiveness. Who cares if they go to the same dimension every time? It’s about effectiveness. Besides that I don’t think Tito was one dimensional. He didn’t just bore in. He was a taller pressure fighter, so he stepped around often in his attack. I do believe his goal was to ko all of his opponents but Tito wasn’t easy to time like some perceived brawlers.
I would pick Tito over Spence. I love Spence but I think style wise he’s the easiest fight for Tito. They remind me of each other slightly but I think Tito is a better puncher. This would be a great fight but my gut says Tito in a war. I would have to see more of Spence to change my mind.
Tito vs Crawford is interesting. Today I say Tito would clip him. Crawford gets greedy and he goes for it and Tito is just as mean as he is. And a better puncher and taller. Crawford for as good as he is, is not overly hard to hit. I think his personality would be his downfall vs Tito in another great fight.
Canelo is an interesting fight for Tito. But I would pick Tito. Canelo does not have mobile legs and the guys who troubled Tito used their legs. Canelo would sit in the box and slide and roll. I think he would put hands on Tito but at 154 Canelo tires out and Tito is a marathon runner. I say Tito by close decision. Tito would bring it like GGG did late in the 2nd fight, the whole fight.
I always thought Tito would have beaten Oscar in the rematch although Oscar deserved the decision in the 1st fight. As bizarre as that sounds I think Oscar knew something and that’s why he elected to over move down the stretch and give up those last 3 rounds. That wasn’t strategy, that was survival and a miscalculation, although again I thought Oscar won.
Floyd vs Tito is tough. Some would assume Floyd easily outboxes him which could happen. But I think the Oscar fight was a little bit of an aberration. For arguments sake I say Floyd would take a decision at 147. But Floyd struggled in my opinion above 147 with active fighters. Oscar and Cotto pushed him hard and Tito is better than both at 154. He’s more active and varied in his attack. The Tito from is run in 2000 would be rough on Floyd. I think Floyd is a better fighter in the P4P sense but in a ring at 154lb P4P doesn’t count. You’re talking about a literal fight. There are very few men I would pick over Tito during that time. I don’t think people realize how GREAT he was.
What’s up Breadman!! I haven’t wrote in a good while but I have a serious question that I hope you can give me your opinion. A good friend of mine is Huracán Ramírez , he fought and lost to Jayson Velez and he was telling me how he feels it’s a bit disrespectful to place two YouTube celebrities on a co main event of an important boxing fight. I agree with him I’ve been a boxing fan since I can remember, I don’t think it’s fair for fighters with real talent that work their butt of to see a potential slot where they can expose their skills be taken by two guys that have done absolutely nothing in boxing to earn that spot. The only good I see in it is that it’s bringing a new generation of fans to boxing. What are your thoughts on you tubers having that exposure without putting in the real work?? Thanks again and I hope you can answer me and share your opinion, maybe I’m being selfish and I’m missing something here. Stay blessed!
P.S mythical matchup
Kostya tzyu vs Terence Crawford
Bread’s Response: I don’t like Youtubers getting spots ahead of kids who have dedicated their whole lives to boxing. It’s insulting. But boxing is a business and in business everything that makes money is not fair.
I go back and forth with Tszyu vs Crawford. I really don’t know who wins that.
Always blows my mind how young you look on TV. Years of reading the bag had painted a yoga like image in my head:)
How much of a difference can being a devoutly religious person have on your success as a boxer?
They say boxing is mostly mental, surely pure belief in a higher purpose is going to bode well, and the associated discipline... There's obviously countless examples of successful religious fighters.
Speaking of religious fighters, I fancy Porter to beat Thurman in a rematch, do you?
If you haven't seen the BT Sport Wilder Fury fight breakdown special with Ben Davidson, check it out and let me know what you think in the next mailbag if possible, which is the day of the FIGHT!!! It was very interesting for a person who knows very little, interesting to a pro like you?
Bread’s Response: Thanks man I try to take care of myself just in case one of these crazy fans runs up on me and want action. Plus it’s a good look for my boxers. If I’m in shape it’s easier to tell them to stay in shape.
Religion and boxing is an interesting take. Here is my take. I once told a fighter who I won’t name about 10 years ago, that there are NO atheist in FOX HOLES. He didn’t understand the analogy. So I broke it down to him that a fox hole is a military combat term. It’s a hole that is dug by soldiers to avoid incoming fire and a resting place as they were ready to advance. In those holes soldiers are dying. Bullets and bombs are whizzing pass your head and their lives are flashing before their eyes. During those times you pray to someone or something. You start asking for peace. For strength. For forgiveness. It’s a surreal place.
Now a boxing ring is very similar. You go through things that only a higher power can explain and get you through. Faith of the unseen is called for.
I don’t talk about religion much. I don’t push it on anyone. I believe it’s a private relationship. But from my personal trying experiences, the more you go through the more faith you require. And for the record the fighter I was referencing got more into his religion and he became much better for it. Much better.
I would favor Porter over Thurman if they fought next also. Porter is a full time fighter and Thurman isn’t at the moment. The fights are too tough at welterweight to be as inactive as Thurman is.
I really don’t engage in boxing internet stuff. I don’t even read my own interviews unless I’m misquoted and someone would have to bring it to my attention. I never read the comments on the bottom of my own mailbag. I just find it to be either toxic or worthless. Most of the comments are made by non humans. They are characters that the internet allows you to live as without regard or accountability. When I see a fighter who is constantly reading article’s comments I know mentally he will be indifferent. I personally read Doug Fischer’s mailbag, Lee Wylie’,s breakdowns, Cliff Rold’s pieces and I watch Reznick videos. That’s really it for me.
But I do think highly of Ben Davison. I think he has an elite level boxing IQ and I’m surprised he lost his job. Davison proved that experience can be overrated as a trainer. His intelligence and instincts were big time for Fury. He caught a draw in a fight most thought Fury won vs a certified killer in Deontay Wilder. Ben Davison is the man and I don’t care what he does from this day forward. He did a great job with Fury.
First time writer,after months of enriching reading.
Last week,you pointed out that Foreman's fights with Lyle and Young were
POST-Ali and that Ali had done something to George's mind in '74.Years ago,Ring
magazine rated the top 50 heavyweights.In justifying Ali's #1 rating,they described him
as a 'master of psychological warfare',which relates to what you wrote.
Several questions occur to me:
-What fighters would you consider the 'masters of psychological warfare'along
( I assume) with Ali?
-What fighters were most IMMUNE to getting 'psyched out'?
-Do you believe George needed his break from boxing psychologically?
-I was still in my teens when Ali beat Liston and recall the controversies.How big a
role do you think the mental game played in '64 and '65 as opposed to Sonny's
age,suspicion of a 'dive',etc.?
You've heard this before.In addition to your expertise and interesting writing,we
respect how you deal with the 'haters' and refuse gossip.Thanks so much,
Bread’s Response: Masters of psychological warfare. Floyd Mayweather, Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, Robero Duran, Prince Naseem Hamed, Bernard Hopkins and James Toney.
Fighters that are immune to getting psyched out are fighters that don’t over think. They just fight. Jermaine Taylor and Chad Dawson didn’t seem to hear anything Bernard Hopkins said. Marcos Maidana and Jose Luis Castillo didn’t listen to Floyd Mayweather. Evander Holyfield’s faith is so strong Mike Tyson didn’t mean anything to him. Many, many more. Too many to name…
Yes George needed a long break from boxing. He said so.
I believe psychological warfare played a huge part on Ali’s wins over Liston. Liston didn’t like crazy people and he thought Ali was crazy. Ali was crazy, crazy like a fox. Ali is not capable of being intimidated. His mind doesn’t run like that. When he wasn’t scared of Liston the fight was over.
Hope this finds you well. My question for you, or my observation, is Deontay Wilder, irrespective of his punching power, will fall over as a result of all the hype as him being the hardest puncher of all time. By fall over I mean lose, and I expect Fury to box a shut out. I’m not doubting Wilders punching power, especially with the straight right hand, but if he doesn’t do significant damage, the predictability for Fury to evade it will become greater as the fight progresses (should the fight go the distance). Fury had little trouble avoiding the right hand in the first fight, he seemed to time slipping the right, al the way until that 12th round. I just don’t think it does the fighter any good for people to be making the claims of biggest puncher of all time etc, and I would think his inner circle should be keeping him grounded, remember how inert Holy made Tyson look in that first fight.
I know it has been done to death, but the Canelo / GGG situation, I am really disappointed, as a fight fan, in Canelo. The third fight should of happened already, neither fights were definitive (although I felt GGG clearly won the first fight). I reckon UFC gets it righter, with it’s matchmaking. As a fight fan, I feel Bowe and Lewis was the big one that we missed out on.
Thank you for correcting those ill informed McCallum fans, a great counter puncher, but he was not in the picture at Middleweight nearing the end of Hagler’s reign and was only making noise for a Hearns fight in the months before Hearns signed to fight Andries.
So from Australia keep up the mailbags, we love your insight.
What do you think of Holy v M. Spinks in early 1988 at 200lb?
Bread’s Response: There is a danger in complimenting a fighter too much. I 100% agree. Calling Wilder the hardest puncher ever can make him over compensate. One day Wilder won’t land his money shot and he will get outboxed. But I don’t think it happens in the rematch. I think he’s going to clip Fury with a right hand behind the ear as Fury ducks away and KOs him. As the fight went on he started zoning in on the shot more and more.
I really don’t care if Canelo vs GGG3 happens or not at this point. Unless GGG can turn around his apparent slide I don’t want to see the aging future HOF get stopped.
For sure we missed out on Bowe vs Lewis. It may be the biggest fight in history that was NOT made.
I feel bad for Mike McCallum because he was a great fighter. He was sort of caught in between eras. He hit the main stream when he beat Donald Curry in 1987 but he lost his very next fight Sambu Kalambay. Leonard, Hearns, Hagler and Duran were stars and established long before McCallum so therefore he sort of had to fight very tough fights vs lesser well known guys like Kalambay and a young James Toney. By the time he fought Toney in he was in his mid 30s although still great. Toney was in his early 20s and it showed. Hardluck fighter but great nonetheless.
Holyfield vs Spinks would be awesome. I would reluctantly take Holyfield. By 1988 he started hitting his peak. He would have outworked Spinks but he had to be careful because Spinks had the sneaky trick shots.
You ever see a fight prediction come down to just one key factor? Say... chin, for example... Fighter A is a classic boxer while Fighter B is a competent boxer known more for power... have you ever thought/said, “If Fighter A can take Fighter B’s best shots, he will win”? Has a fight ever come down to one thing like that?
Bread’s Response: Yes ALL the time. Sometimes a fight is simple. I think that Wilder vs Fury comes down to chin. If Fury can take Wilder’s shots he should be able to out box him. But no one seems to be able to take Wilder’s shots.
As salaam alaikum and thanks for all that you do for the sport and for young me. What did you think of Gary Russell Jr’s performance?Would you pick him to beat Santa Cruz or Tank Davis? His still seems lighting fast but I could not tell if he was actually making contact with his jab or just flicking it out to make Tug pause and break rhythm of his attack. Both are effective but What do your eyes see?
Both tank and Gary Russell talk about moving up in weight, at what point does their height and reach become a significant disadvantage. Haney and Lopez and Commey and Robert Easter seem much longer than Tank at 135 and GRJ Is skilled enough to beat Leo Santa Cruz at 130 but when he weighed only 125.5 for his last fight does he have the size and reach to beat a Miguel Berchelt who has a 7 inch reach advantage.
Finally, if the fight was tomorrow would you pick GRJ or Shakur Stevenson?
Bread’s Response: I think Gary Russell is an elite fighter. I don’t understand why he fights once a year because cashing just one extra check a year is a big deal financially. Russell is a 7 figure fighter and he has been for years now. It also keeps you sharper by fighting more. But Russell must really be a gym rat and he must maintain a high level of fitness in between fights.
I thought Russell put on a solid performance. That’s what he does. It wasn’t lights out but at the same time he was dominant and he was efficient. He rarely loses more than 3 rounds clean. His win over Jo Jo Diaz and performance vs Vasyl Lomachenko look better and better as time goes on.
I think because Russell has short arms and he doesn’t want to over extend, some times his jab is a distractor, some times it’s a scoring shot. Russell has a really good jab. It goes to show you, you don’t have to be tall or have long arms in order to have a good jab.
Obviously height and reach play a factor in boxing. But it’s not the end all. Miguel Cotto won the lineal middleweight championship and he looks to be 5’7 tops. I say looks to be because fighters always put an extra inch on their height and 2 inches on their reach. Pernell Whitaker won a junior middleweight title and he was no taller than 5’5. Now Whitaker and Cotto are HOF and special.
I would favor Russell over Santa Cruz at 126 or 130. I think he would edge a split decision but it wouldn’t be easy. Santa Cruz can fight also but I think Russell’s gifts would overcome Santa Cruz’s subtle skills.
There are weight divisions for a reason. At some point everyone has to stop moving up. Giving the eyeball test I think Russell would compete well at 130. But I don’t know if he beats everyone at 130. They would have to fight to the fights.
Lightweight would most likely be his max weight. The lightweights are huge. Teofimo Lopez and those boys are no joke. It’s a matter of physicality at some point.
I think Gervonta Davis is a bigger man than Russell and he has more power. So lightweight is not a bad move for him. But he hasn’t fought the elite lightweights yet. I have to see. It’s one thing to move up. It’s something different to move up and fight the best.
I really wish Russell would have gotten his super fights at 126 because I think that’s his prime weight.
If they fought tomorrow I would favor Shakur Stevenson. I think Gary Russell is a tremendous fighter but Stevenson is slightly different. Stevenson has something about him. It’s hard to describe in words but you know it when you see it. It doesn’t mean he can’t lose. Anyone can lose. He most likely will at some point because he wants to fight the best everytime out. But I’m not picking against Shakur Stevenson at featherweight.
What did you think of the new RING Magazine list with the young up and comers as the future of boxing? I know you have been high on Jaron Ennis for a while now and it seems like the world is taking notice of what your eyes have seen for a while now. Who would you omit or add to the list?
Bread's Response: I have felt for the past 3 or 4 years that Ennis was boxing's most talented prospect. But the machine behind you can determine the perception. Now that he's been highlighted on Showtime a few times people can see what I have been saying all along. But I don't need props because I am privy to information that the media is not. I get to see fighters in the gym in true form. I get to see how hard they really work. I get to see how respectful they are to their coach. I get to see them in a different light.
In the gym Boots is the hardest worker and he's the most talented kid. That right there is usually the Special Recipe. He also is respectful to his trainer. I've never heard him talk back. All he says is "Ok Pop". He has respect for structure. No fighter is invincible. Any fighter can be beat. I'm not saying he's the best welterweight in the world already. I won't go overboard. But he is a serious threat to EVERYONE. Ennis's biggest issue from what I can tell will be his weight. And sometimes he gets a little too playful on defense. He drops his hands and plays off the ropes. He's so talented he can get away with that stuff. But with 8 oz gloves on that can be dangerous. I just hope he gets the chance to fight for a title before he has to move up to 154.
I think everyone who was on the list deserves to be. Who am I to take a fighter off an esteemed list? Stevenson, Haney, Ennis, Ortiz and Lopez were the stand outs on the list in my opinion. Those kids have special written on them. But I did see an omission. Stephen "Scooter" Fulton.
Fulton is the same age as the guys on the list. He's fought very tough real fights. He's beaten 7 undefeated fighter and he's not 20 fights deep yet. I'm not saying all of his opponents were killers but his opponents were better than 50% of the fighters on the list. I really believe Fulton is overlooked.
I also believe Erickson Lubin should have been considered. I know he lost badly to Jermell Charlo. But my eyes tell me Lubin is a serious threat in boxing's most competitive division. I'm looking forward to the next few years.
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