By Ryan Burton
In this Q&A up and coming trainer and boxing mind Stephen "Breadman" Edwards talks about the recent fights in the super welterweight division and the recently mandated IBF mandatory super welterweight title defense that will pit champion Jermall Charlo against Edwards' fighter and #1 rated contender Julian Williams.
BoxingScene.com: What's good Breadman? Let's get to it. First off it looks like Demetrius Andrade is back on Showtime. What did you think of his stoppage win over Willie Nelson?
Stephen Edwards: I'm good. We are just staying sharp until camp officially opens. Demetrius looked good. Nelson is a tough guy. Willie is not a great fighter but he's a legit top 10 guy who will give you trouble if you're not on your game. Demetrius got buzzed a little bit but he responded like a champion. He destroyed Nelson. That was a terrible beating and when you beat on a guy late in a fight like that it's no good for the guy taking the beating. Expect these young prospects to jump all over Nelson. He probably won't be the same after that one. Andrade showed a lot of class praying for Willie after the fight. I like to see that. We are looking forward to a J Rock and Andrade fighting in a big unification fight in the future. But right now our sites are set on the IBF title.
BoxingScene.com: Now that Andrade is back on Showtime for at least the near future, there is an exciting mix of fighters at 54 with himself, Lara, the Charlo brothers, your fighter Julian Williams, etc. What do you think of the possibilities in the super welterweight division?
Stephen Edwards: I think it's the most talented division in boxing. The division just needs more star power. But as far as just pure talent -154 is where it's at. There are also some young guys and guys from overseas who can fight also. In the end the kid with the most ambition will stand tall. Some guys act like they want to fight, some guys really want to fight. I think the best 2 or 3 guys that come out of this will have a Hall of Fame caliber careers. They just have to be willing to fight.
154 reminds me of 160 in the early 90s when Roy Jones, Gerald McClellan, Julian Jackson, Lamar Parks, Bernard Hopkins, James Toney, Reggie Johnson, Michale Nunn, Mike McCallum, Chris Eubank, Steve Collins and Nigel Benn were coming up at the same time. This could be a Golden Era.
BoxingScene.com: You and Julian were in Vegas a few weeks ago to scout your mandatory opponent Jermall Charlo, who won a hard fought decision over Austin Trout. Before the fight he said that he was having trouble making weight and that a move to 160 might happen in his next fight. After the fight he said that the people want to see him fight Julian so he would stick around for the fight.
Fast forward a few weeks and his trainer Ronnie Shields said that it was up in the air if Jermall would stay at 154 and basically that it would be his call as the trainer to decide if he needs to move up in weight and that he really didn't care if Julian gets left in limbo. What do you make of Shields comments?
Stephen Edwards: I respect Ronnie and Julian does too. He said Julian can go to hell but it's really no big deal. Worse things have been said to Julian. We are not sensitive over here. Maybe Ronnie was having a bad day. Maybe he was trying to get in our heads, I don't know but it's really no biggie. What stood out to me was not him saying Julian can go to hell. What stood out was him saying we have to be patient. Julian is the #1 contender. The IBF makes the rules - not Team Charlo. Wilky Campfort, his first title defense didn't have to be patient. Austin Trout, who they asked for an exemption for, didn't have to be patient. But Julian Williams has to be patient. Well let's see what the IBF has to say because Julian is not going anywhere. It's not like he's going to forget about being a world champion (laughing).
BoxingScene.com: With that being said what do you guys plan on doing? Wait it out until the IBF gives him an ultimatum to make up his mind about facing Julian or vacating the title? If he vacates then the IBF will have to order a new opponent and start negotiations which could keep you guys on the shelf even longer.
Stephen Edwards: I don't make the rules Ryan. But things have a way of working themselves out. If Jermall vacates he's going to never live it down. History remembers things like that. He made weight just fine for Wilky Campfort and Austin Trout. But man, we just have to have faith that the right thing will happen. It will make Julian that much more hungrier.
BoxingScene.com: With all of the Canelo-GGG talk, it looks like there is a real possibility that Canelo will drop 1 pound from his "Caneloweight" of 155 pounds and challenge WBO super welterweight champion Liam Smith for his WBO title. What are your thoughts on that?
Stephen Edwards: Liam Smith is no turkey. He's a solid fighter. I don't think he can beat Canelo but he's not easy. He's strong and he has a good walk down style. He also has an excellent coach. There are a lot of guys he can beat but Canelo is a little bit too much for him. The guys that can beat Canelo are J Rock and Andrade and he will say they aren't marketable enough at this point. That's how the game goes Ryan. I get it and understand it.
BoxingScene.com: Anything else we haven't covered that you want to mention? Do you have a message for the fans?
Stephen Edwards: No man just hopefully we can give the fans what they want and that's the showdown between Julian and Jermall. But if not look for Julian to be a world champion this September and bring title back to Philadelphia.
Send questions or comments to [email protected]. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ringsidewriter