By Stephen “Breadman” Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen “Breadman” Edwards tacking topic such as Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence, the career of Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquiao vs. Lomachenko and Mikey Garcia, VADA testing on Spence-Garcia, Abel Sanchez’s run of defeats, Andre Ward’s record, and more.
I stumbled upon your mailbag a few weeks back and have read as many of the older ones as I can. Excellent stuff. I particularly enjoyed the recent mailbag where you did a comprehensive rundown/critique of tyson’s career. Shot down a lot of the misconceptions regarding Tyson’s first reign as champion, as well not shying away from the flaw’s in Tyson’s character which played a big part in his downfall.
Was wondering if you could do the same with Roy Jones jr? You can leave out the post calzaghe years if you wish, as he was far below his best by then. Is he not appreciated enough for the wins over Hopkins, Toney, hill and Johnson? Does he suffer(like tyson) from the fact that he beat his competition by such a margin that he was unfairly accused of fighting bums? Were there other fights that could or should’ve been made during his prime that would’ve placed him higher up on the all time list? Or would he have simply beaten them so comprehensively that it wouldn’t of made much difference? How much of Roy’s decline was because of the weight loss or was that just an excuse to hide the fact Roy had gotten old? Does he actually deserve more credit for the heart he showed in the calzaghe fight considering how badly cut he was, and how one sided the fight became? Sorry for length of question, keep up the good work.
Bread’s Response: I believe in being FAIR. Mike Tyson gets a raw deal. Everyone forgets he unified the title within 3 fights and he was 21 years old, then he fought the lineal champion at 22. In contrast fighters in this era take 5 years to unify and they won’t step up until they are 26 or 27.
Roy Jones is phenomenal. I looked at his middleweight resume and let me tell you something ironic. Before Bernard Hopkins’s 1st title try Roy actually fought better competition leading up to the title. In Roy’s 3rd fight he fought a 16-1 fighter. At 16-0 Roy fought Jorge Vaca, who could fight. Vaca was no walk in the park. Right before Jones stopped him in 1 round he had just knocked out Mark Breland, and decisioned future middleweight champion Quincy Taylor twice in a row. Vaca also held a prime Terry Norris to a split decision. What middleweight prospect in this era would take that fight at 16-0 at 22 yrs old? After Vaca, Jones fought an even better Jorge Castro who was 70-3 at the time. Castro was a certified bad ass who went on to beat Reggie Johnson and John David Jackson twice a piece. Castro was a better version of Marcos Maidana who Jones also fought as a prospect.
After that Jones beat an undefeated Glenn Thomas and a capable Glenn Wolfe. He fights a pre all time great 28yr old Bernard Hopkins for the vacant title, wins and he fights a few non title fights one especially against Thulani Malinga who went on to be a 2x super middleweight champion. Again Jones smoked him.
Jones then fights a real challenger for his middleweight title in Thomas Tate. Tate was rough, capable fighter who could be champion in another era just not the Golden Middleweight Era he was in. Tate just got his title tries vs Jones and Julian Jackson.
After the Tate fight, Jones moves up 168 for good and fights a perfect fight vs the P4P number 2 fighter in James Toney. Jones should have unified at 168 but his eyeball test at 168 was possibly the best ever. And his title winning fights are vs 1st ballot HOF and all time greats at 160 and 168.
Jones’s competition at 168 lacked in my opinion after Toney and his biggest threat during his super middleweight reign was a non title fight vs red hot Merqui Sosa. Sosa was voted to have the best chin in boxing at the time. Jones stopped him in 2.
At Light heavyweight is where Jones actually did his best consistent work. He beats Mike McCallum for the interim title, then he faced underrated Montel Griffin. We all know what happened with the DQ and then RJ appearance at rematch. But right after Griffin, Jones fights Virgil Hill and then unifies vs Lou Devalle. A few fights later he unifies all of the belts vs Reggie Johnson another excellent fighter who would be a lot more highly regarded had he fought in other eras.
After that Jones defeated Eric Harding who had a win over Antonio Tarver. Jones also had a real defense vs Julio Cesar Gonzalez. Then the move to heavyweight vs John Ruiz who was a solid fighter. Ruiz was just not pleasing to watch.
Here is where it gets tricky. Jones moved back down and got his best win at light heavyweight besides Virgil Hill vs Tarver in the 1st fight. I never say the weight loss ruined him because he won the 1st fight. He actually showed better stamina than Tarver down the stretch and he took Tarver’s big shots.
In the Tarver rematch Jones looked good, better than the 1st fight. I don’t think he was weight drained. I think he got caught with the perfect shot and that shot ruined his chin and confidence. Because if his chin was ruined from the weight loss, he would have got stopped in the 1st fight where Tarver cracked him plenty and Jones held up fine over 12 rounds.
Jones jumped back in the ring too soon with Glen Johnson and he was hurt bad early and the commentators missed it. He got stopped bad and then went straight into a Tarver rematch where his new style surfaced. Laying up against the ropes waiting to counter. He did ok in the 3rd Tarver fight but not enough to win. So the 3 fights in a row of Tarver, Johnson and Tarver I think ruined Jones more than the weight loss. He was brutally knocked out 2 fights in a row and he was hurt bad in the 3rd fight and loss. So to lose 3 fights in a row without ever really losing before I think screwed up Jones’s confidence more than anything. And again I can’t say dropping down in weight messed up his chin because he won the 1st Tarver fight. I think Tarver ruined his chin and Glen Johnson added to the damage.
After the 2nd Tarver loss Jones looked good vs Anthony Hanshaw and Felix Trinidad. They set up the Calzaghe fight were he lost bad but showed tremendous heart. Then after that he looked good vs Jeff Lacy. After the Lacy fight he lost bad to Danny Green and everything after that I don’t count on his career. I’m an admitted Roy Jones fan I think he gets over critiqued for everything that happened after the Jeff Lacy fight.
For whatever reason Jones could not keep the fight in the center of the ring anymore. Sometimes there are signs early in your career what your flaws will be later. Jones used to go to the ropes with his hands up and counter underneath. As he got older he kept trying it but he couldn’t get off of the ropes. Notice the Calzaghe, Tarver, Hopkins2, Green, Lebedev and Maccarrinelli. One of the strangest things is seeing Jones get stopped with his hands up, up against the ropes. All of his kos look the same. His hands are up and he gets hurt. Very bizarre.
Overall Jones is a top 25 ATG. And head to head in a P4P sense on his best day at his peak, he rates as high or higher than anyone in history. He took his foot off of the gas at certain points of his career and he should have fought Michael Nunn, Steve Collins and Nigel Benn so he does have some misses, but the notion that he didn’t fight anyone is absurd. I don’t fault him for the Darius Michalchewski miss. Jones is in my opinion a top 10-15 middleweight ever. #1 at super middleweight. And Top 10-15 Lightheavyweight. He’s also top 3 ever as far as athletic gifts.
Jones was SPECIAL from 1988-2004. He drop off was bad but 16 years at the level he performed in ANY sport is GOOD enough. The sentiment that he was NO good after his peak is ridiculous. Jones wasn’t a guy who had 1 or 2 good years or 1 or 2 good fights. He was dominant for 16 years. He didn’t function well after the Tarver ko loss. But that punch that Tarver hit him was lightning in a bottle. Tarver never landed that shot again with that effect. And no one could have taken that shot. Jones was throwing a punch and Tarver ducked and double stepped in unimpeded to Jones’s jaw and was able to punch as hard as he could. Jones may as well have been one of those machines that calculate the Pressure of the shot. That’s an impossible shot to take especially from a puncher like Tarver.
The bottomline is Jones can be criticized just like any other great. He stayed around way too long and to see some of his late losses, it does hurt him some because his drop off was drastic. If you take a bad loss as the #1 fighter in the world it’s perceived that you were still in or close to your prime. So some of them do count. But if you look close at Jones’s legacy and take his 5 BEST wins, he matches up well with every great fighter of the last 30 years. Put their best wins next to 1. James Toney 2. Bernard Hopkins 3. Antonio Tarver 4. Virgil Hill 5. Montel Griffin and Roy Jones has to rate at or near the top. And don’t judge the wins by how big the fights were or how popular the opponents were. Just judge them simply by how quality they were on the night Jones fought them.
I was recently thinking of Dennis Andries. For most of his career Dennis was the most ungainly, horrible, fighter you could imagine. He was always off balance, lunged in behind his jab & threw right hands with a technique that looked more like a fast bowler in cricket than a top quality boxer. Yet he won a world title beating J B Williamson.
After successfully defending against Tony Sibson he was almost killed by Tommy Hearns, although even then he knocked Hearns down. Most people expected Dennis, who was well over 30, to retire, but instead he moved to Detroit & the Kronk gym. Under the great Emmanuel he developed some basic boxing technique, but was still, at beat, a medicocre technician but he won the LHW title twice more! In an astonishingly successful career he beat men of the quality of Williamson, Sibson, Ccyz, Willis & Harding. He was slow, his chin wasn’t great, although he was tougher than leather & although exceptionally strong he couldn’t punch that hard because he didn’t have the fine reflexes of a top-level puncher.
Another guy who fought at around the same time was Greg Haugen. Greg was a better boxer than Dennis but looking at his attributes you’d say, defence, speed, skill, power-good B+. His chin was the only attribute that might get an exceptional. Yet Greg won titles at 135 & 140 at a time when both divisions were stacked. He beat Jimmy Paul, Vinny Pazienza, Hector Camacho & (admittedly past-it) Ray Mancini & the only guys who convincingly outclassed him were Chavez & Pernell who are ATGs by any way of looking at it.
So, Bread, I’d like your thoughts on Dennis & Greg & also your examples of fighters who achieved far more than their natural ability would have suggested they could.
Bread’s Response: I remember Greg Haugen and Dennis Andries well. Both overachieved to very good careers. They both had something in common lots of WILL power. Sometimes a fighter and athletes in general can have an unseen immeasurable talent that take them far and people on the outside just can’t quantify it properly.
I think Carl Froch, Glen Johnson, Troy Dorsey and Wayne McCullough also fit this category. All of those guys had supreme confidence, strong minds, dog bone toughness and WILL power. That’s why I always say the mind is stronger than the body. And in boxing it’s more important.
I’m a big fan of your mailbag, but first time asking any questions. Just wanted to ask about a question that’s always been on the back of my mind concerning boxing styles.
Imagine if you took someone like Roy Jones or Naseem Hamed but they had fought with textbook boxing fundamentals, similar to someone like Ricardo Lopez or Bernard Hopkins. How do you think they would do against their “unorthodox” counterparts? Sure, RJJ and Naz were dominant, but how much of that was just due to their out of this world athleticism, crazy reflexes, and natural talent? Does “fundamental” boxing trump unorthodox boxing, regardless of the fighter? Would you favor a RJJ with perfect fundamentals over the RJJ we’re used to seeing in the past?
As a follow up question, have there been instances in which you watched a fighter and just thought “imagine if they fought with this style…” I personally would’ve loved to see someone like Mike Tyson fight like Dwight Muhammad Qawi! I feel like that style, rather than the peek-a-boo, fit Tyson like a glove. That would’ve been a joy to watch!
Bread’s Response: Another great question. I have watched boxers and thought to myself they could tweak their natural game slightly and be better.
You make a point about Tyson and Qawi. Qawi’s style allowed him to have more success as an older fighter because he slid up on you in position without burning crazy energy. I always thought to myself that Tyson’s burnout would be BAD because of how twitchy he had to be with that rapid head movement and combination sequences. No fighter ever had longevity with that style or similar for the exception of Manny Pacquiao. It just burns too much energy. Joe Frazier and Jeff Fenech burned out just like Tyson did.
The thing about Tyson is I don’t know if he had Qawi’s temperament. Often times a fighter’s style is his mindset. It’s not 100% but in Tyson’s case it’s 100% accurate. Qawi had an inner peace and confidence about himself where he was aggressive but he took his time. Tyson was more frenetic. So while the style may have served him well, mentally I don’t know if it would have worked.
I was a big fan of Nonito Donaire’s. When I watched him fight I always thought he could have jabbed more and been more cerebral. As great as Donaire was, with his speed and athleticism, if he used a jab more and used the ring more he could be on the Mt. Rushmore of fighters under 126lbs. Donaire was always “just fighting” looking for highlight reel moves and exchanges and he didn’t box as much as he should have.
Fundamental boxing does not trump unorthodox boxing regardless of the fighter. No way. If that was the case James Toney, Reggie Johnson and Bernard Hopkins would have beaten a prime Roy Jones. There is nothing wrong with being good at doing unexpected things. Actually it’s good to have improvisational skills. How in the heck could Ali beat the more fundamentally sound Sonny Liston. The best fighter ever Sugar Ray Robinson had fits with unconventional Randy Turpin and Gene Fulmer.
I believe in fundamentals. I believe things should be taught a certain way. But some fighter’s brains process better while not conforming. You don’t want an idealist as a fighter. A fighter who needs everything to be perfect for him. They won’t pull the trigger in certain spots.
I would have left Roy Jones and Naseem Hamed alone. That what a good EYE does. He leaves specialness alone and he cultivates it. The only thing I would have told Jones is to stop going to the ropes. It came back to bite him late in his career. Hamed lost one fight and he’s one of the best 10-15 featherweights ever. He kept his head up in the air but he was never stopped. It’s not much to say to a guy who is one Marco Antonio Barrera perfect performance from having a perfect career. You don’t have to conform when you’re special. The trick is to conform for the fighter and have him prove to you he can do it unconventional. If he can prove it leave him be.
If Pac fought and defeated either Mikey or Loma in 2019, what would it mean for his legacy?
Bread’s Response: Pac is already top 30ish ever. I assume if he could beat Loma or Garcia with their current status he goes up the list in an already special career. It would be a tremendous achievement because Pac is thought to be at least 7 or 8 years past his prime. I can’t think of a 40 yr old who has ever beaten a #1 or top #5 P4P champion. And although he’s a welterweight, he’s viewed as a blown up 140 pounder. He would be an underdog vs Loma and Garcia if the fights were made tomorrow. It would BIG time if he were able to beat one of them.
Do you have any thoughts on Victor Conte’s tweets about drug testing for Spence-Garcia, specifically that VADA is not involved? I certainly respect the fact that you can’t accuse/insinuate usage of PEDs without a positive test, but I must say it is very disappointing for this to be missing in a major fight.
Always appreciate the thoughtful responses in your mailbag.
Bread’s Response: My only thoughts are the fight is far away and hopefully they do some sort of testing.
Overall I believe championship fights and top 10 fights should be done under strict testing. I don’t want to single Errol or Mikey out because that’s not fair to them and their accomplishments. I believe everyone should be testing VADA at their level and everyone is NOT. There should be no cherrypicking of the test. The test needs to be done in every fight. Boxing is the most counterproductive current sport. It’s the only sport where the participants can choose to test or not, what testing agency, when to start testing and what opponents to test. It’s ridiculous that boxing works this way.
I’ve learned in LIFE and in BOXING to not jump the gun and jump to conclusions. You have to let things play out before you draw a conclusion. Let’s see what Team Spence and Team Garcia have to say about this before the public gets too crazy. It’s still very early.
Did you see the back n forth between Terence Crawford and Errol Spence? If not you missed that they made a million dollar bet on who would win. They were respectful but I think it did them good to pump their fight up. Who do you think wins and how big is this superfight?
Bread’s Response: I can’t say who wins yet because the fight won’t happen until at least 2020. Spence doesn’t fight often enough to clean out the PBC roster before then. Spence’s last fight was in June of 2018. He’s not scheduled to fight until March of 2019. There is a chance he won’t fight again in 2019. Remember he didn’t fight again in 2017 after he beat Kell Brook in May of that year. If Spence fought 3x/year just twice, he would have Terminator reviews. Tyson and GGG did it when they first hit the scene. If helps the killer clear out the carnage.
The PBC welterweight don’t seem interested in fighting Spence. If they were he wouldn’t have to fight Mikey Garcia. And from a business perspective I can’t see Spence vs Crawford getting made until Spence at least unifies with the other PBC titlist and he fights at least two PBC standouts. That won’t happen until at least 2020 or later. I don’t mean to be a buzz kill but just think about what I said and research.
I did see a little footage of Spence vs Crawford talking smack and I thought it was COOL. They weren’t acting like idiots trying to start a real fight. It was more just prideful respectful smack talk. I like both Spence and Crawford a lot. They’re both good kids. I loved the million dollar bet although I don’t think it will ever happen. No one is that crazy.
I also loved how Spence told one of Crawford’s entourage to shut up. I hate when I see guys who aren’t fighting talking S&*% to fighters. Both Spence and Crawford seem confident.
I can’t call this fight right now. I would like to see more of Spence. I just want to see how he handles a variety of styles at this level. He’s only 24-0 and he’s only fought one elite fighter and two very good ones.
Spence is the kind of fighter to be able to beat more talented fighters. He keeps it simple, he stays in position, he always uses his jab and he never forgets the body. Spence up until this point is a hybrid of Marvin Hagler, Winky Wright and Mike McCallum. Spence’s body punching looks to be historically good. I can see him going down as one of the better body punchers in history when his career is over. Definitely one of the top body punchers of his current eras.
Crawford is more proven at the top level although he hasn’t fought Murderer’s Row either. But Crawford is older, he’s been fighting longer and he’s had more fights at the top level. Crawford is not the puncher Spence is but he punches hard enough. He’s sharp, he’s fast and he’s a killer. Crawford can also grapple and he’s physically strong. Jeff Horne could not bully him. Crawford up until this point is a hybrid Floyd Mayweather, Pernell Whitaker and Ray Leonard’s killer instinct.
Both of these kids look SPECIAL. But more has to be proven. I go back and forth on who will win. Right now I just don’t know. I’ve seen both troubled with things. Spence gets hit early and he susceptible to looping shots. He was hurt by Emanuel Lartey with a weird looping shot and he complained to the ref when Lamont Peterson hit him with a legal looping shot. Spence was also not dominant vs Kell Brook. He just finished the fight in a dominant fashion but Brook was winning his share of rounds.
Terence Crawford also gets hit early and he doesn’t defend the jab as well as you would think someone of his ilk would. But he’s super special. You could also hit Floyd Mayweather and Ray Robinson with jabs. I saw Crawford hurt by Gamboa but I don’t hold it against him like everyone else does. Fighters get punched in the head, they will get hurt or buzzed from time to time. Crawford is a little bit of a slow starter and I thought Benavidez was also winning his share of rounds.
Both guys get stronger as the fight goes on. What I wonder is if Crawford can use his legs to stay off the ropes. Spence puts everyone on the ropes with his jab and educated feet. Then he drills the body. Crawford comes on late but if Spence bangs his body out he may not have the spark late.
This is a sensational fight. I just wish these two were in another ERA. There is a chance this fight never happens and if it does one or both not be at their best. Hearns won his title in Aug of 1980. Leonard won his in Nov of 1979. They fought their superfight in September of 1981. Emanuel Steward told me personally that it was an easy fight to make because both wanted it. He met with a Leonard rep at an airport and they worked out the details. We are NOT in that ERA.
IF it’s made with their current status it’s the BEST fight in boxing, period. Maybe not the biggest but it’s the best. Only Loma vs Mikey can challenge that but they won’t be fighting anytime soon either.
What do you think of Abel Sanchez’s slump? I know you think he’s a Hall of Fame coach but none of his fighters show defense. Alex Saucedo was just beaten down and knocked out bad by Mo Hooker who was not thought of as anything special. Saucedo’s lack of defense is alarming for a fighter fighting for a world title. Your thoughts.
Bread’s Response: I watched the Hooker vs Saucedo fight and those dudes were banging. I kept thinking to myself that Top Rank was lining things up for Saucedo by making Hooker come to his home town but Hooker is a real fighter. And real fighters do real things. He defended his title on the road, took big money and he upset the apple cart. Stand up Mo Hooker.
I don’t think anything of Abel Sanchez’s slump. Abel Sanchez is making a boat load of money. You will win and lose at the championship level of boxing it’s really that simple. Abel is conscious of pleasing the crowd and he likes punchers. All coaches have their preferences. It’s nothing wrong with that. I personally try to give a fighter a blank canvas to work on. I actually appreciate all styles except over movers who stink out fights. But I find myself watching Lee Wylie videos from Rigondeaux to GGG. I love it all.
Alex Saucedo is a good action fighter but he does have poor defense. I observed that vs Lenny Z. And vs Mo Hooker it was really bad. It’s ok to be a come forward action fighter but you have to do something to take the juice off of punches. You have to learn how to redirect the impact of the punches. Chavez and Duran were masters at that. GGG does not have great defense but he will turn on shots and he will also lower his head into his shoulders so you hit the crown of his head instead of his chin where the nerves are.
Saucedo does not punch as hard as GGG. Saucedo has some power but he seems to be more of a volume puncher. So therefore he doesn’t have an eraser. He takes punches dead on. No bending of the knees. No tucking the chin. No raising his gloves at the point of impact. Just flush shot after flush shot full impact. You don’t have to be a big puncher to stop Saucedo and it’s not because he has a glass jaw. It’s because he gets hit too clean and humans aren’t meant to get hit that clean in the head. I think Saucedo’s handlers should be concerned. His career will be very short if he doesn’t become better defensively and his quality of life after boxing will also be poor. I didn’t like what I saw from his reaction to those clean hard shots from Hooker.
Back to Sanchez. Most coaches mold in the mold of their best guy. GGG is Abel’s best guy. So that’s understandable. But GGG is special. You guys don’t realize it but he is. GGG knocks out Mo Hooker level opponents in 2 rounds. He’s just a different level of fighter than Saucedo. Saucedo is a nice kid and I feel for him after his 1st loss. He tried his butt off, it was just Hooker’s night.
Coaches go through hot times and cold times. I can remember Buddy McGirt was rolling with Antonio Tarver, Arturo Gatti and Paul Malignaggi. Then he cooled off. Abel was rolling a few years ago with GGG, Denis Shafikov and Murat Gassiev. Now they all took recent losses. Abel Sanchez will be just fine. It’s how boxing goes. It doesn’t mean he can’t coach anymore. You have to be able to endure both ends of the stick. It’s really no big deal. You don’t have the same horse in every race.
A wise man named Stanley Edwards Sr once said. “Don’t Cry the Blues When You Lose, Just Grin when you Win.”
Hope all is well at your end.
My question to you is – Can SRL outbox Floyd at the centre of the ring or while following him around the ring? I will explain why I am asking this question –
I feel you can beat Floyd by being an insane pressure fighter like Pryor or by being a insane out-fighter like Hearns (the man was never outboxed, though his crazy long arms have always given him an advantage). Now, Leonard used to turn into a killer whenever he hurt his opponent while boxing from a distance. Even on front foot he boxed at an arm’s distance, he did not exactly pressure his opponents. Leonard was great at grappling and inside fighting but he displayed it only when a pressure fighter like Duran cornered him and forced him to fight that way. I feel that if Leonard dances circles and makes Floyd come to him, he beats him but for some reason he loved going on offense against opponents whom he did not consider crazy strong physically. In which case, whether or not Leonard beats Floyd will depend on whether he can beat Floyd fighting from an arm’s distance at the centre of ring or while following him around the ring. Plus, Floyd probably also has longer arms than SRL. Whenever SRL corners him and he will, he will do some serious damage for sure but I somehow consider the first fight a 50/50 fight that will end in an extremely controversial decision that could go either. If one twists my arm, I would say 51/49 in favor of Leonard. The reason being, I honestly can’t say with certainty that he he can outbox Floyd at the centre of the ring or while following him around the ring.
I am far more confident that Leonard will make Floyd come to him in the rematch and win a ‘close but uncontroversial’ decision.
Some more MMs –
1. Wilfred Benitez vs Mike Mccallum at light middleweight
2. Sugar Ray Leonard vs Iran Barkley at middleweight
3 .Marvin Hagler vs Iran Barkley at middleweight
4. Gene Tunney vs Andre Ward at light heavyweight
5. Dwight Muhammad Qawi vs James Toney at Cruiserweight
6. James Toney vs Thomas Hearns from Middleweight all the way up to Cruiserweight
Bread’s Response: This is a great question that most wouldn’t understand. Before I start I don’t know who has longer arms Leonard or Mayweather. Leonard’s reach is listed at 74inches and MAyweather’s is listed at 72 inches. I know it isn’t an exact science but those are their official listings.
Now you make a great a point. Leonard would walk you down and sort of attack you. He was more of a vicious athletic attacker and not so much a pressure fighter. He was equally a great boxer but his temperament was to attack against Mayweather like opponents. There is a chance if Leonard is not in the correct mode that he could be outboxed Mayweather, no doubt.
If Leonard scored from the outside and forced Mayweather to come to him, then Leonard would win. If Leonard tried to walk Mayweather down and he wasn’t in a groove I can see Floyd winning although I give Leonard a slight edge. Tactically that style of fight favors Floyd.
But the thing that separates them in my opinion is their temperament and viciousness. You didn’t mention that. Floyd is NEATER defensively and I think that would frustrate Leonard. But Leonard had a gift. The gift was to punch while his opponent’s were punching right in the danger zone. Floyd would feel the threat there in my opinion. Leonard seemed to hurt everyone in the middle of exchanges. Even old and shot, he was hitting Terry Norris and Donny Lalonde in the middle of exchanges.
In his prime he attacked Hearns, Kalule and Benitez and caught them all in exchanges. I’ve always maintained that Leonard vs Mayweather is no walk in the park for Leonard. But on their best day I can envision Leonard jabbing with Floyd. They both have underrated great jabs. And then catching Floyd in a vicious exchange. Leonard was used to taking more chances. At that point I can see Floyd playing it more safe and being penalized for his approach where as Leonard was a balls to the wall killer under those circumstances.
Boxing is interesting when you look at from different perspectives. You can have an individual who is a better “boxer” but he’s not a better “fighter” when you assess from a different place. For example Hearns can outbox Leonard but he can’t outfight him. Leonard instinctively can outfight Floyd I suspect. He’s more of a sinister, meaner and more vicious human being. He finishes people like he’s sick mentally. Look at how he finished Mayweather Sr. I understand Mayweather Jr. is better but just giving you a visual.
You never really know what will happen until two guys line up in front of each other. But if I have to make an educated guess. I say Leonard attacks Floyd similar to the way he did Ayub Kalule. He boxed Kalule but he attacked him and forced him into exchanges. Eventually he stopped him. I don’t know for a fact he can stop Floyd. But I do feel he would have the advantage because of his temperament. Floyd is better defensively and he’s neater. But Leonard is more athletic, he’s bigger, he’s a little bit faster, he can box on even terms with him and much more vicious when it comes to attacking and fighting.
In this era I want to point something out in a contrasting fight from two participants that you wouldn’t suspect. Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev. In this match up Kovalev for whatever reason seems to be a slightly better OUT FIGHTER than Ward. Just slightly but it seemed visible. But Ward despite not being the bigger puncher, is a more vicious man and he’s a better FIGHTER than Kovalev. His fighting instincts to just “chuck em” is better than Kovalev’s. Against Kovalev, although they are listed as equals in height and almost in reach. Visually I don’t see that. I see Kovalev having more range and size. He covers more ground with his legs. His arms seem longer and he just seems to be rangier.
Ward was able to overcome this. In the Leonard vs Mayweather hypothetical match up I see a similar scenario but I think Leonard is the bigger fighter and I think he can box with Mayweather on the outside better than Ward could Kovalev. And I think in a fighting and exchanging scenario I feel Leonard has the same advantage that Ward had.
Mathematically I can see a tight fight but over time I think Leonard would win. Especially in a 15 round era. He’s just too rough and mean down the stretch. But I will give Floyd props. Floyd , Pernell Whitaker and Tito Trinidad are the only fighters close to Leonard’s weight that I feel could push him over the last 30 years. I think he smokes all of the other welters and junior middleweights post Mike McCallum. I have a hunch Crawford and Spence can hang also but I would like to see more of them.
1. I would take McCallum in a tight fight. I think he would try to hit Benitez in the body and not the head and wear him down to a close decision.
2. Ray Leonard by a late mercy stoppage. See the Kalumbay vs Barkley fight but imagine Kalumbay with a killer instincts.
3.Marvin Hagler over Barkley by mid round ko.
4. Tunney vs Ward is a pick em. Great fight.
5. Qawi vs Toney what a savage fight. I’m going to flip a coin and pick Qawi because of the success that Montel Griffin had vs Toney.
6. Toney vs Hearns I have no idea. Hearns over commits to a right hand and Toney could roll counter him. But Hearns could be on the outside and jab Toney to a points win. The more they move up I say Toney has the edge but in the middle range of weights I just don’t know. Toney had a tough time with McCallum’s length and jab and Hearns’s was better.
I know you claim Andre Ward is an all time great. I personally think he’s a Hall of Famer but not an all time great because his best win Carl Froch who is a limited fighter. Ward also has never taken a fight where he was an underdog and that counts. Now we have rumblings of a fight with Usyk. If Ward were to win a fight with Usyk I would agree with you on his all time great status. Who wins and why?
Bread’s Response: Andre Ward is an all time great. He’s no worse than a top 4 super middleweight ever. He’s a gold medalist and he retired undefeated as a unified champion in two divisions. If you give him every test he passes. Competition Faced. He cleared out a tournament full of bad asses. Mikell Kessler, Arthur Abraham, Allan Green and Carl Froch all scalped by Ward. After the tournament Ward beat a real contender in Edwin Rodriguez and a champion on his way to the HOF in Chad Dawson. Before Dawson lost to Ward he was on his way to being a contemporary great fighter.
Ward only has one miss vs Lucian Bute and that wasn’t his fault. Considering now that Bute was caught using PEDs and his subsequent performances missing Bute will not be held against Ward.
Ward then moved up to face a killer in the Krusher. That was a historically significant test. I know the 1st fight was controversial and many thought Kovalev won, but I think Ward separated himself in the rematch. The ending was bizarre but Ward was the better man that night.
Ward is an all time great. He’s not on Mt. Rushmore with Ali, Robinson, Mayweather, Pep, Leonard etc but he’s at the level after that where guys like Bernard Hopkins, Oscar de la Hoya and Felix Trinidad reside.
Give Ward the Eye Ball test and Accomplishment test and he rates. You can see he’s special and he adjust to every problem he’s ever had in a boxing ring. He’s only had one fight in his career where the outcome was in doubt and he made that right. The only thing you can really say about Ward was he was inactive during his prime years. He only has 32 fights in 14 years which is a slow pace. Other than that he’s on the level.
As far as the Usyk fight I think there is a section of the media that want to see him LOSE. Some want to see a great fight but some secretly want to see Ward take a loss. Ward is already great and a HOF. He doesn’t need Usyk to substantiate anything. You’re wrong about that.
By the way Ward was the underdog once. And that was against Mikel Kessler. He took that fight at 19-0. I won’t disrespect the GREAT and say he couldn’t win. He has the IT factor where he can find a way. What I will say is he would be the decided underdog and this is a TALL order.
Before I get into the fight let me preface something. What if in the 1980s someone had asked Ray Leonard to fight Michael Spinks after a retirement? Or in the 1950s someone asked Ray Robinson to fight Ezzard Charles or Joe Walcott?
I picked those guys for a reason. In Spinks , Leonard would have been facing someone who is taller, longer, not faster but fast enough to off set Leonard’s speed. And an in fight adjuster with equal pedigree.
In Walcott and Charles, Robinson would have been facing someone taller, longer, not faster but fast enough to off set Robinson’s speed. And an in fight adjuster with equal pedigree.
In Usyk, Ward will be facing an active southpaw who was just as good if not a better amateur. Usyk won a Gold Medal at heavyweight. Usyk is a legit 6’3 with good posture, he has a legit reach of 78 inches. Although Ward and Kovalev were listed as similar dimensions you could see a difference when they got in the ring…..Usyk is a legit 30lbs naturally bigger than Kovalev.
And that won’t be the tough part. Usyk is also an AFTER 4 fighter like Ward. Meaning he gets better after the 1st adjustment going into the second 3rd of a fight. He also has a quick mind like Ward’s and he has superior adjustment making ability just like Ward. On top of that he has fast hands and great feet. Just like Ward.
Usyk is not a considered a big puncher but he has almost as many knockouts as Ward does in half the number of fights. So his shots must have some type of heat on them. Usyk has also fought an A league schedule fighting elite champions on their home turf and winning. In 16 fights Usyk has defeated 4 undefeated fighters and unified all 4 belts. Did I say he has an excellent chin, excellent stamina and he’s very physically strong.
However although Usyk has improved he’s not unbeatable. Michael Hunter got off to a great start on him and won 3 or 4 rounds before Usyk took over. Mairis Briedis also was able to win 5 rounds and Tony Bellew was able to win between 3-5 rounds depending on who you ask. Usyk starts a little slow and he can be hit.
Ward is so respected he would only be a slight underdog. But It would be a great challenge. But if he were to take it you guys would have to give him his props. First off he would need credit for taking such a tough challenge. It’s one thing to move up, it’s something different to give up just about every advantage. In my opinion Ward would move up historically win or lose. If he lost competitively he goes up the All Time list, if he wins my goodness he has to be top 25ish ever. What a WIN that would be. It would also make Ward the easy pick for fighter of the DECADE.
All I can is fights aren’t won on paper. And they aren’t up to the public or media. The fighter and the man upstairs have the say. If Ward takes this fight give the man his credit. Ward is a special fighter and he should be viewed as such.
I’m just having a beer and thinking about some fights that never happened and here’s one for you: Naseem Hamed vs Manny Pacquiao. How do you think this one plays out in 2000/2001?
Bread’s Response: This is close because Pac had not totally reached his apex in 2001 but he was a stud. I believe in 2001 he beat Lewaba for his second title that he won on short notice. At this time Hamed also lost to Barrera.
This fight would end in 2 ways. Either Pac peppering Hamed off balance and stopping him late or Hamed clipping Pac jumping in. Right now I say Pac beats. Hamed’s balance was just bizarre. He had strong legs and was a strong puncher but when you attacked him his head flailed all over the place. He couldn’t time Barrera’s speed. Pac was faster.
I read somewhere that you thought Tony Harrison, Yordenas Ugas and Caleb Plant were live underdogs in the upcoming PBC schedule. I often pick easy favorites but obviously you find a better value in hitting an underdog in a big fight but it’s harder than football. Because in football you have to cover a point spread in boxing it’s an individual sport. Obviously a judge can screw you over but the favorites cover more. Can you give me in order which underdog is more live and any other up coming fights where you think an underdog has a shot? Thanks
Breads Response: In order from least likely to most likely out of the 3 fights you named. I think all 3 underdogs have good chances to outright win but I would say Tony Harrison is least likely.
I love Harrison’s boxing ability. He has a good jab, a good right hand and he comes from a fighting city so he will know little things that he has picked up in the gym. My fear in Harrison is does he have the IQ to get to his 2nd wind without getting stopped.
Harrison is very vulnerable in the mid range especially when he’s tired. He seems to have improved in this vs Ishe Smith. But Smith is not the offensive threat Jermell Charlo is. Harrison can outjab and outbox Charlo for a few rounds but the question is can he do it for 12 rounds. While I think he’s LIVE I don’t think he’s as live as the other two.
Ugas is next. I believe this is a really tough fight for Shawn Porter and quite frankly I’m surprised he took the fight. I have 2 serious questions for Ugas though. One is can Ugas win a decision in Vegas from a well liked A side like Shawn Porter. Porter is a nice kid with a nice smile and a hard worker. Everyone likes him and Cubans don’t historically win close decisions as the B side. My 2nd question is can Ugas get through his murky moments. Although Ugas is hot right now and on a good win streak. Watch him close in every tough fight at a certain point he seems to battle doubt and he has a few bad rounds before he gets it together. He’s had those rounds vs lesser fighters than Porter. Porter is a DOG and if he senses that doubt he will outhustle and maul Ugas. If Ugas can overcome the doubt without showing it I think he can pull off the decision. This is a close fight.
Surprisingly I think Caleb Plant has the best chance out of the fighters you named to score the upset. The Uzi is one of my favorite guys right now but his eyes look off to me. They look glassy and sort of have a yellow tint. I don’t know if that is natural or if the Uzi has sparred too much and is damaged. I know I’m crazy but I observe small things most people don’t.
Plant has a real lead hand. His left hand is so educated and good I wouldn’t be surprised if he was naturally LEFT handed. I also notice that he underuses his right hand so I think he could be a converted southpaw. Plant is a pure boxer and he’s super relaxed. He’s fast and athletic but he doesn’t try to be a killer. He doesn’t try to overwhelm his opponents. Pure boxers in their prime with great jabs are always trouble for everyone. Plant has an elite level jab.
If you are thinking of spending your money I can’t say the good without the concern. My concern in this fight for Plant is a few things. In the rock, paper, scissors of boxing. The boxer trumps the puncher. The puncher trumps the pressure volume guy. And the pressure voume guy trumps the boxer. We know Plant is the Boxer.
Uzi is a heavy handed volume guy. So I view him a pressure guy. Butif for some reason he thinks he can blow Plant out and act like a puncher he will get outboxed easier. I also think Plant could have been matched with a couple of more intermediate fights. But nothing is perfect in boxing and often times you have to take your opportunity when it arises.
The last thing about Plant that I’m curious about is his toughness. Toughness and a chin are different. There are fighters who didn’t have great chins but they are tough as heck and are killers. I don’t question his toughness but I’m curious about it. He’s never had to show it. While I’m very HIGH on Plant I feel he should have stopped Jamar Freeman and Tyrone Brunson. Both are smaller guys who were stopped by much smaller guys than Plant. Plant is not a puncher but he has decent punching power. He could have became aggressive and sort of big dogged both Plant and Freeman.
When a fighter does not stop fighters that presumably he could’ve easily stopped there are a few factors. One is he doesn’t quite yet understand how to score stoppages without forcing them. Another is it’s not in his temperament to go for kos. The one I wonder about is if he’s physically tough enough to handle the incoming shots that come with going for the ko.
Time reveals ALL in boxing. Plant does not have a lot of fights so we don’t know what he is exactly. Here is what I suspect. I suspect Plant is not a risk taker. I suspect he won’t ever be a guy who goes for the kill unless he clips a guy and has them out on their feet. But I think he’s GAME. He has killer in him it just comes out in a REACTIONARY way. Sort of like Erislandy Lara. Lara does not go for kos. But when Lara was pressed by Angulo and Hurd he fought like an animal. Lara fought like a cornered alley cat. Some fighters are not hunters but if you force them to kill they will.
I see boxing through a different lens. Something tells me Plant is this type of kid. He’s highly motivated and he has a lot to fight for. I suspect him to be super LIVE in this fight.
I don’t have any underdogs I like BIG. But I do have some fights I feel comfortable betting on. I like Jermall Charlo by stoppage over Willie Monroe. Charlo is just too mean and too aggressive for Monroe. Monroe is a good boxer but I just think he needs to time to get in a groove in a fight to gain confidence. I don’t think Charlo will let him. Charlo is a hunter and a predator and he will smell that Monroe needs to time and he won’t give it to him.
I also like Gervonta Davis over Abner Mares. Mares is a GUN in this era. He’s fought everyone from 118-126. He’s had a murderous schedule. Mares is a big win away from being a HOF. But this fight is a physicality fight.
Mares is a non puncher who’s not overly tall or athletic. Mares’s ceiling physicality was at 122. Tank Davis who happens to be one of the best pure punchers in boxing, is BIG for 130lbs. He’s not tall but his head, upper body and bone structure lead me to believe he’s about 160+ while not training. So 130 is his start out weight. Davis will be knocking guys out at 140lbs before his career is over. In Mares he’s fighting a fighter he’s about 20lbs naturally stronger than, he’s a much harder puncher, he’s younger and most importantly he’s faster although Mares is the smaller guy.
If Mares can pull this off it would be an unreal accomplishment. Mares’s skill and game plan will have to be off the charts in this fight. This should look like Jose Napoles vs Carlos Monzon, Roberto Duran vs Tommy Hearns and Meldrick Taylor vs Terry Norris. I like Davis by KO. I hate picking against a great fighter like Mares out of respect for his accomplishments. But the truth is this is a murderously tough fight. I just don’t see how he can win and last the distance. Davis by ko.
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