By Stephen “Breadman” Edwards
The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen “Breadman” Edwards tackling topics such as unified cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk and his recent win over Murat Gassiev, the unification between Mikey Garcia and Robert Easter, Errol Spence, and more.
First off, love the Saturday editions. My morning coffee is that much more enjoyable with it.
Let’s get straight to it: Mikey Garcia vs Pacquiao. Who would you favor and can you see this fight being made if Mikey gets past Easter? (Which is no sure thing)
Breadâ€™s Response: I would favor Mikey Garcia at -200 and yes I could see it getting made. But you guys have to respect Robert Easter more. I know you brought him up but I keep hearing talk of Mikey Garcia vs this guy and that guy. Garcia is a top 5 P4P talent and he has a great record. But he hasnâ€™t beaten anything close to a great fighter. Easter will be the best opponent of his career. So the 147 talk is premature in my opinion. Letâ€™s see how he does in THIS fight first.
I trust all is well with you and yours.Â Damn, fresh baked bread once a week!Â You’re making a Brother fat!.Â Just read the latest mailbag…great job.Â I have to say between your write in fans raising their game, and your observations, breakdown an analyses past and present, I find it tough to add anything to the mix.
Just so I don’t want go away empty handed, I watched Leonard-Hagler a few weeks ago, again,Â after many years. Now, I consider the Sugar Man one of the bestÂ fighters of all time and always rooted for him. I always thought that he could beat Hagler (another one of my all time favorites) long before they met.Â Â So when I watched it as it happened I saw Leonard winning the fight but I have to say after viewing it again recently, whew, it could have gone either way.Â Of course, after several viewings, the perspective starts to sway, unless there’s a quick KO.Â One thing I think I saw, Hagler had Leonard really hurt few times in the fight and Ray camouflaged well.Â Any thoughts?
I have to say though, of all the knowledge you laid down in this last bag, that blurb on your grandfather, may he rest in piece, having friends over for whatever and you learning what you learned by being in the room was the gem for me.Â If you were a kid who was lucky enough to be in the company of adult family and their friends socializing in the home and kept your mouth shut and didn’t get put out……..you learned a lot about a lot.Â Â It shapes you in a good way.
Tony T, from Harlem
Breadâ€™s Response: The one thing you donâ€™t want to do is keep rescoring fights. It ruins the integrity of the event. Because Leonard and Hagler were the two most popular fighters of their day and they both represented different segments. Leonard the smooth dressing brothers from the city and Hollywood. Hagler blue collar, lunch pale, break your nose at lunch break types. I have been hearing the argument for 30 years.
Initially watching I thought Leonard won. I thought he made Hagler miss consistently and I thought he frustrated him. I thought he also controlled action more than Hagler did. I thought Hagler came on and made it tighter but I didnâ€™t think he won. I never bought into the stealing rounds crap. Because the narrative is misdirected. They make it seem as though Leonard did nothing for 2:30 and then started flurrying at the 30 second mark. Thatâ€™s inaccurate. Throughout the rounds, he moved, he feinted, he frustrated and he landed sharp shots. I get tired of explaining to people you canâ€™t make up your own criterion on scoring. Clean Punching, Effective Aggressiveness, Defense and Ring Generalship. Nothing says you have to punch for 3 minutes straight in order to win a round. Leonard displayed plenty of everything except Effective Aggressiveness because Hagler was the one coming forward.
I rescored the fight a few times and each time I would come up with a different score. I never had Hagler winning but I did score a draw few times. I checked myself and I stopped doing that. Because of different narratives you hear itâ€™s impossible to be objective. The most accurate scoring of a fight is the actual scoring of when it happened. Iâ€™m not saying you canâ€™t get that wrong because sometimes your perception can be off. But scoring after youâ€™ve heard 10 different theories is counterproductive in my opinion.
Hagler caught Leonard with some good shots. I thought he hurt him once in the 4th or 5th maybe. It happened in the first round that Hagler won. He gave up the first few fighting right handed. I thought he buzzed Ray in the 9th. But I will tell you something. I thought Leonard buzzed Hagler at the end of the 1st with a left hook, and I canâ€™t remember the round but he hit Hagler with a straight right hand and that really got his attention. But itâ€™s top level boxing, most of those guys can disguise a buzz or two.
I wasnâ€™t the perfect kid at all. I did some stuff I would really punish my own children over. But I had instincts. I knew if I talked too much or repeated what I heard then I wouldnâ€™t allowed to be around anymore. So I got an education sort of like Cee did in the movie Bronx Tale. I learned things about how to make money, how to save money, how to build credit, why certain sports events are promoted the way they are, I learned things about boxing and baseball that they didnâ€™t talk about on Sportscenter. My Pops was the wisest dude I ever met, and he just happened to be my motherâ€™s father. People looked up to him or looked towards him. He was as well rounded a guy as you could ever meet. And he gave me my first lessons on character in boxing. Thanks, I was lucky.
And by the way. He didnâ€™t like too many of the current guys in the last era he was alive for. But guess who his favorite guy was? You got it. Ray Leonard. He thought Leonard outboxed Hagler and he didnâ€™t see what the controversy was about. He also thought Leonard was the best fighter of his era and would have given Ray Robinson a solid scrap before losing. He was a big Ray Leonard guy.
Easter boxes when he should fight, and fights when he should box. Robert Garcia knows this and Mikey will train appropriately to exploit this mental defect that Easter has. Easter has underwhelmed and that will be the case with Garcia except that Easter will take a beating and get stopped.
If you remember Maldana feinted a jab then came immediately with the right hand to counter Mayweather’s pull counter in their 2nd fight, that right hand landed clean on Mayweather’s chin staggering him and knocking out a tooth.
This move was worked on in training by Maidana and Robert Garcia, who’ll profile Easter and prepare Mikey appropriately.
Only way that Easter wins is if he’s disciplined and sticks to boxing, not fighting, and that could be the case with new trainer Kevin Cunningham at the helm, but it usually takes more than one fight for a fighter and new trainer to sync up.
I like Easter, but he’s not yet that superstar fighter that he considers himself to be. He’s got a lot of flaws and technically Mikey is tighter and more astute.
I agree that Pacquiao could get better results against Thurman and Mikey, than against Spence and Crawford. But Thurman is sneaky, but I believe no longer wants to box, when he returns he won’t be the same. Mikey needs compliance from his opponents which he usually gets, but won’t get from Pacquiao. Nor will he get it from Spence, except that Mikey will be able to counter Spence body shots with head shots because Spence head movement is minimal. Spence adjusts though and is so damn big as a 147lber so I see those body shots eventually taking Mikey down. If Mikey dominates Easter-like I think he will, we’ll see Spence/Garcia in the Fall. Robert Garcia wants Mikey to stay away from Spence.
Pacquiao is eventually going to have to fight one of the top guys, and he’s shot at this point. Matthysee was the perfect foil to get people believing that Pacquiao still has it, there was no testing for the fight and Pacquiao had a lot of ‘acne’ on his torso. Not accusing, just making an observation.
Mungia, has a long way to go, Liam Smith was much more successful than he got credit for. Mungia’s inexperience showed. Other than the knock down Smith could’ve got the nod. Had this fight been fought in the UK Smith would’ve won.
Who is Bud Crawford going to fight next?
Breadâ€™s Response: Whoa thatâ€™s some world class observation right there!
The experts I know mostly think Easter has low IQ. I donâ€™t know that to be true and I donâ€™t want to label the young man. But I donâ€™t always think low IQ is an insult if properly addressed. I know fighters who donâ€™t have the highest IQ but they listen well to their corners. I donâ€™t think Amir Khan has high IQ but he fought an almost perfect fight vs Devon Alexander because he listened well in that fight. Itâ€™s harder for the coach if he has a fighter who doesnâ€™t make the right adjustments on their own but it can work. Iâ€™ve seen it several times. You can get over two ways. One is obviously the fighter has to listen and not try to outthink the coaches. If he tries to out think the coaches then he has 2 fights, one vs his opponent the other vs his team. The 2nd way to overcome it is, engrave solutions to scenarios they will see. Make the solutions muscle memory. Take the best punch or sequence his opponent does and go over the same way on solving it over and over. That way you wonâ€™t have to coach it, it will just happen.
You made a great point about Robert Garcia and Maidanaâ€™s solution to the pull counter. For years Floyd got away with that move and no one countered it. Itâ€™s a great move but Floyd tipped it off. He would lean up out of his stance to sort of give you the appearance you can hit him with a jab. And as soon as you jabbed, he would rock back and zap you with a right hand. That was a big shot Maidana landed and Floyd showed a solid set of whiskers to take it.
I do believe Team Garcia will profile Easter. But letâ€™s not forget Papa Garcia. He also has a big input on Mikeyâ€™s training from what I can see. And just like Team Garcia can profile Easter, Team Easter can profile Mikey. Mikey doesnâ€™t have lots of weaknesses but he does have tendencies. Letâ€™s remember he was dropped clean by Rocky Martinezâ€¦I will tell you one. Often times a fighterâ€™s greatest strength is his #1 habit. Mikey has one of the best 1-2â€™s in boxing. Itâ€™s just a great shot that most canâ€™t defend. But Rocky Martinez was able to time him, counter him and drop him right in the middle of Mikeyâ€™s favorite combo. So every fighter has tendencies. Itâ€™s just up to the opposing teams to take advantage of them.
I donâ€™t know if Robert Easter will win, but I know he can. Kevin Cunningham did a great job with Cory Spinks in some of his better boxing performances vs Judah, Mayorga and Taylor. He also did a great job with Alexander vs Maidana which was his best performance. So it can be done. My concern with a new team is when Easter has a bad round or 2, how he responds to the information at that point. Will he trust it? And how Cunningham responds to him. Cunningham could say what he wanted to Spinks and Alexander because they grew up under him. Easter has come to him as a world champion so he may or may not be able to be as transparent in the motivation between rounds.
I agree Easter has to box and not fight. But I think thatâ€™s a mentality thing. Easter thinks heâ€™s a big puncher and as a prospect he was knocking everyone out. Heâ€™s from Toledo, which is close to Detroit. Heâ€™s tall and skinny. So you know the Tommy Hearns comparisons are natural. But Easter has not proven to be a big puncher once he got to the championship level. All of his fights have been distance fights. That doesnâ€™t mean he canâ€™t punch, it just means he has to do more to get kos at the top level. He has to mature, humble himself and realize that in this fight.
Mikey makes his opponentâ€™s compliant. But Pacquiao has seen Mikey before in Marquez, Barrera and Morales. Mikey hasnâ€™t seen Pac before. Not in the ring anyway. I would favor Mikey but Manny is with him. Thurman is a very sneaky puncher but heâ€™s a frenetic timing fighter. Sort of like Acelino Freitas. That style usually does not age well. I also wonder how he will return. If he sits out the rest of this year, I think he loses his prime. Spence is strong and forceful. And unless Mikey is the best Mexican American fighter ever, then he wonâ€™t beat Spence. Thatâ€™s how good he will have to be to beat Errol Spence.
I donâ€™t think Mikey will dominate Easter. If he does he makes a case along with Crawford and Loma as the worldâ€™s best fighter.
I agree I donâ€™t think Manny is the old Manny. But he can beat Matthysse, Rios, Vargas type of guys until heâ€™s 45. Itâ€™s just how his skills are wired. No testing is no testing. And no one is above speculation in this PED era. I just wish the media who interviews these fighters who donâ€™t test in every fight will ask them. They give them a pass 99% of the time, then â€śoff the recordâ€ť they speculate. We live a dishonorable time.
I donâ€™t think Liam Smith won but I do think he gave good account of himself. My take on Munguia is different than most. I think the expectations and accolades are too high. They keep talking about GGG, Canelo and unifying at 154. So when you see him you expect a more polished fighter. But I never gave him those accolades so I wasnâ€™t expecting that.
Munguia can fight, heâ€™s just green. Heâ€™s not a lazy kid. You can tell he trains hard because he bounces on the balls of his feet all night long. Most guys donâ€™t even do that in the gym for 3 rounds straight. Munguia throws hard punches for 12 rounds and heâ€™s responsive when he gets tagged or loses a round. I donâ€™t know if thatâ€™s instincts or coaching but heâ€™s hard to outhustle because of it. Munguia is a fighter and this fight will get him better. I think he will have a short prime and I expect a burn out in 4 or 5 years but I think heâ€™s a handful for anybody. He wonâ€™t blow out top level guys out but they wonâ€™t beat him easy either. Canelo and GGG are at 160 and they are a level above Munguia in terms of skill. They would hurt Munguia, but the crop at 154 have not proven that they can dominate a Munguia level kid. I would favor Hurd and Charlo to beat him along with a few contenders but Munguia is no cakewalk and fights are won in the ring not on paper. Willpower is hard to quantify but I know it when I see it and Munguia has plenty of it. His team and HBO just need to stop the crazy talk and thank God the GGG fight didnâ€™t get made.
Letâ€™s see, who will Terence Crawford fight next. I would say Jose Benavidez or the Mean Machine.
Â Â Â Â Â Â You’ve mentioned recently, your familiarity with baseball.Â Would you say…perfect game, no hitter, shutout or hit for the cycle related to Usyk’s dominate performance over Gassiev? Also, please clarify your pick (an unusual swing & miss) in this bout.Â Do you think Abel Sanchez took the day off in this bout? (no coaching adjustments or direction early on & throughout 12 rounds) or, is Abel just not that good of a trainer? How does this bout go from 50/50 match up (per 99% of the pro boxing analysis folks) to a IMO “no hitter performance”? I’m now leaning heavily toward Canelo’s corner advisory staff to win over GGG rematch after witnessing Abel’s weak ability to offer any direction with Gassiev to create some/any type of competitiveness today vs Usyk.
Breadâ€™s Response: I would say hit for the cycle. Thatâ€™s very uncommon and itâ€™s uncommon to see that type of 12 round dominance in a 50/50 fight.
I openly stated that Usyk was a stylistic nightmare for Gassiev. And I couldnâ€™t really call the fight. But something told me that Gassiev would land a sucker shot and clip Usyk. I thought Gassive almost landed that shot a few times but Usyk is just so dam good. I was wrong on this one.
I was watching the fight on a stream on my phone. So I couldnâ€™t hear Sanchezâ€™s instructions one bit. So I canâ€™t speak on what was said and wasnâ€™t said. I will admit that Gassiev didnâ€™t fight a great fight. Gassiev is sort of a sneak puncher. He letâ€™s his body language look non alert then boom, he kos you. But that didnâ€™t work vs Usyk. Gassiev was trying to land one of those sucker punches but he wasnâ€™t working to score points and win rounds. He didnâ€™t jab his way in and he was punching from too far out. He did land some nice body shots but nothing was sustained. I donâ€™t know what Gassievâ€™s gameplan was but I am curiousâ€¦. I wonâ€™t blame Abel Sanchez completely because the fighter has to execute. But I will say in a 50/50 fight, that was not an on par performance. The public expected more out of Gassiev. But he will be back. Heâ€™s a great kid with high character. Iâ€™ve been around him.
Before we get too hard on Gassiev though I think it was also a style thing. I always bring up stylistic advantage for a reason. Sometimes in highly anticipated match ups, one guy will look much better than the other head to head but overall he isnâ€™t. Itâ€™s more of a style thing. For example Manny Pacquiao vs Marco Antonio Barrera. For some reason Pac just got off too quick for Barrera. Hearns vs Duran. Duran is better than Hearns in a P4P sense but Duran couldnâ€™t do much with him. Foreman vs Frazier is another. In the boxer vs puncher match ups Jones vs Toney and Hopkins vs Trinidad comes to mind. Tony and Trinidad just couldnâ€™t do much with either and those fights were closer on paper than the outcomes but stylistically in the ring they werenâ€™t that close. So before we say Sanchez is not a good coach, we have to take everything into consideration and sometimes that bad style is just one of those things.
I will be interested to see how the Canelo fight plays out. I personally didnâ€™t like GGGâ€™s adjustments in the first fight. But I thought GGG won on his jab and hustle. But letâ€™s remember the styles are different. Usyk is flee footed, heâ€™s a southpaw and he doesnâ€™t try to punch hard so heâ€™s hard to counter. Usyk also is very physically strong because he was able to keep the fight in the center of the ring. Canelo is not taller than GGG, he doesnâ€™t outjab him, heâ€™s not a southpaw and he doesnâ€™t have the legs to keep the fight in the center of the ring. The match up is not nearly as difficult for GGG than it was for Gassiev.
You have always been big on Usyk, I was surprised you didnâ€™t pick him. But whoa, what a performance. That guy can box. Where do you rank him historically at Cruiser Weight? I follow you on twitter and I saw your comment about Andre Ward being retired. But thatâ€™s a fascinating match up. Wardâ€™s trainer claimed that they would consider fighting Anthony Joshua so why not fight usyk who is 50lbs smaller than Joshua? Who do you think Usyk fights next and what are his chances at heavyweight?
Breadâ€™s Response: Yes Usyk was and is one of my guys. I just thought Gassiev would clip him but really I had no idea who would win. Usyk looks like a bigger version of Lomachenko. Heâ€™s that level of boxer. The thing that makes Usyk special is his IQ and physical strength, along with his sound fundamentals. He throws STICK punches, which are shots that donâ€™t snap all the way through the target. They arenâ€™t meant for KOs just to score. Usyk rarely gets countered because of that. He also has excellent stamina and he keeps his hands up. It may seem simple but too many fighters drop their hands these days. He keeps his up and he punches from where his hands are. He doesnâ€™t tip of his attack. He also boxes with his feet and hands and not just his hands.
I rank Usyk right with Evander Holyfield as the best cruiserweights ever. The division hasnâ€™t been around that long and I donâ€™t think any other Cruiserweights pass the eye ball test or the accomplishments that Usyk and Holyfield have. So letâ€™s say 1. HolyfieldÂ 2. Usyk.
I did read that Virgil Hunter, Andre Wardâ€™s trainer say that Anthony Joshua is a match up they would be interested in. But that was a while ago and I never heard him mention Usyk. As far as I know Ward is retired. If Ward were to beat Usyk it would be one of the best wins in boxing history and put Ward around top 30 fighters ever. Thatâ€™s how impressive it would be.
I could be mistaken but I think James Toney is the only super middleweight to ever win the Cruiser Weight title. So that would be big. I also believe no one has ever been the champion at 168, 175 and CrusierWeight. Thatâ€™s a serious trifecta and itâ€™s not as common as say 130,135 and 140. It would be an historic test.
But I canâ€™t remember another elite match up in the history of boxing where a fighter gave up about 30lbs in natural pounds, 3 or 4 inches in height, 8 inches in reach , age, power and where the pedigree, boxing ability and speed were comparable. I want you guys to think about that. Fighters move up often but they donâ€™t give THAT up. Usually they will have a speed, athleticism or pedigree advantage.
Usyk was just as good an amateur as Ward was. He looks to be as fast. He looks to box just as good. And did I mention heâ€™s southpaw. Ward has that superman way about him where he always saves the day and does what he has to in order to win, but this would be the biggest challenge of his illustrious career. If Ward were to take this fight I couldnâ€™t go against him but it would be epic. For now heâ€™s retired so we need to respect that until he says otherwise.
Man you were right about Jaron Ennis. I thought it was a Philly bias but he has the IT factor. Heâ€™s long, fast, can punch and heâ€™s in a great division. The announcers kept bringing up his age and I see that heâ€™s 21 but where does he go from here. When will he be ready for a title shot?
Breadâ€™s Response: It depends on who the champions are. Make no mistake he could beat certain more notable guys now. I donâ€™t always go by age in determining when one is ready. Often times I factor in ability level and experience.
Ennis gets great work in the Philly gyms and that counts for something. He doesnâ€™t have a lot of amateur fights but he does have valuable amateur experience because he fought in big national tournaments and he did well. He also grew up in the gym and that counts also.
You also have to look at history of weights at or near 147. Guys like Meldrick Taylor fought seasoned fighters like Buddy McGirt in his 1st title try. Taylor was 21. Ray Leonard was 23 when he fought Wilfred Benitez for his first title at 147. Benitez was 20 when he won the title at 147. Tommy Hearns was 21 when he beat Pipino Cuevas for the welterweight title. And we all know Felix Trinidad was 20 when he won it. I donâ€™t think Ennis has to wait until heâ€™s 25 years old to challenge for a world title.
Ennis is 21 but he has 21 fights alreadyâ€¦.. It depends on experience, number of fights and ability. With Americans with pedigree it usually averages out to about 25 years of age and 20 fights give or take in the middle range divisions. Americans usually turn pro between 19-21 yrs old. In the smaller weight classes title fights come a little fasterâ€¦…
So Ennis turned pro slightly earlier than most. He was 18 about to turn 19. I think what happened was he fought more often than the norm in a 2 year stretch. Since April of 2016, heâ€™s fought 21 times. But thatâ€™s a good thing. Heâ€™s not taking punishment and heâ€™s learning. Obviously that will slow down at this point after his 1st television appearance.Â Most prospects fight 4 or 5 times a year if they are elite. Ennis doubled that so he wonâ€™t have to wait as long.
I can see him fighting 3 or 4 times over the next year instead of 8 or 9 like before. I think the fights will be more meaningful and his handlers will watch his growth. The tough part for his handlers will be to find opponents. Other American prospects are closer to 12 or 13-0 instead of 21-0 like Ennis. So they wonâ€™t give up that number of fights in the prospect vs prospect match up. So Ennis may have to fight a guy like Mason Menard level welter that Devin Haney just fought at lightweight. A capable guy but not really a prospect. More like a fringe contender.
Right now I think itâ€™s just important for Ennis to fight opponents who will try to win and so he can gain experience under a degree of resistance. I also think he has to fight fighters of all races and athleticism. Often times you will see fighters fight less athletic fighters on a regular basis and they wonâ€™t know what itâ€™s like to fight certain levels of athleticism and race. So letâ€™s say maybe a David Grayton, Miguel Cruz, Wale Omatoso or maybe Keandre Gibson. All of those guys are solid contenders and would provide Ennis with resistance. If he blows past a few of them, then you move towards the ex world champions or ex world title challengers like say a Jeff Horn. You also have to remember because of attrition opponents eliminate and surface. So Ennis will have options.
If Ennis is moved right I see no reason why he canâ€™t challenge for a title by the end of 2019 or early part of 2020. But it all depends on how he passes each test. If you wait too long you will get stale. If you go too fast you will struggle. Each test is a learning point. Letâ€™s see how it goes. I think the kid will be a world champion and possible a P4P level guy but obviously we need to see him get through each level.
I saw the fight between Usyk and Gassiev, what a masterful performance by Usyk ! I think people who really love boxing and technician fighters could only appreciate that one. He did everything great, he used his legs very well, had a good guard and thrown an amazing volume of punches from round 1 to round 12 !
I would like to have your thought on one thing that I noticed and it’s for me maybe one of the keys of why Gassiev lost, but maybe I’m wrong !
I think in a fight, mental (I’m not talking about IQ, more about self confidence) is maybe as important as the physical condition (or even more !). I love Gassiev because he is such a nice guy, but maybe in that fight he shouldn’t have been so nice. I mean he was very respectful (as usally), but boxing is a sport in which you have to be sneaky at times. I thought that he tried to be to “clean” in this fight, is opponent was here to win whatever it takes !
I like your psychological view on that sport, a lot of people forget that aspect.
Thanks for your time !
Max from France
Breadâ€™s Response: Great question! I have also noticed that Gass is a nice guy but that doesnâ€™t mean heâ€™s not a killer. Iâ€™ve seen fighters who arenâ€™t nice and act like killers but in actuality are front runners and bullies. I believe Gassiev is a killer, heâ€™s just a sportsman.
In this fight in particular, I think Gassiev was a little nice but I donâ€™t hold it against him. I have an admitted soft spot Gassiev. He was a gentleman with Dorticos and he almost decapitated him. My major critique of him was his sense of urgency. He was almost too calm being down on the scorecards.
Now this may be contradictory but if you read close you will understand. If Gassiev had a Mike Tyson, James Toney or Zab Judah type of bad boy attitude and all of sudden he became a gentleman and touched gloves I would have a problem with it. But heâ€™s always a gentlemen so I donâ€™t have a huge problem with it. Let me look a little closer in future bouts though before I give him a total pass.
What’s up Breadman, was hoping to get your take on certain ongoings within the World Boxing Super Series.
First off, what a sublime boxing display by Usyk. Gassiev is a great fighter with very heavy hands who will certainly come again, but he was simply bamboozled by the technical boxing skills & footwork of Usyk. Usyk reminds me of Joe Calzaghe as well in terms of the combos he throws & with such high punch output. A lot of the punches he throws may not seem like powerful punches but they are certainly effective & restrict the opponents output coming back. You can really see how Usyk & Lomachenko have come from the same Ukrainian boxing school under Anatoly Lomachenko with the footwork, pivots & combos they utilize in the boxing ring. How do you see Usyk faring if he moves up to heavyweight? I could see him causing Joshua & especially Wilder lots of problems with his superior technical boxing ability. The question would be, how does he overcome the height & reach advantages they possess & how does he take their power?
What’s your thoughts on these bouts drawn in the WBSS? Josh Taylor vs. Ryan Martin. Regis Prograis vs. Terry Flanagan. Ryan Burnett vs. Nonito Donaire.
Also wanted your take on Ivan Baranchyk & how he does in the WBSS? Can he compete with Taylor & Prograis & potentially win? Or are Taylor & Prograis a level above?
Thank you for your response & knowledge.
Breadâ€™s Response: Volume fighters who throw those consistent scoring shots, prove that while power is valuable itâ€™s overrated in terms of importance.
Usyk is the toast of the boxing world at this moment. He deserves it. Whenever a fighter is in a 50/50 fight, or firmly engraves himself as a top 5 P4P, or unifies completely with that type of performance, his historical perspective changes. Think about it. Think about the fighters who fall into the category of what I stated and then think about how they were viewed afterwards.
Roberto Duran in 1978. Ray Leonard in 1981. Donald Curry in 1985. Evander Holyfield in 1988. Pernell Whitaker in 1990. Bernard Hopkins in 2001. More recently Terence Crawford. Itâ€™s something about one of those performances for all the marbles and big stakes. Usyk just moved into the rare place.
I think Usyk will be a major player at heavyweight. I donâ€™t know if he will run the table and be undefeated but I do think he will fare well. He boxes too well, his pedigree is too high, heâ€™s tough and his stamina is on point. I already think heâ€™s the 3rd best heavyweight in the world without being a heavyweight.
I love the drafting process of the WBSS. I hope we can get one of those fights in the US. I like Josh Taylor over Ryan Martin. Martin is a well rounded prospect but it just seems to me that Taylor is the more advanced fighter. I view Taylor as a top contender in the division and Martin seems more like a prospect but we shall see.
I think Prograis is going to beat Flannagan up. I donâ€™t know if he stops him because Flannagan seems durable but he doesnâ€™t have the talent to beat Prograis. However I can see Flannagan being scrappy and landing some shots. I wouldnâ€™t be surprised if Josh Taylor becomes a prohibitive favorite after this boutâ€¦.hmmm
My guy Nonito is just past his best days. I would like to see him retire. Now he has to make 118 and he hasnâ€™t in years. Burnett is a really good fighter. He should beat Nonito. The question is can he stop him. Nonito has one of the more underrated chins of our era.
I think Baranchyk is good but I need to see more. He seems strong, durable and appears to have good stamina. But nothing jumped out to me in the 2 fights I saw of him. I think Taylor and Prograis are the class of the tournament.
One thing I’ve always been curious about is why American fighters are often times just good but not great amateurs, but they end up dominating the P4P lists? For example, Spence/Crawford/Garcia are all top 5-7 P4P fighters at the current moment, and neither of them medaled in the Olympics or even made the Olympic team in the case of Mikey Garcia and Bud Crawford. Heck, even other guys on the cusp of the list in the Charlo brothers, Hurd, Thurman, etc didn’t make the Olympic team. Opposed to Eastern European in Lomachenko/GGG/Usyk who are on the list but also won the Gold medal in the Olympics. What is your theory on this? Is it that American fighters usually have a style that is more suited for longer fights? That they aren’t necessarily fast starters and that is the key for amateur boxing? Or that body punching isn’t as big in the amateur scoring system? Granted, it is a bit different now without the head gear, and by no surprise, the US amateurs are starting to medal and do very well in international tournaments.
As aside, not sure if you are familiar with Khalil Coe, but he only has like 25 amateur fights but he just stopped Julio Cesar La Cruz from Cuba in one round in the championship fight. La Cruz as you know won the gold medal in the 2016 Olympics and is a decorated amateur. That win impressed the hell out of me. I hadn’t heard of Coe until that tournament. We won’t come away with no gold medals in the 2020 Olympics, I can promise you that.
Breadâ€™s Response: Thanks for putting me up on Khalil Coe. He seems like an uber talent.
I think the Eastern Euros and Cubans have a better farm system. Meaning I think they have better resources earlier on. They are more or less â€śselectedâ€ť at more impressionable ages. So therefore they are accelerated. In America a young talented kid will usually wonder into a gym or get taken by his father or father figure. The structure is not the same early on. But over the course of time it can even out.
If you look at the top 10 or 20 P4P guys. You will some Olympic Medalist. In Usyk, Loma and GGG. You will see Americans like you named in Spence, Garcia and Crawford who were solid national level guys but they werenâ€™t international studs. You will see phenoms like Monster Inoue and Canelo who are icons in their country. You will see old vets like SSR who hit the main stream later. It really depends on the structure of the boxing programs in the countries they are from. But the cream usually rises.
Mexicans produce great fighters but they donâ€™t usually produce Olympic Medalist. In the US our kids as of lately get frustrated with USA boxing and they turn pro. Jaron Ennis is the newest example. In Eastern Euro and Cuba being an Olympic or Worldâ€™s Champion is everything to them. You also have to realize we only see their best guys. Their Crawford level amateurs we donâ€™t get to see because they usually donâ€™t make it over here. So many things to consider but the #1 thing is the early training and structure.
I think amateur pedigree is important but itâ€™s not the end all. I believe USA boxing needs to get a more consistent program and stop changing the coaches so often. I also believe boxing is a marathon and not a sprint. If it was a sprint how else could a kid like Jarrett Hurd who was a below average amateur beat a great amateur in Erislandy Lara?
Hey Breadman, who do you like and why re: Joseph Parker vs Dillian Whyte?
thanks and keep em coming!
Breadâ€™s Response: I like Parker in the fight I just think heâ€™s a much better boxer. When you watch Whyte you see a strong willed, tough guy but his skill level is not on par with the better fighters in the division. He overcomes it for the most part but Parker should win this fight.
I have been reading you religiously for years and the Jaime Mungia fight made me think of a point you made a few years back regarding rehydration weight.Â Â I believe you said a fighter shouldnâ€™t typically gain more than 5-7% if their body weight from fight night to weigh in but I am fuzzy on the numbers.Â Â That said Mungia gained nearly 15% of his weight back.Â Â How much is too much and at this weight is it safer for him to fight at middleweight for his longevity and health?Â Â Â I would like to see him fight any of the top 154lbers as he is big strong and brings the action but I think Charlo And J rockâ€™s jab would thwart a lot of his attacks and JRocks bodywork would be too much for someone that gains so much weight.Â Â I also think that Jarret Hurd and Erislandy Laraâ€™s experience and counterpunching would be too much.Â Â That said he has the power and energy to clip and take out any of these guys I just wouldnâ€™t make that my pick.Â Â Â How do you rank him amongst the best 154lbers.Â Â
Breadâ€™s Response: If I said 5-7% it was a typo. 10% is ideal to gain after the weigh in. Iâ€™ve never heard of a fighter weighing 176 on the night of the fight after weighing in at 154. Munguia gained 22lbs! I donâ€™t know him or his body but I have to assume he weighs at least 185lbs in his leisure time. I will also assume that his youth allows him to cut that weight but his days at 154 are numbered. I donâ€™t know what the unofficial record is for most weight gained after a weigh in but as far as I know Munguia has it. Whatâ€™s even more remarkable is his stamina. He has great stamina for a guy cutting that much weight. As of now I will assume heâ€™s clean but I would really like to see that kid do full VADA and cut that much and still have the spark he had. If he does that under VADA I will tip my hat to him, for being a BAAAD MAN!!
I donâ€™t know how much is too much because I donâ€™t know what his blood levels are reading. I all I can say is no one can cut that much and stay in the same division for too long. The weight cut itself is a serious grind. Whatâ€™s even more peculiar is Munguia took fights on short notice. Usually drastic weight cutters canâ€™t take short notice fights. Now that you brought it up, Iâ€™m curious as to how he took short notice fights.
I am curious as to what type of opponent he will fight next. He was hit a lot by Liam Smith who is reasonably skillful but heâ€™s not as fast or athletic as other junior middleweights. You have to give Munguia his respect because heâ€™s a champion so I think he ranks right in the middle of the best at 154.
I think Jarrett Hurd, Jermell Charlo and Erislandy Lara should be rated as the top the 3. It doesnâ€™t mean they can beat everyone but they deserve the top 3 spots based on eye ball test, accomplishments and competition faced. After that group I think Munguia is right in the mix with Brian Castano, Julian â€śJrockâ€ť Williams, Michel Soro, Kell Brook, Macej Sulecki, Erickson Lubin and Tony Harrison. Because Munguia is a champion I have no problem if he gets rated as high as #4 but I would favor some of the contenders to defeat him. Heâ€™s a dog though and no one will have an easy time with that kid.
Hey bread, I’ve been seeing and hearing reports that Tony bellew and Mikey Garcia want to fight usyk and Spence. Neither of these fights seem like the biggest available money fight available but they are probably the riskiest without being unbelievably stupid. However, the gains made to their legacies of they won would be huge, so I believe each of them sees a way they can win but I really can’t see what. I get if bellew may see some of the shots gassiev landed and figures that if he lands one he can hurt usyk but I have no idea what Mikey sees. Is there anything you can think of that they might see or any ways they can win? Also, have you seen any of Joshua buatsi? He’s a UK prospect managed by Anthony Joshua who looks technically excellent and just plain mean in the ring. Thanks, -Sam
Breadâ€™s Response: I think Bellew would make a boat load of money fighting Usyk. Usyk is hot right now and heâ€™s shown that heâ€™s willing to travel. Bellew has looked good at CruiserWeight and Heavyweight. I can see Bellew making a nice severance pay for his career after boxing. Minimum 5 million.
Please donâ€™t take my next statement the wrong way. But youâ€™re not the fighter. So you look at things differently than Garica and Bellew. They are supposed to think they can win. They are supposed to look at Spence and Usyk in â€śFlaw of and not in Awe ofâ€ť.
As good as Usyk looked vs Gassiev letâ€™s remember he had a really tough fight vs Breidis. He also had some tough rounds vs Michal Hunter. Iâ€™m sure Bellew saw that also. So Bellew thinks he can win. Underdogs do win sometimes. I respect Bellew for wanting that work.
If you root for Errol Spence then watching him fight is pleasurable because he feeds you with violence. Heâ€™s always chomping away at opponents. But no fighter is perfect. In a P4P sense Mikey Garcia is just as good as Errol. Errol hasnâ€™t done anything that Mikey hasnâ€™t. In fact Mikey has won titles in 4 divisions. They were similar level amateurs. Errol can also be hit, he lost about 5 rounds to Kell Brook and Mikey is a sharp shooter. So Mikey thinks he can win. Heâ€™s a fighter. Just because we favor Usyk and Spence it doesnâ€™t mean they have to win. You canâ€™t hit the lottery if you donâ€™t play. Much respect to Mikey Garcia for chasing the tough work. If heâ€™s serious heâ€™s a GUN for going after Spence.
Mikey also stands to headline his first PPV. I think that’s a huge Vegas fight, between two big American stars in their primes. Mikey can write his own check. I don’t agree with you that this isn’t a lucrative fight. I can see Garcia making minimum 5 mill, and topping out at 15 million. Throw out Manny and Floyd, and tell me who else is making that type of money bro?
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