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Daily Bread Mailbag: Canelo-Plant, PED Controversies, Mayweather-Pacquiao

The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen “Breadman’ Edwards tackling topics such as the super middleweight unification between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Caleb Plant, the ongoing PED controversy, Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao career analysis, and more.

So what’s your final take on Reynoso’s camp? Do you think all of his fighters should be viewed as suspect or just the ones who tested positive? Do you view all positive PED test as the same and if so how do you view Roy Jones’?

Bread’s Response: Great question. I don’t have a final take because things are always fluid in cases like this. I honestly believe Eddy Reynoso is a GREAT trainer. Among the best in boxing. But I won’t say he’s the absolute best because 3 of his fighters did test positive. That’s a lot in my opinion for one trainer. And it will garner suspicion as it should. For all we know, Reynoso may not be involved with the nutrition or strength aspect of training. I don’t know and I won’t claim to know. Some trainers are not bothered with that stuff. But the HEAD TRAINER is responsible for everything. That’s how boxing works. And again three positive test under one trainer is not a good look. 

I won’t say every fighter he trains is suspect because that’s not fair to the ones who never tested positive. The one thing I know about boxing is fighters CHOOSE to use PEDS. If someone gives a fighter a banned substance by mistake, the fighter would tell directly on that person. They wouldn’t cover up for a supposed mistake or person who gave them something unknowingly. I have yet to see a fighter, point the person out who is responsible for their nutrition. That’s telling to me. Because if the fighter pointed out a culprit, then the culprit would have a chance to defend themselves. And that would open up a can of worms.

In most of these cases I the fighter does NOT name who gave them PEDS. They always say that they ate or took an innocent supplement or food and that supplement or food contained the banned substance. This is a logical excuse by the way. But it’s usually the same excuse. I can accept THAT excuse if the food or supplement was tested and proven to contain the banned substance. In Roy Jones’s case, the banned substance was in RIP FUEL an over the counter supplement from GNC. It was proven. Jones’s opponent also tested positive for the same substance. It doesn’t mean they were 100% innocent, but it was proven and logical. This was over 20 years ago and we are much more advanced in these times….We have more information and more resources. Great question.

Greetings brother,

We write in because we love your boxing insights. About judges, you’ve talked about 7 judges and while I do agree with you, I’m not sure it will materialize. Boxing is exceedingly corrupt. That said, I have a different take and hence my question, how about using retired pro fighters or even boxing coaches? All these guys are veterans of the sport and a lot more knowledgeable than judges who’ve never stepped into a boxing ring.

I love your basketball/boxing analogy and player/boxer equivalency so I have one. Who do you think is the Denis Rodman of boxing? Rodman has multiple championship rings with the Pistons and Bulls, however, despite being the king of rebounds, he had very limited all-round skills. I remember him winning a free throw while with the Lakers and after he made the shot, he just shrugged his shoulders and had a look of disbelief that he actually made the shot.

What moderate boxer do you think has achieved great success a la Rodman?

Khalid Low

Bread’s Response: Niccolino Lochoe may be the Dennis Rodman of boxing. I thought of him off the top of my head. Eccentric. Great defensively. Champion….

Not every fighter knows how to score fights. Some do, some don’t. I have seen pro fighters say ridiculous stuff like you have to “take” the title from the champion. Or I thought the fight was a “split decision”. Two of the more uniformed comments in the history of boxing. So I would be careful hiring ex boxers. They would have to be intelligent ex boxers who really know the game. Just because you’re good at something that doesn’t mean you can articulate and understand it. Often times being able to fight is a god given innate talent and it doesn’t translate well to other aspects of boxing. If ex fighters were used, it would have to be guys like Roy Jones, Andre Ward and Paulie Malignaggi who really know they are looking at.

Are there different types of punches or punchers? I know this sounds like a ridiculous question, so I’ll elaborate. Stumbled across an article about some different puncher types. They mentioned “Explosive Destroyers” (with Joe Louis and Mike Tyson being their examples) and “Heavy-Handed Thudders” (their examples were Sonny Liston and George Foreman), but they also mentioned “Fencing Swordmasters” (Thomas Hearns and Pernell Whitaker we’re their picks for this one). Are there other types like that? Other examples? Anything you’d change or reclassify? Greg K.P.S.:

Wanna pick your brain on something basketball related… I can tell from past Twitter posts you have mad respect for Allen Iverson (as you should). Anyway, a couple coworkers and I were debating about which was the more impressive basketball feat: Iverson taking the wounded and overmatched Sixers to the ‘01 Finals or Lebron taking the overmatched Cavaliers to the ‘07 Finals?And if it would help to stay boxing related… who is the Allen Iverson of boxing?

Bread’s Response: If someone used the terms Heavy Handed Thudders or Swordmasters, they committed plagiarism. I used those terms many years ago in this mailbag to describe the 5 types of punchers. Copy and paste the article you speak of and send it to me. Too many times I’ve ignored things that I write or say repeated and if you saw this it’s too blatant for me to ignore. 

The 5 types are:

Speed Thudders: Joe Louis, Naseem Hamed.

Swordsmen: Thomas Hearns, Oscar De La Hoya

Electric Slashers: Sugar Ray Robinson, Roy JonesHeavy 

Handed Debilitators: Alexis Arguello, Julio Cesar Chavez

Bludgeon Crew: George Foreman, Sonny Liston.

As far as I know I evented these terms and I’ve never heard a scribe use them in the same context. 

Bread,

Hope you and your family are doing well. Let me say I know you’re sick of this topic so I apologize in advance, but I’ve gotta ask. I know it’s about the money the fight will generate, but what happened to testing positive and getting suspended? I thought that was the purpose of the testing in the first place. How is it that we have different sets of rules for different people? Huge profits or not, this is really destroying credibility in the sport. I’m not really understanding why certain boxers test positive and then are allowed to fight by providing a lame excuses. Positive is positive and there shouldn’t be a grey area for that. It truly bothers me personally. You know there was a time in boxing that if the same trainer had 2 different boxers that tested positive for banned substances red flags would be going off all over the place. Now a story is created for the media and fed to the public, then the boxing organization comes out and supports it and life goes on. Something just doesn’t seem right about that. In my opinion which I know is small in comparison, but the fighters’ legacies (trainers included) will always be tainted no matter their achievements. People will always question if you performed based on your hard work and dedication to the craft, or a banned substance. Are you really winning if you have to cheat to do it?

D Free, Raleigh NC

Bread’s Response: I am tired of the topic but not because you guys keep asking about it. I’m tired of it because 6 years ago I volunteered a fighter to do VADA and USADA. I was asking for as much testing as possible. I got my guy tested in fights where our opponent was NOT tested. I asked for 10 week testing windows in championship fights. People thought I was grand standing. They called me all types of things. But I never wavered. Now everyone acts so surprised and outraged. It’s a joke. 

I will leave at this. If everyone in the RING top 10 were randomly tested for a whole year. Two things would happen. Most of the top 10 would be suspended because of positive test or they would have to move up in weight because they wouldn’t be able to make weight and be strong. And a third thing would trickle in and that would be a drop off in performances. Your favorite fighter would not be your favorite fighter anymore. 

I can say what I’m about to say with my chest out. I’ve NEVER knowingly given a fighter anything banned. I’ve never turned a blind eye to something I suspected to be suspicious. I’ve NEVER had a fighter test positive. And I’ve been proactive in asking for strict testing. Not many people in boxing can say that without being called out by someone who knows they’re lying, but I can. 

Greetings, Breadman!

Happy Labor Day. Quick question – is 2021 the worst year for boxing, ever?

Thanks, Nick

Bread’s Response: No 2020 was worse than 2021. We still have 4 months left. I believe the year will finish with a bang.

Hey Mr Edwards,

Hope life’s back to normal in your gyms with Covid receding in your country so that you can carry on with the task of putting boxing on the front banner. We are not so fortunate in South Africa with wave after wave of Covid. We also have such atrocious amateur administrators that kids are in limbo and we couldn’t even send a team to the Olympics.  There’s the odd pro tourney, though, with no crowd in attendance.

On to what’s on my mind this week. After I listened to you (suicidal to pick against you), I thought Caleb Plant would be competitive against Canelo Alvarez. Not any longer. Two things worry me about Plant. Firstly, and weird as it sounds, I’m convinced Plant underestimates Canelo. This is actually worse than weird. It’s madness. Look at the resumes. Apart from Uzcategui, Plant’s opponents are probably known to their trainers, families and friends only. Ok Caleb Truax made some noise one night but I think you get my point. Canelo has been in there with a who’s who’s of the sport. But for Oscar’s obsession with Floyd Mayweather Jr, Canelo would be undefeated today. Secondly, I know you said in the last mailbag Plant is confident. I hope he’s not overconfident. It will be disastrous for him if he is. Also, I’m uneasy about his chatter. He’s not Ali so he better tone it down. Of course for all we know, Canelo could also be busy with chatter and the only reason Plant is conspicuous is that he speaks a universal language whereas Canelo could be doing all his chatter in low profile Mexican. Question about Plant though is, is he really confident or is he nervous? With a record like he’s got, it’s lunacy to be this confident against a man like Canelo.

Canelo, who has never been a loudmouth, would be entitled to anything he says about the fight because he’s already said it most tellingly where it counts the most. ..in the ring.. It would give me some comfort and maybe I would have some belief in Plant’s chances if he had fought and beaten David Benavidez before the Canelo fight. But no, Plant and his people have clearly ducked that fight and their thinking is clear. Rather a mauling with a huge reward than one paid in peanuts. That is why he keeps saying it’s not about the money. Thats reverse psychology.

Also, Mr Edwards, has it ever occurred to you how long Plant will have been out of the ring by the time he looks across it at Canelo? This waiting to cash in while Canelo has been doing what fighters do is gonna hurt Plant in this fight, mark my words, and then we are going to hear him use it as an excuse afterwards. I know you say Plant can hurt but not stop Canelo. Of course, as a general proposition, you are right because these are grown men hitting each other in the head. But Plant hit Truax with everything he had and Truax barely grunted. Canelo’s jaw can be used to build tanks. So, I’m skeptical he hurts Canelo. Sure, Floyd hurt Canelo in one round but nothing serious. And Plant must wait in line to carry Floyd’s water bucket, anyway. And, in any event, Canelo got hurt in that round because he had grown increasingly frustrated from chasing and not catching Floyd and Floyd switched from defence to attack quite unexpectedly. That was elite stuff from Floyd and Plant putting himself in Floyd’s league is a joke. Maybe Erislandy Lara’s league, yes, but Floyd? Get out of here!

And Plant’s kidding himself if he thinks once he gets on his bike, as he must, Canelo is going to chase him all round the ring. Canelo’s mature now and whereas in the Floyd fight he chased and literally ran after Floyd, he now just uses the opponent’s movement against him. That’s also elite. And he had to chase Floyd because he had something to prove. He has nothing to prove against Plant. It’s the other way around.

Plant has a boxer’s chance. But it’s a huge mistake to think he’s a better boxer than Canelo. Canelo is a consummate boxer. Not flashy like Plant. He doesn’t do plenty like Plant does but what he does is elite. Plant only does things good. There’s a difference between good and elite. Plant’s about to find out. Lastly, a question. Who’s better? The tactically good fighter or the boxer with good technique? Of course, the elite are both. However, if you must be stuck with one, who?

MM: George Foreman v Sonny Liston – I hear Foreman hung around Sonny and was in awe of him but I’m talking about Foreman from Kingston, Jamaica and Caracas, Venezuela.

Keep punching Mr Edwards.

Oh, have you written a boxing book. If not, are you working on one? I can tell you now: BESTSELLER.

Katlholo – Johannesburg, South Africa.

Bread’s Response: Plant will be very competitive my brother from South Africa. Do not expect a blow out. If Plant does not get too excited and over train, he’s going to be tough to beat. The key for Plant is to be calm, energy efficient and not fight a prideful fight. I believe he will. I think this fight will be controversial. Here is a how I view this fight. 

When a fighter keeps fighting elite fighters in their prime, he will have some tough nights even if he may be better overall. Canelo has done more than Plant but we dont know how good Plant is yet. Bernard Hopkins had some tough nights vs Jermaine Taylor. Roy Jones had a rough night with Montel Griffin. I can go on about that. Everybody gets up for you and you may not get up for everybody. 

Canelo has been in the zone. We can all agree this has been his career APEX and he’s been on his best career run. When a fighter is hot like Canelo is, he’s due for a good but not great night. He’s due for someone having his number. He’s due for a tough fight. It’s just how humans work. I believe Canelo is a great fighter. An ATG fighter. In fact because Super Middleweight does not have a deep history, I think he’s one of the top 10 ever in the division. But he’s human. He’s struggled before and I believe Plant will give him issues. 

On November 7th we will talk about it. I haven’t even made a prediction yet but everyone seems up and arms about me saying this won’t be easy. I don’t understand why….It’s a fight. No boxer in history has been a 10 on every night. Canelo just fought 2 perfect fights in a row vs Smith and Saunders. Everyone comes back down to earth.

I would rather the “Tactically good fighter”. Technique can overrated if not applied correctly. 

Hello Breadman ,                            

Really enjoy your mailbag , and your wisdom . Your common sense thought process is uncanny . Your fight insight is awesome . The upcoming Canelo Plant fight is interesting . Can Plant win , yes I think he can . Will Plant win , I doubt it . The blueprint to beat Canelo is out there . GGG beat Canelo the first fight . Plant may be able to use his jab and stick and move . He has to keep the fight outside . This brings in to play something you said . The A side , and the judges. The close rounds will go Canelo . And maybe some rounds that Plant wins go to Canelo . I just dont see a KO or stoppage for Plant . So if Canelo keeps it somewhat close , he is the winner for sure . Corruption was in the GGG fight, and may be in this one as well . Love to hear your thoughts.                                    

MM Fights: Jermell Charlo vs Mike McCallum at 154lbs, Jermall Charlo vs James Toney at 160lbs, Teofimo Lopez vs Roberto Duran at 135lbs

Thank You                                                                                          

JB

Bread’s Response: Plant has to use his legs to avoid Canelo and frustrate him. He can’t allow Canelo to intimidate him. Canelo seems to be punching in a such a violent way that his recent opponents don’t want to challenge him as far as firing with him. GGG has an iron chin. One of the best in history. In this fight Caleb should not even want to prove if he has an iron chin or not. 

Boxing is not fair and the burden of requirements to beat Canelo seems higher than most but that’s boxing. Canelo is a super star. Plant knows what he signed up for. He has to be better than he ever was before. It’s challenge to him as a competitor.

I don’t like to mix eras, it’s not fair to either fighter. But you’re asking me. You guys will say I’m being bias to the eras I grew up on but oh well.

McCallum is the worst possible style for Jermell Charlo to face at 154lbs. Did you see how McCallum attacked the hardest puncher in division history in Julian Jackson? McCallum has one of boxing’s great chins. He’s a brutal body puncher. He can fight in every layer. He’s constantly jabs. He has great stamina. McCallum is a top 2 fighter ever at 154 and he was 32-0 with 29 kos at junior middleweight. 

Jermell is really athletic and he has this great clutch gene to clip his opponents. But while he’s waiting on that big shot he loses about 50% of the rounds. When he goes the distance he struggles. The issue is, he can’t outbox McCallum and he’s not going to clip the iron chinned clever HOF. I don’t see how Jermell could beat McCallum. Just a horrible match up for him. He doesn’t do one thing better that would apply to the fight. 

James Toney is an equally bad match up for the bigger Charlo. Toney would not care about Jermall’s power. Toney would stand right in front of him and counter him to the head and body. Toney would be a rare fighter that would make Jermall move away because Jermall is usually a guy who holds his ground and tries to bomb you out. Toney is sharper, much more defensively talented and he’s bigger. Toney is not as tall as Jermall but remember he moved up to 175lbs by the time he was Jermall’s age. Toney is actually sharper than McCallum and Jermall comes forward more than his brother. Again I don’t see a way Jermall could beat Toney. 

Teofimo Lopez is a tremendous talent but he only has 16 fights. We don’t even know if this is his prime. Duran had over 60 fights by the time he left 135lbs. Do you see how fatigued Lopez was with the pressure Lomachenko was putting on him? Well Duran is better and more forceful than Loma. As of right now I don’t see Lopez being able to beat Duran. But he’s still young so maybe he can develop some more.

I know Holyfield was one of your favorites growing up. So I’m curious to how you feel about him fighting at almost 60 years old?

Bread’s Response: I just don’t want to see him get hurt. Other than that I don’t have a feeling about it. He’s fighting because he either wants to or has to and I don’t want to delve too far into that publicly because that’s not my place. I just wish my guy the best, that’s it and that’s all. 

If you had a choice between Floyd Mayweather’s career and Manny Pacquiao’s who’s would you choose and why?

Bread’s Response: I would pick Floyd Mayweather’s. I know Manny won more titles and I think he may have won more FOY awards. But he lost to Floyd head to head and he lost 8 times and Floyd never lost once. Both have made a ton of money but Floyd has made more. I know this aggravates some people but I’m just being objective. 

I know Manny probably fought harder competition and Floyd had more resources as far as matchmaking than Manny did. But Floyd still fought killers and he came up big in big spots when he needed to. 

Manny’s PPV run from David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Martgarito and  Shane Mosley may be the best 7 fight run in history in terms of magnitude and performance quality. His worst night was against Mosely and he won 10 rounds. So his APEX may have been higher than Floyd’s. 

But Manny’s off nights were way worse than Floyd’s, even once they became superstars. That and their head to head match ups separate them in my opinion. It’s close but Floyd has the edge.

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