Daily Bread Mailbag: Canelo-Ramirez, Usyk, Andrade, Tank-Romero, More

Boxing Scene

The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen “Breadman” Edwards tackling topics such as Oleksandr Usyk, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Demetrius Andrade, Canelo vs. Gilberto Ramirez, career of Jaime Munguia, Gervonta Davis vs. Rolando Romero, More.

Hey Breadman!

I just saw that the Ukraine has apparently given Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk permission to leave the country to train for future fights. I don’t know if they will stay and fight or if they will leave to train. I feel like they could get back in the lineup for fights with George Kambosos or Anthony Joshua (respectively). But a part of predicts that it will be polarizing if they decide to leave and train for boxing matches. Me, I don’t believe in one-size-fits-all, which includes patriotism. I feel like as far as morale goes, it could be beneficial for these two to represent their homeland in the ring against opponents. But I’m there are gonna be haters who will resent that they are lacing up gloves to fight, while their countrymen shoulder guns against a monolith bearing down mercilessly upon them. What’s your take? Do you think it would be just as patriotic to return to the ring? If either man could win or defend their titles, could that instill hope back home?

Greg K.  

Bread’s Response: I don’t have a take on whether or not a man should risk his life for his country instead of the boxing ring and vice versa. It’s up to the individual man. Some people are more patriotic than others and the reasons are usually from personal experience. Whatever those brave warriors decide to do is good by me.

Breadman,

I read Your Blogs with great interest. Besides being a innovator you are also a student who learns from the past. As far as Leonard Duran 2 I believe Leonard studied and learned from Edwin Viruet who taunted and frustrated Duran in 2 fights in 1975 and 1977. Duran’s ego would not accept being mocked. Leonard slugged in 1st fight but boxed and showboated in 2nd. Edwin is the most talented Boxer I have ever seen live.

Thank You, Kevin Mahon

Bread’s Response: The Duran vs Viruet rematch was in Philadelphia and Viruet is the only challenger to go the distance with Duran at lightweight. Historians who think Pernell Whitaker and Floyd Mayweather could beat Duran point to the Viruet fights. Viruet gave Duran trouble twice. But I felt he more or less frustrated Duran but not enough to make the fights controversial as far as scoring points.

Maybe Ray Leonard did study Viruet, I don’t know. I’ve never read that before but I can see it. I also think that the first fight was just too close and competitive for Leonard and his team. Sitting in the pocket with Duran is tough for anyone in history from 160 on down. He’s just that good of a mid range and inside fighter. His skill set and boxing abilities are just off the charts. So although it’s likely that he studied Viruet, I don’t know if he waited until the rematch to study him. It’s more likely that Leonard was aware of Viruet before their 1st fight and he just felt like he was the puncher in the fight with Duran and he had to find out on his own which style worked best. Leonard was on a big ko run by the time he fought Duran and fought the 1st fight like it.

Assalaam alaykum Mr Edwards,

I wanted to write in and hopefully add a little to your recent response about heart, specifically as it relates to Muhammad Ali. I recently read the “Best I Covered” feature for Larry Merchant on the Ring’s website. Mr Merchant was on a plane headed to Zaire to cover Ali vs Foreman when Ali sat next to him and whispered, “If he doesn’t get me in seven, his parachute won’t open” in Larry’s ear. Ali already knew how and when the fight would end.  The significance of this, specifically because of the eighth round knockout, cannot be overstated. I think it goes directly to what separated Ali from even the other boxers with All Time Great hearts: Ali’s self-belief was second to none. I really believe that Ali knocked Foreman out in eight because he KNEW that Big George was done after seven. He knew this before the opening bell and Ali WILLED it to be true. I don’t think there’s ever been a fighter with greater self-belief than Muhammad Ali. I think his faith and his convictions aligned with his career in a way that usually doesn’t happen for professional athletes. All fighters have phenomenal self-belief but Ali’s is on a completely different plane. I was wondering if you could speak to this given your respect and admiration for The Greatest.

Peace, John

Bread’s Response: Energy and self thoughts are transferable. I really believe that. Speaking and thinking things into existence is a true thing. I know because of I’ve done it. But no where the extent of Ali. 

I don’t like to say no one has something that someone else has. Because it’s just too hard to speak in absolute terms like that. 

I think with Ali he was anointed to be what he was. He had the perfect look. He was a heavyweight. He came along in the perfect time. The Vietnam War was starting. The Civil Rights era in full throttle. He had the perfect field of opposition in Floyd Patterson the youngest heavyweight ever and Gold Medalist. Sonny Liston a great intimidating fighter who fits the villain bill. Joe Frazier another Gold Medalist  and perfect antagonist. George Foreman another Gold Medalist and ultimate monster. Leon Spinks another Gold Medalist and perfect guy for his last act. If you throw in all of the other challengers of the 60s and 70s, Ali was born in the perfect time. 

Speaking directly of Ali’s heart he checked every box. He would fight to the BURGER. Until the beef is ground and he was near death, literally. You have to literally kill him to take the fight out of him. So in the most common translation of heart in combat he has it in abundance. He’s also willing to fight anyone. Ali matched himself like a hard core B side fighter. He often traveled to foreign countries or his opponent’s home towns. He fought all killers. And if the fights were controversial or you beat him he would run it back. Ali fought 9 career rematches. He had no picks in terms of dangerous styles. 

Joe Frazier and Ken Norton both gave him fits stylistically and fought both 3 times. That tells you all you need to know about that part. Then he was a man of principles which is a different type of heart. He was willing to say and do things knowing the repercussions would be detrimental to his career. Self Belief and heart are similar but not exclusively the same. Ali believed he was the best looking man on the earth. Some people may say what does that have to do with anything but to walk around that confident gives off a certain aura. He also believed no man could beat him with the same conviction. So they coincided. He really meant that. 

Ali actively chased down 2 fights vs Liston and Foreman where he was the prohibitive underdog in both. I heard him once say that he has just a little bit more than the guys he fought. Ali wasn’t privy to modern sports science. So his recovery of massages and sleep didn’t keep him as sharp as a 30 something today. So he fought about half of his fights past his physical peak. But his will power, pride and heart usually allowed him to overcome. 

I bring up pride because Ali’s mix of heart plus his pride is what gets him over. He talks a lot. He puts himself out there. And he backs it up because he knows all of the stuff he talked. He’s the perfect mix of inside the ring character you want. As Mike Tyson said when he was asked who would win between him and Ali. Tyson said fighters say they want to die but Ali really means it. So to be exact in praise of Ali.

 He’s willing to fight anyone, I mean anyone. He fought a whole era of killers from 1960-81 and he has ZERO significant misses. He fights to the death. In the late rounds where fatigue makes cowards of most, he pushes through like a savage. See the Frazier and Shavers fights. And he literally told everyone he was the BEST. Everyone laughed. Then he backed up. Imagine if Blair Cobbs was 22 years old and he proclaimed himself to be the greatest welterweight ever and at 19-0 he stopped Errol Spence and then goes on a 20 year run with no misses. I’m trying to put it in context for anyone under 30 reading this. Ali is ONE of ONE.

Hi Bread,

Seems Demetrius Andrade is going after a super middleweight title. If he beats Zach Parker and wins the WBO title (either by upgrade or against the top ranked fighter) does he get into HOF despite his poor resume? Potentially that’s a third world title in 3 divisions which is not bad. I think if he were to fight Canelo at middleweight or super middleweight he would get broken down and KO in the late rounds. What do you think? Canelo vs. Andrade at super middleweight, break it down.

Jesper

Bread’s Response: I think Andrade is an excellent fighter. Extremely talented and difficult which is a hard mix to compete against. Unfortunately for him, his promotion and management just have not found out a way to get him position to be a great fighter.I’m not blaming anyone because I honestly don’t know who’s at fault. But it is their responsibility to figure it out. Andrade has 31 fights, he’s 34 years old and he’s been a pro for almost 14 years and he has yet to defeat a legitimate ex or current world champion. The closest thing was Jack Culcay for a WBA regular belt. 

It’s hard to be a HOF if your resume is that shallow and I’m on record to say that Andrade has been ducked. This is not me blaming him. But his resume just doesn’t have enough meat on it to be a HOF resume. Let’s just see how the rest of his career plays out. He still has time but the window is closing. 

I was honestly hoping he fought Janibek Alimkhanuly because it’s obvious Jaime Munguia’s team didn’t want to fight him and the media really respects Janibek. Janibek is a hard, hard fight but I don’t know if giving up the belt was the way, if in fact he did give it up. Andrade is the type of fighter who needs his titles. You even brought them up. So if he goes to 168lbs and can’t get a title shot, he’s a fighter with no belt chasing Canelo who’s at 175 at this moment. Janibek is an excellent fighter but I think him vs Andrade is a 50/50 fight. I don’t know if Andrade will be as effective at 168lbs. Those guys are Free Safeties in the NFL. I know he’s trying to make something happen but for a fighter like him to give up his belt is just tough or allow an interim champion, especially if he has to wait for a title shot in the next division is….. . 

Canelo is not the type of fighter that sanctioning bodies are eager to STRIP. And Canelo doesn’t seem to like Andrade so therefore he probably won’t give him the pay day. Canelo would be the favorite to beat Andrade but we can’t give him credit for doing something that he hasn’t done yet. Andrade is a tough fight for anyone. It’s a reason why he can’t get fights.

Breadman,

Another solid match between these fringe contenders. Great back and forth action between both fighters. Both the trainers kept telling their fighters they were behind and needed to step up and stop the opponent. You could see both fighters digging deep for victory, on this night it was Rocha. I think if these two guys fought 10 times, they might split them. On every card you need these types of matchups that’s either 50/50 or fighters you know deliver (Mickey Ward, Emmanuel Augustus, and Freddie Roach, just to name a few).Too many cards anymore have huge favorites. Although, there can be upsets (and that’s why they fight the fights), we typically can tell who’s supposed to win. Unreal how Jaime Munguia can take up spots in two sanctioning bodies and not take the fights where a Boots Ennis would take in a heartbeat. These guys have to be punished; they’re literally impacting other fighter’s potential purses. As much as we dislike the sanctioning bodies sometimes, fighters ranked or champions are paid better.

As it stands now Munguia is ducking Andrade and Charlo. Canelo is not ducking; he’s still choosing undefeated and real champions. This coming from a big Munguia fan. Speaking of which, I really hope that Haney takes the same deal Loma took in order to get the fight done. I think that’ll speak volumes as to how serious Haney is about wanting the smoke.

Beterbiev and Joe Smith appears to be happening soon. That one is going to be fun while it lasts. I don’t see that fight going the distance and I truly think Smith has a punchers chance. If Zurdo Ramírez and Canelo fought at LW how would you see that fight playing out? This fight hasn’t been discussed and is not likely to happen. Just wondering how you see things. Blessings to you and the fam.

Richard K

Oregon 

Bread’s Response: Matching two young undefeated fighters, fighters on long win streaks or fighters trying to make their name is always good for tv. They fight hard to attain their status in boxing. Rocha vs Cobbs was a good little fight.

I think Jaime Munguia has improved and he would be a tough challenge for anyone at 160lbs. I don’t know what’s going on but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this in the history of boxing. A fighter be the #1 contender in two different sanctioning bodies and for whatever reason not take either title shot. You’re right it sets other fighters back when a fight holds the mandatory ranking and doesn’t take the shot.

I think Haney will take the deal. 

Canelo is not ducking anyone at this moment. He’s the shot caller and Bivol is a real fight. Canelo is picking who he’s fighting but he’s not picking tomato cans. This is his 4th undefeated in fighter in a row. I respect Bivol as an opponent. We can’t get mad just because we would rather other fighters over Bivol. That’s not a duck. That’s exercising a preference. 

I would pick Canelo to ko Ramirez. Ramirez is too slow for Canelo and southpaws lead with their liver. Canelo is a tank and bigger fighters who can’t keep him on the outside are sitting ducks for him. Remember Canelo has the reflexes of a 154lbs.

I’m glad Beterbiev and Smith are fighting. You have to respect guys putting it on the line. Unifications are a big deal over the last 4 years. The winner will have 3 belts at 175. Let’s see if the winner can entice Canelo. If Beterbiev wins it’s a super fight. Canelo would make about 75 million to fight that animal. 

Wassup Breadman,

I been reading you the past year or so now. Love your insight and gut feelings on fights. I just got a couple questions I would like your insight and opinion on. If I don’t make the mailbag in hoping you can still answer them for me. My first is, I’m born and raised in Memphis, TN, Are there any world champs or good fighters that came from my city? And with that being said being from Memphis I’m a sucker for the underdog. For some reason I’ve become a big time Rolly Romero fan. I think I like that he is the one fighter that every other fighter seems to not like or think they can beat easily. I like his confidence and don’t give a f##k attitude. He is a little off which i think you kind of have to be as s fighter but when he talks or breaks down fights I get the sense that he is not as dumb or unaware as some think. Anyways I think him and Gervonta Davis is going to be like Hagler vs Hearns. Just wondering your thoughts on the fight and Rolly altogether? 

Bread’s Response: I am very high on Tank Davis. I believe he’s a P4P fighter despite his criticism. I believe he has the total package. A level talent. A level power. A level conditioning. He’s more even handed than most southpaws. He has excellent boxing ability for a fighter who is known as a puncher. He seems to have a good chin. And he’s a finisher. Tank is better than anyone realizes. 

But I’m also higher on Rolly than most people think. Rolly is awkward but I don’t think he’s a complete bum like some call him. I don’t know if he can turn out to be elite like Sakio Bika or Marcos Maidana but if he does he’s going to be fun. Strong, heavy handed fighters like Rolly who can compete on the elite level are hard to deal with. They’re never P4P guys. But they’re a hard nights work. I don’t know if Rolly is elite. No one does. But if he turns out to be this won’t be an easy night for Tank. 

There is a kid from Philly named Avery Sparrow. He’s super talented and many people thought he would handle Rolly. Rolly beat him. I know Sparrow is not a household name but trust me he can go. I was really surprised Rolly beat him without being taken to the wall. I suspect Rolly is clutch and he will be trouble for the top guys. If he has a beard, we have a good fight but I’m not picking against Tank. Davis is a top 10-15 P4P. The cream usually rises to the top.

Hello, Breadman.

Today’s commentators are excellent. Tim Bradley, Sergio Mora, and Al Bernstein are a few of the standouts, but Larry Merchant and Emanuel Steward remain my favorites of all time. Questions: Have you ever considered providing live commentary for any of the networks? If you could sit ringside and call a fight with any of your favorite boxing commentators of all time, who would they be? Also, I read that Guillermo Rigondeaux may be permanently blind as a result of his pressure cooker accidentally exploding while he was cooking beans. He lost his last fight by a close decision, but a lot of people watching felt he did enough to win. It also looked like he was genuinely enjoying himself. Like a lot of people, I think he’s a few years older than the record states. What are your thoughts?

If Rigondeaux  never fights again, do you think he did enough to be in the hall of fame? After beating Nonito Donaire, no other boxer was more avoided.  Thank you for giving so many of us something to look forward to on Saturday mornings.

Bread’s Response: I worked a fight on Fox Sports 1 in 2016. It was a good experience. I would definitely do it again but I want to get my trainer’s credentials up before I do it again. I have so many favorite commentators. Seriously I really do. I like Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant and Max Kellerman. I like Roy Jones, Emanuel Steward and Andre Ward. I like Barry Thompkins from HBO back in the day. On Showtime, I like their team. Mauro, Al Bernstein and Steve Farhood. I hope I didn’t forget anyone that I really like listening to. If you make me narrow it down I would like to call a fight with Emanuel Steward, Roy Jones and Andre Ward. I love their insights. I like how they’re critical but not disrespectful and insulting with their criticism. They find a respectful place to say things without going over the top. They also see fights from a special perspective and it’s not just because they were involved in the sport. It’s a gift they have to articulate. I know loads of trainers and fighters that can’t do what they do.

Yes Rigondeaux is a HOF. He probably won’t get voted in but there aren’t 10 men in history at 122lbs that can beat him. He beat Nonito in his prime in a unification. He didn’t lose a fight at 122lb or below until he was over 40. He won 2 Gold Medals. And most of all he was ducked by a whole era of fighters because he was too good and he was labeled boring in order to devalue how good he was. At some point if you want to be the best you have to challenge yourself. Not one stand out of his era was willing to do so except Nonito. That says a lot. Every single one of them outgrew 122lbs when Rigo was walking around outclassing fighters. He’s without a doubt a HOF but I doubt he gets in because the media was very disrespectful and bias towards him. I never liked how they criticized him for being a boring boxer. But I saw fighters of who weren’t as good, didn’t score kos like him, never get the criticism. Rigo was a real puncher despite his out of this world boxing ability.

Can you speak a little bit on how a boxer recovers from a bad loss?  What must he do in order to recover? Not all loses are built the same.  You can lose, and still be proud of yourself and your performance.  You can even make an argument and justify that you actually won. I’m talking about the bad losses.  The ones that hurt deep down.  The embarrassing ones.  The most recent example that I can think of, is Chris Colbert.  That was a bad loss.  A potential psychologically damaging loss. Is it as simple as having a fighter’s mentality to get back into the gym right away and not let it get to you?

Bread’s Response: Keep your self esteem. Stay off of social media. Get right back in the gym. And get right back in the ring. The majority of the time when a fighter loses and takes off for a year or two, they come back unsure because they had too much time to dwell on it. GET BACK and FIGHT!

Bread,

Of Floyd’s contemporaries, who would have had the best chance of beating him? For my money, the punisher would have had too much of a volume advantage for the judges to ignore (see Lara scoring). How would you have beaten Mayweather if you were in Paul Williams corner?

Jeremy 

Bread’s Response: I like Paul Williams and none of us KNOW but for an educated guess I don’t think it’s Paul Williams. I think 4 fighters had the best chance and Floyd fought 2 of them. 

I think a younger Oscar with his elite jab would have really been competitive with Floyd. Oscar’s jab gave Floyd loads of trouble in 2007. In the 90s, Oscar’s jab was a piston.

I think the Manny Pacquiao of 2008-10 would have been with Floyd. It’s easy to say that he would have never beaten because Floyd beat him 2015 but that’s not how boxing works. It’s a game of inches. And although Floyd is older, Manny has 20 more fights and has more wear and tear. The smaller high energy fighter has a smaller window of when they win that type of fight. For example look at Duran vs Sugar Ray. Duran was able to win the 1st fight by fighting the fight of his life. 5 months later he couldn’t do it. And in their rubber match, he had just outboxed Iran Barkley but he couldn’t touch Leonard in his next fight because he couldn’t put out the energy. Manny fought about 6 perfect fights from 2008-10. That’s when he would have been most competitive with Floyd.

Kostya Tszyu has never been outboxed. He was short but he was a brutal out fighter. He had a pointed left hand. And a shot gun for a right hand. He also had a good body attack. Tszyu was such an elite out fighter, he outboxed a 6ft Vernon Forest in the world championships. Forest was excellent but he couldn’t touch Tszyu. I would have loved to see Floyd vs Tszyu at 140lbs. That’s a serious fight. More serious than people realize.

Last but not least Erislandy Lara. If Floyd would have fought Lara at 154lbs, he would have been fighting a fighter with more range. A harder puncher for one shot. A southpaw. Elite boxing ability. Equal amateur pedigree. And about 15lbs naturally bigger. I’m telling you guys this would have been a hard fight. Floyd is better P4P but the P4P stuff goes out the window in actual fights. 

I feel like Oscar doesn’t get enough love these days so can you do one of your career retrospectives on him please? Where does he rank historically for you? Oscar vs tszyu at 140 in 1997Oscar vs norris at 154 in 1998Oscar vs tito in 2002(after tito beat cherifi).

Thanks. Rob. 

Bread’s Response: Oscar is an ATG fighter. Top 75 ever. Great, great fighter. I actually felt he could have been greater had he stuck with one trainer and grew. He seemed to often pick the wrong style to fight on the wrong nights. But overall he was special. On the night he fight Chavez in their 1st fight, only a handful of men in history circa 140lbs could have beaten him.

Oscar over Tszyu in a classic but he better be careful. Oscar clips Norris in 1998. Norris was declining. As much as I thought Oscar won their first fight, I think Tito would have beaten Oscar in a rematch.

Send Questions to dabreadman25@hotmail.com

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