Daily Bread Mailbag: Ennis, Gervonta Davis, Wilder-Parker, Haney, More

Boxing Scene

The Daily Bread Mailbag returns to Stephen “Breadman” Edwards tackling topics such as IBF welterweight champion Jaron Ennis, lightweight champion Gervonta Davis, super middleweight David Benavidez, Shakur Stevenson, Devin Haney, Deontay Wilder vs. Joseph Parker, and more.

Hi Breadman. First off, just wanted to say people should give you a break on Ennis! Let his career play out. You’ve seen him straight up. They, haven’t! I learnt my lesson from the Taylor fight when you nailed it with Teo. Just wanted to catch your thoughts on Andre Wards comments on Canelo. I think it’s a bit disrespectful saying Canelo wouldn’t fight him. He clearly would! Agree with the waiting out of GGG & the first fight I believe GGG won. However, he himself was very lucky to win that first Krusher fight on the cards. He certainly got the rub of the green.  

Lara, Trout, Mayweather, Cotto all way to small for him, obviously. Canelo fought Trout, Mayweather Lara in like 2013/14. So give him his props. Would Ward have fought Berbitev or the Nail at that time for example? Hell no! Big probs for the super 6 clear out and doing it CLEAN. However, you can’t pick at Canelos record at all!

Take care & thanks for the mailbag

Stephen, UK

Bread’s Response: Yes I’ve been watching Ennis up close and personal since 2014. No one can tell me what I KNOW. No one!

I didn’t hear what Andre Ward said about Canelo….So you don’t think Ward would fight Beterbiev or the Nail. I think he would’ve. Ward is a gamer and he entered that tournament as he underdog, let’s not forget. I don’t think Ward ducks smoke.

 I think Canelo has an excellent resume. I don’t nitpick it because you can’t fight everyone. But I don’t know for a fact he would fight Ward. Ward was no joke and he’s bigger. Let’s see Canelo face Benavidez first before we just assume he would fight Andre Ward. Is that fair?

Hi Breadman.  ”Long time listener, first time caller” here.  Two questions?1. You recently discussed Lou Duva telling Meldrick Taylor to “fight” in the 12th round.  I have a different theory about why he said that.  Taylor was not a great defensive fighter and I thought that Lou figured that if he went into a defensive shell, he could be a sitting duck and his chances of completing the 12th round were lower than if he tried to keep Chavez occupied as much as possible with his usual aggressive style.2. I have a radical question about judging.  I’ve been to about 10 boxing cards and I find that sitting right down on the floor (at the same level as the judges) isn’t as good an angle at times as sitting slightly elevated.  It’s easier to be blocked by the fighters’ bodies to some extent.  Might they not see the fight better if they were slightly elevated?

Thanks, Bruce

Bread’s Response: 1. I don’t disagree with YOUR reasoning. I may have told Meldrick to keep doing what he’s doing also. If you remember he buzzed Chavez in that 12th round. Let’s also remember the feel of the powet Don King and Chavez had in the 90s. Remember the Pernell Whitaker draw. But the part I disagree with, is Lou Duva’s reasoning. 

During the Legendary Nights series Duva stated that he told Meldrick to box and move and stay away. Which is not what he told him as it happened. So if told him to fight and win the round, he should’ve stood on it and gave his reasoning behind. Don’t change up what you said because the video and audio caught it. So I can’t give Duva the excuse that he didn’t give himself when asked.

2. I agree, the judges should be slightly elevated for a better point of view. At least even with the fighters. The “up” angle can be fatiguing and counterproductive.

Hi Breadman,

I’m not the type of person to make black and white statements for the sake of attention like my subject line would indicate but I think I might be half-right here. Tank is highly esteemed for knocking out an old and little Leo, putting hydration clauses against limited fighters like Barrios and Ryan, knocking Rolly out and running like a chicken against another average fighter in Pitbull. I mean, if that`s not a smoke and mirror career by the “face” of boxing then I don’t know what is.  Does Tank have the skills of a p4p fighter? Maybe, but he hasn’t tested himself against anybody great. He avoided Lomachenko for years, the rehydration clauses just speak of his lack of confidence and him categorically saying NO to a Cruz rematch just reinforces his insecurities. The fact that he hasn’t pursued a fight against Teo, Loma, Haney and Shakur speak volumes.Now onto Benavidez. David is the true definition of a weight bully. There is no bigger weight bully in boxing today than David Benavidez.

We can talk about his skills and he has great skills but here is the caveat. He has great skills against small and old fighters coming up in weight to fight him at 168. Lemieux was old and small, Kyron was small, Andrade was old and small. These are all showcase fights for Benny. Then you put him against natural super middleweight fighters and he goes 12 rounds with Caleb,  24 with Richard Gavril, 11 against Ellis and 9 against Dirrell, and these were all competitive fights.  Credit to Benavidez though as he is pursuing the “best” fighter at 168 who fits the description of, you guessed it, old and small. I’ll be sold on him once he meets somebody that he can’t bully with weight like Morrell or moves up and fights Bivol and/or Beterbiev. At this stage Canelo is old, small, has a compromised stamina and is not a puncher at 168.

Eugene, Toronto, Canada

Bread’s Response: I don’t think Tank is a weight bully. I don’t view Tank as a huge lightweight. I think Tank gets moved the business way and not the legacy way and that irritates some fans. I understand your frustration but I just think you’re mislabeling Tank. He fights small guys, big guys, guys his weight etc. It’s not like he only picks on smaller guys and boils down to artificial weights.

Benavidez is definitely a big guy. He may be the biggest Super Middleweight I’ve ever seen. He’s not ripped or cut but after the weigh ins, when he rehydrates he just seems much more physically imposing than his opponents. One of the reasons I think Morrell is a tough fight for Benavidez is Morrell’s physicality. Morrell is a big guy. He’s wiry strong and with the strength he may not have to over move from Benavidez. 

Strength allows fighters to conserve energy down the stretch and you need that with Benavidez because of his late round push. But let’s see what happens. Let’s see how David looks vs Morrell and at 175 before we call him a weight bully. If he beats Morrell, Bivol and Beterbiev then what….

Sup Bread,

I watched the Ryan Garcia v Oscar Duarte this past weekend and I thought Garcia did what he needed to do to win. I noticed that he has now started using the “Mayweather” shoulder roll for defense. I wanted to get your thoughts on that particular type of defense and ask if you’ve ever trained anyone who used it? Do you discourage it or try to improve it if it’s already their defensive style? Do you see it in the gym with other fighters? Also, in the last 20 years, there has been fewer and fewer white American boxers. Besides Caleb Plant, whom you are obviously familiar with, and Vito Mielnicki Jr. I can’t think of another white American boxer from the United States who is in the mix for a belt. In the past there were far more and many of them became champions. I wanted to get your opinion and ask if they are more in the gym and we just don’t see them and they never make it to the big stage or have the elected to go the route of MMA or another sport.?  Overseas, we see Usyk ,Fury, the Klitschko’s ,Calzaghe, Catteral, Josh Taylor, Callum Smith etc all flourish but not so much from America. How about that stacked card on December 23rd. any thoughts?

Take Care, Aaron from Cleveland 

Bread’s Response: Yes I have 3 fighters that go to the shoulder roll naturally. 2 of them I allow it for small moments. The other I try to discourage it and I compromise with him that he can only do it in certain spots. The latter I started training at 30 yrs old so I have to be more flexible with his habits.

I don’t teach the shoulder roll but I will practice moves off of it if I see the fighter can operate from the shoulder roll and is effective. However, I wouldn’t teach it to a fighter I was starting out.

There aren’t many white American boxers currently who are elite. The only one you didn’t name is Joey Spencer. Other than that I can’t think of anymore. I think it comes down to environment. You don’t have to be in poverty to be a fighter but poverty does breed fighters. So up until the 1950s we had many White American fighters because of the economics in the country. Especially big cities in the North East part of the country, New York , Philly and Boston. But as time passed by the economics changed and basically White American fighters disappeared more and more as each decade passed after the 1950s. I think we are, losing some of the top white fighters to MMA. MMA is a combat sport but it’s different from boxing. Good point. It is what it is at this point.

Ssup Bread,

Okay, I’ll just come out and say it. Shakur is tad overrated and Haney was underrated for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, Shakur is very talented but for as long as I can remember people have been treating him like second coming of Floyd and he is not. On the other hand, Devin had to prove himself many times over. He deserves the accolades people have been showering Shakur with for so long. I honestly favor Devin over him now. Devin is an outfighter but he didn’t put me to sleep against Prograis as Shakur did a few weeks back. In fact, it was a masterful performance. I quite enjoyed it. Honestly, now I am not sure Shakur beats either Loma or Tank. He might even lose to both of them.Now the question, who wins Devin vs Tank and how?

Regards, Saurabh

Bread’s Response: You know the temperature of a fighter ‘s value changes with each performance. So Shakur just had a luke warm performance. And Devin just had a perfect fight. So Devin is hotter than Shakur now. I like them both but I don’t want to get too high or low because this is a fluid evaluation. Shakur is still a tough out for anyone at 135 don’t let one night misguide you. 

I have no idea who wins Devin vs Tank. But I will say this. Devin just looked awesome at 140lbs. Tank is not a BIG 135lber. I don’t want to be a cynic but I don’t think Devin vs Tank will happen anytime soon if ever. So it’s not really worth talking about until the fight gets some real traction.

Happy holidays to you & yours. What is the ideal fight frequency in terms of learning your craft? (Once a month, twice a month, once every 6 weeks, once every 2-3 months?) (I know it’ll never happen again like it did in the 1920s to 1970s.) What is a great fight between two fighters of excellent rhythm who both kept their rhythm? What is the ideal number of hard sparring sessions in an 8 week training camp? How long before a title fight is the last hard sparring session? Do u agree with Angelo Dundee that sparring is for learning & that hard sparring should be limited as much as possible? Does the decided lack of regular frequent fights mean that more frequent hard sparring sessions are necessary? How do you know your guy is ready to peak on fight night? Wishing you & yours a healthy, happy & safe holiday season. Thank you for all the insights into my favorite sport.

Cheers, Dave Panichi

Bread’s Response: Ideal fight frequency is subjective to the fighter and type of style he has. However, I will try to give you a general assessment. Let’s say fighters turn pro at the average age of 20. Now, If your fighter starts out in 4 rounders he can fight every 6 weeks. So that’s about 8 fights his first year as a pro. Obviously he won’t fight (8) four round fights. After about 5 or 6 of them they get moved up to 6 rounders. 

So let’s say 7 fights the first year as a pro. With 6 rounders a fighter can fight every 2 months. That’s 6 fights in a year if he stayed in 6 rounders but let’s remember after double digit fights you move towards 8 rounders. So let’s say the 2nd year he gets 5 fights. Now he has a total of 12 fights. 

As the number of rounds increase the pay for the opponents go up. So to make 8 rounders I say you can fight every 2months to 10 weeks. Let’s also assume the fighter we are speaking of scores a ko 70% of the time. As he enters the 8 rounders he can get on tv and the investment starts to get an ROI. So let’s say the 3rd year he fights 5 times again. Now he’s 17-0 as a 3 year pro. 

Obviously after a few 8 rounders he’s going to fight a 10 rounder. At this point he’s looking to be a contender and get name value or record value opponents. Let’s say he can fight every 3 months which is 4 times/year. He’s now 21-0 and in his 4th year as a pro. At this point he’s ranked and he’s looking for an eliminator fight or title shot. The module I just gave you, was the custom American schedule. Obviously nothing is exact but blue chip level prospects are ready for title shots on the average between their 4th and 5th year as pros. Some a little earlier, some a little later but 4-5 years is the usual average.

I think the issue in this era is once the fighters get past the 8 round prospect fights and go to 10 rounders. They start fighting every 6-9 months looking for big names on their resumes and it screws up their development. Unless you have a coach that gives you 2 hours/day for 5-6 days a week. And you have productive resources at your disposal for your development it’s going to effect you. It’s why less great fighters are being produced these days.

However, overall you can overcome the inactivity if you spar correctly and condition correctly in between fights.

Toney vs McCallum and Leonard vs Benitez

I don’t view sparring session so much as “hard”. I assess them by what level of fighter the sparring partner is. Some sparring partners are harder work than others. In an 8 week camp a fighter usually spars 2-3 times a week for 7 weeks then they rest and recover the last week going into the fight. So on the average I would say he spars about 18-20 times in camp. Sometimes he spars a killer. Sometimes a guy he can handle and work on stuff with. It all depends on the fighter and in what part of camp he’s in.

I respect Angelo Dundee but IF he said that I don’t agree. Ray Leonard and Muhmmad Ali were his best fighters and they sparred hard. In order to get ready for hard fights you have to condition the body to fight hard. It doesn’t mean you do it everyday but the best conditioning for a fight is to simulate a fight. All of the best fighters I have EVER been around, spar hard. Some spar better than others. Some don’t spar killers each sessions. But they all spar hard at some point in camp. 

I know a guy is ready for several reasons. But the #1 reason is when he does things you have been asking him to do, without you having to ask anymore. At that point he’s ready to go. And for the record I think these fighters in this era stay in camp too long. When you hit your peak and you have to hold it for 4 or 5 weeks, you usually drop off and it causes doubt because you lose your sharpness. If a fighter stays in condition throughout the year. An 8 week camp is all you need to get ready for a big fight.

Hello Breadman,

I haven’t wrote in in a while but I’ve still been reading and appreciating the mailbag. It really is like nourishment for serious boxing enthusiasts.I’m interested to know if you think that ring rust could be a factor when Wilder fights Parker? I’ve said for a long time that Wilder doesn’t so much box you as he fights you. His ability to process and ‘fighting IQ’ is a lot higher than people tend to perceive as he doesn’t fit a stereotypical model of a big punching slugger who throws a lot of punches – he usually only needs one and fights to that strength whether by design or out of necessity. He’s almost a streetfighter in a way and I mean that as a compliment. He’s not the smoothest boxer but he sure knows something about how to fight.My point is that I suspect that ring rust isn’t as much of a factor for a patient, instinctive, lower volume fighter with a style like Wilder. The issue for me is more likely to be when his reflexes actually start to go more than ring rust ever being a problem for him.

The less Wilder fights and the less wear and tear he puts on his body may actually be beneficial at this age and stage of his career.I see that Kenny Adams has been inducted into the HOF which seems to be very well deserved. I only ever hear people talk about him with great respect, particularly in the US. Is it an ambition of yours to one day get into the HOF yourself?I never told you this before but I am from the North West of England myself, and so I probably understand Tyson Fury’s mentality better than most. I know people personally who are similar to the Fury’s, it’s not actually that uncommon there is a certain mentality or culture in this region like you would have say a certain mindset in Philly. You could look at Michael Bisping in UFC for a similar example.I say that to say this:

I see that Fury is now talking himself into the underdog role saying that he is the only one who can stop Usyk from total domination. It seems clear to me that now Fury’s mind games haven’t worked for the first time he is trying to get his edge a different way. He’s always been supremely confident but for the first time I sense some uncertainty in him. It also seemed obvious to me (based on being from here) that he didn’t want the fight, until Usyk made a meal of the low(-ish) blow in the Dubois fight.In the past Usyk said he underperformed against Derek Chisora in order to entice Joshua into taking the fight with him. He’s strong-minded intelligent and crafty enough that I don’t rule out he acted out against Dubois intentionally.

Usyk, like Fury, just is that guy mentally. It’s not the reason for it but as of right now this is the first time I’m picking against Fury and I’ve watched his whole career since he was fighting the likes of John McDermott on channel 5. I suspect he’s met his match mentally and stylistically, and honestly I’m not gonna believe they’re actually fighting until the first bell goes.

Much Respect

Bread’s Response: I never thought about your concept of ring rust pertaining to Deontay Wilder. Very interesting. I can’t say I agree or disagree but I love your thoughtfulness. Let me think on it some more.

All successful people want some level of attribution for their accomplishments. But honestly I don’t think about being in the HOF much. It crosses my mind from time to time but I know there are so many variables as far as getting accolades from someone’s subjective preference I don’t over think it. I do think about winning Trainer of the Year more often because that’s more of an attainable thing in terms of living in the present.

So you like Usyk over Fury because of the mental aspect. Hopefully they fight next and nothing comes up.

Breadman,

Can you please help emphasize the point of misses versus ducks. There have been ducks in the past Bowe vs Lewis at Heavyweight would be the easiest example.Misses are what I consider we have more frequently than not. Currently, Bud is being accused of ducking Boots. I love them both and don’t think it would be a duck if they never fight.Let me try to provide a couple of reasons why. When a fighter is being built up, it’s not uncommon for 4-6 fights per year. Once they are established and champions it drops to maybe 1 or 2 per year. Each year more and more fighters are built up by the method listed above, “building” the record. It’s not uncommon to get fighters 10-0 heck even 20-0 and ranked by an organization.

We can look at boxrec or even look at the four different organizations rankings and we will see several fighters that are ranked with undefeated records. Some truly have merit, some not so much. My point is that a narrative gets created that said undefeated fighter is said established fighter’s biggest threat and if they don’t fight it’s a duck. I say no, it’s a miss because said established fighter cannot fight let’s just say each organizations highest ranked undefeated fighter (which we know are often different fighters). Here’s another great example…135 lbs. Raymond Muratalla, Shakur Stevenson, Tank Davis, William Zepeda, Floyd Schofield, Tito Mercado. All these guys are undefeated and say they’re the best. Very hard to match all these guys in any tournament to establish the legitimacy. There’s other fighters with a loss or more that are also very capable of winning on any given night. Let’s please stop with the duck narrative, ask for big fights and when delivered be happy. This month alone there’s a ton of solid fights happening and much to be thankful for.

Blessings to you, your family and stable.

Richard K. Oregon

Bread’s Response: Ducks and Misses are not the same. It’s why I say that Marvin Hagler didn’t duck Mike McCallum and Sugar Ray Leonard didn’t duck Aaron Pryor. Sure they could’ve made time to fight them. But they just missed them they didn’t duck them. McCallum didn’t move up to 160 until Hagler retired. And Pryor never moved to 147. People repeat they got ducked but they were misses. Hagler and Leonard just chose to fight bigger fights. 

I don’t think Crawford is ducking Boots. I think Crawford is looking for big fights to end his career with established names. The only way it will turn into a duck is if Crawford were to fight another young welterweight less deserving than Boots at 147lbs, then Boots’s fans could easily say if Boots is not big enough than how is say Mario Barrios. Other than that, Crawford is NOT ducking Boots or anyone else.

Hey Bread, give me your year end awards and Pound for Pound Top Ten? And tell me what your selections are based on?

Bread’s Response: Fighter of the Year-Terence Crawford. I know he’s only going to fight once. But to put on the performance he did vs Errol Spence who was a top 5 P4P fighter. Crossing the street in a generational 50/50 type of fight, I think Crawford is the guy. Some will say Inoue if he looks good in 2 weeks and I wouldn’t argue you. Some will say Haney. I wouldn’t argue that either. But for me it’s Crawford. He gave us the fight we ALL wanted to see. And he was at his best when everyone was looking. 

Trainer of the Year- Trainer of the Year is getting to be a popularity award but I think it should be the trainer who gets the most out of his fighters on a consistent basis. For me it comes down to two choices this year. Brian “BoMac” Mcyntire or Jose Benavidez Sr. If you’re fair and objective their work has been the best this year.

Manager of the Year- I would say Luis DeCubas Jr for his work with David Benavidez or Bill Haney for what he’s done with Devin. Both Devin and David are now mainstream stars and held well on BIG PPV platforms. Again flip a coin.

Prospect of the Year- Diego Pacheco

Fight of the Year- Let’s say Munguia vs Deverychenko of all the fights I have personally seen

Performance of the Year-Should be an award. There have been some tremendous performances this year. Perfect fights. Crawford vs Spence, Lopez vs Taylor, Inoue vs Fulton, Haney vs Prograis, Canelo vs Charlo and Benavidez vs Andrade. 

But it’s going to come down to two fights for me. Crawford vs Spence and Lopez vs Taylor. Lopez was a underdog in his fight. And Crawford was just a slight favorite. In the other fights the performing fighter were bigger favorites. If I’m picking straws I will take Crawford vs Spence as the performance of the year. It’s a tough call and I was in awe of what Teofimo did. But Spence was more highly regarded than Taylor. And Crawford scored a ko after his masterclass. It’s very close but that gives Crawford the edge in my opinion.

P4P Top 10:

1. Terence Crawford

2. Monster Inoue

3. Ollie Usyk

4. Canelo Alvarez over Bivol because I think Canelo is a better 168 than Bivol is a 175.

5. Artur Beterbiev

6. David Benavidez

7. Devin Haney- Because he’s improving under fire right before our eyes

8. Gervonta Davis- His talent is something that can’t be argued and he may be the best puncher in the whole sport

9. Teofimo Lopez- when he’s ON, he may be the most complete fighter in the game not named Bud Crawford.

10. Jaron “Boots” Ennis- I know his resume doesn’t say it but my eyeballs tell me he’s the most ruthless mix of talent, killer instinct, power and boxing ability in the game right now.

Hi Breadman,               

I pray God is blessing and continues to bless you and your family and the fans of your mailbag and their families.  I like you thought Haney would win by UD over Prograis. The reason being Prograis last fight vs Zorilla he looked awful. If it wasn’t for the fact that I had seen that fight I would have taken Prograis. How do you go about picking fights ? I usually go by the best version I have seen of the fighter , the worst version and then the last performance. Then I try to determine which version is going to show up that night. Teofemo Lopez looked terrible vs Marin but then the best version of him showed up against Walters which I didn’t expect listening to him talk in interviews.

Spence looked great to me against Ugas and I really thought he would be up for the fight against Crawford by he got completely destroyed. You never know which makes it interesting. Haney has picked his last 2 opponents Loma and Prograis when they were both coming off bad performances. Loma looked lousy vs Ortiz, but it backfired on Haney the night of the fight because a much better version of Loma showed up whereas the Prograis we saw vs. Zorilla showed up the other night. I don’t enjoy watching Haney, but I do respect him for challenging himself against the best competition. We probably won’t see him and Tank because he is  getting bigger and will probably be a welter soon. His style why not particularly entertaining is conducive to winning and he will be a tough out for anybody he fights. You must put some respect on his name. Enjoy seeing you on the Mill City broadcasts on YouTube. Keep up the great work. You are the gift that keeps on giving.                                                                                                                                                  

God bless and take care,                                                                                                                                                

Blood and Guts from Philly

Bread’s Response: Devin fought a perfect fight! I’m impressed. Here is the thing that you hit on head. In every fight the fighters and their teams have an optimistic angle on why they think they will win. But just because they think it, doesn’t mean it has to happen. The fighter has to execute. 

I’ve never understood it when people say, Ray Leonard knew Duran would get fat and party after their first fight. That’s so ridiculous. What if Duran didn’t party and eat. What if he fooled Leonard? It’s only a presumption as to what someone will do. 

So with Haney, Loma showed up in form and gave Haney all he wanted. Prograis was the same guy who fought Zorilla. But no matter what, Haney has to show up and he doesn’t know what guy will show up until he shows up. 100% props to Haney. For all of the presumptions what if Regis would’ve corrected the flaws of his previous performance. Haney still has to do his job. 

I agree I don’t think Haney and Tank will fight that’s why I don’t discuss them. Haney is 5’8 and he has the frame and dimensions of a welterweight. Tank is almost 30 and he’s just smaller than Devin. And I don’t think as the A side, that Tank would give up that type of size to someone as skilled as Devin. I could be wrong but….

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