Daily Bread Mailbag: Canelo-Kovalev, Andre Ward, PEDs, More

The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen “Breadman” Edwards tackling topics such as Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev, Andre Ward and his retirement, Paulie Malignaggi’s stance on PEDs in boxing, and more.

Bread, I just read your last mailbag and have three quick hits:

1) After the recent Beterbiev KO victory someone at our gym stated that Andre Ward retired just in time. Of course, they were referring to the Eastern European invasion of the 175 division. How do you think Ward would’ve done against Beterbiev, Gvozdyk and Bivol? The more details you can give the better!

2) It’s a shame that the other 125lb champions (Warrington, Santa Cruz) or former champion (Valdez) appear to be avoiding Gary Russell. Perhaps I’m wrong because behind the scenes is hard to know but why do you think this is happening?  

3) I consider the soon to be HOF Bernard Hopkins amongst the 5 or 6 best MW’s of all-time. Would you put him on Mount Rushmore along with Robinson, Monzon and Hagler? Why or why not?

Simba Sana
Author of Never Stop: A Memoir
Agate Publishing

Bread’s Response: I don’t believe Ward retired because of the incoming heat. Those guys just came after him. There is always work coming, a fighter can’t stick around forever. Ward is a guy who has other things going on. He won his Super Bowl by ko and he left boxing. I don’t think he ducked anyone.

I think Ward would have taken the Nail apart. I don’t know if he stops him but he beats him up. His inside game is too strong.

Bivol wouldn’t have much of chance vs Ward. He has less physicality than the Nail and he doesn’t fight well when you invade his space. Ward by UD.

The fight is Ward vs Beterbiev. Beterbiev is a bigger puncher, he fights through clinches and he looks to be just as strong as Ward. I wouldn’t pick him to beat Ward but I think he has a chance. Sakio Bika’s physical strength gave Ward issues and Beterbiev is a bigger handful. Today let’s say Ward by a tight decision but Beterbiev seems to be still improving.

2. Featherweight in this era is one of the most disappointing times in the history of the division. Any top fighter or champion has to take some of the responsibility. It’s absolutely ridiculous that the only BIG match up we have had at featherweight in the last 5 years has been Santa Cruz vs Mares and Santa Cruz vs Frampton.

I have no idea why the fights aren’t happening. Hopefully Shakur Stevenson goes after Josh Warrington immediately. Both seem to be eager to take real fights.

3. Bernard Hopkins is the best middleweight of the last 20 years. He also has the record for title defenses. IF you put him on Mt. Rushmore I wouldn’t argue. The problem is Rushmore has 4 spots and you said he’s 5th or 6th. Most historians have Robinson, Greb, Monzon and Hagler for the 4 spots. During the 90s at their peaks people thought Toney and Jones were better than Hopkins. Hopkins lasted longer than both…..It’s a tough question.

Let me ask you something. Who do you take off of Mt. Rushmore and replace with Hopkins? I personally think Hopkins deserves a spot I just can’t take anyone off.

Hi Breadman,

I look forward to your insight and knowledge every Saturday. I have to put you up there alongside another of my favorite boxing minds the late great Bert Sugar. If you could create your perfect fighter what attributes from other fighters would you use.
Right hand
Left hook
Body punching
Combination punching and technique
Boxing IQ
Killer instincts
Training habits
How good of a fighter could Jose Luis Lopez have been if he took his career seriously.

Brooklyn New York

Bread’s Response: Jab- I say Tommy Hearns. I think Ali has the best jab ever but his jab is too hard to replicate. Hearns’s jab is more text book and just as good.

Right hand- Joe Louis. Short or long. Best right hand I have ever seen.

Left Hook- Ray Robinson’s hook is the best ever. Singles, doubles or triples. Off the jab or clean up. Best hook.

Body Punching- This one is tough. I think Gerald McClellan may have had the best single shot with his left hook to the liver. But as far as overall body punching. I will go with Alexis Arguello. Arguello threw every single punch to the body. Right upper cut shovel shot. Left hook inside and outside. Watch him close. I think he was better to the body than Chavez and McCallum. Arguello consistently had late stoppages during his title runs from 74-82 and every single ko I saw of his he scored debilitating body shots in flow with combinations to get the stoppage.

Combination Punching and Technique- This is hard for me. I will say Manny Pacquiao or Ray Leonard. I can’t choose between the two. But at their best they ran off combinations as good as anyone ever.

Chin- George Chuvalo. If you don’t know watch him fight George Foreman and listen to how clearly he speaks today. Nobody took harder more flush shots than Chuvalo.

Defense- This is another tough one. But I’m going to shock some people with my pick. Roberto Duran. Duran has every layer of defense. God given reflexes. Good feet. Head movement. The ability to block, parry and smother. Pernell Whitaker and Floyd Mayweather also have every level. But Duran employed his defense attacking and scoring kos moving forward which is harder because he was more offensive Than other defensive standouts.

Boxing IQ- Another tough one but I will say Floyd Mayweather. He seemed to simply know what the judges liked despite his punch count going down progressively. He had innate quality to win 7 rounds clean and fight the right style in the right moments.

Killer Instinct- This can be lot’s of guys. Aaron Pryor, Felix Trinidad, Ike Williams, Ray Leonard, Ray Robinson and believe it or not Terence Crawford. All of those guys are killers without being front runners. They really go for it when they have too and if you fight them back they get meaner and meaner. Today I will say Ike Williams. His stoppage of Beau Jack is just sick.

Training habits- Salvador Sanchez. Sanchez was swimming and taking his heart rate in the 80s. His training seemed perfect. He stayed on his toes and boxed perfectly for 15 rounds consistently vs tough opposition and never showed visual fatigue.

Jose Luis Lopez was a very talented fighter but I won’t give a guy excuses for not training hard who never even won a world title. Discipline is a talent within itself. So while he looked the part, I feel like he came apart during his big moments because he didn’t want to train. He’s a better version of Chavez Jr.


Help me understand. I’ve seen 3 Boxing writers post their Hall of Fame ballots on social media: Rold, Kevin Iole and Dan Rafael. All 3 voted for Tim Bradley, yet when you read the comments the majority of people commenting on their posts seem baffled that Bradley would get their vote. Is this just a social media thing? Or do people really undervalue and under appreciate Tim Bradley’s career? He only lost to 1 fighter in his entire career and no matter how you view the first fight, he was the first to break his 7 year win streak. On top of that, after Tim fought Provodnikov in a fight that left him concussed with lingering brain damage that required him to have a neurosurgeon prescribe brain exercises just to get back to par, he then goes and fights and out points Marquez directly after Marquez knocked Pac unconscious. There was a time when the top 4 welters were: Mayweather, Pac, Bradley & Marquez and Bradley is the only of the 3 never to have any PED suspicions. Not even touching on the work he did at 140 and all of the undefeated fighters he fought handing them their first loss. I’m baffled.

What’s your take on Bradley’s career?

Bread’s Response: Tim Bradley’s sum total outweighed his parts. He didn’t quite look like a great fighter but his results were great. Even in his Pacman losses he fought Pac tooth and nail. Pac just had too much god given talent.

Bradley fought undefeated real fighters as a junior welterweight. Devon Alexander and Lamont Peterson were undefeated in their primes. Kendall Holt  wasn’t undefeated but he was a vicious puncher, in his prime in a unification. Then Bradley moved up and fought well at 147. I thought he lost to Pac 3 times. I thought he benefited from not fighting in the PBC because they had more welterweights. But his win over Marquez sealed the deal for me. By every criterion he’s a HOF and great contemporary fighter.

I also think the HOF voters without coming out and saying it, are rewarding Bradley for NOT being a PED guy. Lots of voters off the record talk about the fighters who were either on PEDs or had strong PED circumstantial evidence. So now we have Bradley who in my opinion was a great fighter but not all time great fighter, get 1st ballot votes. It’s because he wasn’t a presumed cheater. Sometimes ACTIONS speak louder than words, and I’m glad it’s finally happening.

I can remember Bradley asking Marquez to take VADA before their fight. There was some delay in the start of the testing….Bradley went out their and won the darn fight anyway. I’m glad he’s being rewarded for being clean. I hope he gets in on the 1st ballot. It will give the Boxing HOF more credibility.

There is one fighter in particular on the ballot this year who’s PED use has been confirmed. And I’m NOT talking about Juan Manuel Marquez who never tested positive for anything. I am very curious if that fighter gets in 1st ballot. This year will be interesting and it could set a standard.

Hi Bread,
Which active pound for pound fighters, other than pacquiao, have a better victory than Taylor’s over prograis. Fight was a classic.
Terry, London

Bread’s Response: Which active P4P fighters have a better win that Taylor’s over Prograis. Well that depends on who is in your P4P?

But I will say Juan Estrada. He beat SSR.

There are other recent and active wins that are just as good or better. Prograis is an excellent fighter but he wasn’t a top 10 P4P fighter yet. He was working up to get there.

Beterbiev just got a huge win over the Nail. Andy Ruiz just beat Anthony Joshua. Julian Williams just beat Jarrett Hurd. Vasyl Lomachenko beat Gary Russell. Jarrett Hurd beat Erislandy Lara in a unification. Usyk beat Gassiev in a unification. Chocolatito beat Juan Estrada. SSR beat Chocolatito. Jermall Charlo beat Julian Williams. Canelo beat GGG.

I’m a big Josh Taylor fan. I’ve always said he’s the goods. His win was huge. But let’s not overrate it and be victims of recent bias.

Hey Bread,

Thank you for all the insight you provide for us the fans. Your mail bag is second to none. Can you give us a rundown on James Toney’s career? I don’t know if you have already on the previous mail bags, but it would be awesome.

To my actual question, I’ve read the article GREATEST HITS: James Toney of the November issue of The Ring Magazine and one thing that really caught my attention was the importance of sparring. In the interview with Doug Fisher, James Toney highlights the importance of sparring everyday. Toney says, “Bill Miller is one of the greatest trainers of all time, and he told me the only way to be a real boxer is to box every day.” How often on your training camps is sparring needed and what is too much sparring? I understand the concept if one practices the craft everyday, one will get better at it. Does a boxer benefit more from sparring than any other training? Can you shed some light on this concept. Thanks again, your work it’s highly appreciated.

Frank A. from the South Bay


Toney (the one that face Nunn) vs. Canelo ( the one who face DJ)
Toney (the one that face Nunn) vs. GGG (1st Canelo fight)
Toney (the one that face Nunn) vs. DJ
Toney (the one that face Nunn) vs. BJS (the one who face Lee)

Bread’s Response: James Toney was one of the best 4 or 5 fighters of the 90s. His title win over Michael Nunn was legendary. On the road. Underdog beats a HOF level talent who is 34-0. What a win! Just to think in this era, Demetrius Andrade has a hard time getting fights, well Michael Nunn was the Demetrius Andrade of the 90s and Toney went after him.

Then Toney fights killer fights back to back. Defending vs Mike McCallum and Reggie Johnson were killer fights. He goes up to 168 and puts on the best performance of his career and looks even better vs Iran Barkley. He also beats a really good fighter in Prince Charles Williams.

He loses to Roy Jones in his super fight but everyone loses to Jones. He goes through a toughs stretch at 175 for some reason and loses twice to Montell Griffin although I think he was robbed in the 2nd fight. But he gets his act together and goes to Cruiserweight and wins the title in a thriller vs Vasyl Jirov who was undefeated. He then goes up to heavyweight beats Holyfield and wins the fighter of the year in 2003.

His fight with John Ruiz actually hurts him because of the positive PED test. It makes you wonder about some things and I’m the biggest James Toney fan. He was struggling in the mid 90s and wound up winning Fighter of the Year in 2003 at heavyweight. It’s really tough to assess.

I say he’s an All Time Great fighter. One of the best chins ever. One of the best inside fighters ever. One of the best late round fighters ever. One of the best line em up and I will fight them fighters ever. Top 3 middleweight of the last 30 years. Top 10 fighter of the last 30 years. Future HOF. But there are legitimate PED questions although it pains me to say it.

Sparring is the most important part of training for boxing. But I don’t think you have to spar everyday to be great. There is no set amount of rounds or days of week. It depends on the fighter. But I will say the better the fighter is defensively the more you can let him spar. If a fighter takes too much punishment you have to limit the sparring. It’s really simple. Boxers spar more rounds in one camp then they fight in their entire career. You have to be careful how much sparring you do? At the same time you can’t be squeamish with it. It’s boxing.

The one thing I will say is that’s it’s LAZY to spar to get into shape. I think a fighter should get into shape then spar. If you spar out of shape, you will take too much punishment and it will come back to bite you, either later in your career or later in life.

Toney over Canelo on a great masterful toe to toe fight. Toney by  decision.

Toney over GGG. GGG gets hit too clean and he ain’t stopping James Toney. Toney could stop GGG before GGG could stop him. But let’s just say Toney by decision.

Toney clips Jacobs.

Bj Saunders is a tough fight stylistically for anyone. But Toney beat Johnson and Nunn, two slick southpaws. I say he beats Saunders by close decision.

What’s up bread,
With Loma being given the franchise tag, do you see him ever facing Haney? If not, I think it will become one of the biggest what-ifs in boxing. How would you see that fight shaking out? Also, what do you think of Fury’s move to wwe?

Bread’s Response: I don’t know if Loma will face Devin Haney. But it’s not a duck yet. Haney just surfaced. Loma also has an in house fight vs the winner of Commey vs Lopez. Loma can only fight 1 person at a time. Let’s revisit this next year.

I actually think Haney has a chance to beat Loma. He has the reach, speed, tactile reflexes, youthful reflexes, jab and confidence to win the fight. Remember where you heard it first. I say the fight is 55-45 in Loma’s favor. The longer they wait the better Haney’s chances get. If Loam can beat Haney walk him into the HOF right after the fight and give him ATG status. That’s how good I think Haney is. And don’t tell me about his age. He’s a world champion and he has over 20 fights. I know what I see. Haney is a UBER Talent.

I haven’t watched wrestling since it was called the NWA and WWF. I’m sorry but I don’t know anything about Fury and WWE

Hey Breadman,

I love reading the mailbag man. Dougie’s is great but I gotta say yours is even better. I’m writing to you because I just finished listening to Paulie’s podcast, “Brooklyn to the World”, and this week’s topic is the death of Patrick Day. I don’t know if you’ve heard it but I recommend anyone who loves boxing listen to this episode because you can tell Paulie is just so pissed off and he gives his passionate and honest (as usual he’s the realest commentator in the game) view on how boxing has become a complete joke due to all the cheating going on and how none of the scumbags who work in and cover the sport have the balls or morals to do or even say anything that will help get rid of it. He concludes that the government should step in and do something like they did in baseball to help get rid of the drug use and that if they don’t that boxing should be BANNED! He is sick of the fact that there are good people, clean fighters, competing against CHEATERS and I guess Pat Day’s death just sent him over the edge.

While I certainly don’t agree with him that boxing should be banned, I am afraid that one day the sport that I love most will be and I agree with Paulie that CHEATING is by far the biggest problem. There are scumbag promoters, media, fighters, trainers and fans enabling the culture of cheating we currently have now. For me personally what pisses me off the most is the fans. We have no financial stake in the game and yet many of us cheer for cheaters, listen to stupid excuses, make excuses of our own such as well everybody’s doing it so whatever! The problem is that not everybody is doing it. If 10% of fighters are clean then these are the only fighters we as fans should have respect for. The rest should be viewed as CHEATERS and SCUMBAGS. This would actually make a difference! Do you think if Canelo was now viewed that way by the public that other fighters would see that and think twice about cheating? They would see that damn if I get caught cheating I will forever be viewed primarily as a cheater who disrespected the sport I love no matter how talented or popular I am! You said it best yourself Bread: Once a cheater, always a cheater because it is impossible to tell what accomplishments are tainted in the past and in the future. Yet sometimes I read this mailbag and I am sad to see you calling Canelo a potential ATG. Don’t get me wrong Bread I think you and JROCK are the best ANTI-PED team in the whole sport. I’m just confused why you praise Canelo like this because I know you view him as a drug cheat for sure. I know the man has skills and toughness you appreciate. I just think it’s a disservice to the sport and to the real legends of the past to put ANY cheater in the same breath. I mean Barry Bonds is SOOO much greater than Canelo in his sport and even though he is an ATG, he’s not really viewed that way. He’s viewed as a CHEATER and the fact that he broke Hank Aaron’s record is viewed as a joke. Which is exactly how we should view the fighters who choose to disrespect our sport for their own selfish glory. I don’t even think a fighter who tests positive should be in the HOF. But no, in our sport the popular fighter gets caught cheating, gets a slap on the wrist, then wins maybe 6 rounds against a 36 year old CLEAN fighter and wow he’s an ATG with the entire boxing media praising his every move. Maybe you will see my viewpoint as too extreme but I really don’t think so. I love boxing and I hate to see it’s long and great history TAINTED by cheaters and drugs. And like Paulie I want to see it survive. What am I missing Breadman?

Filip in Toronto

Bread’s Response: I really respect Paulie’s stance on PEDS. He’s one of the more outspoken ex fighters on the topic. I don’t agree that boxing should be banned but we have to clean it up.

I think once you test positive the penalty has to have teeth. You can’t suspend a guy for 6 months then reward him with huge fights and contracts. 6 figure fines and a 1 years suspension for the 1st positive test. The 2nd positive test gets you a life time ban. And promoters have to have some ETHICS. They reward and sign fighters consistently who CHEAT. It’s rather disgusting.

The problem with not putting someone in the HOF for a positive test is what if they took a drug my mistake. I know it’s the “go to” excuse but I think there are a small % of cases where it happens.

For example Roy Jones popped positive for what I remember to be something in an over the counter supplement from GNC. His opponent for the fight took the same supplement and popped positive. In rare cases like that I think we have to use discretion. We assume over the counter supplements are safe.

But overall I agree. A fighter like Tim Bradley who is presumed clean throughout his career is getting serious votes from what I hear. I hope he gets in and any fighter on the ballot who is tested positive or admitted to using simply doesn’t get in. I’m watching this year closely.

Boxing needs a BOARD of INQUIRY. If the Board finds a fighter culpable for taking PEDS then a harsh suspension needs to be in place.

I believe the media and the networks can help clean up boxing also. If the media asked tougher questions and stop catering to fighters who they know are cheating. Or fighters who don’t ask for or conveniently forget to ask for testing, the media needs to address those issues. The networks can literally force testing. They cut the checks.

As for Canelo some say I’m too hard on him. Now you say I praise him. I can’t win with my stance with everyone so I have to be honest. I think Canelo is a fantastic fighter and talent. He’s improved right before my eyes since I saw him fight Cotto’s brother many years ago. I also believed he took PEDS. His positive test confirm it and I don’t think it was a coincidence he tested positive, when he tested outside of he normal 8 week window. I often wonder when he started. I never believe a person when they get caught doing something, and they claim it was the 1st time. It usually is the 1st time they got caught.

I don’t know what else to say about that. I can’t discredit Canelo’s career and at the same time I can question it because of circumstantial rumors and now confirmed positive test. We all have to be fair and objective, use common sense and take our feelings out of it.

I’ve also heard Paulie give Canelo credit for being a tremendous fighter. I don’t know if it’s PRAISE or just giving a guy his just due. I think I just give him his due.

Short and sweet tends to work for this mailbag lol. There has been alot of discussion on this years boxing HOF and it made me think about how other sports view the greats and who is HOF worthy. Football and Baseball seem to be more stat based and analytical, and I feel like the NBA doesn’t really set the bar as high. I know this is a boxing mailbag but I respect your opinion as a sportsman so I am interested in your take. Every sport has a different criteria but for the Big 4 in this case Baseball, Basketball, Football and Boxing what makes an Athlete y’all of game worthy?Hopefully this isn’t too long winded. It would be dope if you had a platform to discuss sports in general lol. Thanks for your time continued blessings to you and yours.
Jack from Detroit.

Bread’s Response: I like this question. I am well versed in boxing, basketball and football equally. I used to be more into baseball when my grandfather was alive but not as much anymore. However I still keep track of my hometown Phillies and HOF inductees.

I think baseball has the best and highest standards out of all of the HOF. The reason being is baseball is 90% a numbers sport and numbers are numbers for the most part.

In other sports numbers don’t always show the true story so subjective preference comes into play. For example in boxing a fighter like Gianfranco Rosi has the record for title defenses at junior middleweight. He has good numbers but he’s not a great fighter all you have to do is give him the eye ball test. So you have to use your head and just know that Mike McCallum, Tommy Hearns and Winky Wirhgt are just better than him although he had more title defenses.

In football you have to relate the era. You can’t compare the passing yards of Phillip Rivers to the passing yards of Phil Simms. The eras were different and Rivers will have better numbers but they are about equal as players in my opinion.

I think the NBA is solid but not as good as the MLB.

In boxing often times it’s a popularity contest. I won’t single out fighters out of the respect for the game but there is NO WAY some fighters are in the HOF. There is an American bias because most of the media are Americans. There is also a racial bias. Some fighters have got in the HOF because they were popular and non black and it’s just that simple. And NO I’m not talking about Arturo Gatti. He deserves to be in. Gatti had longevity. He had his 1st title fight in 1995 and last one in 2007. He won titles in multiple weight classes. And he gave us something different and special. He wasn’t an all time great but Gatti has punch for punch 8 of the best 20 fights I have seen my lifetime.

Mickey Ward 1&3, Ivan Robinson 1&2, Wilson Rodriguez, Tracy Patterson, Gabe Ruelas, Joe Hutchinson and Angel Manfredy. Gatti may have more heart than anyone in history. He’s often used as a scapegoat but there are other guys who haven’t done a fraction of what he’s done and they’re in.  To secure his spot, Gatti ascended to a top 10 P4P fighter during his reign at 130lbs. He could really fight.

In my opinion to be a HOF you have to either be consistent with longevity. Be a top 5 fighter and champion in your division for at least 5 years and fight the best available guy and win. Winky Wright. OR have an incredible peak where you just look special for about 3 years where you’re a top 2 or 3 fighters on the planet, say Donald Curry. Or you can just do special things and maybe not be a great but be special in your own way like Arturo Gatti. And obviously you can be just Super Elite. A fighter like Floyd Mayweather, Ray Leonard, Benard Hopkins where you check every category and nothing can stop you from getting in unless it’s personal bias against you.

Hi Breadman,

I hope all is well with you and yours. I am very excited about this weekend’s big fight and very upset I’ll be in the  (without internet) so that I won’t be able to watch it on a huge theater movie screen as I was planning.

I know that Canelo is being overwhelmingly picked to defeat Kovalev, either by decision or stoppage via body shots. I don’t doubt that Canelo can win but I see Kovalev winning if he stays disciplined, maintains his distance, pumps his powerful jab in Cinnamon’s face, and brings something behind it to further discourage him and not let Canelo get anything established. I also think many are forgetting what a good boxer Kovalev is when he wants or needs to be, like in his last two fights, including after a KO loss in which most expected him to lose the rematch.

Do you also think many are underestimating how much Kovalev has left, plus his boxing ability, to defeat a mountain-climbing Canelo? Or do you see Kovalev as too old and vulnerable to win?

I believe the Mexican lost two fights versus GGG but admire how much he believes in himself that he dares to be great. He is in his prime but I think Kovalev has enough left to box smart, use his size advantages, and outfight Canelo Alvarez Saturday night. When Canelo comes hard at him the Russian needs to fight mean. Also, I think Canelo is vulnerable to uppercuts and doesn’t like it to the body. If he gets hit hard to the solar plexus, a vastly underused offensive shot, I see Canelo going down and out via followup shots.

Against Mayweather I saw Canelo as way too green to take and win the fight yet and now I see Kovalev as not yet being too ripe to defeat a smaller but prime Canelo. The Kovalev that punished Hopkins beats up this Canelo, but I know he is gone. And Canelo learned so much after losing to Mayweather and keeps improving. Still, I pick a deserved upset win for Kovalev, whether or not he gets the decision. Kovalev gets his second win versus an Alvarez in his last three fights. How do you see it play out, Bread?

Enjoy the fights and thanks for sharing your knowledge and insight. God bless.

José outside of Philly

Bread’s Response: When the fight was first talked about my initial feeling was Canelo stops him. I just know how heavy these fighters walk around. And I also know how hard it is for a bigger fighter to deal with a smaller, faster man, if that smaller man can take the punches.

As the fight got closer I started to BEND. I love how Buddy McGirt can call a fight. I’m not talking pad work. I’m not talking fancy conditioning. I’m talking corner instructions. Adjustments. When and when not to apply certain things. McGirt is a really good cornerman.

I also like the fact that Kovalev had a quick turn around after Yarde. I think that helps because fighters have too much down in between fights. They get heavy and pollute their systems. If you can spar 3 times a week in camp, don’t tell me a fighter can’t fight in 2 or 3months if they aren’t injured.

I think Kovalev has a real chance to win this fight and you have to expect him to be sharper than he was for Yarde. Canelo also historically struggles to decisions vs his best opponents. But I’m going to officially stick with my Canelo pick.

I think Canelo is smaller but physically stronger. Yes I said it, Canelo is physically stronger. I also think he has the better chin. It doesn’t matter who hits harder, what matters is who takes the other one’s shot better. I know Kovalev has a great jab. All Time in my opinion. But Canelo has a great jab also. He’s just not known for it. But watch and see, he will have some success jabbing.

Both fighters have had stamina issues. But Canelo functions better while he’s fatigued. Kovalev really gets sloppy and his balance gets poor when he’s tired. Canelo also has the better defense by far. Kovalev’s defense is his jab and feet. He can’t counter punch. Kovalev won’t fall apart the first time he’s hit with a body shot. But Canelo is the physically tougher man and I believe it will show over the course of the fight.

Kovalev throws great straight shots but he hasn’t really developed a hook or uppercut. In the mid range and inside I think Canelo will have a distinct advantage.

If Kovalev fights a complete stinky fight he can win. But I don’t think that’s his nature. I think both will have some success. But somewhere during the third quarter of the fight, rounds 7-9 I think Kovalev will lose form. He struggles with his 2nd wind during those rounds. At that point I think Canelo clips him. He either stops him. Or drops him and wins clear rounds for the decision.

Hey Bread,

We’ve been treated to some high level evenly contested fights of late.  Spence/Porter, GGG/Derevyanchenko, Beterbiev/Gvozdyk and most recently Taylor/Prograis.

Anytime I’m watching a fight with very even rounds piling up I find myself making note of any clear rounds for either fighter.  Once the official cards are out you can go back and use your clear rounds as a proxy for how good the judge’s card is.  Reason being is that it’s possible to arrive at the correct score without scoring the fight correctly.

Seeing how judges did on the clear rounds should be a tool for commissions but also a redflag for the media and fans.

As fans we want boxers to be incentivized to take on other fighters at their level and to me competent judging has to be part of that equation.  As a trainer and keen prognosticator what do try to factor in concerning the judges and what would you like to see different overall in the judging (if anything)? 

You are the best in the game.  Thank you for all you do.

Bread’s Response: Thank you.

People always get upset with me when I admit the truth and that is I don’t score fights with a pen and pad at home watching out of enjoyment. Clear rounds are easy to score. Like say Shakur Stevenson vs Joet Gonzales. You don’t need a pen and pad to score that fight. But a fight like Spence vs Porter if you don’t have a pen and pad, you can’t eye ball score that fight.

That being said we have to hold these judges accountable. We have to call them out. The commissions have to stop assigning fights to judges who turn in bad scorecards. And the judges can not be vindictive when t a fighter doesn’t want them to score a fight. The fighter’s career takes the hit and the judges keep their careers going.

I think judges have an unspoken agreement. I don’t believe corruption happens the way it’s alleged “for the most part”. I think what happens is a judge knows who the A side and B side is. And they know if they score close rounds against certain fighters they won’t be allowed to work the big promoter’s cards again.

So here is what I look for. I look for CLEAR rounds like you said. If a judge scores CLEAR rounds wrong then that judge gets a red flag. I look for bias swing rounds. I get it that some rounds are tough to score. But if a judge scores every swing round for the same guy then that’s a another red flag. I also check to see if a judge had the integrity to score against an A side fighter. There is definitely a science to picking judges.

One of the more bizarre things I have ever seen in boxing was judge CJ Ross. I’m not going to say anything bad about her because she has received enough criticism. But her appointment to, two huge Super Fights is what I have an issue with in a short period of time. She scored the 1st Pacquiao vs Bradley fight for Bradley in 2012. That was generally regarded as a poor scorecard. The very next year she was assigned the Mayweather vs Alvarez super fight and turned in a draw scorecard for Canelo which was again seen as a poor scorecard.

Scoring a fight is subjective.  But I believe some type of review board needs to be in place. Assigning a judge that far off of consensus opinion is counter productive to what boxing needs.

Hello hello, Mr. Breadman!!

Was watching some old highlight reels of Joe Frazier’s big fights. While doing so, I couldn’t help but notice two things that really stood out to me: His phenomenally powerful left hook (which everyone talks about) and his incredible head movement (noted only by a comparative few). In my opinion, Smokin’ Joe has some of the best head movement in all of boxing.

I don’t know about you, Bread, but it seems like not many fans talk about head movement. At least, not like they talk about putting together powerful combinations or fantastic footwork. So I ask you, sir, who are some fighters you’ve seen or encountered that have some awesome head movement?

Bread’s Response: There are different levels of defense. Some guys use their feet, like Shakur Stevenson. Some fighters counter punch you to discourage you like Juan Manuel Marquez. Some fighters use their gloves to catch shots like Winky Wright. Some taller fighters extend their arms like Larry Holmes. The bottom line is to not get hit.

Joe Frazier definitely had great head movement. His defense was in his pressure and head movement. Fighters who come forward don’t get credit for their defense as much as fighters who move away.

Who else had great head movement…. Wilfred Benitez’s head movement was unreal. Watch him make Davey Moore miss like 30 punches on a broken ankle. Muhammad Ali had great movement. He pulled back but his reflexes where sick. Watch him in his exhibition vs Michael Dokes.

Mike Tyson, Roberto Duran, Aaron Pryor, James Toney, Canelo Alvarez, Pernell Whitaker, Willie Pep, Dwight Qawi and Floyd Mayweather all had great head movement.

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