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October 11, 2012

By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards

Sergio Martinez is something else man! I know majority of the champions and good fighters have started fighting at a young age. Usually they start around 8 or 9 years old but, we also have those occasions where someone starts later than usual and excels. Okay, so here's the deal... I've heard Emmanuel Steward compliment fighters that have had extensive amateur backgrounds by saying they dont have to think as much, things come to them naturally, they have that overseas experience, etc. But, he'll also compliment fighters that have started later than usual and say he thinks it's not bad they started late because there's less wear and tear on their body and they could have longer careers.. and that's where it stops! Obviously having experience is great, you can't buy that. So, with that information, if a guy came to YOU right now that was about 27 years old with no fights and he wanted to box how much time would you spend on his amateur career (if any)? And how small is that window for him to see the type of success he really wants to see.. is it even realistic? --Sean Hall, Champ Nation Boxing Gym, Oakland California

Breadís Response: ALL dreams are realistic. The problem is they are not always reached because one may dream of the final result but they donít understand the process of getting there.  Your question is a good one but itís very broad. Some people in general are extremely talented and the only reason why they werenít successful in something is because they werenít EXPOSED to it. Not because of lack of talent. So in all honesty it would depend on the talent level.

Extreme coordination and toughness are very important in boxing and extremely important for new beginners. Because when you are new, you take your bumps and bruises more. So if I saw those few things I would fast track him more through the amateur system and turn him pro. At 27, if the guy is gifted, a year at the most is all you would need because he is in physical prime.

If I had a guy who is taking a long time to catch on and he is at an advanced age, I would tell him itís not worth getting hurt. I have told experienced pros who have taken off for some time, that I didnít want to train them because they showed no signs of improvement and too much rust had set in. So at the end of the day it depends on the individual, but the overseer has to recognize the potential and determine if itís worth it or not.

On Vitali Klitschko - honest answer, based on how the fights went before the injuries how do you think his losses to Lennox Lewis and Chris Byrd would have ended [if they went the distance]? Also, can David Haye beat him? Don't you think Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV is a joke? They are equals, move on now!

Also, what do you think trainer Virgil Hunter will do for Amir Khan? Could he revive like Manny Steward did with Wladimir Klitschko after his KO losses?

Finally, I have started sparring again because you can't beat the feeling of punching/being hit. I find with some guys I natural switch stance coz I find it easier to deal with that opponent doing so but my coaches chew my head off for it, yet at some places (the ingle gym) they encourage it. What is your take?-- Jazz from London 

Breadís Response: I think Vitali would have beat Byrd but legend has it like he was killing Byrd [at the time Klitschko quit with a shoulder injury]. Not the case, he was winning a competitive fight.

I donít know what would have happened in the Lewis fight. Lewis was tired as hell but Lewis had been through it before, so he may have been able to fight through to a second wind like he did vs. Ray Mercer. He was also hitting Vitali super clean with his right hand and the cut was from a legitimate punch, soÖ.

I donít have a problem with a guy switching if itís for a purpose. If you are equal from both sides then go for it. What I have observed however is the stance a fighter is not more comfortable in will show up defensively. Meaning itís usually easier to hit the guy when he switches to his least comfortable stance. Andre Direll is one of the few guys I have seen that is comfortable defensively either way.

Slipping or blocking a punch is a programmed reflex. Most people arenít programmed the same from both sides. So I instruct a guy to be offensive immediately when the opponent switches. I suggest you ask your coaches why they want you to switch back to your natural stance. Ask them for an explanation. If youíre equal from both sides then I donít see a problem.

Here is an excerpt from an interview with Freddie Roach from the L.A. Times, "For three training camps, we worked on Manny staying away from Marquez's tough straight right hand," Roach says. "He never failed to do it right in training, and then, in three fights, he kept walking right into it. For some reason, Marquez dictates the direction Manny moves.".... that last sentence really stands out to me. I remember you saying guys with tough body rhythm like Martinez and Pacquiao become easier to fight as bout progresses because it's difficult at first but you adjust. I think that definitely has to do with what Roach said but is there something else too? Is there something only Marquez & Nacho (& maybe you) know? Naazim Richardson was partially correct when he said Manny would never have a easy fight again because Mosley gave the blueprint on beating Manny. I say partially because pre-Mosley, Manny always made excellent adjustments in the ring and was able to finish the guys off. Now I think fighters know more or less how to SURVIVE against Manny, not necessarily beat him. I think the reason Manny took this fight is because Juan Manuel Marquez is the only man with the brain and the guts to FIGHT manny. Granted, he doesn't go after Pacquiao, but Marquez is like a tree with a beehive, if you go after that honey, ya ass will get STUNG.
Breadís Response: I respect Freddie Roach but I question his statement. He is suggesting that he tells Manny Pacquiao to move away from Marquezís right hand, which means he ask Manny to move to Mannyís right. Well Manny does not naturally move that way when he fights a right handed fighter. Look at his fights. He sort of hedges and frames you with his pawing right jab while moving to HIS left, towards his opponentís right.

Look at him on youtube. He takes the IN angle. Now it works for him because he is usually the quicker guy on the draw and he shoots his straight left hand from the inside, straight up the middle. Look as far back at his 1st championship fight against Chatchai Sasakul. Manny takes the inside angle to his opponent. Now it has worked but it allows his opponents to get around his LEAD shoulder by moving fast to their left. Sasakul was winning the fight handily, he kept circling Manny and turning him, volley after volley. I say this to say this is nothing NEW.
The problem is Manny never stops and he breaks you down mentally, Mostly everybody except Marquez.

Now letís get back to Freddie Roach. Manny has had tremendous success attacking the flawed way he does. If Freddie Roach is honest with himself he would admit this. The tapes donít lie. He has always attacked this way. Marquez is just tough enough to deal with the punishment and heís smart enough not to lead too often and get caught in exchanges.

I also want you to look at how Marquez ROPES Manny in with a throw away left hook to Mannyís body. That punch is for one reason and one reason only. To move Manny back in the direction Marquez wants him in. Which is moving into his right hand.

I think a bigger problem for Manny in the 3rd fight was his punch selection. He kept trying to hit Marquez with a 1-2 upstairs but he didnít shoot it to his chest. Manny also didnít change the angle on his straight left hand. Marquez just simple bends to his own right to avoid the shot. Manny and Freddie should have picked up on that. If Manny simply increases the volume of his jab and feints more, he could control Marquez. At this point itís too unnatural to move the other way.

Manny doesnít jab Marquez enough. Basic boxing 101. Marquez is already too leery to attack Manny, thatís why he waitsÖ. Manny has to Jab , jab, feint and stop trying to ko him with every punch and Manny would beat him up. Letís see what happens.

I have been reading your emails for a long time and really rspect your opinion. I have been a huge fan in the early 60's in Barbados reading my dad's Ring and Boxing Illustrated even when both used to have wrestling in the back and results from around the world. Anyhow, I think not only do you give an opinion but you also analyze why you made it.
Here is my issue. I think Manny and Floyd are exceptional and could hold their own in most eras. I think Manny has shown more desire to face the best but Floyd can be accused fairly or not, of avoiding the very best in his weight classes since he moved from 135. I think he was at his peak at 13 and 135 but because he is not a natural 140-147 guy he has been reluctant to get in the trenches with the big guys. His penchant for outscoring a guy 10 punches to 4 looks very good but I think it is because he has not faced the best.
The recent Cotto fight showed me that e.g. Duran would have made him fight and he would have been mauled. It also showed me why in his heart he prefers guys he can control easily. I have been in debate at eastsideboxing with some boxtradumbazzes who insist Floyd is the best ever. Moreso, they claim he is the best defnsive ever and would easily beat both Leonard and Hearns. I say Hearns outboxes him and if he tries to get inside like Sugar, he gets KTFO.
I maintain that his zero is there because in this era he and Manny can win as many titles as they want because they are ver 1,000 and they can defend against weaklings. Hagler, Llonard, Duran, Hearns and Bentez lost to each other because they fought each other. Floyd avoided the best 140 and 147 (especially 147) guys like Forrest, Margarito, Williams, Clottey and even a blown up flyweight in Manny. Maybe he could have beaten them but he did not try to meet them and I say it will affect his legacy more than it will Manny's. Oh, Manny would fare better against ATG's at 126-135 but not above.
Please in your inimitable way, analyze why if you disagree with me and wy you feel he is the best ever etc. Please also breakdown how you see the fights vs Duran, Hearns, Leonard and Benitez and Whittaker.
I am always quoting your analysis because I respect what you say. I will respect what you say even if your opinion is diifferent from mine I just am sick of the nuthuggers who do not know boxing but just post ridiculous stuff. Boxing is great and needs great minds like yours unlike these bloggers (Floydbots and Pactards) who feel Manny and Floyd is boxing and boxing only goes baclk to when they both started.
Breadís Response: Neither Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao is the best fighter ever. And at this point itís not really an argument. The people in your forum who claim this, I will assume they are under 30. They just donít realize the ramifications of that statement. They both have had chances to increase their great legaciesÖ. Manny should have did everything he could to get Floyd in the ring around the time he beat Oscar, Hatton and Cotto. That Manny Pacquiao was on one of the greatest ring runs ever and I think he would have been a HUGE problem for Floyd.

But Manny didnít budge at the negotiations which was understandable but now he has slipped somewhat and things arenít the same. Overall I donít have a problem with Manny, unless I find out he is a PED user of course. Other than that heís a great fighter and one of the top 25 to 50 fighters who have ever lived.

Floyd Mayweather is also one of the top 25 to 50 fighters ever. But he couldíve done more. Floyd has missed too many fighters that could have enhanced his legacy. Nobody can fight everybody but this hurts Floyd because it has happened too often. I can count over 10 fighters that he couldíve faced that wouldíve made his accomplishments sparkle.

I think at this point Floyd may not fight again. He claims he would fight Martinez at 154 but I donít believe that. That fight can be made tomorrow and Martinez would give up everything. An 80/20 split is terrible but he would do it. Mosley took like a 77-23 split on the guaranteed money and obviously 80/20 is worse than that. Martinez just made a guarantee of 1.4 million against Chavez. Floyd could low ball him and offer him 4 or 5 million and Martinez would jump. But I say no way. Itís too risky. If Iím wrong and they fight I will live with it and man up. But as of now, no negotiations and no real attempt, we shall seeÖ.

Call me crazy but Saul Alvarez is another. Alvarez is getting better while Floyd is getting older. Floyd should have jumped on the kid by now. If they fight next May I would pick Canelo. Thatís another fight thatís easy to make, especially on Cinco De Mayo. But Floyd is not a stupid man. While his fans say the fights would be easy work, Floyd knows easy work.

Canelo and Martinez are not easy work. Letís throw Manny out the scenario. Fighting anybody else would not enhance his legacy. So I think this is it, as far as rating Floyd. I think he does suffer from Not fighting certain fights. Again his theory on this is, ďlook that guy lost to a guy I would beat, imagine what I would do to him.Ē Some people run with that but I donít. I need to see the fights happen. While Floyd is a tremendous fighter, he does suffer in that area and it will affect his historical ranking. We shouldnít have to imagine what would happen in a fight that couldíve been made.

I have already broken down the hypothetical match ups that you gave me in the past. In a nutshell Floyd and Manny both lose multiple times if they had to go through the line up you suggested of Hagler, Hearns, Benitez, Duran and Leonard. They win some and lose some.  They would even take their lumps, in the Prime Oscar, Prime Tito, Prime Mosley, Prime Quartey and Prime Forest era. Those are some really tough fights. Itís no knock on either guy.

Can you clear a quick question up for me? What exactly is PPV upside? Do both fighters generally benefit from up-side regardless if they are the A or B side of the promotion? Are all upside deals equal or does it just really depend on what the fighter brings to the table and the promotional company? -Sean

Breadís Response: PPV is split 50/50 between the Promoter and the Network. So letís say we have a fight that does 1 million buys at $50. Thatís a 50 million dollars. Now for all intents and purposes with a few fees ďtheyĒ have to pay, the revenue gets broken down 50/50 between the promoter and the network.

So out of the 25 million that the promoter gets, of course he takes out his expenses and the guarantees he paid on fight night off the top. So letís say he has 15 million left over.  Now when the fighter negotiates his UPSIDE, their reps will present the numbers they think the fight will do. I have known this to be done from all different angles. The usual angle is after a certain number is hit from PPV sales and of course the Promoter getís HIS, then the upside kicks in.

So remember itís coming out of the Promoterís cut. So the rep for the fighter may say after 500k buys we get $2/buy. Now that may not sound like much but imagine if a fight did 1 million buys. That means the upside is 1 million dollars for that fighter. I have heard rumors of fighters getting $10/ buy after certain numbers have been hit. Who knows?

Itís back end money that the fighter does not get until a few MONTHS after the fight so itís hard to determine. Hope I helped you with my answer.

Sending this from the UK and just wanted to ask you a few questions about some of our best british fighters and potential fights.

Ricky Burns, this guy can really fight he destroyed Kevin Mitchell and that guy is a quality fighter not quite world level but not far off. Talk over here is about a fight between hm and Broner. I've seen nearly all of Broner's pro fights and he is a star but Burns is a beast at lightweight. What do you make of this and who do you think wins? Broner has to be favourite but I think a great fight, Burn's is as good as anything the Uk has produced in a long long time.

Kell Brook, made a mess of his last fight against Carson Jones but has changed his training and preparation and expect to see a much improved Brook next time out against Hector Saldivia. Assuming he wins this who do you think he should go after at 147? I think Brook is the closest the UK has to an American slickster, great skills and great timing. I think if him and Khan meet at 147 Khan is in trouble I think Brook works him out and counters all night.

David Haye, I know he lost a lot of respect when he fought Wladamir and I don't think much changes if a rematch takes place but I see a different result if he fights Vitali. Vitali is slowing and even against Manuel Charr last time punches that use to bounce off him are starting to bother him, I think Haye knocks him out, everybody Haye hits he hurts and I think if they can get the fight on he knocks Vitali out. Big call as Vitali has never been stopped but that's my view what do you think?

Amir Khan annoys me with his attitude about being a p4p champ, he isn't however the guy has got heart and a warrior spirit. He should have took Guzman up on his offer though it would have been a good fight and very winnable for him.

Anyway love reading the mailbag keep up the good work.

Breadís Response: Ricky Burns is a good fighter. He can get down. I want to see more of him. Thatís all I can say at this point. I think he should come over here or call for an American over there. And if he delivers then maybe he and Broner can get it on.

Iím a Kell Brook fan but I told everybody he would have a nightmare against Carson Jones. People looked at Jonesís recordÖ. I think Brook should have aken the Tim Bradley fight that he was offered. Iím really shocked he turned that fight down. In my opinion thatís a 50/50 fight and I think Brook made a mistake not fighting Bradley. Bradley is not the puncher or inside fighter Jones is, and Brook would be all the better after being taken to the brink by Jones.

By Brook turning down the Bradley fight, that makes me think something happened detrimental in the Jones fight that his team is not saying publicly. When a guy is 28-0, 27 years old and is the bigger fighter, you donít see him turn down his first title shot against a non puncher. No offense to Brook but I donít get that.

I assume heís angling for another title and he feels he needs more time. We shall seeÖ.

As for Brook and Khan who knows how that fight will play out. Brook is smooth but he showed stamina issues against Jones and he doesnít like to fight out of his comfort zone. I think he struggles to make 147lbs. Khan has shown a punch resistance problem and poor footwork. But Khan is also more ambitious. Letís remember Khan called for Bradley and offered him 50/50, and Brook turned Bradley down. At this moment Brook canít say much to Amir Khan. No way would Khan have turned that fight down.

I have always believed Vitali is not as good being the tracker and he is being the puller. Heís a little gangly. He is also over 40 so thatís always a wild card. I think Haye has a chance but I have to admit Iím turned off by Haye. I didnít like his attitude around the Wladimir fight nor his effort. If he was injured ok but man take a cortisone shot and rumble. You canít talk like he talked and not rumble, Iím sorry. I donít mind big talkers but you have to back it up with maximum effort. Could you imagine how we would view Muhammad Ali if when his jaw was broken he packed it in and just tried to survive?

What Haye didnít realize was Wladimir was so dam tepid and apprehensive he only won the fight because he was taller and Haye wouldnít engage. Haye is fast but heís not a superior boxer. Heís just a superior specimen. Heís explosive and athletic but he doesnít box well. Sure he can catch guys and take them out but when he has to work for a ko or points to win a fight I donít view him as elite.

Wladimir was there for the taking and a more well rounded fighter would have stopped him given he had Hayeís athletic ability. While he may have a shot at Vitali, I wouldnít put my heart into it, because Haye doesnít have the skill set or mentality to overcome certain things that height and size disadvantages present. I think he has a shot but I thought he had a shot against Wladimir.

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