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March 11, 2013

By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards

I just wanted to get your thoughts on Bernard Hopkins' win over Tavoris Cloud, especially based on your official pick of a majority draw. How do you think each fighter performed in comparison to your expectations going in? To me Tavoris looked like "a pressure fighter over 30" as you said and he wasn't able to generate the type of "volume pressure" that could trouble Bernard. Hopkins by comparison was able to "minimize the violence" and dictate the pace throughout. Cloud was most successful when he could initiate prolonged exchanges but those moments were few and far between. What would you say Hopkins did strategy-wise to impose his will and keep the fight on his terms for 12 rounds? and why couldn't Cloud successfully speed things up?
I would also like to get your initial thoughts on a possible Paul Malignaggi-Adrien Broner fight. I know it's far off and hasn't been officially signed but do you like this fight?  Last but not least how do you think Julio Diaz will do against Amir Khan? (given the fact that you work with Shawn Porter and he and Diaz recently fought to a draw). --William in West Palm

Breadís Response: I was really comfortable with my pick because you know Hopkins would try to minimize the violence and fight the best fight for himself. What really shocked me is how poor of a fight Cloud fought. First off let me give Hopkins his props, he has a way of handcuffing guys and making him fight his fight. That was another wonderful performance. Hopkins is without a doubt a master classmen.  I donít have a problem with a fighter losing. Despite what people say any fighter can lose on any given night. But I do have a problem with HOW Cloud fought. If you look close at the Hopkins vs. Trinidad fight , you will see a kid in Trinidad who gave it everything he had. That fight was not as one sided as history makes it out to be as far as competitiveness not scorecards of course. Itís on youtube now so check it out.

Back to Cloud, for a fighter to be on the big stage for the first time, and be an undefeated defending champion, I was extremely disappointed in his performance. First off he fought with no fire. Despite being outgunned technically, he could have tried to make up for it with desire. For example he never tried to force Hopkins into exchanges. Everyone knows Hopkins likes to throw 1 or 2 punches then either tie you up or jam you up and move off. When he would hit Cloud, you would think Cloud would have punched with him or attempted to finish off the volleys, instead he allowed Hopkins to literally walk away to his right everytime.

Speaking of walking towards his right. I donít know want to criticize Cloudís trainer, Abel Sanchez. I think WE over do it when we criticize trainers because the cameras only show a portion of the in between round conversations. But Cloudís team as a whole seemed lost. So Hopkins took away Cloudís best weapon his right hand, by walking away from it ALL night. I didnít see Cloud closing the distance with a left hook, or attempting to force Hopkins back to the other side, or even shooting a right hand to Hopkins kidney/short rib area. That area is open when a man is walking away from you off center with his head going away.

Itís unbelievable to me not one rational adjustment could be seen. Again anybody can lose but to fight such a poor fight is never ok. Every great pressure fighter has one thing in common. They are willing to take loads of punishment to get their man. Hopkins did a great job with some brutal body shots that in my opinion took Cloudís will away. If Hopkins chose to, I think he could have stopped Cloud. But he didnít want to expend that kind of energy and not get the stoppage. Great performance for Bernard Hopkins again. As for Cloud I think heís done as a top fighter. No disrespect to him I think he had a solid career, but he has fought subpar in like 4 fights in a row. Thatís no coincidence.  Being with Don King that doesnít allow you to shake rust off and get comeback fights. I hope Iím wrong but I suspect Cloud will turn out to be similar to Jeff Lacy.

To answer you directly Hopkins was too much for Cloud mentally. Hopkins never wants to expend loads of energy so even when heís offensive he does it minimally. Now you may ask why is that? Here is why? If Hopkins tried to throw 6 and 7 punch combination that changes the mood of the fight and the opponent ,may try to do the same. But by him only hitting you once or twice in exchanges it gives you the feel that you may not be getting beat up that bad, but the problem is youíre losing anyway. Heís not trying to beat you to death like say Manny Pacquiao or Adrien Broner. Heís just trying to win.Brilliant stuff.

I am a big Malignaggi plan as of lately. I like his ďkeep it realĒ aura. Paulie knows these guys pick on him for a reason. That being said I think Broner is too much for Paulie. Broner is as strong as an ox. I know physical strength when I see it and this kid is a real problem. Broner is also in his or about to be in his physical prime. I was live at Paulieís last fight, Paulie is past his better days and he would be up against it with Broner if he was 26. The sell of this fight would be the jumping of 2 weight classes, but a great lightweight talent can beat a good welterweight talent. I donít want to see Paulie get hurt but Broner is going to beat him up. They know it thatís why the fight will be made.

Julio Diaz was a lot stronger than I expected at 147lbs. He was able to back Shawn up. Shawn is one of the strongest kids p4p I have ever been around. But I will say the times I have worked out with him he was in the 160s. So maybe 147 weakened him. Who knows? If the Diaz that showed up against Shawn shows up I expect a good fight. But Khan is about 5í9 or 5í10. He is faster than Shawn and Khan knows his identity in the ring. I think Khan will outbox Diaz in a fun fight. 

Adrien Broner moving up to 147lbs to fight Paulie Malignaggi is a straight bitch move. There is no reason for Adrien Broner to jump to 147lbs when 140lbs division is freaking stacked! 4 of the top 10 Jr Welterweights are promoted by Golden Boy! Matthyse, Petersen, Khan, Garcia! Ajose Olsegun is another fighter that can be matched with Broner, I won't mention Rios or Alvarado because they are promoted by Top Rank. I mean Broner talks all this mess about how he's the "Can Man" anyone Can get some, blah, blah, blah.. But he avoids all the top Dogs at 147lbs and fights the Lightest hitting Fighter in the Welterweight Division! What The Fuck? That pisses me off..
 I'm also getting tired of Floyd Mayweather and most of his fans, I used to be one of his biggest Fans! Ha!
Here's my problem with Floyd, he'll fight Cotto at 154lbs but won't even acknowledge a fight with Martinez at 154lbs.. He didn't fight Pacquiao, because of $$ issue.. Now the biggest payday out there for him would be a fight with Canelo, (if Canelo could get past Austin Trout) but Floyd won't even agree to that.. What The Fuck? What I finally realized is that everything that you have ever said about Floyd is Right! Thank You for helping me see the light..
I just finish watching Mugabi vs Hagler, then I watched Hagler vs Leonard! I still couldn't believe that Leonard had the balls to go up to 160lbs and fight Hagler, after Hagler had came off that huge KO of Mugabi (crazy). I think about that and I'm like Wow, Floyd will never ever do something like that! I think about how Foreman made Frazier do the Stanky Leg and Destroyed Frazier, but Ali didn't give a fuck and still fought Foreman..  the great fighters are willing to risk Everything, Every damn Thing to prove their the Best. Floyd wouldn't even lace them up with a 5'6 Manny Pacquiao and were over here calling him great smh!
Sorry Bro, I just had to vent.. Lol
Breadís Response: See I get two opposite sides of the spectrum with Floyd. Some people think I donít like him which is totally not true. I am a huge fan of Floyd as a fighter and I donít know him as a person. Then some people think I take up for him too much and overrate his legacy. When actually I tell the truth. Itís easy for me.

Floyd is a dog if he gets in the ring with you, but I feel he is not willing to fight certain people at certain times. At this point itís really no secret or a big deal, itís just offensive to his die hard fans who want their favorite fighters to be willing to fight anybody at any time. I personally donít knock him for not wanting to fight Martinez. Thatís not fair. We can applaud him if he tried but we shouldnít condemn him if he didnít. Martinez is just too much for Floyd physically. Too much size difference.

But the Canelo fight is reasonable. But as long as Canelo is looking the way heís looking we wonít see that fight. Itís just too risky. Floyd could get knocked out by Canelo. When people said Floyd was allowing the Pacquiao fight to build, I just laughed. What happened was he allowed Manny to deteriorate and lose, and we didnít get a fight at all. It doesnít take 4 years to build a fight between the number 1 and 2 fighters in the world. Canelo will lose or go his own way and Floyd will fight Guerrero, Devon Alexander and possibly Danny Garcia. Mark my words we wonít get a Canelo fight. And I donít mean it in a way to disrespect Floyd, I just understand how he operates. Heck Canelo could lose to Trout May4th. Thatís a 50/50 fight if I ever saw one. There is one thing to let a fight a build, itís another thing to allow your possible opponent to fight tough fight after tough fight and jeopardize the payday.

Letís not attack Broner yet because we donít know how long he will stay at 147. We donít even know if the contract with Malignaggi is done yet. So letís see how this plays out before we say he ducked the 140lb killers. You have to be fair.

Bernard Hopkins is bad for boxing. I hate to say it. Boring. I wish there was a mma fight on to watch. Can't believe Tavoris Cloud didn't attack the 48 yr old man.   Should've been a blow out. Numbers don't lie. Put Brandon rios in clouds body and its an easy fight-- Dj

Breadís Response: Itís really interesting to see the dynamic in adulation or condemnation that Bernard Hopkins sparks. You either love him or hate him. I personally donít think heís bad for boxing. He won fair and square in a great performance. If one of these young guys would destroy him and put him in his place then they wouldnít keep bringing him back on HBO. But they canít so he sticks around. You shouldnít get mad at him. Heís waiting for the RING to retire him and thus far it canít. #TRUTH#

What did you think of the Espn and Shobox fights this week? They were big fights for those shows and I know you watched the Centeno vs Leatherwood fight because those guys are in J rockís division. They seem to be trying to make Centeno out to be the next Oscar. Is he the goods?
Breadís Response: I really enjoyed the Manny Taylor vs Victor Cayo fight on ESPN2. I made a gentlemanís bet with a pro boxer that Taylor would stop Cayo. He thought Cayo had too much experience. But let me tell you, a kid who is in his prime whose strong points trump his older opponentís weak points is an easy pick for me. Taylor is a real life dog. I saw him in the gym box two junior middleweights 5í11 and 6í1.

He boxed them for 10 rounds and he got stronger as the rounds went on. Any fighter can tell you thatís not easy. Especially having a fresh bigger fighter coming in on the back end of the sparring. But Taylor pushed through like a champion as he did in the real fight.
Iím not saying he is going to be a champion at 140. Thatís a tough division. He also has some holes in his game. But he will destroy the mid level guys over the next two years. Trust me.

As for the Centeno vs Leatherwood fight, of course I watched it. I thought Centeno did what he was supposed to do. As for the ODLH comparisons, no way. The difference in Centeno and Oscar is the difference in Hearns and Mark Breland and Milton McCrory. Centeno does not have the god given twitch fibers Oscar had.

I want to say something else about Centeno and his management. They are doing a great job. If you notice in the press releases they kept saying that Daquan Arnett backed out of the fight with Centeno. Well Arnett is 5í8 and heís just 10-0. Centeno was 17-0 going into that fight on showbox. I bring up Arnettís height because I donít think he has the seasoning to beat a 6í1 mover with 10 fights under his belt. On top of that he would have been fighting a California kid in Cali. Thatís a tough out for a pup.

I bring this up because Centeno has almost 20 fights and he would have got to prove himself against a 10-0 fighter. When in reality he has the experience to fight a Keith Thurman, John Jackson, Willie Nelson, Yudell Johnson, Charles Hatley, Shawn Porter, Jonathon Gonzales, Jermell Charlo and Demetrius Andrade. Feel me? Iím curious to see who Centeno will fight next. Heís a decent looking prospect who is being brought along very good, slow and smart. They are allowing him to grow. Trust me all prospects are not afforded this luxury. 


Firstly, your Philly bro Steve Cunningham gets a big fight vs UK's own Tyson Fury. On Cunningham, how do you think he did vs Adamek? Think it is fairly clear to all he won, not massively, but he won. How do you think he will do vs a 6ft 9 guy with him being a natural cruiserweight? And on Fury, you are finally going to have to watch him and give us your opinion on how good he is/can be now he is fighting your guy - so tell us! Also, maybe you saw Tony Thompson melt big David Price, what did you think of it? I always said people were going way over the top over Price considering his best opponents are complete hasbeen neverwere types like Skelton, Harrison and Dallas. 

Secondly, touching on something you mentioned about Cloud in this recent mailbag and on other fighters, do you think a combination of high workrate (or volume punching as you call it) combined with a solid chin are two ingredients that combine best to give a fighter the best possible chance of going far? (Tim Bradley, Calzaghe etc - of course these guys have more skills but these ingredients have been key in their success).
Finally, the Olympian debate and obvious downfall of American amateur pedigree. What is up with it? Too much politics (i.e best fighters not chosen for national team etc) ? Coaching getting worse? Guys just not interested in fighting any more?--Jazz

Breadís Response: Whatís up Jazzo. I think Steve Cunningham won his fight against Adamek. It wasnít a terrible robbery but he won clean enough to feel cheated. As you stated I donít know enough about Tyson Fury but I will take a good hard look at him before the fight to be fair.

I thought Thompson threw a great punch. From my research David Price has extremely poor punch resistance and unless he learns to fight like a K bros I expect that to happen to him again. That didnít seem like a big punch and he was seriously hurt.

I really donít understand what you mean in the next part of your question. But if you are asking what I think are the biggest attributes a fighter can have to go far in boxing, I would say stamina, speed and the ability to absorb punishment. If you grade high in those 3 areas, you will go very far in boxing.

I donít know whatís up with the Olympian thing here in America. What I do know is besides Andre Ward, most of our better fighters are not Olympians. Go figure. Adrien Broner, Tim Bradley, James Kirkland, Nonito Donaire, Chad Dawson, Danny Garcia, Peter Quillen, Brandon Rios, Mikey Garcia, Tavoris Cloud, Devon Alexander, Austin Trout. Go figure some more.

Did you hear what Bernard Hopkins was saying to [HBO guest commnetator] Andre Ward after the fight? From reports he said he wouldnít fight Ward for 15 million. I donít understand that. Thatís a lot of money and itís not like he and Ward share the same trainer or come from the same camp. If he wonít fight Ward, who else do you think is a good fight for him?
Breadís Response:  I personally couldnít make out what Hopkins said to Ward after fight, but I did see him lean over say something. At this point in Hopkinsís career I think we can give him a break for not wanting to fight a killer like Andre Ward. Ward would just be too much and IF Hopkins said that I understand why. If he said that I think itís just a sign of respect for Andre Ward. I donít take much from it. Even if Hopkins didnít say that I wouldnít expect him to fight Andre Ward.  As far as whom he can and canít fight. I donít expect to see another Dawson fight. Thatís a bad style match up. Hopkins already beat Pascal twice in my opinion so I donít expect to see that. Andre Direll is another guy that is just too young and athletic so donít expect 50 Cent to get Direll the fight.

I would expect him to consider Nathan Cleverly. Hopkins can sort of get revenge on the UK if he could beat Cleverly. Zsolt Erdei has a lineal claim to the lightheavy weight title and heís undefeated. Thatís a fight Hopkins could take. Lucian Bute. The winner of Froch vs Kessler. And I have a wild card. Gennady Golovkin.

Before you say Iím crazy think about this. Hopkins has fought two very good middleweights in the past in Kelly Pavlik and Winky Wright. He fought them both in catchweight fights at 170. Hopkins also knows that Abel Sanchez, Golovkinís trainer had NO answer for him. Golovkin is smaller and he is the same height as Cloud. On top of that Gabe Rosado is a protťgť of Hopkins. I assume Hopkins checked Golovkin out for Rosado. I wouldnít be surprised if he shocked us and took on Golovkin at a catchweight.

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