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September 07, 2013

By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards

By George, at last somebody got it! Lucas Matthysse makes the same mistake dozens of times per round. If you watch all the fights closely: the wins over Mike Dallas and Olusegun Ajose, and the close loss to Zab Judah (and others), Lucas dangerously lunges forward not only to throw straight lefts and rights to the head, but also to the body as well. He will do it a lot against Danny Garcia next week, because Garcia is 5'9", and Matthysse 5' 6 1/2". When he does that, his punches always come from the level of his chest, his chin dangerously above his shoulder line and his big head straight up. Most of the fighters that Matthysse have fought with, are similar in that they tend to jump back and out of range, when Matthysse moves aggressively on them, missing the opportunity to counter Lucas on the clock. That's where Danny's skill comes in, contrary to what Judah, Dallas, and Olusegun and others did in their fight with Lucas, Danny stays in the pocket, slips to either side, tucks his chin against his chest, and counters you to death. This fight won't pass the fifth round.

Breadís Response: Yes I do get it. People think Iím giving Danny a chance because heís from Philly. That has nothing to do with it. Danny is one of the best counter punchers in boxing. And Mattysse actually leaves his feet to gain momentum when heís attacking. Itís impossible to punch in combination while in air. You are only good for one shot. Danny could time Matthysse and knock him out cold.
The big question is can Danny set traps for Matthysse and can how cleanly will Danny let Matthysse hit him. Danny gets hit awfully clean and that scares me.

1. In terms of percentage, what chance to you give Curtis "Showtime" Stevens to beat Gennady Golovkin and why do you choose that number?
2.  When Roy Jones was Roy Jones, how does a fight at 168 play out between him and Andre Ward?
3. Nonito Donaire gets a shot on HBO and will be two weight classes above geeting a fight with an old Vic Darchinyan, but the guy whi beat him, Guillermo Rigondeaux has no deal on HBO. Hmmm
4. You are so sure that Floyd Mayweather fights Adrien Broner. Can you just give us maybe like 3 reasons why you believe it happens?
5. How many loses would Edwin Valero have right now and if the answer is more than 0, who would it be too?
6. What happened to Tyrone Brunson?
7. I see Meldrick Taylor (kinda) promoted a show a few weeks ago. Although he didn't sound too hot (it's on YouTube), he sounded a lot better than I thought.
8. Is Ivan Robinson fat or was that just a bad angle on a picture I recently saw?
9. What's up with Tim Witherspoon?  I saw him at Friday Night Fights a few years ago at the New Alhambra and he mentioned he does commentating or something overseas. Speaking of the facility, why do they seem to change the name every year?
10. Can you give me the best all time of Philadelphia fighters in each weight class?  If you can't find a Philly guy I'll take a Pittsburgh, Camden NJ, or Delaware Valley transplant. 
Thanks, CMD

Breadís Answer: 1) 25%. GGG is not a runner heís an attacker. Stevens is a brutal counter puncher. GGG is also not super tall. So Stevens should be able to reach him. Last but not least Tavoris Cloud fought a poor fight vs Bernard Hopkins. Abel Sanchez is the trainer of both Cloud and GGG. Cloudís performance was so poor it made me think he was underprepared for Hopkins. If GGG and Sanchez do not recognize Stevensís beautiful ďcatch counter hook moveĒ, they could pay for it.
2) Ward is still writing his legacy but letís assume he is at his peak or at least 95% of it. I would say Roy by a close but clear decision. Good tactical fight.
4) Pride, ego and money.
5) Too tough of a question. A career can go in many ways. I do know before he died they were in talks for him and Tim Bradley to fight. I think he would have beat Bradley. Obviously his style was comparable to Manny Pacquiaoís. If he would have fought Pac during his crazy run from Oscar to Margarito. I would have to take Pac. Maybe 4 or 5 men in history comparable to Pacís size could have beaten him during that timeÖ.
6) I talked to Tyrone Brunson about a month ago. Heís planning a comeback at 147.
7) I love Melly Mel. All Heart. Wish him the best at whatever heís doing.
8) Donít know.
9) Tim trains fighters at our gym when heís in town. Heís a great guy. I have no idea why the New Alahambra changes its name. Iím guessing new ownershipÖ
10) Tough question bro you. Off the top without proper research I will name the great 8 divisions. Heavyweight: Joe Frazier. Lightheavyweight: Tommy Lougran. Middleweight: Bernard Hopkins. Welterweight: Virgil Akins. Lightweight: Bob Montgomery . Featherweight: Percy Basset. Bantamweight: Jeff Chandler.  Flyweight: N/A

Whatís happening Bread, great work as ever on the mailbag and congrats on you success training Julian Williams. He looks the good to me, I how he gets more exposure soon! I just wanted to get your thoughts on Vasyl LomachenkoÖ I have just heard that he is fighting the WBO ranked number 7 featherweight in his first fight & apparently they want to go after the title in his second fight. Has there ever been a fighter make such a statement in his debut? How do you think he would do against Guillermo Rigondeaux in the future, that would be mind blowing for the boxing purist!
Also, I saw something online about a sparring session between Gennady Golovkin  & Canelo Alvarez. Apparently Canelo handled him. I know sparring is sparring but how do you think this fight would play out?

Breadís Response: Thank you. We have a big one coming up on September 12th. This will be my last mailbag until after the big fight weekend. Lomanchenko looks to be every bit as good as Rigondeaux but letís wait until we see him under the bright lights without headgear so we can properly assess.  1956 Olympic gold medalist Pete Rademacher challenged Floyd Patterson for the heavyweight title in his pro debut and that didnt go too well for him.

I hear about sparring sessions all the time. Here is the thing. Of course they have some bearing on how a real fight will go. But there are so many variables to consider unless you get all of the details you shouldnít put too much into it. What part of camp a fighter was in is extremely important. If one guy was just ďmovingĒ around to stay in shape and the other guy was ďpeakingĒ for an upcoming, then usually the peaking guy will get the better. Also the weights. I can tell you right now that a guy like Canelo will probably look like a million bucks if heís around 167lbs. But trust me if he spars around 157 he will probably look drawn and drained.

You also have to consider the mentalities of certain fighters and age. Young guys or star amateurs usually want to get the better of every sparring session. That also goes for high strung violent fighters like say a Gerald McClellan. So if somebody kicks McClellanís butt, then take credence because he was probably trying to kill you during the sparring. But a laid back guy like Muhamad Ali or an older lazy guy like Roberto Duran may let you get the better of them on a consistent basis. But they wonít allow that in a fight.  I say that to say I have no idea what was going on when GGG and Canelo sparred but I wonít fall into the hype.

Hey Breadman. Why would Seth Mitchell's people put him in with a puncher after just getting KO'd by a non-puncher [Jonathon Banks, but Mitchell]? Yeah Mayhem won the rematch but was rocked silly by Banks the whole time. After Chris Arreola KO's him in 1:30 of the first he should fire his whole team and hire you.--Gabe in Prunedale, CA

Breadís Response: Seth has a quality team around him he doesnít need me. Here is the thing. Everyone is not meant to be great. I donít view Seth as a prodigy. His punch is good for a big guy but everybody 240 can punch a little bit. Heís not super fast and heís not what you call a natural. So in reality his team did a good job in getting him this far. Arreola is surely no Joe Frazier so what the heck. I think Arreola will beat him also but Seth is not over his head. Arreola has seen better days and is a career underachiever. Sometimes you have to beat somebody ďtheyĒ donít think you will beat.

A lot of people are saying Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is the biggest puncher that Floyd Mayweather will have faced thus far. I'm not so sure about that. I think Victor Ortiz was just as much of a threat in terms of his punch. What do you think? Also, how do you think Mike Tyson would have faired against the 90's version of Ray Mercer, Riddick Bowe and Holyfield? Do you think Evander would have always given him issues? I hope all is well out there with your family. I'm telling you man, you're the answer. it's only a matter of time until the rest of the world sees it. God Bless!
Sean Hall

Breadís Response: In a p4p sense I think Diego Corrales was the biggest puncher Floyd has faced. Victor Ortiz can also punch but Canelo is the best puncher Floyd has faced. Caneloís punch sequence is off the chain. He mixes some crazy uppercuts and shoots hooks to head and body off of his flow. You canít even get sparring to match how that kid runs them off.

Holyfield would have given the prime Tyson issues because of his character. I am a huge Tyson fan but lots of Tyson fans like to say Tyson was done when he and Holyfied fought in 1996. But Holyfield was 34 to Tysonís 30 and he was the big underdog who had more wear and tear on him. I do believe that Tyson was a shell of his prime but that wasnít Holyfieldís prime either.

Ray Mercer is a tough fight for Tyson because he can take a great shot and challenge Tysonís stamina. In a tough scrap I say Tyson outpoints him but maybe Iím bias. Riddick Bowe was a great talent but he only beat one great fighter and that was Evander Holyfield. I would have liked to see Bowe fight more good or great fighters from that Golden Era. Bowe was all that and a bag of chips but he got hit really clean to me. Even in his prime, look at the Pierre Coetzer fight. I say Mike on his best night beats him because Boweís defensive reaction time was only average at best.

RIP Tommy "The Duke" Morrison. One of the baddest, most vicious left hooks in the game. Can you analyze that for us, Bread? Also, any stories on the guy?-- Carlo Castillo,  Manila, Philippines

Breadís Response: I donít have any stories on Morrison but yes his left hook was money. He threw it loose and accurate. He could lead or counter with it. He loved it so much he fought squared up which hurt his defense but he was a great left hooker. One of the best in the history of the division. RIP Tommy Morrison.

What's up Bread? Long time reader but first time writing in. I have a question for your boxing eyes. You see, my pops has been sick with cancer for a while now and he's not able to get out like he used to. So I've been spending a lot of time with him, making sure he doesn't go stir-crazy being inside so much. One of the things we've been doing is going back and watching all the old fights from his favorite fighter of all time, Big George Foreman. I wanted to know what your boxing eyes tell you about his skill level before and after his comeback. I don't trust my own eyes as well as I trust yours but to me, Foreman seemed to be really raw and unpolished.

My pops loved him because he just bulldozed opponents. I've heard a few people who were involved in his early career say he had the most devistating power that boxing has ever known, and when you have power like that, you don't need a lot of skill. But to you, was what pre-comeback Foreman did in the ring skillful or just an angry bull that charged in and pounded opponents into dust?

After his comeback, I noticed he put punches together better, threw straighter, and countered more. He seemed to be more patient and more comfortable in the center of the ring. I don't know if that was trained into him or if he was just older and didn't have the "young man's body" to fight like he used to, but it seemed to serve him. It makes me wonder how is early career would have differed had he fought like that way back when. Style vs style, I wonder how the Ali fight would have gone down had George not just pushed Ali to the ropes and pounded away. My guess is that any change from what Foreman did in the Ali fight would have resulted in a faster stoppage and that against Ali, Foreman fought the best fight he could have.

Hope this question makes sense. Look forward to a reply. God bless.-- Nate

Breadís Response: For people who think the early George Foreman had no skill they donít know what they are looking at. Look at his combination vs Ken Norton that got Norton in trouble. George threw a jab, hook uppercut combo with his left hand and never brought his arm back to reset. Wow!

George is also one of the best ever at cutting the ring off. He had good feet. He winged wide punches at times but that was for a reason. The reason was leverage. When a man is balling up in a shell, sometimes the straight punches donít get through. So George winged round punches when he had you on the ropes or in a balled up spot.

George Foreman is the most powerful who has ever stepped in a boxing ring. Heís a real killer and one of the best fighters to ever live not just heavyweights. If you combine the physicality of the young George with the savvy of the old George we could have the best heavyweight ever.

Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, maybe Tim Bradley and some others. . . Who else fights at or above their walk around weight? Do these guys get the credit they should, when a lot of fighters sweat down to a weight class or two below their natural weight? There's obviously pros and cons to both. Can you touch on the subject? Isn't that more old school or am I just fishing to give these guys more accolades.-- John in Richmond, VA

Breadís Response: I believe Floyd and Manny fight at a more natural weight. I believe Tim Bradley fights a t a natural weight also but he is different. Bradley gets up really high after fights. Look how fat his face in the pre fight press stuff. Obviously he is not a super welterweight so welterweight is the best weight for him but Tim walks around too heavy. You lose your career like that.

I think Tim will suffer against Marquez for that reason among others. Fighters in general lie about their weight. Especially in this day and age. They always round up to 2 weight divisions above. For example a welterweight will say he walks around at no more than 160. Thatís usually a lie. Just look at what they rehydrate up to. They walk around more like 165 or 170. If you donít believe me spring a scale on an elite level fighter a month out from their fight.

The pros to this is if you have a smart team and as long as youíre not overdoing it you can walk around 15 to 20lbs over your fight weight and replenish and be super strong. 85% of the guys do it that way. Over the years I have picked up on some great techniques to cut weight and rehydrate properly. I actually have it down to a science now but you will be surprised how ignorant a lot of the fighters and their teams are. Cons..Me personally over time I think this does wear on fighters. I believe fighters should allow themselves to get no more than 10lbs over their division weights.

I personally believe  fighters today have short number of fights in their primes because they cut weight too much. Itís stressful, mentally and physically. And rarely do you see a fighters who struggles to make weight have a long career at the weight they were struggling at. Lots of times their careers get cut short in general because sometimes you canít make a weight that you should be fighting at. Diego Corrales shouldnít have moved up. He was a monster 135. Arturo Gatti was the same way at 130. But they both walked around too heavy and it stressed their bodies too much. Cutting their primes short.

Back in the day fighters fought 70 and 80 fights in a shorter time span because they didnít have to stress themselves out. Trust me on this, making weight is a huge dilemma. The reason why Floyd and Manny are successful is because they are dynamic. Moving up in weight is not for everybody. Thatís why it amazed me so much Abner Mares moved up 3 divisions in that short period of time. Heís a skillful fighter but heís not dynamic. Athletic dynamic fighters can fight close to their walking around weight. A guy like Chris John or Carl Froch wonít be able to do that because they are made for their weights. So they have to be discipline outside of the ring. Feel me?

Mr. Edwards,
Iíve written in off and on since you started doing the mail bag. I wanna say that I appreciate the fact that youíve always put me on over the years. As you know, Iíve always been one of the biggest Floyd fans that have written in. Sometimes you agreed with the things I wrote and sometimes not. Nevertheless, I do appreciate the feedback youíve given.  Weíre about a week out from the fight and I wanted to give my take on things. I remember some months back a few guys, including myself, weíre debating on your facebook page and I stated that Floyd would retire undefeated as long as he stays clear of Canelo at í54. Obviously, the fight is not taking place at í54, but I do believe itís close enough. Therefore, as much as it pains me to admit, I think this is the end of the road for Floyd. I envision this fight playing out in one of two ways: Floyd getting stopped or Floyd losing a decision. Lets start from the decision point of view. If the fight is somewhat close I DO NOT see Floyd getting a decision. I think heíll get the same treatment Bernard got against Jermain Taylor. I believe Canelo will get the benefit of the doubt in those close rounds. Now, as far a knockout goes, hereís my logic on that. We all know that Canelo punches in combination and I think thatís the recipe for breaking the shoulder roll guard. I mean, think of the elite guys in years past that employed that style. . . . .who did they get beaten by? And, how did they beat em? Roy used speed/combos and was always in Jamesí blind spot. Most guys when they fight Floyd will try to box. . .throwing single shots or even doubling up. Floyd can deal with that cuz he can roll, slip and use movement. However, when a guy is throwing 3 or 4 punch combos, something is gonna land. Which coincidently, is the reason I think he avoided Manny. I donít think it was a PED issue. I think it was, stylistically speaking, a bad match up for Floyd and the Mayweathers knew it. Anyway, I think itíll be a left hook to the body or head that hurts Floyd and I think this punch will be part of a combo. In addition, Canelo showed me some nice head movement against Austin Trout. Not that Trout is on Floydís level but it did show that heís not as easy to hit as some claim.
Bread, perhaps you can talk me down off of this cliff, but I do think the time has arrived.
Breadís Response: Dam bro you are the first Floyd fan to write in and say that. If it makes you feel better I think Floyd will win. I believe heís going to move. Simple. Floyd Senior cares for his son in a special way. Follow me. He instructs him to fight a fight that he may not even instruct one of his other fighters to fight. For example he told Mickey Bey to finish John Molina. Iím not so sure he would have told Floyd to finish a puncher like Molina in the last round of a fight.
I donít view Guerrero as a big puncher and look how careful Big Floyd had his son fight. He fought a beautiful fight and he received very little punishment. I donít care what the talk is I donít believe Floyd will fight Canelo in the box. If I believed that I would agree with you. But I donít believe that.

I agree that combination punching is the way to beat the shoulder roll. But the shoulder roll is only implemented when Floyd is stationary or walking you down. He wonít be in that form often with Canelo. The reason why we agree that Manny is a bad style matchup is because of his fast feet. He could end up behind Floydís shoulder all night. Caneloís feet are nowhere near as fast.

Canelo has a legit puncherís chance but I believe Floyd will be on his Ps and Qs. He knows this kid is a threat or else he wouldnít have asked for a catchweight. He didnít take Canelo lightly. Now while I am picking Floyd I will say that I believe the crowd will play a part in the outcome. If the crowd influences the judges and the judges view Floydís ďboxingĒ as ďrunningĒ then we could have a rematch. The more I think about it the more I view this as a logical outcome but Iím not going to pick against Floyd in this fight. Not with the way he moved and boxed in his last fight. So I say Floyd 115-113 with a possible rematch anyway. One more thing. The judges in the Guerrero fight gave Guerrero 3 rounds apiece. Take note. My eyes did not see Guerrero win 3 rounds. No way. At best he won oneÖÖ

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