The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Canelo Alvarez vs. Joe Smith, David Benavidez and Artur Beterbiev, Terence Crawford's lawsuit against Top Rank, Gervonta Davis vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko, Deontay Wilder, and more. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
Joe Smith just made the comment that he deserved the Canelo Alvarez fight. Do you agree with him? I think Beterbiev and Benavidez deserve the fight way more than he does. I like Smith but I think he’s at the back of the line.
Bread’s Response: He may be at the back of the line but of course I agree with him! He’s a world champion and he’s just one division higher than Canelo. He actually holds the belt that Canelo won at light heavyweight. Smith didn’t say he deserved the fight MORE than anyone else. He said he deserved it. Every fighter should want to fight the best. Every fighter wants the career payday.
Why would that bother you that Smith said he deserves the Canelo fight? I have seen fighters shy away from great opportunities. Smith is making himself available and just because he may not deserve it as much as Beterbiev that doesn’t mean he won’t get it. He actually may have a shot at it because he’s perceived as less dangerous.
Now out of the guys you guys ask me about in my mailbag I do think some are more deserved than others even though I don’t like the word. I would say Artur Beterbiev is #1 as far as accomplishments. He’s a unified champion. He’s undefeated. He has the best wins out of the 6 fighters you guys have asked me about. He’s the most highly regarded in terms of P4P. If Canelo can beat him, it would be a titanic win.
#2 Would be David Benavidez. Benavidez is undefeated. He’s an all action fighter. He has charisma and a big fan base in Phoenix. He also is at 168 with Canelo and he’s the top contender among the WBC. Benavidez is the best fighter at 168 that Canelo has NOT fought.
#3 Jermall Charlo. Undefeated. Champion since 2015. From Houston a largely populated city with Latinos. Colorful personality. Big puncher.
#4 Demetrius Andrade. Champion since 2013. Again undefeated. Good talker. Not as large as a fan base as Charlo or Benavidez but he does have personality.
#5 Dmitry Bivol. Bivol has lost his career momentum. At one time he was approaching P4P top 10 status. I don’t know what happened. But he still hasn’t lost. And in the ring wins count. Out of all of the guys on the list. He’s the only won who has a win over the other. He beat Joe Smith.
#6 Joe Smith. Smith is a big puncher from NY. He has the perfect common man story. His name is Joe Smith. I t doesn’t get any better than that. He also is the only White AMerican world champion currently. The media would eat this up. Race does count in promoting fights. So in my opinion all of these guys have cases for getting the fight. It’s just up to Canelo to send the paperwork. Joe Smith has as good a chance as anyone else.
What did you mean when you said” Sometimes you have to take a short just to play the long game to get the fight you want.” In reference to Terence Crawford? I have a feeling but I don’t want to assume.
Bread’s Response: Everyone has an opinion on Crawford’s lawsuit but until it’s over no one knows if he’s right or wrong. I was NOT referring to the lawsuit. I really don’t know about it. I have never worked with Bob Arum…..However, I do know that Arum has made some counterproductive comments about Terence Crawford when he said he lost money promoting him. That’s basically saying that Crawford’s ticket sales didn’t cover the money he put up. In future negotiations that hurts Crawford. The opposing team will bring it up and throw it in Crawford’s face. It’s damaging in terms of negotiation power. So I get why Crawford is upset.
But my comment was specifically about getting the fight Crawford wants. It’s obvious Terence Crawford wants Errol Spence’s head. They are from the same era. Spence is 31, Crawford is 34. They are about 2 ½ years apart. They have both been champions at 147lbs for about 4 years together. Both are undefeated and both are in the top 10 P4P. You can tell Crawford is really seething to fight Spence.
I have seen fighters want “their” big fight. Ray Leonard wanted Hagler. He took less money. Floyd Mayweather wanted Oscar de La Hoya. He took less money. Evander Holyfield wanted Mike Tyson. He took less money….Winky Wright was an avoided fighters for many years. He had to take some shorts in order to get on the big PPV stage. I would make an educated guess and say Wright made more money in his fights vs Mosley2x, Trinidad, Taylor and Hopkins than he did in his entire career combined. That 1st Mosley fight set it off. Crawford doesn’t need it to show how GOOD he is, he needs it to show how BIG he is.
I’m not saying that Crawford should take less money to fight Spence. But I am saying it’s an option to be explored because history has shown that fighters more popular than Crawford have bit the bullet and took less money to get what they wanted and it worked if they won. Exploring every option is important in boxing, because time is NOT on the fighter’s side. The system can wait you out until the timing of a bout is off or until you aren’t at your best anymore. Again I would never suggest to any fighter unless I personally worked with him how much money they should or shouldn’t take. I’m just making a point to exhaust every option in order to get what you want. And in negotiations, you can negotiate contingencies IF you win. Don’t forget that.
From the outside looking in with Spence having more belts and having better PPV numbers. I just don’t know if Spence would give up 50/50 to anyone at 147lbs not named Pacquiao. Every fight has an estimated POT of money and estimated projection of what the fight will make. No one wants to LOSE money. And what percentage of money each will make is usually based on past gate or PPV performance and projected performance because of a certain opponent. Sometimes the mix of both opponents enhance each other. In this case Spence’s numbers are better and I can just guess it’s why Crawford is not happy with Top Rank because again this will be used against him at the negotiating table.
However, I want to say that I think Spence’s PPV numbers will go up as well if he fights Crawford. They will enhance each other’s profile because this would be the best opponent Spence has faced. In Spence’s other PPV fights, he was the clear favorite. In this fight I suspect he would be a slight underdog. Everyone who watches boxing from a hardcore to a casual standpoint would be intrigued by this fight. It’s not Mayweather vs Pacquiao but it would be huge for this ERA. At this moment it may be tough to accept but Errol Spence has the upper hand. He has a larger POOL of opponents to pick from. He gets the fights he wants delivered to him. PBC has not only more welterweights but they have the junior middleweight division on lock.
If Spence beats Ugas, he can move up and he has a choice of about 5 high profile or ex world champions at 154. Crawford doesn’t have these options. Then there is the X factor that no one realizes. Jaron “Boots” Ennis is ASCENDING. He’s going to be one of their mandatories soon. I don’t think either Spence or Crawford is scared to fight Ennis. But I think they both would rather fight each other than fight him. He’s a lot younger, he has less name value and he “could” be more dangerous. He appears to have more natural talent than both……That’s not the recipe that ageing stars usually try to feast on.
Ennis is one of the most highly regarded challengers who has never been a champion that we have seen in quite some time. If he becomes a mandatory it would be on the level of Riddick Bowe challenging Holyfield, Meldrick Taylor challenging Buddy McGirt, Jermaine Taylor challenging Bernard Hopkins and Ray Leonard challenging Wilfred Benitez. Where the challenger who has never been a world champion is given a better than average chance to defeat a GREAT champion.
Overall I hope things work out for Terence Crawford. Crawford and his team have come a long way. They really grinded to get to where they are. They took a tough fight vs Breidis Prescott over the weight to GET ON. They went to Ricky Burns’s backyard to get their first title. They won all 4 belts at 140lbs. And at welterweight they are trying to put their stake in the ground to be ATG. But this is a tough business. A very tough business.
I'm really enjoying some of the latest questions/answers on training methods and intricacies of making weight. It's a good change of pace from Crawford–Spence all the time. Do you train any heavyweights? Taking heavyweight punches on pads must be hell on the hands and shoulders; I once took a light heavyweight guy's punches on the pads and my shoulders felt wrecked for days.
What are your favorite weight classes to train? Do you get more thrills from the blazing speed of the lighter weights, or the hand-jarring power of the higher weights? Besides Ben Davison, what other good upcoming trainers should we be looking out for in fighters' corners?
Bread’s Response: I’ve only trained one heavyweight and their density and size does make a difference when they hit the pads but if you know how to hold the pads your joints will be fine. But I can tell who the hardest punchers are in a P4P sense. The best puncher I have held the pads for is a 154lber. The hardest punchers in terms of a P4P sense is a 3 way tie between a 122lber, 135lber and a 147lber. The best and the hardest is different. I don’t have a favorite weight class to train. I will train anyone. But training a heavyweight I had to learn to train at a different pace. So it was a good thing to learn because in boxing you have never attain too much knowledge. I get the most thrills from a fighter who can practice something in the gym then do it in a fight. I don’t care about the weight.
Good up and coming trainers….. There are so many…. Rashiem Jefferson and Hamza Muhammad out of Philadelphia are both really good. I like Shane McGuigan in the UK. I liked the guy who worked in Joe Joyce’s corner vs Daniel Dubois. I don’t know his name but his instructions were exquisite. There is a trainer in the North Jersey area named Dwyke Flemings. He has a son who just turned pro that really bump. He’s done a fantastic job with him.
What’s going on? Happy new year to you. The mailbag is as great as ever. I’m bummed we lost GGG-Murata and especially Ioka-Ancajas at the end of the year, but the lightweights gave us some excitement for days at the end of the year. We all love big upsets in boxing, and no one predicted Kambosos over Lopez. Props to him--the speed and timing were something else--but I hope Teo comes back strong. That said, after Lomachenko’s gorgeous display of boxing against the always-dangerous Richard Commey I was reminded of life before Teo’s win over Loma, when the biggest matchup I wanted to see at 135 was Tank-Loma. I like both fighters, and consider them both elite. Yes, it’s time for Tank to prove it vs. an elite fighter.
After watching Davis outpoint Pitbull Cruz (clearly but not overwhelmingly in my view) I realized that Tank-Loma is still THE matchup I want to see at lightweight. How about you? Why are boxing fans not clamoring for this fight? It should be right there with Spence-Crawford. What a brilliant style matchup! This fight would be an instant classic. On paper it kind of reminds me of Whitaker-McGirt, though neither of their fights were classics, but still…on paper the possibilities are enormous. Yes, I’m interested in seeing Kambosos-Haney unify or Kambosos-Loma, etc. or any of the Ring top 10 go at it, but at this point in their careers I suspect Tank-Loma would be sublime. I know it’s a longshot because of Mayweather and the PBC, but for this 50-50 fight I’m actually leaning slightly toward Tank. They’re both masters of distance and timing and Tank’s footwork is excellent even if it’s not on Loma’s level (whose footwork is?).
Davis is not only a puncher; he’s a superb boxer--again, not equal to Loma but definitely in the same league. Loma is such an accurate yet elusive sharpshooter in the pocket, and Tank is great from mid-range but also pretty good inside. They both have Ferrari engines, too. I feel that, as he did against Lopez, Loma will be too wary of Tank’s power and give away too many rounds. Dream the dream and tell me how you see this fight playing out. Also, which fight do you want to see most at lightweight? I’m assuming Lopez moves up. Who wins these and why? Kambosos-HaneyKambosos-LomaKambosos-CruzKambosos-DiazHaney-LomaHaney-Tank
--Mark in LA
Bread’s Response: I agree. In terms of action I feel Loma vs Tank is the best fight to be made at 135lbs. I have always thought that Tank would be competitive with Loma. I have no idea who wins at this point. But I will say that Teo has more range than Tank. It wasn’t just Teo’s power that tamed Loma early. It was the range he could hit him at and not be hit himself. Loma is a mid range and inside fighter. So is Tank. So Tank wouldn’t keep Loma at the same range Teo did. I’m not saying Loma beats him. But I’m pointing out the style issue is different with Tank than it was Teofimo Lopez.
Boxing is so intriguing. Kambosos has the great win over Lopez. But Tank, Loma and Haney would all be favorites to beat Kambosos. It’s weird but true.
Legacies are not reevaluated very often but they should. Of late, people have started to reevaluate the legacy of Harry Greb. Some have even rebranded him GOAT over Sugar Ray Robinson, though his case is hurt by the fact that there are no videos of his fights. Anyway, like most experts, even I consider SRR the GOAT and I doubt I would change it even if Greb's fight videos are available. I recently heard Teddy Atlas state that his GOAT is Hank Armstrong. I immediately started to think why he shouldn't and could not come out with a lot of arguments against it. He was a 3 weight champion in an era of much fewer weight classes and just one belt. In a farer world, he would have been a 4 weight champion.
Robinson was a boxer puncher who could box like hell. In fact, he was remarkably tall for his time. Even light heavyweights were rarely as tall as him in that era. He never had to swim against the current like Hank. He never had to outbox an elite opponent that was taller than him and had longer arms. Hank not only defeated elite outfighters, he outbrawled elite brawlers and swarmers that were much bigger than him. That is what I call swimming against the current. He weighed roughly 143 lbs when he fought for middleweight title. He fought 181 times and had a remarkably long career for a swarmer. Anyone who thinks he is not as fast as modern boxers needs to watch 'The Pittsburgh Kid' and see the scene where he is sparring Billy Conn. Saying that SRR is better cause he beat him is like saying Berbick was better than Ali because he beat him. Tell me, why shouldn't Henry Armstrong be considered the GOAT? I can't think of any good reason. Also, one very interesting mythical matchup - Henry Armstrong vs Pernell Whitaker.
Bread’s Response: Great post. I have also been aware of the Greb reevaluation recently. It’s bizarre because his opponents haven’t changed since he’s been reevaluated….I personally rate Greb extremely high because of his competition faced and accomplishments. Greb is not only one of the best middleweights ever but he’s one of the best light heavyweights ever also. There is enough video of his opponents to know he was a great. Tiger Flowers, Mickey Walker and Gene Tunney were among the best fighters in the world in the early 19th century. But I don’t put Greb over Robinson because I haven’t seen him. He’s firmly entrenched in the top 10 but I can’t rate him as the best when there is no video.
Henry Armstrong gets slightly underrated at times….I think it’s because of his style. Although an elite swarmer is the most physically imposing style of them all. It seems prehistoric and unsophisticated. I often see Armstrong being picked against in hypothetical match ups because of this and I don’t get it. I have read experts pick against him when being matched with Willie Pep, Sandy Saddler, Roberto Duran and many bigger welterweights. I get some of the welterweights like a Tommy Hearns but I’m not as sure as the other experts. Emanuel Steward once said that Hearns was murder vs anyone who tried to box him. But his Achilles heel is if you swarmed him and got under him. Who better than Armstrong? It’s thought that Armstrong would be too small but I think his stature worked for him vs welterweights. He had better stamina, more physical strength and you correctly stated, he was as fast as all get out.
In the 1930s Barney Ross was considered one of the best 10 fighters in the history of the young sport. Let’s remember Joe Louis was young, Robinson was still a teenager, and the just recently retired greats weren’t as appreciated as they grew to be. Armstrong completely took him apart in the best win of the 1930s. Armstrong was the simultaneously the champion in 3 divisions. But he didn’t defend the featherweight title so…So after he beat Ross for the welterweight title he wins the lightweight crown vs another ATG in Lou Ambers. There is something that smells fishy about the Ambers bouts. In his 2 bouts vs Ambers he was penalized 9 points! In a close bout vs a great fighter that’s monumental. So he loses the rematch to Ambers for the lightweight title and continues his reign as welterweight champion. During this time up until he lost his welterweight title to Fritzie Zivic he was on best run in the history of boxing. From the beginning of 1936 when he dropped 2 decisions up a until his lost to Zivic in late 1940. Henry Armstrong was 69-2-1. Both losses and draw were against fighters he previously defeated or avenged. This run is still among the top 5 in the history of boxing.
I think Armstrong suffers slightly from the weight jumping. In his weight where he made his title defenses and set his legacy, welterweight, he’s considered too small for the modern welterweight. But he has no title defenses of the lightweight and featherweight crowns. I think it’s unfair but it does have some substance.
Yes you’re correct again about being a fairer world. If Armstrong gets the nod in the DRAW vs Ceferino Garcia who had previously defeated his a 4 division champion in an 8 division era. That would have been insane. And if he doesn’t get 5 points deducted vs Ambers in the rematch, he could have set a bigger legacy at 135. So he’s without a doubt on the level. By the way I have watched Armstrong extensively and I think he most likely beats every fighter in history who’s naturally 135lb or less besides Duran which is 50/50. In this era, Armstrong would be a junior lightweight.
So I would pick him to defeat Whitaker. Whitaker is a glider and with the type of pressure that Armstrong puts on, he makes gliders glide too fast. Whitaker would never be able to set his feet to punch and constantly being made to move would be physically draining. I think their fight would look like Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali’s 1st fight. You have to fight Armstrong to beat him or be a murderous puncher strong enough to hold him off.
Now here is why I make the case for Robinson being slightly greater. First off Armstrong being SHOT when he fought Robinson gets exaggerated. He wasn’t at his peak anymore but he wasn’t shot. Ali was shot when he fought Trevor Berbick…... Before Armstrong fought Robinson he was on a 7 fight win streak. After he fought Robinson he went on an 11 fight win streak. Shot fighters don’t do that. In the year previous to the Robinson fight he avenged his loss to Fritize Zivic who seemed to have his number. And right before he fought Robinson, Henry Armstrong defeated the great Sammy Angott. You guys may not know who Angott is but he was a great lightweight champion of the 1940s. Armstrong beat Angott when Angott was in prime form. In fact in the fight before he fought Armstrong, Angott beat Willie Pep who was 62-0 giving Pep his 1st loss. Angott went on the regain the lightweight title shortly after losing to Armstrong.
So again, the myth of Armstrong being completely shot in 1943 when he lost to Ray Robinson is not true. He was a great champion who past his peak but still an excellent fighter. Robinson was 5’11 with a 72inch reach. So yes he was a big welterweight for his day. But he would be a big welterweight for this day and any other day. Context. Robinson is taller or longer than Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya, Wilfred Benitez, Shane Mosley, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, Terence Crawford, Errol Spence, Donald Curry, Buddy McGirt, Pernell Whitaker, Pipino Cuevas, Simon Brown, Marling Starling, Emille Griffith and Jose Napoles.
The truth is Robinson has either more height and more reach than any significant welterweight in history for the exceptions of Mark Breland, Tommy Hearns, Vernon Forest, Paul Williams and Felix Trinidad. Just 5 in over 100 years!
You can go back to Armstrong and his era of Barney Ross and Jimmy McClarnin to before with Mickey Walker, to before him with Ted Lewis. The average welterweight stands between 5’7-5’9 with a reach of 67-70 inches. If Robinson were around in 2022 he wouldn’t be swimming against the current today if he were a middleweight! So while what you said is true, context must also be stated.
This is one of the reasons why I feel like Robinson grades higher over time. You don’t view him as a fighter who would be good in just his era. However, I do think Armstrong would be a monster in any era also, it’s just that he may be viewed as small for a modern welterweight. As I stated Armstrong had a run from 1936-40 that was as good as any run in history. But it’s tough to overcome Robinson’s run from 1940-1952. Robinson’s peak run from the start of his career until he kod Rocky Graziano in 1952, his record was 131-2-2. Both draws were avenged and both losses were avenged by ko. Robinson was 31 yrs old. For as good as Armstrong’s run was, Robinson’s peak was longer and more dominant. And just like Armstrong in a more fairer world Robinson would have also been a 4 division champion.
Many don’t realize that WWII really effected Robinson’s rise to greatness. It’s documented that he had to wait until he was 73-1 to get a shot at the welterweight title. But what many don’t know is that he turned pro at lightweight and he fought there for his first 20 fights also defeating the HOF Sammy Angott in a non title fight. He actually defeated Angott 3x as just a young contender. So what if Robinson’s non title fight vs Angott was a title shot. In contrast Willie Pep of the same era, got a title shot much, much earlier than fighters like Robinson and Ezzard Charles. Robinson, Charles and Pep are all roughly the same age and turned pro close to the same time.
Freddie Cochrane was the welterweight champion during the WAR. He beat Fritizie Zivic, who had conquered the great Henry Armstrong. The leading contenders were Ray Robinson and Marty Servo. Robinson and Servo fought twice! They were undefeated in contenders in their 1st fight. Robinson won both bouts the last was in 1942. In 1946 when the FREEZE was sort of over as far as title shots opening up, Servo got the shot at Freddie Cochrane. Robinson was active during the war fighting over 30 times. Servo defeated Cochrane and then vacated his title a few months later, in which Robinson won the vacant title vs Tommy Bell. It’s pretty clear what happened to Robinson without me going into detail.
By the time he got his title shot, he started to outgrow the welterweight division. Most of the fights he took from 1947-1951 he weighed around 155lbs. So Robinson never got a title shot at 135 although he beat the best lightweight. His title shot at 147 was ridiculously delayed and he beat the best welterweights including the fighter who eventually got a title shot in Marty Servo. And in 1940s and early 1950s he had already defeated the best middleweights of the era in Jake Lamotta and Bobo Olson. So he gets a shot at the middleweight crown in 1951. He’s already past his APEX but still in his prime. At 30 years old with over 100 fights in that era, you’re past it.
In 1952 Robinson SWIMS against the current vs Joey Maxim. Maxim was a HOF light heavyweight who is the 1st fighter to defeat the great Floyd Patterson and future heavyweight champion. Robinson loses for the 1st and only time by tko in the 13th round by not coming out for the 14th round due to heat exhaustion. Robinson was winning 10-3, 9-3-1, and 7-3-3 on the official scorecards. The referee who was not taking any punches collapsed and had to be replaced during the fight. Credit to Maxim, he was fighting in the same heat. But if Robinson wins that fight under normal circumstances.
So here we have a man who was the best lightweight, welterweight and middleweight in the world for prolonged periods of time. A man who was soundly outboxing a HOF light heavyweight champion who weighed 173lbs, while he weighed 157lbs. A man who won the middleweight title 5x and each of the fighters he won it from was younger than him and a HOF. Let’s add one more thing. In 1960 Robinson lost his middleweight title for the last time without regaining in to Paul Pender. He was 39 years old and his record was 143-6-2. He was now SHOT. 13 of his losses and 4 of his draws came in the 1960s when he was DONE. But Robinson knew how to muster great nights. He lost 2 split decisions to Pender. And he caught a dubious draw to Gene Fulmer for the NBA middleweight title. Now with his record not so perfect it was easier to score fights against him. Robinson most likely deserved the win in the draw vs Fulmer which turned out to be his last vintage night.
For as great as Armstrong was, Robinson’s peak was equal or better and he lasted much longer. Charles and Pep the other best fighters of the 1940s came close but they also couldn’t match Robinson. Pep’s record was just as good but he was stopped way more, Robinson fought better competition and was relevant longer as far as winning title fights. Robinson outlasted Charles by a lot. Was again stopped way less and his peak was again equal or better. There is no fighter who could match him when you factor in everything. And I’m not a person who has nostalgic bias.
I believe Roberto Duran is on par if he doesn’t quit vs Ray Leonard and eeks out the Hagler decision and retires. I believe Roy Jones could have been on par if he made better choices late in his career. Mainly not being enticed by Antonio Tarver. I believe Ray Leonard is on par if he had more fights and doesn’t go stagnant from 1982-87. I believe Tommy Hearns is on par if he simply beats Hagler and Leonard. I believe Floyd Mayweather is on par if he fights Manny Pacquiao in 2009-10 and doesn’t retire in 2007 after the Hatton fight and cleans up the crop of relevant welterweights. I believe Manny Pacquiao is on par if he beats Floyd Mayweather.
There are fighters who are on par with Robinson. But no one quite did it. I get that no one after 1980 will have 100 fights. But if you consistently fight the best available fighters in your era, you remain a top fighter for a prolonged period and you have elite skill and athleticism with the eye ball test, it’s all we can ask. No one has a time machine. But Robinson did that more than anyone else for longer than anyone else. So I grade Armstrong very high. Top 5. I just can’t put anyone over Robinson even with forensic examination.
I read your twitter comments about Ray Leonard deserving Fighter of the 80s. I also know you’re big Michael Spinks fan, but I also thought it was a foregone opinion that Leonard was the Fighter of the 80s. Can you give your list of the Fighter’s of the past Decades and best 10 wins of each decades?
Bread’s Response: First off I respect the job that the publication did. I actually agree with each FOD they have since the 60s-Present except the 80s. So I agree with Ali 60s, Duran 70s, Jones 90s, Pac 00s, Mayweather 10s. I have no issue with any of those picks although Whitaker deserves some consideration in the 90s and Mayweather may have a case for the 00s but overall the picks were good.
I am a huge Michael Spinks fan. I have defended his legacy several times in my mailbag. But I didn’t agree with Spinks being FOD 80s. I can see a case for him but in order to make that case you have to REACH AROUND Ray Leonard. In making a case for Leonard you don’t have to REACH AROUND Spinks.
To be fair....The case for Spinks is he’s the best lightheavyweight of the best era ever of lightheavyweights. He won his title from an excellent HOF level fighter in Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. He defended his title 10x with 8 kos with only one controversial decision to Eddie Davis. He unified against a legitimate great fighter and HOF vs Dwight Qawi in a terrific boxing exhibition. After his 10 defense he jumped 25lbs to fight an undefeated 48-0 heavyweight champion in Larry Holmes and still gave up 21lbs. He won the first fight legitimately. He then defended the lineal crown 3x. He had a controversial decision win vs Holmes in the rematch. He then defeated Stefan Tangstad and Gerry Cooney before running into a prime killing machine in Mike Tyson. Not only is Spinks underrated, he’s underappreciated. He took no tune ups to fight Holmes. He was going to give Muhammad a rematch if Muhammad wasn’t overweight. And he didn’t duck Qawi who was one of the more intimidating fighters of the era.
I will also even concede that because of Spink’s knee injury, he ascent was slower than Leonard’s even though they both came out of same Olympic class. Spinks had a very slow 1979 where as Leonard got a lot of his work as far as defeating Ring rated contenders done in 1979. Leonard also won his first title in 1979 vs Wilfred Benitez where as Spinks won his in 1981 vs Muhammad. So Spinks got all of his work done in the 1980s. Leonard was already a great fighter in the 1970s. In fact Leonard won FOY in 1979.
But during their respective careers at no time was Spinks a bigger star or considered a better fighter. No publications that I can remember or have researched had Spinks ever over Leonard. Spinks has more title defenses because his reigns were uninterrupted. But Leonard’s wins over Duran, Hearns and Hagler are in my opinion better than Spinks best wins. Not by a mile but by enough. Duran, Hearns and Hagler were all considered the best P4P fighters in the world at the TIME Ray Leonard beat them. And for as good as Spinks’s rise to heavyweight was fighting Holmes. Leonard did basically the same thing vs Hagler going up to middleweight after a 3 year lay off. After Leonard retired in 1982, Hagler was considered the world’s best fighter. In 1985 he made it clear with his victory over Tommy Hearns. In fact Donald Curry was actually rated over Spinks during those times.
In 1987 Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler were fighting for the FOD. Leonard won and I think people still have an issue with it. If Hagler had won that fight I strongly believe he would have been named FOD. I hate even saying this because of the respect I have for Spinks. But if had won his fight vs Mike Tyson in 1988, I feel his case would be super strong. But he didn’t win the fight. It happened. The result does count. I don’t hold it against him in terms of his greatness and I think it’s unfair that he’s remembered my millennials as some blown up light heavyweight. Because he was an excellent heavyweight and he was the lineal champion. But he didn’t win that super fight which would have put him over the edge.
In the 1980s Spinks never won FOY. Not once. He was also not considered the world’s best fighter at any moment during the decade. I don’t believe that’s a prerequisite because consistency does count. But it is relevant and most if not all of the other winners of FOD, were at least FOY once during the decade they won it. They were also considered the world’s best fighter at a certain point during that time. So Leonard’s peak was slightly higher, he had more huge wins and he was viewed as the better fighter at their best by a small but mostly consensus margin. Leonard was also a bigger star during the 80s and the only other fighter that can rival that is Mike Tyson who had a perfect record during the 80s.
I have seen several publications of past fighters of the decade. I have never seen one where Spinks was named Fighter of the 80s. Not that the publication who voted for him has to vote as others did, but I don’t understand what changed since 1990 in terms of their achievements. Leonard did nothing in the 90s and Spinks retired in 1988. I believe that Spinks has a case for a top 3 ever at light heavyweight. I believe he’s top 4-5 fighters of the 80s decade. But this one really caught me off guard as much as I admire Spinks.
Several fighters had good cases along with Spinks. Tyson, Chavez and Sanchez. Hagler and Hearns lost to Leonard so I feel like Leonard’s case is better than theirs although they should be rated high. I have Hagler at #2 for the decade personally. But I feel like Leonard was the best fighter and biggest star of the era. He was the straw that stirred up the masses. He was the guy in the 1980s.
I don’t have time to the 10 best wins of each decade. I have a deadline. But I will do the 10 best wins of each decade off the top of my head from the 80s until present. In no order.....
1. Duran over Leonard
2. Leonard over Duran
3. Leonard over Hearns
4. Pryor over Arguello
5. Sanchez over Gomez
6. Hagler over Hearns
7. Leonard over Hagler
8. Spinks over Holmes
9. Tyson over Spinks
10. Duran over Barkley
1. Chavez over Taylor1
2. Douglas over Tyson
3. Bowe over Holyfield1
4. Holyfield over Bowe2
5. Holyfield over Tyson1
6. Jones over Toney
7. Whitaker over Chavez although it was scored a draw
8. Carbajal over Gonzalez1
9. Hearns over Hill
10. Foreman over Moorer
1. Hopkins over Tito
2. Hopkins over Tarver
3. Tarver over Jones2
4. Jones over Ruiz
5. Mosley over De La Hoya1
6. Pacquaio over Barrera1
7. Pacquiao over De La Hoya
8. Pacquiao over Cotto
9. Mayweather over Corrales
10. Barrera over Hamed
1. Mayweather over Pacquiao
2. Mayweather over Canelo
3. Marquez over Pacquiao4
4. Pacquiao over Thurman
5. Fury over Wilder2
6. Ward over Kovalev2
7. Canelo over GGG2
8. Gonzalez over Estrada1
9. Cotto over Martinez
10. Rigondeaux over Donaire
So far.....Lopez over Loma. Fury over Wilder3. Usyk over Joshua. Taylor over Ramirez
Hey Mr Edwards,
Compliments of the New Year and here's to another twelve months of free schooling in your boxing classroom. Deontay Wilder just had two, back to back emphatic losses and the temptation should be to write him off. I don't agree. People just don't realize how still near the very top Wilder is. Apart from Tyson Fury, I don't think anyone beats him. And against Fury, I still insist he beats himself more than Fury beats him because I have no idea why he keeps bulking up when his best performance against Fury was when he was a lean, explosive almost cruiserweight fighter. Anthony Joshua may be technically superior and more talented but against Wilder he walks a very dangerous tightrope because of how chinny he is.
And Wilder always lands the money shot even if everyone knows it's coming. Oleksandr Usyk will outbox Wilder for a long spell but Wilder always lands the right hand and Usyk has never had to absorb power like Wilder's. Even though he seems to have tough whiskers, I fear for him when, not if, Wilder lands the right hand bomb. He's afterall still only settling into the division. Dylan White was knocked senseless by an ancient Alexander Povetkin and I shudder to think what Wilder will do to him. King Kong Ortiz will not go near Wilder again and, if he does, the result is not different.
Jared Anderson looks like he's coming but at this stage Wilder would be a bridge too far. I don't even think Fury can afford to keep throwing caution to the wind against Wilder if they were to meet a fourth time. He's succeeded twice with that strategy but he looked in serious distress when he got up from the first knockdown in the trilogy. So, the punch resistance could be waning. Deontay Wilder, despite his obvious limitations, is a top two heavyweight in this era and is still the most dangerous one shot puncher in the division. It is a pity that he's such a poor finisher otherwise his slate against Fury should look better. Do you agree with what I say, Mr Edwards? If you do, what would you change with Wilder if you find him sitting on your doorstep with his tog bag so late in his career? I like Tim Bradley. I never thought he would come to be regarded as HOF material but I'm not disappointed at the respect he garners in that regard. He was a warrior.
So, him coming out and saying Errol Spence is running from Terrence Crawford is great but late. I needed him to do this before Spence's accident. I needed Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran, Lennox Lewis, Julio Cesar Chavez, Roy Jones Jr and all the great ones of the past to come out and say it. I know Jones Jr recently came close. I needed Stephen Edwards to come out and say this, I needed Robert Garcia, Ben Davison, Eddy Reynoso, Teddy Atlas and all the great trainers, past and present, to come out and say this. I needed Deontay Wilder, warrior and Spence's stablemate at PBC, to come out and say this. I needed Ring Magazine, Sports Illustrated and every major boxing publication to come out and say this. We can't expect anything from the alphabet bodies who just want to place their greedy paws on sanctioning fees. I needed the TV networks to come out and say this. It would have taken all of that pressure to force the fight on Spence. Crawford-Spence was a rarity. It was a true superfight.
Maybe the last true superfight since Hearns v a once-beaten Leonard. The boxing world deserved it. Mayweather-Pacquiao may be the biggest grossing fight in history but it was never a superfight. Pacquiao had shown too many vulnerabilities for it to qualify as a superfight. Crawford and Spence may have shown a mistake or two but nobody could say either guy was vulnerable. It figured to be a great fight between two young talents in their prime, both undefeated and both with a legitimate claim to being the best fighter not only in the division, but also in the world. And Spence has gone and ruined it, both inside and outside the ring. Inside because he allowed a small and overmatched Mikey Garcia to go the distance. Crawford wins that fight in 8 rounds of less. Spence was life and death with Shawn Porter. Well, Crawford barely raised a sweat against Porter. Spence went the distance with a Danny Garcia who has never done anything at 147. Crawford wins that fight in 10 rounds or less.
Spence would not have been exposed like this if he had not hidden behind "other side of the street" rubbish and gone ahead with the Crawford fight right after all the PBC cowards dared Crawford to first win a title at 147 before they could face him. Well, Crawford's been WBO champion for a while now and all so-called top welterweights were digging holes in which to hide. I used to think Spence is waiting for Crawford to age a little or to show some sign that his powers are waning. Now I'm not so sure because it seems to me that even on Spence's best night and Crawford's worst night, Spence still gets annihilated. That's the gulf between the two men that we have come to see, unfortunately, not inside the ring but outside. Which brings me to my last point.
Outside the ring, Spence has been a mess. I believe he was drunk when he entered the ring following Shawn Porter's victory over Danny Garcia. At least Crawford remarked at the time that Spence looked drunk, so I'm not alone in this. And some reports suggest Spence was drunk when he had his unfortunate single vehicle accident. If this is true, this is irresponsible conduct which diminishes him seriously as a threat to Crawford in the ring. Of course, his eye injury is something outside his control. Even though SRL came back to fight at the highest level after his eye injury, Spence might not be the force he could have been had he faced Crawford before this injury. Crawford is a vicious ring killer with slashing fists. This is worse than putting a heavyweight with a compromised eye in front of Muhammad Ali's slashing jab. I even worry for Spence in the Yordenis Ugas fight.
Believe me, Ugas will find a way to target that eye. He's a top drawer welterweight with underrated skills. Inasmuch as I regard Spence as a coward, I sincerely want him to retire in good health and enjoy a quality life with his family. I'm sorry I was this long and if you don't publish I won't mind. However, it is important that you understand that Spence killed the one superfight which was worthy of succeeding the Leonard-Heans 1 superfight of 1981. And it is important, Mr Edwards, that you, among all I have mentioned, understand your role, or lack thereof, therein. Keep punching sir.
Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bread’s Response: I still hold Deontay Wilder in a very high regard. I don’t know if he’s #2 but he’s up there. I have to see his current form. The thing you have to ponder is can he get up for anyone else this late in his career. After making the type of money he has made, “getting up” is an issue. But if he’s in top form he’s a nightmare for anyone.
I don’t listen to those critics who talk about his lack of boxing ability. His sum total outweighs his parts. His heart is as big as Alabama. He has great timing for the one shot he throws. And he doesn’t stop trying no matter what. He’s very determined. I don’t like to say what I would do if a fighter came to me. It’s not fair to his current team. Besides, I wouldn’t try to change much with his style. Malik Scott did an excellent job getting ready for the fight of his life. A trainer is dealt a hand and he can’t give the hand back. He has to play the hand he’s dealt. You can always improve and get better but you can’t CHANGE the hand.
The only thing I ever observe about Wilder and wonder why……is his weight increase. I thought the best form of Wilder was in 215-220. I always thought the speed his power was delivered with was the secret to his success. Not just brute force power. But speed momentum power. As a person who appreciates great punchers I have studied Wilder exclusively on how he delivers THAT shot. And there is no doubt in my mind he’s slower and his stamina is not as good as it was earlier in his reign. But he’s such a dog, he fights through it.
Wilder was really gassed in his fight with Fury early and his determination pulled him into the later rounds. I don’t know what else changed but I can see by the scales that his weight is much higher. Other than that, he’s doing what he does and his team is doing a good job.
Why do you dislike Errol Spence so much. And I why do you need me to call Spence out for not fighting Terence Crawford? I think you’re going overboard. I respect Tim Bradley but that’s his choice to do that. Bradley is friends with Crawford so maybe he has more incentive. I try to stay away from being too personally involved with these matters. I may have an opinion but I don’t get too personal. And I’m definitely not going to comment on whether or not I think Spence was drinking when he got in his accident. You guys are crazy! I’m just glad the kid is ok and he survived. It’s not that deep for me.
I want to see Spence vs Crawford as bad as anyone. But it’s not personal for me and me getting upset over it won’t change anything. I learned my lesson waiting 6 years for Mayweather vs Pacquiao. The fight will happen when BOTH fighters want the fight to happen simultaneously. Now let’s see what happens in Spence vs Ugas. This is a real fight and it’s not a foregone conclusion Spence wins. If he does let’s see if he fights Crawford and let’s see what the OFFER is. Then we have to see what Crawford accepts or rejects. As fans you guys take this too personal.
Greetings and blessings as always Mr. Edwards,
For the longest time whenever a fighter is moving up in weight the automatic perception is that the fighter moving up is the smaller man or is at a physical disadvantage. But then I think about what fighters like Inoue, Crawford, Canelo and even Tank Davis and take into account the additional energy they have by not cutting down in weight combined with the reflexes and technique they maintained as they “moved up” and appears to me that instead of being at a disadvantage they are bringing more to the table than the opponents. Every situation is different obviously but to my eyes Crawford was always a welterweight who could make lightweight and Canelo has probably always been a natural super middleweight who could make 154. You mentioned that Canelo is punching through his opponent’s at his highest career weight, I think it is simply a matter of physics, bigger opponents = bigger targets with slower reflexes. I.E Tank vs Barrios, Pac earlier 147, Marquez at 135 etc.
Apologies for the long winded email and thank you for your time.
Jack from Detroit.
Bread’s Response: You have a point. When I look at fighters I look at more than their weigh in weights. Their bone density counts. Their arm length counts. Not just reach but arm length. The size of their extremities counts. If I see a taller fighter with dense legs for the weight, he can usually punch. Their forearm, wrist and fist density counts. The size of their heads counts. If you have two fighters who are 5’10 with 70 inch reaches and you assume they are the same size you’re being foolish. They can be totally different sizes.
You also have to factor in discipline. Some fighters can get to lower weights because of genetics and discipline. Some guys as you stated are really bigger fighters but their genetics and allow them make a lower weight. They have calories to burn in certain areas that other fighter their size don’t.
I am very careful saying who’s small and who isn’t. I don’t know if Terence Crawford was always a welterweight but I definitely believe he was a junior welterweight who was fighting at lightweight. And now he’s grown into a full fledge welterweight. Crawford is not a size disadvantage at 147. He’s proportioned well at the weight.
Tank Davis was a huge fighter for 130lbs. Forget his height. His head is the size of a middleweights head. And I’m not trying to insult him I think he’s the real deal. I’m just pointing out Tank can fight at 135 and 140 and be very comfortable. There are lots of fights like this. And yes when they go against bigger opponents they get to hit slower bigger targets. They also get to really dig in on their punches similar to how they punch bags in the gym. Often times a fighter can’t hit a human as hard as he hits a bag because bags don’t hit back and they can get comfortable hitting a bag. Where as they don’t dig in as much with a human because of what’s coming back. So often times moving up is not the detriment some feel it is. It’s a case by case issue for me to assess.
Do you watch Teddy Atlas’s show and how well do you know him? You guys have similar opinions on the same topics. He feels exactly how you feel about Canelo and Anthony Joshua? I know you’re friends with Virgil Hunter and you admire Cus Dmato, so I was wondering if you and Atlas had a relationship? His show is great by the way.Also who wins Gary Russell vs Mark Magsayo? I think this is a good match up.
Bread’s Response: I’ve met Teddy Atlas and I have a great deal of respect for him but I don’t know him. I am pretty cool with his Co Host Ken Rideout. I actually accompanied Julian Williams to NY a few years ago in to be on their show and we had a great time. Teddy Atlas is a very deep dude and I love his perspective on the mental aspects of boxing. You didn’t tell me what Teddy said about Joshua and Canelo….
I like the Russell vs Magsayo match up. It’s hard to pick against Russell. He seems to not get rusty and be a little too fast and well conditioned for his opponents. But I think Magsayo is live. I don’t think his defense is good enough but he’s live. I also believe that the system of boxing often times gets ready to go against certain fighters. It happens to 99% of the elite level fighters over time if they stick around long enough.
I can remember when Jermell Charlo got a Majority Decision over Austin Trout and he scored 2 knockdowns. I said to myself Charlo is going to lose his next close fight. It’s just how it works.
When Erislandy Lara fought Jarrett Hurd, I had a gut feeling Hurd would win a close decision. In Lara’s fight before the Hurd fight, he fought Terrell Gausha. The rounds were scored 8 or 9 for Lara and 3 or 4 for Gausha. I thought Lara won 11 rounds.
In Russell’s last fight I felt it was competitive, but I felt Russell won 10 rounds clean. It was closer on the scorecards. When this starts to happen to an elite fighter. When close rounds start going the other way. Look for a close decision to go against them. I don’t think it’s corruption. I just think certain styles and certain fighters become monotonous to the officials. If Magsayo is more competitive than expected, look for him to get the nod in the closer rounds, swing rounds.
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