The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as the controversial round between Oleksandr Usyk and Daniel Dubois, welterweight Jaron Ennis, Emanuel Navarrete, Subriel Matias vs. Shohjahon Ergashev, and more.

In the NBA, it is accepted that certain superstars get calls driving into the lane that other players don’t get. It is assumed that defenders of guys like Jordan/Kobe/LeBron cross the line defending them on physical basketball plays. The assumption doesn’t always get made for the entire league. This came to my mind after watching a low blow judgement call go against Daniel Dubois and in Oleksander Usyk’s favor. It almost felt like the punch had to be low because the world believes Usyk is too good to get knocked out. If the situation was flipped, I think Dubois would have been counted out because the world would feel that Usyk is too accurate to hit someone low. So who are the boxing superstars who get the NBA superstar treatment? I’m arguing for Usyk and you might disagree. I think everyone would put Canelo Alvarez on the list because of his gift decisions, special WBC titles and special drug testing treatment. Who else deserves to be mentioned?

Thank you so much!

Bread’s Response: Very good question! I don’t like naming names because it sort of sounds like targeting. But I will answer as honestly as I can. Every A side in fighter in boxing who makes over 7 figures, gets some sort of preferential treatment. We just don’t see it all. I don’t like using the word FIX but I will use it in this case. The fix in fights, are in the DETAILS of the fight. 

So if you see a smaller ring than average ring, then that means the details are geared towards the aggressive fighter. If you see a bigger ring, then the details are geared towards the boxer. If you see a fighter travel to a foreign country with his belt on the line, then he’s fighting a star in their country and he’s being overpaid. IF you see a certain type of glove not being allowed it’s because the fighter with more influence didn’t allow it. IF you see a fighter take a fight off of a long layoff and you know he wanted a comeback fight, it’s because he wasn’t allowed to take one. If you see a judge who favors a certain style, get the assignment….If you see a referee who “allows” a certain tactic then…..

In the ring, the fighter who is expected to win most likely will get the benefit of close calls. I have no issue saying that. The fighter who is the A side usually gets the benefit of doubt in close rounds. And especially the last 3 rounds. The last 3 rounds because unfortunately some judges card count. So to make things look on the level, you will get some bizarre scoring, similar to a make up call in other sports. 

The Usyk vs Dubois low blow is interesting. I think the controversy benefits Dubois. I think the controversy allows him to get one more life line in a big fight without having to fight a killer to earn the shots again. Let me explain. Many people are turning this into a racial thing. I’m very aware there are racial bias in all of sports. I also didn’t like that the referee told Usyk to take even more time than the 5 minutes. That didn’t feel right. But in that moment, I feel Usyk was smart enough to take advantage of the rules. He took his time as he was supposed to do. He has a sense of AWARENESS. Usyk has a long torso and he wears his shorts at least an inch below his belly button. When the referee gives his instructions, if your cup is high, he tells you where on the belt line is legal. He even tells you if part of the glove is on the belt line and part of it is below he will count the blow as legal.

In this case with a man who wears his cup low in the first place, a punch was landed on the shorts with a maybe a small piece of glove on the bottom of the belt line, NOT the top. Technically it was a LOW blow. It doesn’t mean it hit Usyk in the testicles or penis  but it did land in the area that is deemed low. It was close but from what I saw it was a little low. I’ve seen that same punch not be ruled low in other fights and if it was ruled a GOOD punch I wouldn’t complain for Usyk. It was close enough. 

So, Usyk went down and seemed to be in pain. He sold the situation. But I believe if the referee would have ruled it a legal blow he would’ve got up. People are saying he should have been counted out. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. But I feel like Usyk is a winner. He’s a legit great fighter with a serious competitive streak. He wouldn’t just allow himself to be counted out. I think he milked it because the referee ruled it in his favor. We seem to forget CONTEXT when trying to prove a point. The referee ruled in Usyk’s favor! So the blow was accentuated and Usyk took his time getting up. It doesn’t mean he couldn’t get up. Big difference. 

In my opinion Usyk was controlling the fight and winning most of the rounds. I think Usyk was “Running Dubois Hot” and waiting for him to run out of gas. Most who favor Dubois in this are forgetting that Usyk was the stronger and meaner fighter after the controversial blow. Dubois took 2 knees and allowed himself to be counted out. He was also losing just about every round. So he fought in spots admirably but Usyk was handling him. 

I was very defensive of Dubois in his fight with Joe Joyce. I’ve seen that orbital injury and it’s painful. People react differently to that. But he took a knee in this fight from punishment. Legal punishment. If he really believed he hurt Usyk with a legal shot, seeing Usyk in that kind of pain should have inspired him and led to him being more aggressive. It didn’t. It actually turned worse for him afterwards.

I’m not being critical of Dubois. I’m being objective on what I saw. I won’t call him a quitter. But he definitely surrendered. He capitulated. Usyk made him do so by what I call dropping water on concrete. He cracked him. Usyk and Loma don’t look like they punch hard but they punch clean and snappy and consistent. 

In a wrap up….I’ve been outspoken with favorable A side treatment. I thought the blow was borderline but more likely LOW. If you’re an Usyk fan, you say it was low. If you’re a Dubois fan, you say it was legal. That’s subjective. What’s not subjective is Usyk was winning before the blow. He’s a deep water fighter. He gets stronger as the fight goes on. And Dubois has had stamina and durability issues. And Usyk made him capitulate. In this specific case I think the controversy benefits Dubois. But I feel like it’s misguided slightly. I have no issue with the low blow call. The only issue was the referee asking him if he wanted MORE time which is a little extra in terms of catering towards him. But, Right after the “blow” Usyk took over. That shouldn’t go unnoticed. I hope Dubois gets another big payday. He seems like a nice young man. But Usyk is a DOG. He’s shown it each and every time he fights. If they order an immediate rematch, look for him to put a hurting on Dubois and look for him take him into deep water again and drown him. 

Everybody can say what they want, but Dubois knows how he felt. He wasn’t unconscious but he was bested to a point where he LOST HOPE. He took 2 knees because he was overwhelmed. Usyk’s punches hurt. He doesn’t punch like Wilder but the constant touching by a man 220lbs has an effect. Usyk had a look in his eye after the “blow” and Dubois saw it. Dubois knows what was happening….That’s important to factor in moving forward. 

Hey Bread!

I hope you and yours are doing well. When a fighter wins a world title, I'm sure everything is perfect between fighter and trainer, but can you describe what it's like when the fighter loses a world title. Is losing a close decision harder than a one-sided beating or getting knocked out? Recently Derrick James/Errol Spence lost the big fight...when your star loses is there a ripple effect within the stable? It's crazy how quick things can change.....not long-ago James was Trainer of the year, and his stable was among the best in boxing. But now he's about to run the Gauntlet! It's a real possibility that Charlo loses to Canelo, Jousha loses to Wilder, and I've heard Shakur and Martin might fight for the wbc if it becomes vacant....Has any trainer had that maybe Top Fights back-to-back to back James may become trainer of the year again if his other guys pull of the upsets, What kind of chance do you give his other fighters?

Thank you for your time,

Bryant in Phoenix

Bread’s Response: I love Phoenix. Very cool city. I loved hanging out in Scottsdale also. Looking forward to going back.

When a fighter wins a world title the whole team is on top of the world. It’s such a surreal feeling. When a fighter loses a world title or a big fight there are two feelings. If he performed well and fought a good fight, then the trainer is usually safe because you find satisfaction with the performance if not so much the result. If the fighter loses badly and he feels the trainer could’ve did better, then the trainer is usually gone.

Losing a competitive close decision is always better than getting dominated. You don’t ever want a fighter to get stopped. But if he does, you want it to be a competitive fight…

Fighters go to the trainer because of what they see him do with his STAR fighter. In this case Errol Spence. So Errol losing can have a ripple effect. But the other fighters have to be mentally strong and simply frame it as that’s NOT them. Hopefully they do. But most fighters are superstitious but they don’t like to admit it…

Derrick James is in a good position despite Errol losing. This is what we do it for, the big stage and big bucks. Let’s see how it works out. Charlo, Martin and Joshua all will be underdogs in their next fights if they fight Canelo, Stevenson and Wilder. But the fights are winnable even if the odds are against them. 

I personally rate trainers on what they do if their guy is the UNDERDOG and/or if they don’t have the more talented fighter in a fight. When I get asked who’s the best trainer. I say whoever consistently gets the most out of the talent they HAVE. The better trainer is not always the winning trainer. Angelo Dundee and Freddie Roach made their names by winning big fights as the UNDERDOG. Ali vs Liston and Foreman. Leonard vs Hearns and Hagler. Pacquiao vs Barrera and De La Hoya. However, It’s not always the win. But it’s always the performance. The resistance they put up. 

No trainer will win every big fight. The trainers who are universally recognized as the best are Eddie Futch, Emanuel Steward and Ray Arcel. They all lost big fights by multiple stoppages. But their guys usually performed. As long as Derrick James’s guys perform well and give good account of themselves in these tough fights then I think his status is fine. But they can’t get blown out. 

For example let’s say Jermell Charlo takes Canelo Alvarez to a split decision and fights a great fight but loses close. Well James did a good job. Jermell is jumping 2 weight classes and he’s the prohibitive underdog. Let’s say Frank Martin gets a draw with Shakur Stevenson who’s looked at as the most difficult fighter in boxing to figure out. Then, Props to Derrick. Let’s say Joshua drops Wilder multiple times in a fight of the year but ultimately loses by ko. Well Joshua is viewed as a gun shy fighter at this point. So if he turns that perception around and fights a great violent fight but still loses, again Derrick is fine. These are tough fights and I don’t expect James to go 3-0. No one should. Emanuel Steward probably wouldn’t. But his guys have to perform for him. They have to give a good account of themselves. Let’s see how it goes. I think Derrick will adjust and his guys will perform on the level.

Well done handling Jake. Love the mailbag.

Dan Grabowski

Bread’s Response: Thank you

Can I just add to what u said bread bcuz a lot of folks keep saying who has boots fought to say that he is ready ?? And while that may be true just bcuz he hasn’t proven it to the boxing fans doesn’t mean he’s not ready and I agree with you we don’t know who will win but WE definitely feel he’s READY and I get the same backlash they say o u know boots or u just saying that bcuz he’s from Philly and that’s not the case but sure it’s a BONUS no doubt for me .. however he kid has beat everybody in dramatic fashion and ko every opponent except 2 … then I hear o well Russell has his number because he beat him in the amateurs guess what bud lost to Danny Garcia once in the AMATEURS that means nothing .. this is the pros and the kid deserves a shot now bud doesn’t have to give it but the ibf 154 strap is leaving one way or another and I will take it a step further bread I got boots winning in a very tough fight so tell that jackass send the 200 my way and don’t be a goofy let’s get him on camera win lose or draw … best regards

Bread’s Response: A person’s argument is usually their subjective preference and that’s ok. But I think they are moving the goal post in order to downplay Ennis’s qualifications as a world title challenger. No fighter in this era will have a GREAT resume BEFORE he wins a championship. No one!!If you compare Ennis’s resume with the last 10 champions at welterweight then you will see it was on the level. Boots has more fights than Crawford, Spence, Garcia, Thurman, Porter, Brook, Broner, Alexander, Bradley and Malignaggi before they received their FIRST title shots. They didn’t all get their first shot at 147 but he had more fights than all of them. His best wins thus far are Roiman Villa, Sergey Lipinets, Thomas Dulorme, Juan Carlos Abreu and Karen C. That’s 5 solid wins for a prospect/contender. I’m telling you if you forensically go through each of the resumes of the fighters I named Boots’s resume will hold up. I’m telling you his resume will be better than most on the list. He has been a pro since 2016. He’s 31-0. Not one person I named had to wait 7 years and 31 wins for a title shot. And he’s the mandatory. 

Out of Boots’s contemporaries…What I mean by contemporaries is the fighters who competed on the National Amateur scene at the same times that he did. Let’s say between 2014-17. Shakur Stevenson, Teofimo Lopez, Ryan Garcia, Tank Davis, Devin Haney….All have gotten title shots or huge fights in Garcia’s case. He hasn’t. So just going by that, he deserves a title shot. I’m not even saying he deserves a shot at Crawford or Spence. I’m saying he deserves a title shot no matter who the champion is. Anybody who disagrees, is disagreeing to disagree. Because you can’t give me any factual recent history of a fighter of his caliber and his record, who has had to wait this long for a shot. If we take our feelings out of this and just go by the facts. It’s not a hard conclusion to come to.

I look forward to Saturday to get your insight and expertise on my favorite sport boxing. You are better man than most, responding to that idiot who absolutely has no manners running his mouth about Ennis and Fulton while attempting to put words into your mouth. Kudos to you. I watched the recent Navarette fight and felt exactly like you did about him. That is the perfect example that one can predict a fight outcome like Crawford and Spence and think your an expert then be shocked by a victory like that of a Navarette because I doubt many fans would have seen Navarette handling Valdez. That's boxing. Moving forward I was curious what you think of Brandon Figueroa. I really thought Fuller would handle him with little trouble and Brandon gave him a great fight, that is why I felt Fuller was going to lose to Inoue. How do you think Figueroa would fair against Navarette if he moved up. It looks like it could be a war if they fought. I have read where some of your other fans question why Canelo doesn't get his respect as of late. I'm a fan of his and I completely agree with  what you said about him earning the right to choose who he wants to fight and he earned it. My feeling is he went the Money Mayweather route picking the lesser champions in this Era of alphabet champions such as a spent Kovalev to win belts in different weight divisions and most real fight fans recognize this. Not saying he isn't a just my opinion do you think I'm off base? I would love to see Crawford fight Boots because he is everything you say he is but I think Crawford is too seasoned for him at this point but I think this would be a helluva fight and MY opinion is it would be a much better fight than rematch with Spence or even Charlo but money wise it makes very little sense for Bud. Miss the old days when there was only WBA WBC. Can't wait for next Saturdays mailbag!

Peace out

Paul Olivier

Bread’s Response: I was surprised Navarrete handled Valdez the way he did. He was the better boxer. I thought because of what Valdez did to Berchelt, that he would win the fight because the styles are similar but Navarrete is much more clever and has much more left in the tank than Berchelt.

I think Omar Figueroa is the truth. He fought a tremendous fight vs Fulton. I would love to see hm vs Navarrete. Right now I favor Navarrete. His jab is better and again he's more clever.

I think Canelo mixes in tough fights with showcase fights. I think his resume is excellent and one of the best of this era. He does a good job and with mixing his level of fights. Most fighters in his position do what he does. He does owe Benavidez a shot at 168lbs. But other than Benavidez he’s not ducking anyone else at 168lbs currently. Sure he has some misses but they aren’t overwhelming. At 154 he fought Matthew Hatton for a belt. Certainly Hatton wasn’t a champion or great fighter. He defended against some solid notable names but not huge threats at the time but remember he was 20. Now I will say that he was allowed to grow where as most fighters who win a title aren’t able to get 5 showcase defenses. But Canelo did fight an undefeated Austin Trout 2 years after winning the belt in a unification. You can’t argue that. Right after Trout he fought Mayweather in another unification. Shortly after Mayweather he went to Erislandy Lara. This is the fight I said Canelo is a GUN. I believe in tough matchmaking. But there is no way I would’ve taken Lara 9 months after getting outboxed by Mayweather.

I think what aggravates people is that Canelo makes huge money in fights that are like 80/20 on paper. Like his fights with Chavez Jr, Amir Khan, Josesito Lopez and Liam Smith. But in between those fights he’s fighting GGG, Cotto, Lara, Bivol, Mayweather and Trout. Canelo’s run at 168 for the 4 belts was REAL. Rocky Fielding was an easy fight but Saunders, Plant and Smith were all undefeated and in their primes. Canelo was able to fight Kovalev for a belt at 175lbs. When you’re the A side you can be an opportunist. Canelo didn’t win the belt for Kovalev. Kovalev won the belt. Yes he was old and past it but he was still a real champion. So Canelo used his influence to get the fight and beat Kovalev. This is the part about boxing that irritates people. This is the part that is not the sport of boxing, it’s the business of boxing. I’m not mad at that because if you’re in that spot, you have to consider both. 

No one is putting their guy in 50/50 fights or fights as the underdog every fight if they don’t have to. So you have to respect Team Canelo’s perspective. He’s taken tough style fights in Bivol, Lara and Mayweather. He’s taken fights vs big punchers in GGG, Smith and Kirkland. He’s taken fights vs southpaws and pure boxers, Plant and Saunders. He’s even fought black fighters despite the criticism in Jacobs, Kirkland, Trout, Mayweather and now Charlo. 

I personally think Canelo has gotten some good treatment with certain things. But at the same time he hasn’t abused his position he’s taken some tough fights as well. I’ve seen some smoke and mirrors and bs matchmaking continuously for fighters. I haven’t seen that with Canelo. I’ve seen him take his share of real/tough fights mixed in with showcase opportunistic fights. I pride myself in calling a ball a ball and strike a strike. Canelo is a GUN and his only clear duck is David Benavidez. Maybe Demetrius Andrade can be classified as a duck also but it doesn’t stand out as bad as the Benavidez duck because David has been his mandatory for so long. Other than that Canelo would be my favorite fighter of this era if it weren’t for the positive drug test. Canelo is an ATG and when fans are watching something as it happens they don’t respect it as much. But his resume will stand the test of time. He has a chance to go down as Mexico's greatest...

Hey Bread, hope all is well. The mailbag is part of my Saturday ritual. I know that you have covered some of this already but I really believe that the heavyweight division is pretty intriguing right now. Aside from Fury, Usyk, Joshua, and Wilder there are a lot interesting possible matchups. The Zhang/Joyce rematch winner should be in line for a payday and I am still waiting to see if Hrgovic is the real deal. Like many people I am pretty high on Jared Anderson. I was at his third fight in Verona N.Y and he looks impressive in person. There are also a couple of European guys who show promise. As A white guy I do admit that I am always looking for the next great white hope at heavyweight although  my all time favorite fighter was "Smokin Joe Frazier". I'm showing my age a bit. The reason that I bring that up is Sonny Conto.. Have you seen him in the gym? Is he the real deal? Continued success with all of your endeavors and stay well.

Brett C.

Bread’s Response: Man you don’t know how much I respect you saying you look for a white hope. It’s really nothing wrong with that as long as you can be objective towards fighters who aren’t white. Promoters, promote through race all the time. The algorithms show this to be true. Do this experiment. Watch two men of opposite race fight. Stage the fight so people of both races watch the fight. If the spectators don’t know the fighters personally, they will most likely root for the guy who is THEIR race. 

So in boxing look at what the promoters did. Jack Johnson vs James Jeffries. Joe Louis vs all of the top white contenders of his time. We rarely talk about Louis’s fights vs black fighters. But Louis fought 4 black HOFs in John Henry Lewis, Ezzard Charles, Joe Walcott and Jimmy Bivins. 

Willie Pep’s biggest rival was Sandy Saddler.

Sugar Ray Robinson fought many black killers. But on film the only stand out black fighter that he’s shown fighting is Randy Turpin. All of the others were white. People forget he fought Henry Armstrong, Tommy Bell and Kid Gavilan. 

All of Henry Armstrong’s big fights were vs white fighters. But wait, that’s not true. The ones that are were the biggest were. 

Ali didn’t have white great fighters to go against. But he had solid white fighters to fight and he mixed in Henry Cooper, George Chuvalo, Karl Mildenberger and a host of others in between his big fights.

Ray Leonard’s first title defense was against Davey Boy Green. Leonard didn’t have many great white fighters to fight but he made his bones vs the greatest Latino fighter in Roberto Duran. 

Larry Holmes’s biggest fight was vs Gerry Cooney. In a career of over 70 fights. Holmes fought for over 20 years. But his biggest fight was vs Gerry Cooney. 

After Michael Spinks beat Holmes he fought 2 white fighters.

 In the 90s, they were less prominent white fighters and the rise of Latino stand outs surfaced and the promoters figured it out. So we got Chavez vs Taylor and Whitaker. We got Oscar vs all of the top black fighters of his time. That same PPV model is still in place until this day. 

So for you to admit what everyone already knows is very honorable.

I saw Sonny Conto in the gym about 2 years ago. He has potential. He was sparring another heavyweight who was solid. Conto did good. But I haven’t seen him fight lately. I’m not sure what’s going on with Conto but I know he was with Top Rank and they have great matchmakers. It would be concerning to me if he was this inactive with NO notable injuries. Now that you bring him up I’m curious as to what happened. I can only imagine that an Italian heavyweight from South Philly that’s a good looking kid with the name Sonny Conto is great for business. So there may be other issues. I have no idea what they are but again you got me curious now. 

Hey Bread,

Thank you for the weekly unrivalled insights. It's crazy how much one has learned about the sweet science over the years reading your mailbag. Thank you!! Question. Subriel Matias is fighting his mandatory next. Not sure if you have seen or heard of the guy but to me he looks like no joke. Shohjahon Ergashev. How do you think that one goes? I'm not asking for a breakdown or anything but just if you think Subriel will keep looking like the way he has of late. I wouldn't be surprised if he lost against this guy in what will surely be a betting underdog.

Peace, Ash

Bread’s Response: Matias is a strong, violent fighter. I want to see more because with his style they fall off the cliff fast but the peak is very brutal and high. I would love to see him vs Gary Antuane Russell. That’s a Fight of the Year Candidate. That’s a dog fight. That’s a great stylistic match up. 

I think Ergashev is live vs Matias. If I’m not mistaken Ergashev trains with Sugar Hill who’s an excellent coach. If he’s in shape I look forward to a competitive fight. Let’s see what happens.

What are some of the biggest myths in sports and misperceptions that you would like to correct? It can be any sport by the way..

Bread’s Response: Hmm..In boxing I will say that Ray Leonard ducked Aaron Pryor. Whenever I hear someone repeat that nonsense I say to myself they are trying to justify other fighters missing big fights so they bring up the Leonard vs Pryor thing as a duck. Not only did Leonard offer Pryor a fight as soon as he got his belt back from Duran that Pryor turned down(Career high Payday). Which was admitted after Pryor hired Leonard’s cornerman Dave Jacobs after Pryor beat Lenox Blackmore which is on youtube. You can clearly hear Jacobs telling Pryor to mess with the smaller fighters and leave Ray alone. 

But imagine a fighter fighting 3 ATGS in his division in 4 fights, in less than 2 years. But get flack for ducking a fighter who never came into the division. Never before in history has that ever happened before or since. Aaron Pryor was a great, great fighter. But he never moved up past 140lbs until his career was just about over. During the time Leonard supposedly ducked him, he stayed at 140. But yet Leonard got flack for ducking him while fighting Benitez in Nov of 79, Duran in June and Nov of 1980 and Hearns in September of 81. So he tried to slip Pryor in, in the spring of 1981 and Pryor said no so he moved on to Ayub Kalule the undefeated 154lb Champion. 

It’s literally absurd to say anything bad about Leonard’s run at 147 from 1979-1982. The run makes him a top 3 fighter ever at 147. But somehow during the “same” run fans and media found a way to say he ducked a fighter who stayed at 140lbs. If you know the timeline you know it’s an attempt to drag Leonard because of the misses other fighters have. 

In basketball I have seen two weird myths. One is Lebron is not clutch. He only has more playoff points than anyone in history and has hit more game winning playoff shots than anyone in history. It’s starting to be to a point where you’re literally stupid if you repeat that. I can accept if you say you would rather have the ball in someone else’s hands in the clutch. But to say James is not clutch is not just inaccurate but it’s dumb because we have too much information and proof at our disposal to repeat that sort of nonsense. 

The next one may take some research and it involves Julius Erving. Erving would be a top 10 player ever if his stats from the ABA were combined with his stats from the NBA. He would have 30k points which is a landmark in the NBA. 3 scoring titles. 4 MVPS. 2 Finals MVPS. And be the all time leader in blocks from the small forward position. And before anyone says anything about the ABA. When the ABA played exhibitions vs the NBA they beat them on the regular. They outplayed them. And the top players in the ABA, Erving, George Gervin, David Thompson and Rick Barry. Were top players in the NBA and HOF. They all dominated and went to the HOF, won championships, scoring titles etc. All facts. So there was no drop off in play once the leagues merged.

On top of that, the rivalry between the Lakers and Celtics is well documented. People act like Lakers and Celtics played in the finals every year Magic and Bird were in the league. They played 3 times in the finals. In 1984, 1985 and 1987. But the Sixers played the same Lakers in the finals 3 times before the Celtics ever played them once with Bird. The Sixers played them in 1980, 1982 and 1983. They swept them in 1983. The Sixers are in the Eastern Conference just like the Celtics. So if the Sixers were going to the finals, then guess who was going home? You got it, the Celtics. For some reason the Lakers and Celtics rivalry was more highlighted as the rivalry that saved the league. But Lakers played the Sixers the same exact amount of times before they played the Celtics. Once Erving got older and slowed down, that’s when the Celtics started making finals regularly. Before that they made one finals with Bird in 1981. I’m just stating the facts and illustrating how the media can spin things in whatever direction they want.

Dear Stephen.

I hope that all is well with you and your family. You probably will be flooded with messages about the low blow controversy for the fight usyk-dubois, but in case that my message is selected, i really would like to have the opinion of an expert such as yourself on this matter. I am personally quite disappointed that the masterclass performance from usky is now undermined by many people who claim, that dubois should have been victorious by ko in the fifth round. Except this controversial blow in the fifth round, I had usyk winning all the rounds until he knocked out Dubois with a simple jab. What is amazing for me is that the debate can go on, when surely it should be quite easy with the replay to determine if the blow was low or not ?Everybody knows that a blow under the belt is not allowed, but it seems that everybody is confused about what really means 'under the belt', the more so when some fighters are wearing their shorts so high. Unless mistaken, the correct definition of a low blow under the belt, is a blow which is below the navel ?

In such a case, there is absolutely no doubt that the blow was low and illegal and then i do not understand why it is not stated loud and clear that the blow was illegal to end this controversy? Could you please advise your views on same ? While i believe that the blow was clearly below Usyk's navel, in any case even if there could be any doubt, boxing being already such a hard and dangerous sport, surely the doubt should benefit to the boxer being hit and so a blow in such a dangerous part of the body, should be legitimate only if there is absolutely zero doubt about its legitimacy which was not really the case in the usyk-dubois fight  ?Do we really would like to have a world champion after such a controversial blow ?In any case if the referee had decided to count Usyk surely he would have gotten up, and so it is a bit ridiculous from the Dubois side to claim that he should be the winner of the fight, the more so after the boxing lesson that Dubois took for nine rounds. This reminds me a bit of the fight Tyson-Douglas when to everybody's surprise, Tyson was dominated the whole fight until he was knocked out in the 10th round, with the exception of Tyson knocking down Douglas in the 8th round, and afterwards Tyson claimed that he should still be word champion, because the referee's count was too long in the 8th round.THanks god, finally the result was maintained and the right boxer won the fight, and i hope that the same will happens with Usyk-Dubois.Thanks in advance for your reply and advice, if my message gets selectedAll the best

Chris from France

Bread’s Response: Here is how I saw the fight and the “blow”. I thought Usyk was BESTING Dubois in the first 4 rounds. Dubois may have had a case for winning the 4th but other than that I saw him losing every round. He wasn’t getting destroyed but Usyk was picking him and outboxing him. Usyk is a little hyper sensitive to body shots despite being an ATG fighter in my opinion. Yes he’s an ATG. In an era of huge heavyweights, he’s 220lbs and he’s no worse than #3 in the world. He’s a top 3 P4P fighter and he’s never lost. He was undisputed at Cruiserweight and , unified at Heavyweight. Half of his fights have been title fights. Great fighter. He holds his own in any area. But he does a little too much when a body shot lands. I saw him get dropped by Beterbiev as an amateur so maybe he has some PTSD with that specifically. So Dubois went to his body. 

Ok…Dubois shot an uppercut which travels on an upward trajectory. People are taking screenshots of their SUBJECTIVE preference. So if you want to show a picture of Dubois’s glove landing over the belt line you can. If you want to show one where the glove was UNDER the belt line you can. From where Usyk’s trunks were, you could see is navel. The impact of the shot landed between the belt line and trunk. Not the belt line and the SKIN. Big difference. So if a fighter’s navel can be seen and a shot lands on the belt line and the skin, from my experience it’s a GOOD shot. But a shot that lands on the belt line and trunks, which is about 4 inches lower than the navel it’s an illegal shot. 

It wasn’t the worst low blow I’ve ever seen. I don’t think it was on purpose. But it was low by the rules. I personally wouldn’t have an issue if the ref would have let the blow go because it wasn't directly in the testicles. But the cup does shift and it can be painful. So Usyk goes down and sells the foul. The talk that he should’ve been counted out is absurd. IF the referee would have started counted he would’ve gotten up from my estimation. Usyk is a winner. He overcame Joshua’s big body shots. He overcame the Beterbiev knockdown. I think he would’ve overcame this. So he gets up, turns up the energy, Dubois runs out of gas and takes 2 knees and allows himself to be counted out. I’m not going to call him a quitter. But he surrendered. He was completely conscious and he allowed himself to be counted out. I don’t have an issue with a man having enough. He doesn’t have to die for our entertainment. But people are campaigning for him to be the world champion after he allowed himself to be counted out. I strongly disagree, respectfully. 

Usyk is the better fighter. He’s the meaner fighter. And he’s the more durable fighter. He won every round and he stopped Dubois. I know one moment can change the outcome. But the moment was a discretionary call at best and on most days it’s a low blow.

My biggest issue is the referee. Usyk was ready to continue but he took it upon himself to tell him to take more time. That’s not up to him. After the rules are explained it’s up to the fighter to take the full 5 minutes. He seemed too concerned about Usyk’s recovery which shows favoritism and it causes a ripple effect. Some may say he wanted Usyk to win, which is reasonable. Some may say if the same shot landed on Dubois he would’ve ruled it a legal shot. I won’t even argue against that. The referee overstepped his lane. All he had to say to Usyk was you have 5 minutes to recover. But once Usyk was ready to go in under 3 minutes, he insisted on him taking more time. That’s the BIGGER issue. I didn’t like that. 

But All in all, I say Usyk dominated Dubois, the blow was technically low. And the controversy is slightly over exaggerated. The fans are fighting harder for Dubois than he fought for himself AFTER the “blow”. 

Hi, Bread! Crawford has been talking recently about moving up to 168 and challenging Canelo for all the marbles. Lot of people (Wilder included) think it's too much for Crawford, but Bud believes his skills will help him pull this off. Both have the same height with Crawford having reach advantage. Yes, Canelo has a much bigger frame and is kind of a weight bully, but Terence is an all time great boxer and a generational talent. Canelo says he is not interested in it because a win over Crawford won't add much to his resume. Yeah, right... Anyways, what are your thoughts?


Bread’s Response:" They" will say I’m crazy. Most won’t like this response. But I think Crawford has a real shot to beat Canelo. Their heights are roughly the same, maybe a slight edge to Crawford. He has a huge reach advantage. And he’s much quicker with his foot movement. He also has better endurance. Canelo is a great fighter but Canelo does better with the bigger guys that come to him than he does with the smaller guys who make him use his feet. Although Canelo is younger, I think he has more wear and tear and he has way more fights. The last thing an ageing bigger fighter wants, is to have to chase around a fresher elite boxer. 

Let whoever, think whatever. I’m telling you guys Crawford would give Canelo fits. This fight would come down to can Crawford take Canelo’s punches. I’m not saying he can because, Canelo can hit. But if he can, I think he has a chance to win. 

There are certain styles that you don’t move up against. For example Jose Napoles had no shot at Carlos Monzon. Monzon is too physical. Had too much endurance and he was able to keep Napoles on the END of a brutal jab and right hand. Monzon was much taller and longer. 

Bob Foster is taller than Joe Frazier but Frazier is so forceful and strong, he literally ran through him like Swiss cheese. Foster didn’t have enough  physical strength to deal with Frazier and Foster fancied himself as a puncher more than a boxer. He thought he would ko Frazier.

Crawford is looking Canelo eye to eye and he’s going to box him. It won’t be easy because Canelo is also an ATG. But stylistically if they were the same size Crawford would be the favorite. But because Canelo fights at 168 Crawford would be the underdog. I can accept that, but I’m telling everyone who will listen, Crawford is all wrong for Canelo and if Canelo were to win, it would be a Joe Louis vs Billy Conn type of struggle. 

I can totally understand why Canelo wouldn’t want to be bothered with Crawford. It is a lose/lose situation for Canelo. If Canelo lost to a fighter who jumped 3 weight divisions and 21lbs it would be embarrassing for him. And in my estimation he would have a great chance to lose. 

Hello, Breadman.

Thank you, as always, for making our Saturdays just a little bit better. Just a few quick questions and comments.Before Inoue easily beat Fulton in a one-sided outing, you wrote on numerous occasions that Inoue had never faced a slick, urban African-American boxer, thus indicating you had serious doubts regarding Inoue’s ability against such a fighter. Other than your post-fight columns stating that Fulton fought away from home, different food, time zone, etc., his ability against an urban African-American boxer hasn’t been brought up. What are your thoughts on your previous position? Additionally, Teddy Atlas stated last week on his YouTube Fight Game channel that what we saw in that Inoue fight “was a sample of what Pacquiao/Mayweather would have looked like had they fought five years sooner.” Do you agree with Atlas’ statement? Lastly, Usyk overcame a serious challenge when he beat Dubois on Saturday. Meanwhile, Fury will be facing an opponent who has never been in a professional boxing match. I think we can agree that if Usyk had gone that route and chose to face an MMA non-boxer, the boxing community would have been in an uproar, the fight would have been deemed unacceptable, and the sanctioning bodies would have likely refused to sanction it. Yet, Fury is able to get away with it. How much do you think that Fury’s erratic and sometimes ridiculous display of public behavior has allowed him to get away with this? It would appear that by acting the way he does at times, that this has been a shrewd and calculated move on his part; one which has brilliantly allowed him to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes and laugh his way to the bank. Be well and thank you. 

Bread’s Response: I brought up several times that Inoue fought a perfect fight. I brought up how his jab and punch selection were overwhelming in the fight. If you read what I said about Fulton, then you read what I said about Inoue. But I get it. You want me to say it again. 

Inoue is special. He’s a top 10 fighter ever in my opinion 118lbs and under. He’s 1b to Terence Crawford’s 1a and if he were bigger we might be having a different conversation. That was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen and unfortunately for him, Crawford did what he did a few days later so it doesn’t get the appreciation it should.

My thoughts on my previous position are simple. I stand on them. I didn’t say Inoue couldn’t deal with the slick urban rhythm. I said I hadn’t seen him have to. As far as I know Fulton was the 1st black fighter he fought and I can’t give him credit for doing something he hasn’t done. Now that he did it. I give him an A+. Inoue is ATG and he was special that night on his biggest night.

I don’t agree or disagree with Atlas’s statement. We will never know because Mayweather vs Pacquiao happened in 2015, it didn’t happen in 2009-10 when Manny was on his string of perfect fights. The one thing I will say about it is I understand where Atlas is coming from. The fighter like Pacquiao has to be closer to his peak to win that type of fight because he’s smaller and he requires more energy and ferociousness to win. 

For example Joe Frazier won the 1st fight vs Ali at his absolute peak. He gave a great effort in the next two fights but he came up short. The same exact scenario happened with Duran vs Leonard. The smaller, high energy fighter fought the fight of his life in the 1st fight but was not able to perform like that again. In the Pacquiao vs Mayweather comparison. Mayweather is Ali and Leonard. The bigger, longer fighter with the more relaxed style. Where as Pacquiao is Fraizer and Duran. The smaller fighter with the high energy style. The high energy style slips sooner. In a game of inches everything matters.

I think Tyson Fury is a great fighter but his two title reigns have been lackluster. And they have been lackluster because of his counterproductive behavior. That’s it. That’s all. 

What's good Bread. I don't want to pile on the young man but is it time for Dubois to hang them up. What advice would you give to a fighter that you are training who doesn't have the chops to go through the grind. The broken orbital bone was forgivable but it also made it easy for him to quit again. The body shot was not a low blow. It's funny how Usyk trunks were over his belly button the entire fight but after the fight I watched him several times pulling them down below his belly button. The other thing that bothered me is how anytime Dubois went to the body and Usyk would indicate it was low Dubois would just stop fighting almost like we was waiting for the ref to step in. Dubois was in the fight. I was actually thinking the ref was going to find a way to help Usyk but Dubois helped him. I know you aren't in the habit of making excuses for a fighter but the second Fury vs Wilder fight I thought Wilder may have overtrained and left his legs in the gym. I can't help but think the same about Spence. He was out of the ring for over a year and a half. My question is how do you know when to pull a fighter back in the gym and send him home to keep him from overtraining. I would think it's hard to see with a fighter like Spence who trains and fights at the same speed. Recently Crawford has said he would go to 168 for the Canelo fight. If he does and wins would that put him on Mt Rushmore? 

Bread’s Response: I didn’t like when people piled up on Dubois when he had his orbital bone broken vs Joe Joyce. I was especially critical of BJ. Saunders who made the claim that he would rather lose on his back than quit on his knee. Then turned around and quit vs Canelo over a similar eye injury. So  vs Usyk, Dubois surrendered. I won’t use the word quit but he heard the count and he elected to stay down and chanced the referee counting out. When a fighters stays on a knee until 9 ½ you leave it up to the referee to interpret what your intentions are. So while I don’t think Dubois should retire. I do think this should be addressed. And before anyone says you can’t teach “heart” etc. I do believe a fighter can LEARN how to act more professional. To respond better to crucial moments.

 Vitali Klitschko surrendered because of an injury vs Chris Byrd. The criticism bothered him so much, when he suffered a severe cut vs Lennox Lewis he fought through it and was willing to continue even though he was risking his eye sight. I think Dubois still has a future. He doesn’t have to go to the HOF. But he can earn millions. 

If I feel as though a fighter may surrender a little easier than most, I’m going to talk about it with him. I’m going to ask him why. I would want to tap into his psyche. Some fighters have more pride than heart and vice versa. Heart is if a guy you know you can’t beat, punches you in face with no one around and you fight him back. Pride is if a guy you know you can’t beat punches you in the face with your wife present and you fight him only because your wife is present. Sometimes you have to tap into a fighter’s pride to get the same result. We would train to not give up. We would talk about it and make a pact with each other. I’m telling you anything can be TAUGHT if you identify the problem. 

I have a quick story for you guys….I won’t use names…In my neighborhood there was a very popular kid. He could fight. Girls really liked him. He made alot of street money. There was another kid who wasn’t as handsome. Who was less physically developed. He didn't dress as nice so his self esteem was different. He wasn’t a coward but he got bullied and picked on often. He wasn’t really a fighter. He wasn’t athletic. 

So as the years went by both of their reputations grew as I stated them. So one day at a house party the popular kid and his friends punched the not so popular kid in the face a few times. But on this day the unpopular kid had enough. He was tired of being the nail. He decided to be the Hammer. He literally killed the popular kid. People were upset about it and they vowed to get revenge for the popular kid. I personally liked them both and stayed out of it. 

The unpopular kid had a different reputation at this point and although people claimed they wanted revenge no one attempted to get it because they would have likely been killed too. The unpopular kid is alive and walking around today and no one is bothering him. The reason the popular kid punched him was because he had a reputation of a kid who was not a threat. That mistake cost him his life and no one ever bothered the unpopular kid again. I didn’t use names out of respect for him and his family but this is a 100% true story. 

Dubois can change this narrative about himself. If he’s honest with himself and prepares mentally for the next time. And when that next time comes, he literally goes all the way to the WALL. I won’t use morbid terms because that seems to offend people but it is, what it is. Dubois’s story is still being written. He can decide how it ends.

Great question about the overtraining. With most of my fighters I do their strength and conditioning. But with the ones who I don’t I attend the workouts and get reports on them. I look at their times. Body language etc. In the gym I observe their mood. If they’re listless in sparring or in their workouts for consecutive days I give them days off. I also make sure they’re up on their recovery. Sometimes fighters aren’t overtraining but they’re under recovering. If you aren’t sleeping right, getting massages, taking proper supplements and eating well rounded meals then you aren’t recovering correctly. I inquire and ask about everything. There is a difference in being tired from a workout and overtraining. Believe it or not, it’s hard to overtrain and it's often misdiagnosed. Being fatigued doesn’t mean you’re overtrained. But once I see that lost of spark, I have no issue giving a day off. Or even two days off. I also believe in shortening some workouts. A fighters doesn’t need two hour full blast workouts everyday. 

I also look for a lethargic disposition. A low voice. Not breaking a good sweat. Dull eyes. It’s really too much to type but when you know, you know. Great question.

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