The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen “Breadman” Edwards tackling topics such as Canelo Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant, Terence Crawford vs. Shawn Porter, Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk, and more.

What’s up Bread?

You said in one of your last mailbag that you thought that the year would end with a big fight, I don’t know if you talked about Crawford vs Porter but man, I can’t wait for that one !! I would have been so disappointed if that fight did not happen, but we all know how disappointing the boxing business can be at times.

I was really surprised that only one of the last mailbag subject was about that fight. I have few questions :

– Do you think Crawford will start lefty or righty? When I saw Spence vs Porter and Spence landed his first counter left hand I thought that the night might be short! I was wrong. But I believe that Crawford’s team will have him landing the same punch and something tells me that he might be able to time Porter coming in.

– Do you think Porter will try to be as aggressive as he was against Spence ?He was really boxing well in that fight, but I don’t know if the game plan will be the same because of Crawford abilities and accuracy.

– Do you think Crawford will try to make a statement and get a K.O or box? When he was hurt in his fight against Kavaliauskas he turned into a beast, he didn’t only want to win the fight, but he wanted to hurt him, break him down. I don’t know if he can do the same with Porter.

The year will finish strong with some big fights, I hope none of them will have be reschedule because of Covid!

Thanks for your time, always a pleasure to read your insight!

Max from France

Bread’s Response: I don’t get upset when things aren’t going great in a calendar year because the last quarter is always good for 3 big fights. 

I don’t know what stance Crawford will start out but I don’t think it will matter. He does what he has to do, when he has to do it. I think Crawford is a killer and he always tries for the ko if it’s available. I believe Shawn will mix his attack according to the temperature of the fight. Of course Crawford CAN catch Porter. The question is WILL he catch him? That’s why they fight the fights. I expect a very good fight. Both will be very motivated. 

Breadman,

Hello and hope all is well. I agree with you on Holmes not letting up on Ali.  The problem was that even though Holmes had power it was not all time power and Ali had an all time chin which makes for a bad situation.  I also agree with you on some fighters take it easy on great fighters past their prime.  I would include Ali 2nd fight with Patterson where I feel Ali did just enough but did not overdue it.  I have a book “Sweet Thunder” about the life of Ray Robinson.   To your point where some fighters show respect to older great fighters there is a good description of the Robinson Armstrong fight where Sugar Ray did just enough but did not go overboard.

However I also feel there was a deeper issue with Holmes on how Ali treated Frazier with disrespect.  With the terms he used to try and belittle Frazier.  And despite Ali being one of my two favorite fighters along with Duran and despite his greatness with humanity I agree that his treatment of Frazier was so wrong.  Just my opinion but maybe that is why Holmes fought the way he did.

Anyway take care.

Rich Mathews

Bread’s Response: I don’t want to give Holmes an excuse for what he did to Ali. He is an outspoken athlete and he never game himself that excuse. He said he was taking it easy and he wasn’t in my opinion. If he was somehow getting back at Ali for Ali’s statements about Joe Frazier, then the excuse of taking it easy wouldn’t fly. The truth is only one way. Holmes did what he did to Ali, as he had every right to do. It’s boxing. Just like Mike Tyson had every right to do what he did to Holmes. Life like boxing, circles the block. Holmes didn’t take it easy on Ali when Ali was past it at 38. So Tyson didn’t take it easy on him, when he was 38 past it. Karma is the most patient Gangster.

Hey Breadman, How did you see Valdez-Conceicao? I thought the Brazilian Olympian should have gotten the nod. He won the first 5 rounds clean and while he faded in the later half, I had a hard time believing Valdez swept the rest of the fight. What did you think of the criticism of his showboating? While I think he should have recognized that he had to do a lot more than his opponent to win a close decision considering all of the accommodations Valdez got, I thought criticism was a little unfair. AJ-Usyk seems to be flying under the radar. What does each guy have to do to win that fight and what’s their most important weapon?

I believe you said your ideal heavyweight would be 6″3 210-220lbs in a previous mailbag and Usyk fits into that mold. What did you think of Daniel Dubois’s performance a few weeks ago and at what point would you want to see him take on another test like Joe Joyce? And lastly, how do you view a Katie Taylor-Amanda Serrano fight? I think the wars are starting to show on Katie though Serrano is no spring chicken either. I think Katie’s sharper boxing skills and high work rate would be enough to pull out a decision. 

Bread’s Response: I didn’t score the Valdez fight. But it seemed to be a very close fight. And as usual another off scorecard in favor of the A side fighter. I think Taylor vs Serrano is a great fight. A super fight in women’s boxing but I don’t have a winner. I have to study them a little bit more.

Daniel Dubois is ready for a big challenge in one more fight. 

6’3”, 220lbs is all you need at heavyweight. I think Usyk has to confuse and turn Joshua. He needs to get behind Joshua’s lead shoulder. He needs to not fall behind too far early before he starts his late push to attack Joshua’s stamina. Usyk has to remember basic mathematics. Loma lost track of the rounds he was down vs Lopez. Usyk can’t do that in this fight. He has to win at least 2 rounds in the first half of the fight.

Joshua has to break Usyk’s rhythm. He has to control him with his jab. He has to threaten him and keep him in check. And when Usyk goes to score points Joshua has to nail him with something to keep docile. Joshua has to keep it simple. He throws a big variety of punches for a big fighter. He doesn’t need many punches vs Usyk. A jab. A good scoring shot from long range. And a good counter shot when Usyk attacks. That’s it. Sometimes Joshua tries to do too much. If he runs out of gas, Usyk is going to eat him up. 

Hey Bread,

Just read your MB, solid stuff as always. Shawn Porter is the bull and Bud Crawford is the matador. Porter is a top 10 welterweight but he’s too predictable. Crawford is quick whether fast tempo or slow he can adjust. Porter will have to add unpredictability to his arsenal to beat Crawford. Holmes is a top 5 or 6 heavyweight along with Ali, Johnson, Marciano, Louis and Dempsey! But, Holmes missed a few others primarily Foreman. As a trainer have you had to deal with a good fighter who’s lost interest in fighting? No matter what you do you cannot motivate them?

Malik Scott and the time that Team Fury has allowed Wilder to acclimate to Scott’s teaching will be their undoing along with their underestimation. A part of me believes there’s some hesitancy and apprehension in Fury. Wilder looks good to me and if he stays true to form it will be hard day in the office for Fury!

The new 5 kings – bah humbug! Until those guys decide to stop being personalities and be fighters, we may never see any of them fight each other! IMHO a few of them aren’t kings at all, maybe princes!

Davis is heads and shoulders above of all of them. Lopez hasn’t capitalized on his victory over Lomachenko he’s lost momentum. Stevenson is a TR fighter they’ll fight him soft forever and use their promotional savvy to divert attention away from those soft bouts. Same with Haney. And who knows where Garcia is psychologically. Tank is the most focused of them all!

Bread’s Response: You are correct Crawford has a gift. His quick mind. He has the ability to process and slow things down even in chaos. His fight with Mean Machine and Gamboa looked chaotic but he was totally focused and forced both into fatal mistakes. Very few fighters can flip the switch like Crawford. I thought Kell Brook was outboxing him. But Crawford has the ability frame his opponents and clip them. Brook was landing a nice jab, right hand combo. Crawford threw a jab that started out as a hook and pretty much ko’d Brook. It was one of the greatest punches I have ever seen but because Brook is viewed as shot, no one talks about it. Crawford processes with some of the great processors in boxing. Guys who can fire, while their opponent is firing and land accurately and not close their eyes or drop their heads. 

Danny Garcia, Nonito Donaire, Canelo Alvarez, Roman Gonzalez, Monster Inoue and Terence Crawford all have exclusive membership to this CLUB.

Shawn will definitely have to be unpredictable. He can’t attack or retreat at the same rhythm. Crawford has a gift that he may not be able to articulate. But he slows down the opponent’s movements to a point of being able to hit them in vulnerable spots they can’t recover from. I love this fight because Shawn Porter is so gutsy, he’s going to try Crawford. Crawford is going to have to prove his stature vs Porter. They both need each other for validation in a weird way.

Holmes is a top 5 or 6 heavyweight for sure. But not unifying the titles and a few misses do hurt him. The WBA belt kept switching hands in the early 80s and Holmes never picked the belt up. It slightly hurts his legacy to have never unified in 7 years as a champion. Holmes is a killer, I don’t believe he ducked anyone on purpose. But he does have some misses.

I haven’t had to deal with a fighter who is not motivated. I hope I never do because at that point he will make me choose between money and principle. 

I agree about Wilder and Scott. I can’t believe so many people are so critical of them. I think they are onto something. The only thing that I believe is slight mistake on their part, is they are letting everyone see their “work” on video. In this day and time, an elite fighter has to be accessible to the press I get that. But they seem to be showing their stuff and the criticism is falling in. But the good thing is they don’t care what people think. 

As weird as this may sound. I think Wilder may have a mental edge. In boxing so many fighters avoid a bad style match up for them. In this case Wilder got stopped in the rematch. He lost more rounds in the 1st fight. But he’s the one pursuing the trilogy fight. Any normal person would say dam, is this guy crazy. I beat the crap out of him but he keeps coming back. I have seen people like this. I have seen a level of determination that eventually wills itself to success. 

I know what it feels like for everyone to be against you and you fight through, what you’re going through, to get to where you want to go. Wilder is showing a level of determination by even getting the ring with Fury that is rare. Wilder is showing WILL. I don’t care what anyone says. I know character. I have been possessed. I have seen people be possessed. I have seen obsession. I have seen will. 

I once saw two friends of mine fight for 10 minutes, bare knuckles, in a street fight in 25 degrees. The brutality was unreal. Neither wanted to give up because they were fighting over the prettiest girl in the neighborhood. They almost killed each other. Wilder has that same “way” about him. He’s so up for this that he may not have much AFTER this fight but on October 9th, he’s going to GIVE all of himself. Buster Douglas had that look for Mike Tyson. Riddick Bowe had that look for Holyfield in their first fight. Hagler had that look for his fight with Hearns. Duran had that look for his first fight with Leonard. 

I’m not suggesting Wilder is as good as those guys. I’m suggesting he’s as motivated. Fury who is the more complete, and technically skilled fighter will have to be at his best because this is more than just about ability. This is the spirit of a man. He beat Wilder up in that 2nd fight but he didn’t break his spirit. Wilder still believes in himself despite some of his post fight behavior. I’m telling you guys this is a real fight. Again I wouldn’t be surprised if this fight didn’t come off. If I see what I see in Wilder, then someone else more important than me sees it.

I agree I won’t call them the 5 kings. But I also won’t say Davis is head and shoulders above them all. I think he’s in the best position. But I’m not going to give a fighter credit for doing something he hasn’t done. I’m a big Tank Davis fan right now. His win over Mario Barrios really impressed me. But guess what? Davis will be 27 this year and he hasn’t fought any of the other guys either. If he goes and kos Lopez, Garcia or Haney then I will give him the head and shoulders tag. But as of now Lopez is the only one who has beaten a great fighter and we can’t take it away from him.

What’s Good Breadman,  

I enjoy your insights every week.    How has your skill set and experience from being a trainer positively influenced your abilities as a father?     How has experiencing parenthood positively influenced your abilities as a trainer?    

All the best going forward.

Julio Dinero

Bread’s Response: Training fighters has had a great deal of impact on me being a father. My kids are very advanced athletically because I know what hard work and discipline will do. They get the euphoria of success. My Daughter Ava is a 7x All American in Track and she’s the #1  10year old girl in America in the 400m. And #2 in the 200m and 100m. 

My son Andres won an MVP for his football team his 1st year of playing tackle football. He’s scored about 20 career highlight reel tocuhdowns. And in basketball he has had some huge games and is consistently the best player on his team thusfar. He’s consistently been the best or one of the best kids on his teams and with boys it’s harder because he has a bigger field of competition. 

At times I’m hard on them but I’m still their dad. They know I love them but I’m building them for a life after athletics. They think it’s cool to have me as a dad. But I’m more blessed to have them as my kids. They make me secretly cry every time they do something great. And they do it often. I literally treat my fighters similar to the way I treat my kids. I’m stern and I hold them accountable. But they know that I will do anything for them. I do find myself getting more frustrated with my son. At times I have to check myself and say he’s just 9. But he has so much natural ability that I feel like he operates at 90% at times because he’s not as focused as my daughter who is not as skilled as him in team sports but in track, her work ethic and focus is perfect. But I have learned to accept every athlete for what and who they are similar to boxing. 

Coaching and being a dad are my coolest jobs. I will never work another day in my life if I get to do this forever. The toughest part is compartmentalizing a bad loss or poor performance. Don’t laugh but I get PTSD when my kids or fighters lose. I have to work on that with self maintenance.

What’s up Breadman?

I just saw the video about Plant and Canelo throwing hands at each other, and it got me thinking about how important the pre-fight part can be for the fight.

In fact, the fight doesn’t start in the ring, but as soon as the 2 guys know that they will fight each other, that’s when the mental war begin. Just like there are different types of punchers, I think there are different types of pre-fight masters: – Provocator (Ali, Fury)- Agressive (Hopkins, Duran)- Extra focus (Ward, Mayweather)- Cool and relax (Golovkin, Pacquiao)

What do you think about that list?

Could you describe the upcoming fights with just 1 word: AJ vs Usyk, Fury vs Wilder, Fulton vs Figueroa, Canelo vs Plant, Porter vs Crawford.

Last subject, I saw Triller was trying to move again the date of Lopez vs Kambosos, and that got me thinking about your explanation of the fight camp peak. I hope they can’t move again that fight because I really don’t know how the coaches can prepare their fighters in that conditions!

Thanks for your time! Max from France

Bread’s Response: This has to be a very humbling experience for Teofimo Lopez and his team. They thought the grass would be greener because of the purse big made by Triller but what has happened has been very counterproductive. The moving of the dates screws up a fighter’s peak and it hurts them financially because at the top level, camp is expensive. This really sucks for them and it will hurt Lopez moving forward with Top Rank. They won’t forget this. I hope it works because I think Lopez is the goods but he has to fight. I’ve never seen anything like this before with these date movements. 

AJ vs Usyk=legacy

Fury vs Wilder=revenge

Fulton vs Figueroa=Philadelphia

Canelo vs Plant=Jab

Porter vs Crawford=body punches

I love your list about fighters and their mentality types. I mean your list is awesome. Only a great boxing mind takes the time to break down the types of mentalities there are.

Hi Bread, hope all is well on your end.

My question is regarding being relaxed in the ring during sparring and fights. How do you cultivate that in a fighter if he is too tense and not letting himself “flow” more? And how do you not let that relaxed approach stray into too relaxed?

Kind Regard

Sean in Ireland

Bread’s Response: A fighter should be calm, but alert. Relaxed but ready. Smooth, but sharp. Humble, but confident. I got that off of a IG Page called Martial_x. It’s true but most fighters sacrifice one for the others. If you can master all of them simultaneously you are a great fighter. Think about this. Being calm keeps the heart rate down. It allows you to flow at a steady pace. But you need to remain alert. Remember Nate Campbell vs Robbie Peden. 

Being relaxed is a great quality. But you have to stay ready. See Anthony Hembrick vs Booker Smith.

Being smooth is great but you have to be sharp and smooth. You don’t want to be too sharp and with no smoothness because you will burn out and be rigid. You want your sharpness to come off as smooth. Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather, Roy Jones, Mark Johnson and currently Boots Ennis have great mixes of smooth sharpness. I love Oscar De Hoya but he was sharp and not always smooth and it cost him in tight spots. It also cost Tommy Hearns and Jermaine Taylor.

Being humble but confident is self explanatory. Terence Crawford is the best example of that in this current era. 

If a fighter can’t calm himself down in sparring, he has to spar more. Any flaw can be overcome by repetition. The reason he isn’t calm is because he’s not confident. He can overcome by doing it over and over. You also let him spar fighters he can handle so he can gain confidence and gradually step him up to better sparring partners.

Hope you are well? I just had a quick question for you. How is canelo upset about being called m— f— n he did the same thing to boo boo Andrade.

Blessings 2 u

James

Bread’s Response: Most fighters are hypocrites. Canelo is being a hypocrite in this situation. But it’s boxing. At the end of the day they have to fight. Canelo is a real fighter if he’s not anything else. He’s mean and he’s a bad ass. I like everything about him except his positive drug test. I can’t get past that. And honestly I think Caleb Plant challenging him and calling him out about those drug test got under his skin and that’s the real reason why Canelo got upset. 

I also respect Caleb and him being outspoken about the positive test out of Canelo’s camp. It’s something that gets talked about OFF the RECORD. But most media members don’t talk about it on the record. Plant has openly challenged Canelo and his team about the PEDS and it seems Canelo doesn’t like it. Oh Well. Caleb has every right to challenge him. It’s highly suspicious. Caleb also is proving he wants to be great. Caleb could sit back and collect checks and fight IBF mandatories but he made the fight everyone wanted to see. I respect it!

Hi Bread,

Really becoming a huge fan of Caleb Plant. I love that he called out the suspicious Reynoso gym for cheating and laid it on Canelo. It’s about time. I wish more fighters would do this.

Canelo, by contrast seems to get offended by being called a drug cheat, decides that shoving someone is allowable, but having someone use their hands in retaliation is not? Entitled. I don’t respect entitlement.

I know you make some good predictions, but Canelo gets the decision on this one. Canelo has the judges in his pocket as per usual. We’ve seen it. The A side with money gets minimum 1 lopsided scorecard. I’ve seen him get 95% of the close rounds and not so close rounds in every one of his fights. Plus his Clenbuterol limits were increased by the WBC were they not, so he can chest freely, if I read that news article correctly a while back? Canelo’s defense is good and Plant is not a brutal puncher, so a decision is likely for Alvarez.

All that bring said, I actually like Plant’s style and looseness. He is quick and has nice punch selection. I think he’s matured from his earlier fights where he looked fatigued. I think the body jab will be a good punch in this fight. Or at least feinting it. Canelo likes to plod and sit on a counter lately, but a jab like Plant’s, with his footwork, can be hard to counter.

What did you think of the press conference? Who laid their stamp down on that event and walked away feeling encouraged:

Plant or Canelo?

Thanks for the time.

Jay

Bread’s Response: Plant is the first opponent to really challenge the elephant in the room. Reynoso has had 3 fighters that I know of who have tested positive. And possibly 4 if you include Luis Nery who also tested positive but I’m not sure if he was training Nery when he tested positive, so that’s up in the air. Reynoso claims that he has no influence as far as their nutrition and he may be telling the truth. But no other trainer in boxing has had this happen to this extent. It’s highly suspicious to say the least. 

And Plant is talking publicly about it while most say it off the record. I respect the kid. I think it’s one of the reasons why Plant didn’t take the fight on short notice because he doesn’t trust Canelo and his team. Everyone called him scared when he didn’t want the fight on 7 weeks notice. But going by his comments, I see where his mind is. I won’t make a prediction until the fight gets closer and I see how the camps have went and who will be the judges. It’s very important. And while Canelo is very influential, Caleb Plant has Al Haymon and Luis Decubas behind him, so he also has some powerful people behind him. 

Everyone is acting like a judge scoring the press conference. I saw two fighters get into a small dust up. I didn’t take as much from it as everyone else. But here is what I saw. I saw a fighter in Plant is who was not afraid to say what was on his mind. I also saw Plant take a swing at Canelo for pushing him. I think Caleb is a little wired up right now but that can work 2 ways. He can burn himself out mentally or he will train like a dog and fight the fight of his life.

In Canelo I saw what I always see. Canelo is a money fighter. I’m not just talking about money either. He’s been on the big stage since he was 20 years old fighting for world titles on HBO and for the most part he’s delivered. He’s used to big fights and big moments. I think Canelo thinks Caleb is soft, so he decided to push him and he used the mother excuse. He talks about how Caleb is going to run. Plant has not scored big kos at the top level. Where as Canelo is violent and he punches with bad intentions. So he did what he did.

Caleb taking a swing at Canelo and continuing to talk his talk is revealing to me. We all know what Canelo is at this level. He’s a great fighter. Caleb is a great talent but he hasn’t proven to be a great fighter yet. This fight will go a long to show that. Caleb does not seem to be intimidated in my opinion. He’s standing up to Canelo but I think he has to fight a smart fight in the ring. He has to prove he wants to win but he doesn’t have to fight on Canelo’s terms. Canelo is one of those fighters similar to James Toney that he could fight a 230lbs man and be ok as long as that man was pressing him. He wants you to try to ko him and hurt him because he’s a violent counter puncher by nature even though he has developed his press game.

But what has worked better against him is simply trying to outbox him and not give him much to counter by using the legs. Caleb has to remember that. I think this is a fascinating match up and despite Canelo getting in a good lick in the scuffle, I think both proved their points at the press conference. Caleb is not intimidated and Canelo wants to rip his head off. Both will have to channel their emotions properly in the ring.

Hello good sir, I wanted to get a trainer’s perspective on what I see as a dilemma. Joshua-Usyk this weekend seems like one of the more dangerous robbery traps we have seen in some time. I see this as a pick-‘em fight with clean judging but I think fighting in AJ’s homeland with the Tyson Fury money fight looming shifts the odds from 52-48 Joshua to 80-20. I’ve been looking forward to this fight for four years but the way things have been going with the judges lately and the context of this whole heavyweight scenario really have my interest level diminished.

If you were training a b-side fighter-especially a boxer like Usyk- in a similar situation, would you gameplan to fight for a knockout to avoid the judges, or would you train for a style that would increase your chances of deserving to win and let the chips fall where they may? On one hand I would hate to lose because my fighter got out of character but on the other hand opportunities and legacy tend to follow the official winners more than the deserving ones so I don’t know what would be advisable.

Thanks,

Luke, South Carolina 

Bread’s Response: I was in this exact situation with Julian Williams vs Jarrett Hurd. We were in Hurd’s hometown. Hurd had a huge unification with Jermell Charlo looming. And we were the B side. At the end of the day it’s still a fight. 12, three minute rounds. 10oz gloves. 3 judges. You put your gameplan together and make adjustments with your knowledge and instincts. A fight is not scripted. It’s a fight. You feel the energy and the vibe. In Williams vs Hurd I knew we were winning because I could feel it. I trusted my instincts but I didn’t become complacent. I thought the lead was bigger but the judges had us up 7 rounds to 5 and 8 rounds to 4. 

Usyk’s corner will have to implement their game plan and keep track of the rounds. If he’s losing after the first 4 rounds, they will have to adjust their tactics or temperament. If he’s winning, they can keep doing what their doing until Joshua adjust. Their instructions should be based off of their instincts and knowledge. They can’t fight a dumb fight that benefits Joshua because they’re scared to get robbed. They took the fight! And at the same time they have to be conscious of being robbed. But winners win and figure it out. It’s not special set of instructions. I love this fight. 

Two Gold Medalist. Legacy is on the line. If Usyk wins, he’s a HOF. If Joshua wins he has the best resume in the division. I was leaning Joshua but I’m all over the place. Joshua is an overthinker and that bothers me. He’s a real fighter but he seems to be a kid with high anxiety. He’s more into the sports science of boxing, than he is advancing his skillset. Usyk is the more natural fighter but he’s been in a slump. Usyk is due for a big performance because he hasn’t had one in years. 

My guess is Joshua by controversial decision but honestly if I were to bet, which I probably will I would take Usyk because he’s the underdog and he’s due. My guts tell me that Joshua has a nice counter right hand that will land like it did to Charles Martin and score big points. But he better not run out of gas. Usyk hits clean. Any man over 200lbs can hurt you and Usyk throws a nice straight left to the gut. If no one gets clipped it should be intriguing down the stretch.

Send Questions dabreadman25@hotmail.com