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October 06, 2012

By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards

Hey bread I was watching some YouTube highlight vids this morning and there was a segment on Holyfield which got me thinking....I could be way off but wasn't he accused of possibly using some type of P.E.D. For some reason years ago? The reason I ask is because lately it seems that "the juice" is a hot topic in the fight game but I don't remember hearing anything when I became a hardcore fan around 2006 right up until somewhat recently. I'm sure there's a few positive tests that came up here and there but it's crazy lately. My question: were guys using the stuff back in the 30s, 40s, 50s...?
Another 1 for ya-
When betting on a fight what "rules" do you stick to if any?  I just saw the odds on PAC vs Marquez IV and I was shocked- what do you think about Pacquiao being -375 fave? I think Marquez will win this one by decision.
Mike from CT
Breadís Response: Holyfieldís name was linked to a situation where someone used the name Evan Fields to receive PEDs. I donít know full details so Iím not going to judge or make a further comment. I will say Evander Holyfield is my 2nd favorite fighter of my lifetime besides Ray Leonard. Great great fighter.

I donít know if PEDs as we know them existed that far back. The older fighters performances actually give people who believe in old school training a firm leg to stand on. Those guys fought more often(less recovery time), fought longer rounds(more endurance needed), and fought with smaller gloves (more punishment taken) and they didnít have the aid that todayís fighters of 35 fight careers have. It will always be a debate.

I bet on fights, basketball and more often football. The rules apply different in all sports. In boxing I look at who is listed as the favorite, I give that heavy credence. Those little old men in Vegas know exactly what they are doing when they ďlayĒ the odds. No human being is correct 100% of the time but I say they are correct about 80% of the time. When they ďlayĒ a favorite, the favorite usually wins.

I can remember when Shane Mosley was a bigger underdog against Floyd Mayweather than Juan Manuel Marquez was. Mosleyís last performance was against Margarito. Everybody ran and jumped on Mosley at like +450. He got beat worse than Marquez didÖÖ


What's up Bread?
I just finished doing some quick research based on Dan Rafael's divisional rankings on ESPN and found something very interesting. I examined the records of the top guys in each division to see how many wins they have against the rest of the top 10 in their respective division. After having done this in every division from 122 to Heavyweight I noticed that two fighters have separated themselves from the pack in that regard.
1. Andre Ward: Ward has beaten 4 guys in the top 10 at 168 thanks to the Super Six (Froch, Kessler, Abraham, and Bika) and he just dismantled the top guy at 175 (Dawson). That's 5 stellar victories and I think we have overlooked the magnitude of S.O.G's run from 2009 to present. He has also won these fights decisively and I believe we are witnessing a future hall of famer. People can complain about his style but he's on a tear and we all should acknowledge potential greatness when we see it.
2. Nonito Donaire: His resume isn't quite as impressive as Ward's, however he has beaten 3 guys in the top 10 at 122 (Vasquez Jr., Darchinyan, and Mathebula). (the ESPN list didn't have Mathebula on it but I think a unification counts for something). He has a chance to add number 4 if he beats Nishioka and although he hasn't dominated like Andre he has still emerged victorious in those bouts (in all fairness he has moved up from 112 to do this).
The rest of the champions have no more than 2 victories over guys currently rated in the top 10 in their respective division. Keep in mind that this is not an examination of career achievement but rather an answer to the question "what have you done for me lately?" Ward and Donaire have distinguished themselves with victories over guys who are currently at or near the top of the sport.
I'm no boxing historian but I wanted to see what you thought of my research.
Best of luck against Collazo by the way
William in West Palm
Breadís Response: Your research is valid, credible and on the money. Itís not the end all but I like it. It does show the fighters that are standing out, that are not only taking BIG fights, but hardcore satisfying fights also. As we know there is a huge difference. Northern California has had a huge push recently as a hot bed of boxing. You have Andre Ward, Nonito Donaire, Robert Guerrero and trainer Virgil Hunter all coming into prominence in the area.


What it do Breadman,
I read a recent mail bag where you talked about some lessons you learned from your Grandfather, since I don't know his name allow me to use my imagination and call him Papa Dough... cause bread don't rise to far from the Dough. And from what I can tell he was a wise man. I, like you have a father I look up to and he taught me 1 thing and it is this, when a man reveals to you who and what he is... believe him.
This is why I love boxing. The ring is the Truth, there we get a rare view into the heart and souls of men. It reveals those things that promoters and even fighters wish could be hidden cause you see in the ring the only thing we hear are the screams of your actions.
With that being said here is what has been revealed to us about some of our favorite fighters.
1) Amir Khan all hype with limited skills and a glass jaw. Exhibit A was KO'd by Breidis Prescott in the first Round. He hires Freddie Roach and wins a couple fight and that's suppose to make him great. Exhibit B he was KO'd again by Danny Garcia. Amir has revealed to boxing fan's he's a poor man's Ricky Hatton so I beleive him.
2) Sergio Martinez - His signature win was a highlight reel KO of Paul Williams and a decision win against Kelly Pavlik. The Paul Williams KO was the pinnacle of his career and he has been going down hill every fight with the exception of the Dzinziruk fight which was against a much smaller guy. Exhibit A Matthew Macklin was giving Sergio all he could handle before being stopped. Exhibit B Darren Barker was also giving Sergio all he could handle before he was stopped. Exhibit C Chavez Jr a fighter he despises yet even he had him down and scratching to making it to the final bell in his last fight. Martinez has revealed to us he is fading fast and if he fights Chavez Jr again he could get clipped. If he fights Dmitry Pirog or Gennady Golovkin he could get bagged and dumped in the trunk so I'm guessing he'll avoid them like the plague.
3) Andre Ward - He is the best fighter in the world hands down Exhibit A - He has not lost since the Olympics. Last 6 win's. 1) KO Chad Dawson 2) Decisioned - Carl Froch 3) Decisioned - Arthur Abraham 4) Decisioned - Sakio Bika 5) Decisioned - Allan Green 6) Decisioned - Kikkel Kessler. Seen enough.... best fighter in the world BAR NONE!!! I had questions about Ward's chin early on but he proved in the ring it's a non factor and now I'm a believer.
4) Saul Alverez - Chavez Jr has proven more in the ring in his career to date than Alverez has. Exhibit A Chavez Jr has beat true middle weights in Andy Lee, Marco Antonio Rubio, and Sebastian Zbik and we know he can hold his own against a P4Per like Martinez. Exhibit B Alverez has beaten a washed up Shane Mosley and smaller guys like Josesito Lopez, Alfonso Gomez, Ryan Rhodes, Matthew Hatton and Jose Miguel Cotto. The next P4Per he meets will be the first. To his credit he tried to make this last fight against a top fighter but every one of them got beat, injured, or paralyzed. Memo to fighters proceed with caution when agreeing to fight Alverez LOL. Alverez hasn't proved anything and until he fights someone with a pulse I'm not drinking the cool-aid. i.e. Miguel Cotto, Austin Trout, James Kirkland or K9 Bundrage. I beleive he could be a great fighter but he has not shown me in the ring therefore the jury is still out.
5) Victor Ortiz - Should retire he does not have the mental make up to be a fighter. He looks for ways out of fights instead of ways to win. He's showed us twice he doesn't like the taste of true combat. Exbit A Josesito Lopez fight ahead on the cards he could have boxed and stayed away and won a decision. Exhibit B Spazzed out in the Mayweather fight and then get's KO'd . Ehibit C Marcos Maidana fight he quits after having Maidana almost out in the first round. I beleive you Victor you don't want to be a fighter despite what your mouth may say.
6) Andre Berto - Babied early on in his career, when he faced a good fighter he was exposed as a fraud. Exhibit A Luis Collazo took him to the brink and showed us he has heart but his skills are lacking and need improving. Exhibit B Fights Victor Ortiz and his defensive issues and stamina are further exposed results he looses fight and solidifies his status as a fraud. Berto revealed he is a average fighter and even worst cheater. I believe him
What do you believe???
Breadís Response: Interesting comment. Here is what I believe. A manís LABEL and identity should be given when his ďdaysĒ are over. I believe that if we judge too soon, sometimes we can be correct and other times we can look like fools. I have been correct and I have looked like a fool. I donít like looking like a fool so I reserve my judgment until I feel I have enough circumstances to judge.

Amir Khan does have a weak chin. I agree with you 100%. But I donít think he has limited skills. I think he is very skilled. His problem is, heís too eager. He tries to do everything fast. I believe Khan can be helped. That doesnít mean he WILL be helped. I think youíre judging Khan too soon. Letís see how things look for him over his next few fights.

Sergio Martinez should not be on your list. He has revealed to us that he is an excellent champion who has risen to the occasion in his 3 biggest fights. I know a lot of people who picked Chavez to beat Martinez. Martinez struggled a little against some of his competition but he always gets the job done. Most guys slip a little bit at 37, thatís no big deal to me. You are off with Martinez.

Youíre correct about Andre Ward. Nothing to dispute from me.

I agree with you again about Alvarez. Canelo needs to fight a legitimate super welterweight, period. ďTheyĒ are overdoing it.

I agree with you again about Victor Ortiz. He has shown me enough. I was told by a respectable coach, that Victor Ortiz ďallowedĒ Amir Khan to tee off on him in the amateurs and stop him, similar to how he allowed Floyd Mayweather to just punch him in the face. There is something going on with Victor and I hope he doesnít ďallowĒ himself to be severely hurt.

I donít believe Berto is average. If he is average I would love to see above average hand speed and explosiveness. However I do believe he was exposed somewhat in the Luis Collazo fight and it led to him being matched very softly afterwards.
Berto has showed stamina issues and his infighting is just terrible especially for a shorter fighter. But I do believe he can improve because he seems to want to improve and like you stated he does have heart. Letís see how the next chapter of his career plays out before we put the final stamp on Berto.




I think that JC Chavez Jr's handlers would be mistaken to keep him at 160lbs any longer. He is going to kill himself at somepoint making weight and get hurt in the ring. I remember you stating the same thing about Brandon Rios. I personally think that is what cut Fernando Vargas' career short, trying to make 154lbs when he was really a Super Middleweight. Fernando had back problems but how can you properly heal when you killing yourself to make a weight that your body can't handle. The reality is that Chavez's handlers will coax him into a rematch with Martinez. Chavez has the tools to be a great fighter, but he has to want it and work for it. I would love for him to bypass the Super Middleweight division and go after Beibut Shumenov(WBA Light Heavyweight Champion) I believe that would be a nice match up. What do you think?

Sandy J Flores
El Mirage, AZ
Breadís Response: I get your point but here is the problem. If Chavez moves up in weight, he negates his biggest advantages. His brute force. From my experience in boxing the biggest jump from divisions is from middleweight to super middleweight. I donít know what it is but itís something about that jump.
The super middleweights seem to be taller, more dense and more athletic. More points. Look at how bad Arthur Abraham, Kelly Pavlik and Jermaine Taylor have struggled above 160lbs. Look at how long Bernard Hopkins took to move out of the 160lb division. Remember his first fight was at 177lbs. I would assume his body was ready to move up years before he did.

Since 1990 I can only remember 4 fighters who prospered at super middleweight, equal to what they prospered at middleweight. Roy Jones, James Toney, Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn. I like Chavez a lot but I think he gets chewed up at supermiddleweight. I think Top Rank who has great matchmakers know this to be true.


What's up Bread,
First let me say thanks for the insightful answers to my questions regarding the topic of quitting. Your answer was thoughtful and I appreciate you taking the time to respond. I have some follow up questions based on the topics from the last mailbag:
1. Without giving too much away, what happened to Luis Collazo between the Berto fight and now? What percentage of the guy who pushed Ricky Hatton and Andre Berto to the limit is actually left? I understand completely if you can't speak on it but I figured I would ask
2. I don't think there is any need to be up in the air about Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado. I believe that Rios may have burned himself out trying to make 135 too many times and I think he will meet his match in Alvarado. Mike is just as rugged and determined with more size and strength. I say Alvarado by late stoppage and Rios deserves MAJOR credit if he proves me wrong.
Any thoughts?
William in West Palm
Breadís Response: I will do a video mailbag for next weekís BAD card. In my opinion those fights should be on World Championship Boxing. I have plenty of reason to be up in the air about Rios vs Alvarado. Rios is better defensively; Alvarado bust up really easy and Alvarado will stand and engage, Rios wonít have to chase him.

Iím not saying Iím picking Rios, but this will be a brutal fight. I actually donít have a pick yet. I have to study more. Iím leaning towards Alvarado but when I watch him I see a fighter who fights well on the inside but does not defend himself well on the inside.

Alvarado is from Colorado. Iím not knocking Colorado but I wonder if Alvarado gets exposed to the subtle nuances of the game that a fighter who trains in California, New York, Philly or DC would. Alvarado just fights. There is a method to Riosís madness. Similar to Duran, Chavez and Castillo. Iím not suggesting Rios is as good as any of them, but he is similar in his approach of scientific destruction.
I will get back to you in a few daysÖ..


Hey bread it's Lou from the BX. Like most times I just want to get your insight and over all opinion about something. In my opinion the klitschko brothers ( specially vitali ) are top 10 heavyweights all time. Now hear me out, while talent wise they don't have the wow factor that the top 25 heavies may have. If u put them in the ring with the top 15-20 heavy weights they can easily beat half of them. I guess vitali can run the gauntlet a little better. In your opinion where do you place them? And are they under appreciated right now? My opinion is that on the surface the general public just views these guys as Ivan drago kinda figures and doesn't get all the subtle things they are doing. Vitali essentially fights a Sergio Martinez kinda style at 6'7". That's pretty amazing. It's not the fact that they are huge that they dominate fights, it's the fact that they maximize that physical advantage. Again I think the hate is kinda strong against them and they are quietly top 20 all time at worst, and I genuinely think vitali can be top 10-15. Again I'm talking wins and losses and who they would beat NOT who is the "boxer" when u look on the surface. Keep doin ya thing GODSPEED.
Breadís Response: I like both K bros. I have actually been including them in my top p4p guys for quite some time now before it became a popular thing to do. Yes they are underrated. Conceivably they both could be top 15 heavyweights ever.

Here is the thing about the K bros that give their detractors a leg to stand on. They both turned pro in around 96. They were around some really good heavyweights in the late 90ís and early 2000ís. They didnít turn into these dominant monsters until a few years ago when the division became itís weakest.
People keep talking about how these big heavyweights of today would be so good in yesteryear. But I always ask if there were so many BIGgood heavyweights around how come the K bros donít have anyone to challenge them. Where are they?
The closest thing we have had to a super fight with either brother was the fight with Wladimir and David Haye. A small heavyweight by todayís standards. Iím saying this because I think they are dominant not because of size but because of the lack of depth of talent.

Vitali who I think is the better brother lost to the two best fighters he ever faced in Lennox Lewis and Chris Byrd. Wladimir was knocked out Ross Purity, no one ever brings that up. But he was walked down and outwilled. Then Corrie Sanders caught him cold and Lamon Brewster walked him down and otuwilled him again.

I canít get these things out of my mind. No one after that fight has remained competitive with Wladimir for a prolonged period of time and kept trying to win. If these guys would have fought BIG fights in the 90ís. Against the Holyfieldís, Mercerís, Boweís, Lewisís, Ibeabuchiís, Tysonís and Rudduckís of the world both of them would have taken their lumps and loss fights. Thatís what happens when you fight elite competition on the regular basis. You win AND lose.

So I donít think itís a coincidence that their prime runs came after everybody left the scene. I think this was strategically done. So yes they could be top 15 but no higher than that in my opinion.



Bread, I'm interested to get your take on Gatti and the hall of fame
Breadís Response: You know I have spoken out openly about the preferential treatment that Latino and White fighters have received in the past. But the case of Arturo Gatti being nominated for the Hall of Fame is NOT one of them. YES he deserves to be in!

Everyone knows that Evander Holyfield and Ray Leonard are my favorite fighters of my lifetime. But neither gave me as many thrills as Arturo Gatti. I can literally remember where I was everytime I saw Arturo fight.

The first time I saw him fight was against a kid named Pete Taliaferra. I believe it was on the USA network. Arturo blitzed him and stopped him in the first round.  I was extremely impressed. Then on one of De La Hoyaís undercards I watched him fight Tracy Patterson. I always thought Patterson was very underrated and a tough out. Arturo outboxed him early, then showed great footwork late in fighting the strong Patterson off with slit like eyes. I remember being thrilled because although Arturo was winning, he wasnít a technically dominating fighter so there always seemed to be a chance he could lose.

Then came the fight that got me hooked. I was hanging over some chicks house and his fight with Wilson Rodriguez came on. I wasnít supposed to be there, her parents were upstairs. But Arturo was so awe inspiring that night, I yelled.  I didnít want to see the girl anymore after I left. But I left my dam beeper at her house and I had to go back. This may seem asinine to you guys but Arturo had that kind of effect on people. You remember everything you were doing when he fought.
He didnít stop thrilling me. I thought his fight with Gabe Ruelas was his finest moment. Ruelas was a bottom half of the top 10 p4p type of guy at his peak and Arturo knocked him dead with one of the wickedest left hooks ever.

I could go on and on about his fights but I will skip a few and get to the Mickey Ward first fight. That fight was so incredible my uncle and one of my good buddies stood up with me in my living room for the last 5 rounds. We literally stood up watching the fight with couches right there that we could sit on but we couldnít sit. Arturoís come back in the 9th round made me get light headed. And him taking the 10 round BIG wasÖÖ Iím at a loss for words.

The messed up part about Arturosí legacy is people like to call him a glorified club fighter. I am a FACT FAUCET, he was NOT. No offense but John Duddy is that. Iím sorry Mr. Duddy. But club fighters donít win 7 championship fights. Club fighter donít get ranked as high as #9 on the p4p list. Yes guys Arturo was #9 after he beat Rules. Club fighters donít win titles 10lbs apart. Club parts donít beat 7 ex world champions. Club fighters donít take the kind of beating Arturo took early in his career and show the kind of longevity that had him win his titles almost 9 years apart.

Top level fighters who some consider Hall of Fame worthy donít respond to losses and beatings better than Arturo did. That brings me to a point. I am curious to know if the members of the BWAA who voted for Barry McGuigan and Pipino Cuevas, are still on the board today. I ask that because I would like to know their reasoning behind voting those two excellent fighters in. And I am curious to know if they would be willing to vote Arturo in.

In no way am I disrespecting those fighters. I respect both of their accomplishments and I really thought highly of McGuigan, he was a beast. But again Iím just curious. Arturo did everything both of those guys did and more.

Arturo Gatti had such an effect on me, that I wrote into the RING or KO magazine after one of his fights. I literally wrote the magazine a letter chronicling how I felt about Arturo on a pen and paper. I called it Arturo ďThe Lion HeartĒ. Never before or after did I feel so compelled to write a 3 page story with a pen and paper. But I felt that way after watching that kid fight. Stand up Arturo!!!!!!!! I love you bro.

One more thing guys. As you can see this is from my heart and itís impromptu. The greatest quote I ever heard Arturo make was when someone asked him about the his proposed match up with Floyd Mayweather Jr. You guys may not remember this but Mayweather fought two WBC eliminators in order to get his shot against Arturo. He seemed hell bent on getting that fight and Floyd actually only fought one time in the whole 2004 , seemingly trying to get the Gatti fight that he eventually got in 2005.

When Gatti was asked about Floyd angling for him and Arturo seemingly ducking Floyd. Gatti responded with a half smirk on his face that he wasnít scared of any man. We all knew that. Then he said directing this next statement to Floyd. ďBrother I want you just as bad as you want me.!Ē

I knew Arturo was going to lose that fight but man when he said that the old chills that he gave me years before trickled down my spine.

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