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January 11, 2013

By Stephen "Breadman" Edwards

I have been reading a lot of fan response in addition to "expert" analysis regarding Manny Pacquiao after the Juan Manuel Marquez fight and I have to say....they are trying to "Roy Jones Jr." him-- trying to take away this guy's legacy like he was a nobody fighting "catchweights and/or weight drained" fighters... smh. Whether you love or hate the guy, the run that he had was legendary! Everyone keeps bringing up Oscar De La Hoya being "weight drained"...but dude not only fought a fight prior to Manny at a lower weight than the fight that he had with Mayweather (I think it was at about 150), but he was working the weight off to rematch Floyd Mayweather at about 147. Everyone thought that Oscar was gonna kill dude!....In recent history I've never seen a fighter that was almost always (if I am correct) moved up in weight to fight a BIGGER GUY get so much heat after the FAVORED BIG GUY gets beat. Some of these critics seem to forget that no one forced these supposed "catchweight/weight drained" fighters to fight Manny...they all believed (as a side note..really I can only think of about 3 of Manny's gazillion fights that were even fought at these supposedly world altering umm "catchweights" lol) that they would win these fights. But I'm telling you Bread, they are really trying to take away this guy's legacy and it's irritating particularly when it's coming from people that consider themselves "experts". I am not even what you would call a "Pactard" or anything. I just appreciate greatness when i see it. I don't know if you have been hearing the same things out there but...and I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion should at least be a well researched and thought out opinion. But unfortunately you got these extremely bias opinions out there torching Manny and making Mayweather out to be some all conquering weapon of Mass Destruction despite the fact that he only fights like once every General Presidential Election and seems to "retire" just when he has a chance to clean the division when the division is err "tough". Now don't get me wrong, I think that Mayweather is an awesome fighter...easily in the top 5 defensive fighters that I have witnessed..but his fans have to realize is that he has to take flak for not doing the things that one has to do to be considered in the Mount Rushmore of elite fighters. I personally don't feel that he did everything that he could to make "certain" fights. Changing subjects, I hope this year we are able to see some nice fights on channels such as NBC/ABC etc to get boxing back into the limelight...when Manny was knocked out it was barely a footnote on channels such as ESPN. There are alot of fighters out there that are really entertaining that if shown on local TV could really give boxing a boost...Also I had a couple of questions for you as well.
1. If you could narrow your list down to about 5-10 fights that you would like to see this year...what would they be?
2. How did you have the Pacquiao/Marquez series record prior to the fourth fight?
3. Can the heavyweight division ever make a comeback?
Sorry about being so long winded but I had to get this off of my chest lol...anyway keep up the great work man!

--Mike B, Jacksonville Fl

Breadís Response:  Fights I would like to see: Floyd Mayweather vs Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, Nonito Donaire vs Abner Mares and Guillermo Rigondeaux, Sergio Martinez vs Gennady Golovkin, Adrien Broner vs Yuriorkis Gamboa, Andre Ward vs Andre Direll and Danny Garcia vs Brandon Rios.

I had Pacquiao winning all three of the first fights vs. Marquez. I know I am in the minority but thatís how I had it. Pacquiao won the first fight the cleanest in my opinion. People got caught up in Marquez coming back but he was down 5 freaking points after two rounds. The second fight was the hardest for me to score but the knockdown was the difference what was officially a draw. The third fight was a fight where I think Marquez got credit for doing better than expected, instead of actually winning. The critics who use punch stats as their barometer never bring them up in this fight, because Manny out punched Marquez in like 9 out of 12 rounds.

The heavyweight division will make a comeback by 2014. I expect to see a new heavyweight champion not named Klitschko.

YES , YES , YES. Manny is now the double standard to die by. Envy is the strongest emotion in this universe. I have never seen such a humble man be attacked so much. The guy never says a bad word about any opponent but most ďhateĒ on him. Calling Manny the catchweight king is absolutely ridiculous. If I told you guys how many TEAMS, secretly try to negotiate weight advantages behind the scenes you wouldnít believe it. So many BIG fights have been fought at open and/or hidden catchweights. The craziest part about this catchweight tag is, Mannyís team got two favorable catchweights in 61 fights. Cotto 145 and Margarito 150.

Now here is the ironic part. In Pacquiao-Marquez III, Marquez asked for a catchweight of 144 and got it. He did the same thing to Mayweather and Floyd burned him. Marquez is applauded as he should be, but I have never heard a soul speak of it.

Iím glad you brought up Oscar. Oscar is as ambitious as a fighter can be as far as who he is willing to fight. Oscar gets FULL props from everybody for taking on Bernard Hopkins when he didnít have to. Now I want you to look at boxrec and check out Hopkinís weight for that fight and tell me do you think they agreed on a silent catchweight? No big deal. Oscar was giving up so much size to a fighter who had turned pro as a light heavyweight, he asked for a few pounds. I can go on and on but Iím tired of typing.

Manny Pacquiao is a once-in-a-lifetime type of fighter. He has to be one of the top 5 or 6 southpaws ever.  He is boxingís only 8 division champion. Even in a watered down era, thatís not easy. Especially when he skipped junior bantamweight and bantamweight. Heís the only flyweight champion in history to win a lightweight , junior welterweight , welterweight and junior middleweight title. Heís the greatest Asian fighter ever. Heís boxingís only 4 division lineal champion. And he had the best hot streak of the past 10 years. How can you hate the guy? Only someone not comfortable with themselves can find consistent problems with such an accomplished athlete.

I've always see people writing to you about Sugar Ray Leonard possibly ducking Aaron Pryor during their primes. However, I haven't noticed anyone or remember anyone asking you who would've won that matchup. So here it is who would've won Bread and why? I've read that Pryor use to smack Leonard around in sparring as an amateur and as a professional. I don't believe Leonard ducked Pryor, but I do believe that Leonard had the same uncomfortable feeling about fighting Pryor that Mayweather had in fighting Pacquiao.-- Bryant, NJ

Breadís Response: Ray Leonard by brutal late KO. Heís too physically strong for Pryor. Ray was a BIG welterweight, with really strong legs. Pryor for as great as he was made plenty of mistakes namely punching with his chin in the air. No way could he have done that against Ray for 15 rounds, while was punching WITH him.

Also you have to challenge revisionist history. Ray and Pryor were never even in the same division. Floyd and Manny were the two best and biggest stars in the same division for 3 years. Had Ray not fought Hearns for 3 years then the analogy would be in order.

Ray actually offered Pryor a fight in early 1981 and Pryor turned it down. If you donít believe me look at Pryorís post fight interview after he beat Lennox Blackmoore. Pryorís trainer Dave Jacobs who used to train Leonard told Pryor during the interview that he needs to stay at 140 or go down to 135 where he started. At that time Pryor was nothing more than Danny Garcia before the Khan fight. Imagine if Floyd or Manny offered Garcia a fight and he said no. Pryor turned the fight down and Leonard went onto fight Ayube Kalule and Tommy Hearns.....There was NO DUCK. 

The crazy thing about this ďduckĒ theory is Pryor never moved up and challenged any of the welterweights. If he wanted to be a player in the division he should have just moved up. You canít duck a man who is NOT in your division.

From my research they had some heated sparring. What else would you expect from two all time greats? I did read interviews where Pryorís people said he ďsmackedĒ Ray around. But thatís Pryorís people. Funny thing is Ray doesnít speak on it. From my knowledge about boxing I gather that as, the sparring was the Super Bowl for one fighter, where as it was just ďworkĒ for the other. Guess which is which.

Fighters are insanely jealous of fighters like Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Roy Jones and Floyd Mayweather. Think about how many guys have imaginary axes to grind with those guys over the years. I love Aaron Pryor, heís the best junior welterweight ever. But he was a legend NOT a superstar and there is a difference. Ray Charles Leonard was the star of stars during the 80ís and it bothered lots of his contemporaries.

Your discussion of PEDís in your reply to Kim from Houston was a much-needed approach to the topic. As fans of the sweet science, too many of us are quick to discredit a fighter who comes out on top of the one we are pulling for, and today the quickest way to do so is throwing out the PED excuse. I admit, I was amazed by what your sources were telling you about JMM, but YOU never made it out to be some headline like ďJMM is on steroidsĒ. You simply (and respectfully) laid out the details you were given. I donít see that type of professional reservation these days and I applaud you for it. I also think you were right on with the statement, ďunless itís a fighter that I work with on an EVERYDAY basis I wouldnít put the possibility of PED use past any fighter.Ē When I get involved in a conversation about PEDís, I always bring up that majority of these fighters had dedicated their lives with physical and mental discipline that most of us will never even have the capacity for. And while testing and results may be defined, the term PED in itself can be quite subjective. Why put it past ANY fighter to do anything for an advantage, especially when PEDís have evolved so much in the past decade making them, in many cases, easier to use, harder to detect, and safer to the body (if used responsibly). Just my thoughts. Continue the great work and may 2013 be another great year for boxing.
Dave from Chicago

Breadís Response: Thatís the only way I can approach the topic. Fair. I have a feeling Kim will have a replyÖÖÖ.


Manny Pacquia-Juan Manue; Marquez V. Thatís not a fight that Iíd like to see. I understand that Manny was winning the 4th installment and that we saw flashes of the old Manny. Problem is, if they fight again, the thing that made Manny great will be missing. For the first time, heíll second guess just rushing in wildly and letting his hands go. After the fight I heard him say heíll be aggressive but heíll have a smarter aggression. Iím not sure he can change that up at this stage of the game. I expect him to fight timidly if he fights Marquez again and would expect another KO loss or decision loss as he tries to avoid Marquezís newly found freakish power. If I were Juan Manuel the fight that Iíd go after is Floyd Mayweather. I, for one, DO NOT believe that Floyd is light years ahead of Marquez in terms of skill. I just think he fought a fat and bloated Marquez. Marquez was able to land a few shots in that fight but didnít have enough pop. I think it goes without saying that he now has POP. So, why not attempt to go out on top of the world? Challenge Floyd with your new body of armor and see what happens. Would he still be the underdog . . . yes, but who cares. Fighting Manny again proves nothing. Marquez is 39 and only has one fight left so he says. If thatís the case, why not go after the best in a way that you couldnít the first time around. If you lose, so what itís Floyd. If you win, youíll be elevated to legendary status to the extent that no other Mexican fighter can say he was better than you.
Breadís Response: I actually think Marquez would do better if he fought Floyd again. Power changes a lot. Itís pretty obvious that Marquez is more explosive these days. Heís also riding super high after a career defining victory. Heís a great fighter, so I expect him to adjust better to Floyd this time as he did Manny the 2nd time. He also hit Floyd with some really good shots in the first fight that most donít remember. Floyd also is more stationary. I wouldnít pick Marquez to win but I would like to see it.


Hey bread, happy new year.I know i haven't hit you in a minute,but its time to get back to business.Something you said awhile ago has stuck in my head about boxing needing a 3rd super promoter.50 cent seems to fit the bill.He is young, urban, loaded with cash,and most boxers seem to take a liken to him or at least they can relate to him.I think Bob Arum is a little out dated and Golden Boy may have to many fighters to accommodate.Lou dibella, Gary Shaw, Dan Goosen are good at what they do but don't seem able to get there fighters to that PPV level.I know 50 has a stable of about 3 fighters Billy Dib, Andre Dirrell, Yurikis Gambao.I feel that stable wont cut it.He has to make some power moves and really dig in the wallet.Say if he were able to land Andre Ward or Sergio Martinez, along with Amir Khan and Lamont and Anthony Peterson.Those could be his A side fighters.Next he looks to recruit fighters who are looking to get out of there current situations such as James Kirkland, Mickey Bey,and Ismayl Sillakh.Of course he needs a young budding star or 2 so we look at Demetrius Andrade and Brad Soloman.Lasty if Zab Judah or Shane Mosley win there next fights they will be back in the money so those are an option.Now looking at a potential stable of Yurikis Gambao,Andre Dirrell, Billy Dib, Ward or Martinez, Khan,the Peterson brothers, James Kirkland, Mickey Bey,Demetrius Andrade,Brad Soloman,Ismayl Sillakh,Zab Judah and /or Shane Mosley,does this make him a legit super power promoter? I think he an be the bridge between Top Rank/Golden Boy.My questions to you are 1) can this be pulled off,2) what will it take for this to be pulled off and 3) does this make him the 3rd monster promoter in boxing?Thanks and I look forward to your response
Breadís Response: Call me crazy but I think 50 will surpass Goosen, Dibella and Shaw within the next two years. More top fighters are willing to sign with him now than any of those three. 50 is a great business man but Iím not sure heís a great boxing man. That remains to be seen.

In order for 50 to take the next step he simply has to get in with HBO and Showtime. He has to make them want to play ball with him without a Co Pro with GB or TR.  If he can hold his OWN shows and his fighters deliver he will take off. Itís just that simple. He needs fighters to deliver in BIG fights.


I'm sure you've received lots of mail about the judges' scoring in the Usmanee-Bartholemy fight last Friday. I think stealing the fight from Usnamee was a disgrace to the sport as well as a heartbreak for the fighter.
It seems to me that we are seeing more frequent blatantly bad decisions. Last year was the worst one that I can remember, although it's been discussed for many years. It also seems to be the favorite fighter (the one with the most money behind him) who most often benefits by these bad decisions. Do you think the judges simply err (either sloppily or unconsciously) on the side of the favorite, or do you think there is real corruption involving the judges? I always thought that the prominence of a fight discouraged corruption because hank panky likes to hide in the dark.; but I truly am beginning to wonder about that theory.
Although I'm not someone like you who makes a living out of boxing, I've been a fan since the 1950s when good old Gillette ("To look sharp; to feel sharp") sponsored the Friday Night Fights. And, frankly, so many of these horrible decisions takes away a lot of the enjoyment of watching fights on tv. Don't these bozos who permit the inexcusable judging understand that it is hurting the popularity of the sport? Or do they simply worship at the Church of the Almighty Dollar and don't care about the future of the sport?
Finally, who do you believe is in the best position to do something about bad judging? Should the government get involved?
Lee Levan
Breadís Response: Where ever there is money there will be corruption. Period. If judges were rated after fights. If there scorecards got posted online by ALL of the websites and networks and stiffer penalties were imposed for bad scores then the problems would stop or at least slow down.

Aaron Davis of the NJSAC did a great job with that after the Williams/Lara fight. More commissions should take heed. Of course the government needs to step in but right now it doesnít look like they care enoughÖ..


Hi Breadman,
Happy new year to you and I really love your mailbags. I have only written in once but I got to say that that I think your view that Juan Manuel Marquez's training was the greatest of all time based on his physical transformation was to me debatable.
On April 4th 1987, Leonard became the Emperor of the night. It was like watching James Bond suited up with a jetpack strapped to his back as just time after time spun off the ropes and floated off into the Vegas night leaving
His performance were so rich in content and structure, the variety of steps, footwork and their combinations, the sheer execution of it was always precise, always clean, always accurate and always powerful. A great achievement.
JMM's victory over Pac was also incredible but he was not a huge underdog as compared to SRL vs Hagler I would argue.
Leonard in particular captured the mood, mastered the technique and stole the hearts of the judges
BUT I am going to touch on the TRAINING, TRANSFORMATION involved as compared to your JMM's incredible 'new muscles' theory.
To be a fighter you have to be athletic and fit but to be a master boxer you have to have artistry and that's why I place SRL's defeat of Hagler above that of JMM's in terms of training. JMM's KO of Pacman was pure genius but SRL's victory over Hagler was nothing short of a miracle based on all the mitigating circumstances. Pac-JMM IV was a superfight of the year but Hagler-Leonard is a SUPERFIGHT for the ages. It's THE superfight. And the scalp was bigger. Beating Hagler to me is a much more bigger achievement than beating JMM. Beating Hagler in the 80's was considered damn near impossible as you must recall. And let me re-iterate PHYSICALLY, Ray Leonard has dramatically ultered his entire look from a one-time drug-drink addict/weakened 150lb man to sturdy lean muscled 158lb pound fighting machine. The most singular VISUALLY impressive muscle that I noticed with Ray was his chunky abdominal muscle pack and his arms and shoulders. Bread, we had never seen this SRL before!
As a 12 year old kid at the time, I was as if 'Sugar' Ray Leonard had step out of a time machine from the future to beat a formidable champion. The afro had been replaced with a tighter haircut and a more muscular frame but with the same boyish looks and sublime tricks.
I mean, who bolo punches Hagler in the 4th round and survives to live the tale? Who makes Hagler lunge and miss wildly and then spins off into thin air and does the Ali shuffle? Who takes everything Marvin has and comes flurrying ba
SRL had to come of a 5 year layoff and equally the same number of years of really bad living; He was and is an alcoholic and cocaine user at the time. This is serious damage we are talking. But just look at Leonard's TRANSFORMATION physically. The last time he was in the ring he was a lean but weakened welter who got put on his ass by Kevin Howard.
Fast forward to April 3rd 1987 and just look at the body of this guy! Incredible turnaround and not forget Hagler was a beast on an unbeaten 10 year streak. Ray made his mind up in March of 1986 right after the Hagler-Mugabi fight and many journalist, Hollywood actors would tell you that at that time Ray Leonard was in no physical shape to fight ANYBODY let alone Marvin Hagler.
I was deeply moved by SRL's performance and his detailed to attention during his prepation. He took another angle to it: a WHOLE year of skipping, gruelling roadwork and hitting the heavybag to 'sweat out' the alcohol. That set the foundation. Then the REAL work began: INTENSIVE background checks and research on Hagler as Ray's did his due diligence and dispatched spies into the Hagler training to camp in order to devise a comprehensive gamepan. Now the ring work: 5 min rounds, with 30 seconds rest spanning 15 rounds with mock judges to actually simulate real fighting conditions. 8oz gloves for his sparring partners and 10oz gloves for him and no headguards. Ray is on record as saying that to beat Hagler he had to do things twice as hard for twice as long and that it was like fighting against the most sophisticated computer. It is well documented the lengths Leonard went to prepare mentally, physically and spiritually for the Marvellous one. Sparring partners were flown in from all over the USA and they would just go at it.
But the physical metamorphosis of Ray from welter to a muscled up Middleweight was more impressive to me over JMM's over Pacmans. JMM was still reasonably fit and active as compared to Ray when he was facing his challenge. Yes JMM was older by comparison (Ray 30, JMM 38) but coming back from a 5 year lay off, years of abusing alcohol and cocaine trumps that argument in my view. The physical template from which SRL had to work from was much more steeper in my opinion and it has NEVER happened before.
I mean I could argue for Roy Jones Jr and his epic transformation into 'Superman' in 2003 for the Ruiz fight. Even your good friend Dr. Margaret Goodman is on record as saying that she has NEVER in all of her entire professional career seen a physique as impressive as the Mackie Shilstone built for Roy in 2003; I mean, I know you are rating JMM's training for fight IV as the best because he was basically not in the best ever shape he could have been in the past and had effectively raised his game but just think about it for a second; Roy was already a tremendously superfit fighter and possibly the best abs of ANY athlete I have ever seen....but he ELEVATED his superfit 175lb frame into an ULTRA-MEGA-FIT 200lbs frame in the space of SIX months! You mentioned new muscles well it takes at least a year or even 2 years for any hard training athlete to pack on 20lbs of muscle but Shilestones legitimate and incredible techniques paid off; Jones performance against Ruiz in March 2003 was EPIC; His fight plan was so effective, so beautiful, so well executed. The punches he threw were superb, his transitions between combinations and stances were incredible and there wasn't a moment where he was NOT 100% control of the fight. Errrm...the same could not be said with JMM.
Both SRL and RJ's above mentioned fight/training preparations were stunning and fantastic and I look forward to reading your viewpoints on this very interesting debate.
God Bless
Dave Sappor (London, England)
Breadís Response: I donít even want to debate you because you make a great point. Roy Jones and Ray Leonardís transformations were simply remarkable. If you picked either of the three you couldnít go wrong. I personally think Leonard had the greatest comeback ever. To fight the number 1 p4p fighter in the world, two divisions higher than your prime weight, coming off of 1 fight in 5 years is mind boggling.
But Rayís body didnít stand out to me like Marquezís did. Over time with age fighters get bigger. If you look at anybody from the time they turned pro, then 10 years later you will see more mass. Even if they are at the same weight. So Rayís performance was great to me but he didnít seem like a different person.

Jones looked awesome at heavyweight and you have a good point. But for some reason Marquez looking flabby at the same weight before he fought Manny and then looking like a freak when he fought Manny stands out to me. Marquez knocking sparring partners out and knocking speed bags off of iron swivels is pretty deep. And then him hitting Manny with a shot that looked as if he ďkilledĒ him when in 36 rounds prior he just buzzed him was really something.

Listen, again there is no right answer and you make a great case. But I am an honest person. Nothing has ever shocked me more than what Marquez did to Pacquiao. I literally felt my heart palpitate and it took me about 10 minutes to get out of my seat at the sports bar. I almost feinted. I wasnít sure if Manny was punched or assassinated by a sniper in the stands.



What's up Bread?
First let me say happy new years and thanks for your selections for the next batch of fights for the "Legendary nights" series. Hopefully we will see it happen in the future. My question for you is why are many fighters either unwilling or unable to fight "smarter" instead of "harder". Watching Andre Berto get mauled by Robert Guerrero against the ropes for 12 rounds was frustrating because he kept losing the same way. I was disappointed that he didn't at least try something besides winging uppercuts with all his might off the back foot. Why was he not able to employ some lateral movement or a jab of some sort? I know it's easier said than done but all 12 rounds looked identical. For example Miguel Cotto lost to Austin Trout but at least Cotto alternated between fighting on the inside and outside. I hope you can shed a little light on this because it can be maddening to see a guy get beat without attempting to make any kind of adjustment. Happy 2013
William in West Palm
Breadís Response: There are many factors to consider when a fighter does the same thing over and over when it is not working. One is conditioning. To try some thing new out of his comfort zone will always make him more fatigued. Two trust in your corner. When a fighter trust his corner 100% he will do what the corner tells him to do. People love to criticize the corner but most times the fighters themselves just donít listen.
Last but not least, Will you have to realize Cotto is a great fighter and Berto is a good fighter. There is a difference. If every fighter could make adjustments DURING a fight, then they would all be better. Everybody is not meant to be great.

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