Daily Bread Mailbag: Mayweather-Crawford, Jai Opetaia, Canelo, Charlo, More

The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen “Breadman” Edwards tackling topics such as Floyd Mayweather vs. Terence Crawford, Crawford vs. Errol Spence, Canelo Alvarez, Jermell Charlo, IBF cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia, and more.

Hi Bread!

Hope all is well for you & yours in Philly. I’d love to know your thoughts on Jai Opetaia. To me he looks a little bit special. A tall rangy southpaw with good balance, footwork, accuracy & power in both hands. Plus the way that he won the title against Mairis Breidis while breaking his jaw in two places says volumes about his grit & determination. As a proud Aussie, I’m aware that that may render me somewhat biased. Either way, I’m interested in your take.

Cheers, Dave

Bread’s Response: That dude can fight. I think he’s the best Cruiserweight in the world. I also suspect he’s one of the top 25 fighters in boxing.

What’s up Breadman,

Hope all is well. Got a simple but good question what are some of the best wins that got better with time most recent Money’s win over Canleo has to make him smile. Id love to see Floyd come fight for undisputed. He has always taken care of himself. I think its unreasonable to ask him out but he wasn’t considered a gun and this is coming from one of his biggest fans but the fight would be HUGE! What kind of line would we see Crawford -275 is my guess what do you think? I would still  put my money on my guy he was a master at the sweet  science but by nervous.

Travis  NC

Bread’s Response: I’m not going to contemplate Floyd fighting Terence Crawford. Floyd is 46 years old bro. We take his greatness for granted. But he hasn’t fought a real fight since Conor McGregor. I know he stays in shape but that’s a dangerous proposition. I don’t like click bait and unrealistic match ups. I also don’t like unfair pondering. 

Wins that got better with time. I can name thousands literally. So let me just stick to the eras I’ve been alive for. Choc over Estrada. Estrada turned out to be a HOF. Roy Jones over Bhop. Bhop turned out to be an ATG. Marlon Starling over Simon Brown. Brown went on to unify and defend 8 times. Salvador Sanchez over Azumah Nelson. Nelson went on to the HOF. It’s just so many I don’t have the room to name them.

Ssup Bread,

A problem with a lot of media members is that if a bigger fighter does not fight like a weight bully with a lot of clinching, they act like weight is not a factor at all. One could see Canelo’s frame was much broader than Charlo’s. Similarly, I feel Bivol’s size was a factor. In the first 4 rounds, Canelo was able to pin him against the ropes quite often but Canelo was just not able to penetrate Bivol’s guard with his punches. He just couldn’t punch through his guard or break it. This was due to Bivol’s size. Maybe prime Canelo just couldn’t beat a guy as talented as Bivol who also happens to be bigger than him. Anyway, my question to you is – Do you think that Canelo’s prime is really over or this discussion is just happening because of his loss to Bivol?

Regards, Saurabh

Bread’s Response: I think Canelo is still in his prime but no longer at his APEX. There is a difference. I agree size can play a factor even if the fighter is not clinching. In the Canelo vs Charlo fight, I didn’t see Canelo as being much bigger. I saw him as being much stronger. I think his bone density is greater than Charlo’s. And that often determines strength, so I agree on that. It’s more than height and length. Most times it’s a combination of things. 

Canelo is stronger and more physical than Charlo and he’s the better boxer, which makes that hard to overcome. Whereas Bivol is bigger than Canelo, he has greater amateur pedigree and his style is bad for Canelo because of his in and out feet. These things are never cut and dry and black and white. It’s usually a variety of things that determine fights.

With Crawford vs Spence in our rearview mirror, I found myself pondering something. One of the things about boxing that drives me insane are the fights we want and never get. Or when we do get them, they’re like several years past their expiration date (Mayweather vs Pacquiao). I know fans love to debate about fights we got too late and how they might have been different if we’d gotten them earlier. I know some fans love to do this with a Mayweather vs Pacquiao in 2010 scenario or a Wilder vs Joshua in 2018. What are some fights you think of with this particular scenario?  But I find myself pondering if it even matters with some fights. Crawford vs Spence is one of them for me. I mean, the earliest I remember people talking about that matchup was back in 2018 after Crawford moved up to welterweight and beat Horn for a belt. Do you think Crawford’s style was always all wrong for Spence? Even if we’d gotten this fight earlier, would it have made a difference? Or do you think Crawford still would’ve dominated? I’ve been going back and forth on this for a while. I mean I know styles make fights and some fighters have styles that they’ll always struggle with no matter what or when or where? Is this one of those fights? If not, what are some you do think fight that bill?

Bread’s Response: I was talking about this yesterday with a fellow trainer. I try not to say that a fighter would’ve always beaten another fighter just because they dominated them when they fought. Boxing is a game of inches. Small things that lead to big things. One or two small things that weren’t in place when fighters finally fight, could’ve been in place when the fights were first available. I will give some examples. 

Duran vs Leonard. Duran put everything in that first fight. So much so, that he went on a 3 year slump after he beat Leonard. Leonard was able to get revenge in their next 2 fights. Because Duran is smaller and older, his window to beat Leonard, is smaller than Leonard’s window to beat him. So Leonard had much more success in their later fights. So what if Leonard had waited Duran out and decided to not fight him in June of 1980. And the only two fights that took place were their last 2, and the 1st one never takes place. People would say Duran could’ve never beaten him which isn’t the case.

Frazier and Ali have the same exact scenario. Frazier fights the fight of his life in 1971. But Ali gets revenge in 1974 and 1975. If the fight in 1971 never happens, it looks like Ali could’ve always beaten him.

I think the most competitive window for Spence to have fought Crawford was in 2017-18. Spence was a wrecking machine back then and without making excuses for him because he was the A side and had more influence in making the fight, but waiting this specific fight out, didn’t benefit Spence, it benefited Crawford. 

Spence is the one who says he grew out of the weight. So it’s common sense that the longer you stay at a weight, the harder it becomes to make it. So you won’t hear me say that Crawford would always dominate Spence. I love Terence Crawford and I believe he could’ve hung with Leonard and Hearns who are the best welters of my lifetime. But we don’t know because it didn’t happen like that. Spence fought him in 2023 not 2017-18. Spence may do better in the rematch, who knows. We have to see. 

Sometimes the adjustments are instinctive and just being in there with Crawford may make Spence better. None of us know. We can guess but we don’t know because it hasn’t happened yet. I think allowing Crawford to grow into the weight, get stronger and more comfortable worked against Spence if we are being honest. No one could’ve predicted the car accidents and eye surgery etc but I’m just trying to answer your question honestly and objectively. Making this fight 5 years later worked out better for Crawford which is an obvious fact.

I’ve seen sparring where a guy gets completed dominated. Then in the very next session he completely dominates. Adjustments, biorhythms all are considered in this. I am not going to say Spence has no chance in the rematch until the rematch happens. Let’s see how it looks. My honest guess is Crawford may be too much for Spence but I don’t know it for sure. These are human beings not robots. Nothing is set in stone.

Here is the issue in boxing. Two fighter’s physical primes aren’t always their financial primes. So waiting can make a fight bigger financially, if not better physically. And usually the business comes first. 

Sup Mr Breadman!

I was thinking about the topic of perfect fight performances, which you have spoken on before, and I wanted to ask if you think the following  deserve to be mentioned as perfect: Fury vs Wilder 2, Calzaghe vs Lacy, Bradley vs JM Marquez, Loma vs everyone at 130…Also, I saw in a previous mailbag you made a comment on criticism of Canelo’s footwork, which you said was unjustified. I agree, he clearly has fantastic footwork, but he just isn’t a mobile fighter. Conversely, someone like Amir Khan has terrible footwork but is very mobile in the ring. That still worked for him at times (surviving against Maidana for example). Do you see people confusing ring mobility for good footwork or vice-versa? Is it difficult to train someone to have good footwork if they aren’t naturally light footed, as seems the case with Canelo? Finally, I know some young guns coming up in boxing, and I’ve seen that some of them in order to stay active they are fighting above their normal weight class but then at these weights they may not get knockouts so it can make their records look less glossy. Seeking your advice, is it simply better to stay active no matter what or would you also suggest paying more attention to trying to keep a KO ratio for a glossy record look? Or can one do both?

God bless Sir!

Bread’s Response: Staying active gets you better and if the young guns have to take fights in a heavier weight, then make sure it isn’t a 50/50 fight. Make sure the bigger guys isn’t as talented. As time goes on it will work itself out but remember there is a science to matchmaking. If the guys are facing bigger guys, try to find them guys that get stopped so they can keep their ko% up. You don’t want them to struggle too much, because if they struggle too much they will lose confidence or over try for kos.

Canelo does NOT have bad feet. He just isn’t as agile or mobile as some pressure fighters, like say Duran, Fenech or a young Chavez. Canelo’s feet or more like Joe Louis’s or Rocky Marciano’s. Feet that aren’t super mobile but deliberate, direct and purposeful. It’s not a foot race it’s boxing in a ring. Canelo always ends up in front of you. Feet like theirs allows them to create PANIC in the opponent because they stay in position to punch. The opponent’s feel this when they get in the ring with them. So at that point the fight or flee kicks in. If you fight they punch your face off. If you flee you over move, tire out and lose anyway. That’s what those type of feet usually create. 

By them taking their time, it creates more anxiety, because it seems that you have to move faster in order to get away from them, than they do to get to you. Beterbiev also has feet like them and you don’t see anyone getting away from him either. I would love to train a fighter who wasn’t mobile but had educated feet. Amir Khan is a talented fighter but his brain makes him move faster than his feet can process. It’s why his speed didn’t allow him to escape slower fighters than him. Speed and mobility is only one component of having good feet. Composure allows you to not be mobile and still cut the ring off.

Hi Breadman,

Have you ever been the coach of a someone who received a gift decision? As a trainer would you be inclined to run it back or would you avoid the rematch? How would you respond to your fighter if he got a gift decision but the fighter has convinced themselves they’ve deserved it. It’s human nature to think you deserved a hard fought victory, so would you be straight or would you gently show the shortcomings or would you go along for the sake of their ego? I think you’ve said a trainer has to wear many hats and I’m interested in your psychological take.  In case no one asks, who have you got for Wood v Warrington and if the winner were to unify what percentage would you give  them against the other titlists?

Much appreciated, Darns

Bread’s Response: The only person that has the power to run back bad decisions are the promoters and networks. It’s an honorable thing to do, but as a trainer I don’t have that power. I saw Top Rank make Mike Jones run it back many years ago vs Jesus Soto Karrass. It was honorable. 

But I’ve never got one decision in 13 years and over 70 fights as a head trainer, that my fighter didn’t earn. I’ve been on the wrong side of maybe 3 fights where I thought my guy won and got jobbed. I’ve also had 2 decisions where I thought my guy won but not by as big as the scorecards indicated. It wasn’t a gift but the judges gave my guys a little too much credit. When this happened I told them I wasn’t pleased with the performance. We won but not by as much as the judges stated. And we need to get back to work. I’m very honest with my fighters.

If my fighter ever got a complete gift I would privately tell them I think they lost but I wouldn’t kill their confidence.  I wouldn’t publicly hurt their feelings. There is a difference between being honest and being overly candid. 

I liked Wood in the fight. I don’t know if Wood can unify. He’s an excellent action fighter. But he’s also very vulnerable and he loses rounds. He’s always going to be in it vs every opponent but I’m not sure he’s the best at 126lbs. There are many I favor over him but I wouldn’t bet much because he has a great corner in Ben Davidson and Lee Wylie and he has a ton of heart.

Hey Breadman,

I hope all is well with you and the family. I just wanted to touch base on Canelo, the fight this past weekend and possible future fights. First off I must say that I was thoroughly disappointed in the fight and the lack of will to win from Charlo. After all the talk, (he’s not shut up for months) and he didn’t even look like he was there to win. I actually thought Derrick James did a good job in-between rounds despite recent criticism and speculation about his ability regarding this fight and other future ones like AJ vs Wilder, etc (stand up Derrick James!!). But Charlo didn’t follow these instructions, clearly deterred by Canelos power. I also think his lackluster effort has completely ended his brothers chances of landing the Canelo lottery too as that’s a much harder sell now to the casuals who don’t see the difference between the twins. I’ll leave it at that for Charlo.

As for Canelo, I and others including yourself thought he’d slipped quite noticeably during his last 2-3 fights. Now that he looked like a million dollars vs Charlo, do you think he just had a slump due to his injuries and things he cited and he is still near his best or there is still significant slippage and Charlo was the perfect opponent to make him look back to his best?Final point/question. I, like you, believed Crawford had a great chance to beat Canelo. I’d even make him a slight favourite and I think you did too if I’m not mistaken. Now that we’ve seen that Canelo performance and Crawford has to go up 3 weight divisions, how do you like his chances? Have your odds been swayed at all, I’m very intrigued. I’m less confident now.How does the version of Canelo this Saturday night fare vs Benavidez?

All the best,

Mark from Manchester, UK

Bread’s Response: Jermell and Jermall are different fighters. I know them apart. They fight different. Jermell was matched a little tougher so people assume he’s better. I’m not going to say who’s better because their careers are still playing out. I also think it’s tough on them and causes a strain on their relationship because of the constant comparisons. 

But in terms of style, Jermall jabs more. He’s bigger. He seems stronger. And he holds his ground more. Jermell is quicker and his left hook is better. Jermall would fight Canelo different and I believe STYLISTICALLY he matches up much better. Jermall is hell on smaller fighters who come to him, see his performance vs Devrenchenko. It’s a total different fight. And I’m not picking Jermall for the record, but I’m telling you it’s just a different fight.

I don’t know how much time Derrick spent with Jermell in camp. So I can’t attack that part of the criticism. But in terms of what he did in the corner, I thought his instructions were good. He told Jermell he was losing. He told Jermell he was waiting on Canelo too much. He even told him to hold his ground and fight and not back up. Jermell just couldn’t carry out the instructions. Jermell apologized after the fight. Jermell knows Canelo is special. He wanted to do better, Canelo just didn’t allow him. That was not Derrick’s fault and I think the criticism is over the top. Especially with these casuals on podcast with platforms and they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.1. 

Do you see similarities between Roberto Duran and Canelo Alvarez boxing style? I’ feel like they are both powerful punchers who have mastered slick sneaky defense. 2. Is Duran defeating Barkley for the 160 lb title one of the top 10 all time boxing achievements? 3. Who would you like to see Teofimo Lopez fight next? From a realistic sense which probably excludes PBC fighters IMO. 4. Where would you rank Canelo’s performance against Charlo in his top 10 career best performances? 5. What is your top 10 all time Latino fighters list? 6. Who is the 3 hardest punchers your train or HAVE trained? And are they the 3 BEST fighters you have trained? Respectfully to all your fighters involved.

Thank you Breadman much respect ASP from NC

Bread’s Response: I actually do. They’re similar in height. They handle big guys well. They both can stalk you and counterpunch at the same time. Both have elite level defense and elite chins. Very good comparison. Obviously Duran is better but Canelo is an ATG fighter.

I think Duran beating Barkley is a tremendous win but it’s not even Duran’s best win. Duran’s best win is over Sugar Ray Leonard. So no I wouldn’t say the Barkley win is a top 10 All Time achievement but it’s surely a great win and was a top 10 win of the 80s.

I think Lopez vs Haney is a viable fight. Both are at 140lbs. Both are trained by their dads. It’s a huge, huge fight and it would be great promotion.

Canelo’s best performances are…..GGG 2, GGG 1, Callum Smith, BJ Saunders, Caleb Plant, James Kirkland, Jermell Charlo, Miguel Cotto, Liam Smith and Erislandy Lara. So yes he was excellent vs Charlo. I thought he pitched a virtual shutout.

Roberto Duran, Julio Cesar Chavez, Eder Jofre, Carlos Monzon, Salvador Sanchez, Felix Trinidad, Wilfredo Gomez, Carlos Ortiz, Jose Napoles, Canelo Alvarez, Ricardo Lopez, Alexis Arguello, Roman Gonzalez, Juan Manuel Marquez and Marco Antonio Barrera. That was off the top of my head and I know it’s more than 10….. So I may have to revise it and do forensic research to get an exact top 10.

3 hardest punchers I have trained…..hmmm….In a P4P sense. Let’s see. Romuel Cruz 10-0 Junior Featherweight is a very hard puncher for his size, you can see me hitting pads with him on YouTube. Blair Cobbs believe it or not, can really, really punch. He’s crazy but he has serious snap on his shots. Rashawn Jones he was an undefeated amateur I trained several years ago. He was about 6’3” and only weighed about 170lbs but he had tremendous leverage on his punches. If he would’ve stuck with it he would’ve been a ko machine as a pro.

Now let me state, there is a difference between the hardest punchers and the best puncher. The best and sharpest puncher is Jrock. The reason being is he lands his best and sharpest shots in the fights, and he’s the sharpest as far as all punches. He throws his straight shots, hook shots and upper cut shots, virtually the same. Where as most guys have a hard heavy specific shot that they can throw but they can’t throw the rest of them with the same velocity.

No they weren’t the best fighters I trained thus far because they haven’t yet or had a chance to progress to the elite level. The level a fighter progresses to matters. Julian Williams, Caleb Plant, Kyrone Davis and Shawn Porter are the best fighters I have trained. I can’t rank them because 3 of their careers aren’t over yet.

I find it ironic that athletes play the ‘you weren’t an athlete card’ when someone has a difference in opinion on them in their field. But they take social stands in a real life crisis like Palestine vs Israel. I notice you don’t say much unless you’re educated on something. But I’ve seen so many athletes take one side or the other and not know what they’re talking about. But those same athletes will tell someone they don’t know what they’re talking about just because they weren’t a great Quarterback or Point Guard. What are your thoughts on athletes taking political stances when their opinions can sway public opinion?

Bread’s Responses: Great question. You’re right I’m careful what I say. It’s not because I’m fearful, but it’s because if I’m not educated on something I don’t speak on it. I see athletes start businesses all the time. And make hard political stances without having any education on starting business. Or any education on political science. And if you tell them to shut up and dribble, which is wrong by the way, they will get offended. 

Then athletes turn around and question the credibility of someone who doesn’t agree with them, because that person wasn’t a great athlete. It’s contradictory and self serving. Period. And it’s displaying subjective preference. You’re 100% correct on this and I’m going to leave it at that.

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