July 24, 2021

Daily Bread Mailbag: Pacquiao, Davis-Santa Cruz, Joe Joyce, More

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The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen “Breadman” Edwards tackling various topics such as Manny Pacquiao having catch-weight bouts, the clash between Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz, heavyweight contender Joe Joyce, and more.

What are your thoughts on fighting at a catchweight, Breadman? Seems to me like a lot of boxing fans talk about the catchweight the way baseball fans talk about artificial turf or the designated hitter.

But if not for the catchweight, a lot (if not most) of the fights on Pacman’s resume probably never happen. What do you think of the catchweight? Good for boxing or not?

Bread’s Response: You have to be careful with repeating stuff just because other people say it. Pacquiao has over 70 fights. He had about 50 fights under 140lbs. With no catchweights. He was already a HOF before he ever fought a catchweight fight. That’s disrespectful to suggest that most of his resume wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for catchweights. The only fight I think he had that was affected by weight was his fight with Oscar but that wasn’t even a catchweight. It was at 147lbs which is welterweight. They just met there……

I think catchweights are a part of boxing. And yes they do more good than harm. There was a time when it wasn’t called catch weights, it was called contracted weights. When Manny Pacquiao began to ascend on boxing history then they became a handicap. But many great fighters have fought in them. It’s simply a contracted weight. In fact often times prospects fight in them because they fight in non title fights, so they experiment with what weight they should be at.

Fans only complain about how catchweights affect outcomes of fights when their guy doesn’t win. If the bigger guy gets to go down in weight then rehydrate up they claim he was too big. For example Terry Norris vs Meldrick Taylor. Norris had to come down to 149lbs to face Taylor. But because Norris won, “he was too big.”

But when Manny fought Cotto at 145, and Manny won. It was because Cotto had to lose too much weight. But Cotto fans didn’t say that when he fought Daniel Geale and Sergio Martinez at catchweights because he won those fights.

Just because a fighter is fighting at a catchweight doesn’t mean he has an advantage. Sometimes he does. Sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes it’s just a ploy by one of the teams to get every perceived advantage they can. But it doesn’t mean it’s a real advantage. It’s all a part of the game.

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Breadman! I found your mailbag recently and love it, went all the way back in your archive history and ripped through them.

In reading your mailbag it is obvious that you have good insight into ” sports performance “, so I have a few questions

1) I was recently watching the last dance MJ doc and Phil Jackson always liked to talk about MJ big hands and how they were a great advantage. In boxing what is an underrated physical attribute someone could have or that you see and are impressed by?

2) with the boxers you train how do you tailor the workouts and weight cutting so they peak at the right time for fight night?

3) what recovery methods do you emphasize

4) Canelo is known to have a questionable gas tank, looking from a far and not being privy to his camp. What would you do to help increase his stamina.

Thank you and keep up the great boxing insights!!

Bread’s Response: This is a good question.

1) Yup MJ had huge hands which allows for ball control. Kobe didn’t and that’s why Jackson thought MJ would beat Kobe one on one.

With boxers there a few things I look at. Large forearms usually mean hard punchers. I think it’s a direct correlation. Extremely hard handshake grip usually mean the same thing. Look at GGG and George Foreman’s forearms and hand shakes.

Good posture usually means positive overall body strength and stamina. Just look at fighters or stand straight up and their bodies aren’t slouchy. Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward, Shawn Porter and Marvin Hagler all come to mind. All of them have excellent body posture.

Fighters who can do flips and dance usually have superior athleticism. Ray Leonard can flip. Naseem Hamed can flip. Hector Camacho can dance. Roy Jones can dance.

I can really go and on about body types and characteristics. It’s fascinating to look at a fighter and tell if he’s a fast twitch or slow twitch guy.

2) I can’t say too much about weight cutting because it will give up a competitive edge. But I can say you need to be fully hydrated every single day in camp and eating the right blend of protein, carbs, fruits and vegetables. The weigh in weight is the LEAST important weight. The weight you walk around in camp is the MOST important weight. A fighter is only at his weigh in weight for about an hour. But his camp weight he’s that for 2 months. I won’t say what it should be but it’s much more important than the division weight limit you weigh in at.

3) Recovery is the key to having a good camp. Right after a workout is the best time to take a recovery drink because your body absorbs protein and minerals the best within that 30 min window. Soon after that, a good balanced meal.

Massages as often as possible or what a fighter can afford.

And good old fashioned sleep. Sleeping correctly repairs the body as much as anything. A fighter should be in bed by 9pm every night with his phone off. Also after their morning workout they should nap. Sleep really rejuvenates the body.

After that just take the correct supplements and eat the right meals. Camp should be simple. Train, Eat, Rest/Sleep. Rinse and Repeat for about 8 weeks.

4) Sometimes Gas Tanks are natural and some are built. The natural ones are what they are but you don’t want to take them for granted. The fuel you put in your body counts. So a proper diet.

Chart the workouts. Sometimes fighters just wing it and do their running without seeing how long or fast they are going. Some athletes need a little extra.

You can also work on being more calm and relaxed. Canelo may not have a great gas tank which by the way I think it s genetic thing. He trains hard. He’s just a heavily muscled guy who doesn’t recover that fast after a hard outburst. But over the years his defense has improved which has allowed him to remain more calm which helps controlling the breathing.

I also think moving up in weight has allowed him to burn more calories and also have better stamina. Everything in boxing his interconnected. At the top level inches separate challengers, from champions. Champions from HOF. And HOF from ATG. Just inches.

There’s probably only a niche group of fans fussed about this question so I totally get it if it doesn’t make the mailbag.

What do you think of Joe Joyce?

The more I think about it the more I think he could be a real problem for a lot of the division. He is absolutely relentless. He doesn’t take a step back, although he’s not a one shot KO guy he definitely has a lot of power and his chin seems to be made of serious stuff.

Now he does take shots so I think against a concussive puncher we could see him get hurt. But guys without that punch are going to have a tough tough night against him over 12 rounds. Because he works the body so well and fights at a constant pace I can’t see many heavyweights still having a lot in the tank for the second half of the fight, that’s a dangerous position to be in.

Because he’s pretty slow and unglamorous I think he’s a guy a lot of fans are sleeping on. I really believe only a small group of guys could beat Joyce.

Who else today is being slept on because of there style? Someone who could get in with anyone in there division and hold their own, but lack acclaim due to a quiet personality and underwhelming style?

Thanks for taking the time to read the question and condolences on losing a friend.

Tom U.K.

Bread’s Response: The thing about Joyce is he HAS to fight and beat elite fighters because he looks vulnerable with the eye ball test. He’s not aesthetically pleasing. But when you are dog strong, mean as hell, can take a punch and give a punch you don’t have to be fast or pretty. Rocky Marciano wasn’t. And neither was Carl Froch.

I think Joe Joyce would beat a lot of today’s top guys. Not all. But he would hold his own with most. Merqui Sosa and Antonio Margarito had good careers….

I think Danny Garcia is a little slept on. He’s not super fast. He doesn’t have great defense. He doesn’t look “special” but no one will beat him easy because of his chin and ability to fight a contained fight within his “box”.

Jamel Herring and Leo Santa Cruz are also guys who are well rounded but don’t stand out hard in any area. Those type of guys are always underrated until they beat great fighters.

Hey Breadman,
I hope you are staying healthy and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
1)    Throughout the years, I’ve read/listened the opinions of the late Bert Sugar, Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman, Dan Rafael, and yourself. I might not always agree with a prediction/statement, but the insight and argument always challenges me and keeps me growing as a boxing fanatic. You’re always learning and have to keep an open mind. I’m sure there are plenty, who are 3-5 individuals in the boxing industry that you highly respect and follow?  
2)    As a boxing trainer, before the fighter begins camp, do you think it is a good idea to get ideas from other trainers about any strategies of an opponent that they are familiar with? I know you want to have 1 voice and a trainer doesn’t need to second guess themselves before camp begins. Curious about your thoughts Bread.
3)    I got to get your perspective of the fantasy match ups in their Prime!
George Foreman vs Lennox Lewis
Juan Manuel Marquez vs Erik Morales
Bernard Hopkins vs GGG
Roberto Duran vs Floyd Mayweather
Continue to take it easy Breadman!
Kind Regards,

Bread’s Response: Thank you very much.

1) In boxing what I learned is you will NEVER agree with anyone 100% of the time. But the people’s who’s opinions I respect the most and tend to give more credence to their words are Cliff Rold, Lee Wylie, Virgil Hunter, Roy Jones and Doug Fischer. Emanuel Steward also but he is no longer here with us.

2) I don’t do that. I have one person in boxing I talk to about my game plans but it’s not for reassurance it’s just that I trust them and we talk about the X and Os of boxing. And I love to bounce our knowledge off of each other.

I never ask anyone what my game plan should be going into a fight because it will cause me to 2nd guess what my instincts are. And as a head coach you have to make the decisions. Anyone can make suggestions but the decisions fall on you.

I once hired an MMA fighter to teach one of my fighters how to grapple because I know it takes a different type of endurance to grapple and I thought grappling would be a big part of the fight. I turned out to be correct. I never told anyone what I was going to do. Not even other team members because it all falls on the head trainer at the end of the day and I don’t need the extra burden. DECISION EXHAUSTION is a real thing. What if I told someone and they thought the idea was stupid and I listened to them?

You may let someone talk you out of a victory.

The thing about boxing is there can be more than one way to win a fight. Just because someone doesn’t envision your way that doesn’t mean it won’t work.

As far as Game Plans some game plans are bullet proof. But often times they aren’t. It’s not a movie script. Sometimes a fight evolves and the fighter has to find something and you can coach off of that. Sometimes the drills and solutions that you have worked on over the years just come into play and BOOM you have an answer. Which is not exactly a game plan but it’s just good teachings. A fighter’s mind has to process. He may have the answers to the test but he can’t apply them because his mind isn’t clicking. Being a good trainer is very instinctive. You have to know when to abandon something or when to stick it out. Most of all a fighter has to give you something to work with. And You also can’t allow too many chefs in your kitchen. Everyone always think they know best but they need to go cook in their own kitchen.

In fact in boxing you have to be very careful. 90% of the people you meet in boxing will attempt to sabotage and/undermine you the second something goes wrong and you lose, even members of your own team.

I don’t have that in me…..I once worked with a prominent trainer for a championship fight. We were fighting a southpaw. I was doing the pad work. He told me he wanted our guy going to his left. The fighter asked me can he go to his right. I told him NO! Do what the head trainer says, he says go to your left, so go to your left. He lost. But so what. The head trainer made the decision and just because he didn’t go to his right that doesn’t mean he would’ve won if he had. Being a head trainer is a tough job and whatever strategy you put in place, it’s designed to work. It’s up to the fighter to carry it out. And he can’t try to carry it out with doubt. He has to believe in it and just do it. It’s one of the reasons I trained fighters alone for years. Your vision, is your vision.

What’s up Bread?

I’m considering taking LSC vs Tank just on the fact that I don’t think Tank is disciplined enough for 12 rounds to outbox or keep up with LSC for 12rds if he can’t get him out in the early rounds, but one of my concerns if that I have been watching LSC for years now and notice he has this twitching with his right hand that he consistently does fight after fight after fight. Just wanted your opinion on in it, do you think it’s a habit, bad hand, and also is something an opponent can take advantage in any kind of way if the notice and time it. Also, where do you think the odds will close on this fight?

Thanks for you EXPERTISE HONEST column!!!


Bread’s Response: I think Davis should be a -200 favorite at least. While Santa Cruz is longer and taller. Davis shares a decided advantage in physicality. He’s a much bigger, and explosive man.

I think the fight is lined up for Davis to become a superstar and KO Santa Cruz. But everything doesn’t always work the way it’s planned.

Davis will have to make 130lbs. That doesn’t seem to be easy for him. If Davis doesn’t clip Santa Cruz early, Davis will have to apply some skill to win this fight. I’ve seen him win fights on his talents. Speed, Power and Physicality. But not his skill yet. Santa Cruz is an experienced competitor who is used to going the distance. It’s interesting but I favor Davis. I think he’s just too big.

Send Questions to dabreadman25@hotmail.com