The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen “Breadman” Edwards tackling topics such as a super middleweight unification between Canelo Alvarez and Caleb Plant, a super middleweight fight between Caleb Plant and David Benavidez, the worth of world title belts, Shane Mosley vs. Felix Trinidad, and more.
Hey Mr Edwards I just finished viewing Caleb Plant’s fight with Caleb Truax. I think he’s easy pickings for Canelo Alvarez. I honestly don’t understand what you see in him. I have one big knock against him.
For a super middleweight, he has no more power than a lightweight and I think Tank Davis, Ryan Garcia and Teofimo Lopez hit a lot harder than he does irrespective of the weight.Make no mistake, his movement and defence is very good but that’s the only real tools he brings that may make Canelo raise a little sweat. But Canelo is no longer the one-dimensional straight line fighter who struggled against mobile opponents.
Canelo not only cuts the ring better but he has actually perfected the skill of walking an opponent into shots.And Canelo will walk Plant into something big. There was a moment in the 8th round where Plant tried a left hook to the body and Truax caught him flush with an overhand right. If that was Canelo, it is either the end or the beginning of the end.There was also a moment in the 9th round he threw a lead right that missed with his chin hanging in the air and he was a full second in bending the knees to avoid any counter that might come.
You can’t do those things and get away with them against Canelo. I’m telling you now Canelo will seriously hurt this kid. Plant doesn’t sit enough on his punches to deter Canelo and that explains his 12 knockouts in 21 fights.It is plain to see that he plans to win a decision over Canelo. For all the skills he showed, I don’t think Plant is a better boxer than Canelo. Sure, Plant looks dazzling because he has probably studied the urban style but Canelo is a more consummate boxer. Whereas Plant lands nice-looking but powderpuff combinations with an easy swagger Canelo makes every shot count and over 12 rounds this is going to tell at some point. So even if Plant is ahead after 8 rounds, Canelo will have steadily broken him down for a late round stoppage in the same manner as he did with Sergey Kovalev.
A key weakness I noted in Plant, and which explains why he doesn’t sit on his punches, is that he remains static for some seconds after he throws a decent power punch. Canelo is a sharpshooter and he will pick this up quickly if he hasn’t done so already. So, in that static window period it is possible for Canelo to clip him and, with respect to Truax, Canelo is a much harder punch. The only reason GGG looked so good against Canelo was because he hit hard enough to earn Canelo’s respect. So, where Canelo could not simply walk GGG down, he could very easily do that to Plant. And Plant’s task is not made any easier by Canelo’s chin. I think Canelo’s chin is every bit as solid as Marvelous Marvin Hagler’s chin was.
I think Plant only walks away with the biggest purse of his career in this one. In fact, I’m not even sure he beats David Benavidez, which is perhaps a more competitive fight for him. Benavidez is huge for the weight and is a moving brick wall. He’s also a punishing hitter and his only weakness is he doesn’t cut the ring that well and sometimes gets his feet in a tangle, which gives Plant the opportunity to stick and move.Sorry for the long email. You don’t seem to want to call Vitali Klitschko v George Foreman for me. I will look up old mailbags. Maybe you done called it a few times already.
Thanks for continuing to educate us – Katlholo Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bread’s Response: I like 1973 version of George Foreman over everybody except Ali and Louis. I think Vitali would be competitive but Foreman is phenomenal.
Plant’s movement and defense is why I think he’s a tough out for everybody. Remember I picked Plant vs Jose Uzgategui and everyone kept saying Plant couldn’t stop middleweights, so therefore he wouldn’t be able to keep the Uzi off of him etc etc. Uzgategui is going to walk him down etc etc. It didn’t workout that way. You don’t have to be a great puncher in order to be a great boxer. It helps but it’s not a prerequisite. Any man who can hit you clean can hurt you. Plant is obviously not a big puncher. But he doesn’t have to be.
Floyd Mayweather is not a big puncher but yet he found a way to keep Canelo off of him. Erislandy Lara can punch but he’s not considered a lights out puncher but he gave Canelo hell. Both are pure boxers. I agree that Canelo is better now than he was back then. But that doesn’t mean that Plant can’t be competitive with him. It’s a fight. Let’s remember Ken Norton and Joe Frazier beat Ali and gave him hell. Ali couldn’t score a knockdown of either. George Foreman kod both in 2 rounds. So what happens when Ali fights Foreman. Ali wins by ko. It’s boxing.
I know how good Canelo is. His last fight was the best walk down performance I have seen in years. It was a perfect fight of boxing going forward. But Plant boxes better than Smith. Smith is not as smooth as Plant. He’s not as talented. And his hands aren’t as fast. I’m not saying that Plant WILL win. I’m saying that he CAN win. Plant is in his prime. He’s talented. He has an educated lead hand. And he’s a pure boxer. If he doesn’t get clipped early, he’s a tough style for anyone. Stick n Move fighters always are. Fans get too caught up in power. It’s important but overrated at the same time. The sport is called boxing, not punching. You mark this down. One more thing. A reflex boxer like Plant will be as sharp as a tact vs Canelo. He’s not going to get comfortable with Canelo like he did vs Truax. Plant knows Canelo can really hurt him and he will fight accordingly.
What’s up Bread? I hit you up on Twitter Saturday night following Caleb Plant’s win of Truax saying I was looking for him to take the next step in his development and “box forward” in order to get the stoppage. I won’t criticize him for not getting the stoppage because he was dominant and showcased his lead hand. He may have decided to just use the fight to get rounds since he only fought once last year. I’m a fan of his and I think he’s a really dynamic fighter who might have the most educated lead hand in boxing. It’s not just a fundamental jab up or downstairs, but also hooks, uppercuts, and hybrid punches that he can flow into one another or throw on the upbeat (music theory reference).
I wouldn’t mind seeing him fight Benavidez (if he can make weight) in May and the winner of that fight gets a unification with Canelo. I think Caleb beats Benavidez and is very game with Canelo because he’s quick (processing speed and sharpness of mind), has hand speed, and is also agile ( physical manifestation of quickness and speed in reactionary positions). Since Canelo has been at 160 and 168, only Triple G has had the jab (quicker off the trigger) to give Canelo problems. Canelo’s agility is in his upper body movement with the way he’s able to slip punches and that’s usually an advantage for him, but against Plant, he’s more agile with feet and maybe equal with the upper body. To beat Canelo I think you have to be able to be quicker and have a fast trigger.
How do you see these fights between Caleb/Benavidez and Caleb/Canelo play out?
Stephen from Dallas
Bread’s Response: I really like Caleb but I’m not an excuse maker. I don’t think he was trying to get rounds in. I think he wanted a ko, he just wasn’t able to score one. And guess what? That’s ok.I would love to see Caleb evolve and get to a point where he can stop outmatched opponents. But at this point he can’t. For some boxer punchers that’s easy. A guy like Terence Crawford outboxes all of his opponents and the opponents who don’t deserve to go the distance, Crawford does not allow them to. Plant is not there yet. It takes a different type of mentality and punch selection to score kos than it does to outbox an opponent if you aren’t a one punch ko artist. Plant has the mentality of a boxer. Not the mentality of a killer. Erislandy Lara is the same exact way. But when you try to kill Lara and you press him, he digs down and fights like a savage. See Angulo and Hurd fights. Lara does not lack heart. I have a suspicion Plant may be the same way. I think Plant may be a guy who needs to be under the GUN a little bit as far as competition. He may not be a guy you can showcase because he relies heavily on his jab and boxing ability. That’s his game and casuals fans may or may not enjoy that. So he may need to be in BIG fights to get appreciated.
I don’t have winners yet in your match ups but I can tell you the keys to victory. In Plant vs Benavidez, Plant can’t allow himself to be snowballed. Benavidez gets a head of steam and he starts sort of snowballing and he gets bigger and bigger. Plant has to keep Benavidez from doing that. He has to fight the fight he fought vs Uzi. A little stronger and a little sharper but a similar fight. David is a monster but he walks you down high and straight legged. Caleb has to jab low and again not allow himself to get snowballed.
Against Canelo, Plant needs to stick n move. For as good as Canelo has become at walking people down, he still doesn’t punch on the move. He traps you then he punches. Caleb will have to be in immaculate condition to win this fight. His lower body endurance will have to be platinum. Because not only is Canelo a great walk down fighter at this point, he is a master boxer defensively. He doesn’t take a lot of punishment for a come forward offensive fighter who lets his hands go.Canelo has every layer of defense and it’s discouraging. Some guys have great defense but they only do 1 thing to avoid punches. Canelo slips punches. He parries punches. He catches punches. And he counters punches. Plant can’t worry about the crowd. He can’t worry about how he wins. He just needs to win. It’s a very dangerous fight because Plant is still trying to find himself in the ring and Canelo has entered that zone that great fighters enter. But I’ve been telling people. I know what I see and Plant can win that fight. He will have to fight the fight of his life but he can win.
Breadman, Let’s talk SweetHand vs Canelo. I think stylistically it’s a great matchup. However, I’m think Plant needs atleast 1 more fight with a top 5 opponent. Although Charlo is a middleweight I think Plant vs Charlo would be a good fight for both. Charlo is no Canelo but he’s a tough, aggressive and powerful counter puncher who would test Caleb. Caleb’s toughest opponent appears to be Uzcategui who has good power but not as talented or durable as the top guys. For Charlo it gives him a chance to add a quality name to his resume against a guy with ok power. And possibly puts him in better position to face Canelo. So…What would you suggest for Plant next? Stay busy fight? Step up competition? Sit out and wait for Canelo? Forget Canelo and keep improving and fighting mandatories? Feel free to include the business aspect as we can’t escape that. In addition, what do you think about a Plant vs Charlo fight at 168? Is it a good matchup? Is it a realistic option? Who would you pick to win?
Bread’s Response: Stylistically both fighters will be difficult for each other. We have seen Uzgategui make things rough on Caleb late in their fight. But we have seen Canelo outboxed by a 36 year old, Floyd Mayweather. I know Mayweather is special but it happened. I don’t think Plant needs another fight vs a top 5 opponent but I think he could use one. Matchmaking is never perfect but when you have certain luxuries then you use them. Caleb responded as good as you can want a fighter too vs Uzgategui. But that’s really the only fight he’s been in where he had a better than average chance of losing. In all fights a fighter can lose but that is the only time Plant has been under the gun. Being under the gun is a good thing for a fighter. The better fighters raise their game and they learn from that. Canelo was put under the gun early in his career and he gradually built up. Plant has only had 1 such fight.
So I admit there is a difference. But in this era no one wants to risk their Jack Pot. So you don’t really see matchmaking to get a fighter better. You see match making to get a fighter rich. The Hall of Fame is an after thought to the decision makers. And I’m not criticizing one bit. It’s just how it is. So don’t expect Plant to fight someone as dangerous as Charlo before he fights Canelo. Charlo is a big puncher, with a great jab and he’s equal in height to Plant. I doubt that they would risk Plant vs Charlo if they KNOW they are getting the Canelo fight. Charlo is not a tune up. That’s a 50/50 fight. I would love to see it but again that’s not how matchmaking works in this era. When I see a move where I know the fighter asked for heavy smoke I applaud it. I can tell a business move from a smoke move. When Canelo fought Lara that was a smoke move. He didn’t need that fight. He wanted it. If Plant fights Charlo that would be an incredibly ballsy move. I wouldn’t knock him for not taking it if he got Canelo next. But if he did, wow. That would be like Teofimo Lopez attempting to unify in his 1st title defense vs a P4P in Vasyl Lomachenko.
The fighter in this era, that gets to the money and the legacy simultaneously will be rewarded greatly. It’s nothing wrong with doing both. You just have to be great and you have to be special. I’m not going to say what I would do if I were Plant or his manager. They have been doing a great job. He’s a world champion. He’s made 3 title defenses. And he’s rich. Plus it all comes down to what Caleb wants and thinks he needs. If he wants to be great, he’s going to take fights to make him better. If he wants to be richer, he will take the fight or series of fights to get him richer. Everyone knows what they want deep down inside and it’s not up to us to criticize. This is a hard unforgiving game.
I do want to point something out about matchmaking. Gerry Cooney. In 1982 Gerry Cooney was a real contender. He was a legit threat and there were only 2 belts available. The WBC and WBA. I point out there were only 2 belts because of fighters who are champions now, would not be 40 years ago. More fighters and less belts available. That’s just a fact. So Cooney who had turned pro in 1977 was really coming along by 1981. In consecutive bouts he beat Jimmy Young. Let’s say Young was the Emanuel Augustus of his era. He had a huge win over George Foreman and many felt he was robbed vs Ali. Ron Lyle. Lyle was a straight killer and him and George Foreman had arguably the best fight ever at heavyweight. I can’t even tell you who Lyle would be in this era, maybe Povetkin but I think he’s better era for era. And Ken Norton. Norton is a HOF. He beat Ali. He beat Jerry Quarry. And many thought he beat Larry Holmes in another ATG classic.
So Cooney is gradually stepping up, fight by fight to get to the ultimate goal which was Larry Holmes who was the best and most consistent fighter in the division. So Cooney WAITED on Holmes as a contender from May of 1981 to June of 1982. He didn’t fight one time. He waited on his lottery ticket. I’m not saying it was wrong because I don’t know Gerry Cooney and his team. They made a boat load of money and Cooney handled himself well although he didn’t win the fight. But it’s obvious that Cooney’s team cared more about the money than they did his legacy as far as getting better. And again I will repeat, that’s ok if that is your goal. But here is the thing. Mike Weaver was the WBA Champion in 1981. Cooney would have been a solid favorite to beat Weaver. He also would have been a solid favorite to beat most of the fighters who fought for the WBA title during that time. Gerry Coetzee and Michael Dokes. Both capable fighters but timing is timing. And both of those guys took turns losing by ko when the big punching, highly confident Cooney was emerging.
I say this to say that Cooney could have went after the WBA title. Won it. Stayed busy and got better. And instead of fighting Holmes in 1982 at his peak. He could have fought him in 1983 or 84. Hindsight is always 20/20. But for a young challenger who was red hot to be inactive for a year waiting on a title shot is counter productive from a trainer’s point of view if you want to get better. I’m a trainer first, so that’s not something I would ever suggest. As a trainer you always want your fighter to perform his best. You think about the money part second. The people upstairs may or may not think differently….. I am curious to what Caleb does and who he fights next. We shall see….Sometimes you have to know you’re history in order to not repeat it.
Wats up Breadman!
I got a few questions that i want your opinion on1) Rank the belts in order? The reason i ask is because we have so many sanctioning bodies i am curious where you stand on them. The Ring is a good belt due to the lineal belt history. WBC has a long history. IBF makes you fight your mandatory which i really like! Except when it gets in the way of a big fight. Then you have a WBA belt that can be seen as watered down. Just want a ranking and thoughts
2) For the sake of just cause, lets say you were appointed Boxing Czar and you could implement whatever you felt necessary in boxing within reason of course. What would your first 3 task to complete be? Big respect on the mailbag! This is the only place i feel i get boxing talk without promoter BS, Racial bias, or trashing of what i consider the TOP & most dedicated athletes in the world, so thank you!
Bread’s Response: For some reason the fans and critics have sort of started to validate the belts in terms of importance. I’m going to tell you an honest and real answer. The WBC, IBF, WBO and WBA are all EQUAL. When I say equal I’m not referring to interim or regular titles. So let’s say the WBA super championship. Because the other ones are regular and interim and that’s not fair to count them the same as the Super Champion. For years Joe Calzaghe was the WBO champion and the best fighter in the division. Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko have also held WBO belts. That was real. Just like when Bernard Hopkins was defending that IBF belt 20 times at middleweight that was real. Just like when GGG was defending the WBA belt. And Adonis Stevenson was defending that WBC belt. None of them were more important than the other. If you want to know the truth. The RING belt is the most important. That’s the hardest belt to win. The other 4 are equal unless they are interim or regular. And contrary to what people think. Real championship belts matter because it increases your status, pay and legacy. If you try telling a fighter he was only the IBF champion and not the WBC champion he’s going to bite your head off. It’s not like it’s the USBA or NABF. That’s a regional belt…..I hope I was able to explain.
If I was boxing Czar. I would do 3 things that I think would turn boxing around. 1. I would make a money pot for certain fights like say Crawford vs Spence. And start making fighters, fight for the 60/40 or 70/30 split they want. That way if you are confident you will win, you can put the pressure on the promoter. For example Spence and Crawford can work together. It’s no need to be enemies they need each other to make the money they want. So they come up with a number they want to split. Let’s say 20 million. They get the promoters to put up the 20 million and they fight for the split. In the Spirit of Competition that’s awesome. On top of that the fighters can work together to get what they want.
2. I would have 5 judges for fights and not just 3. 4 Judges on each side of the ring and one judge watches it from a monitor with sound but no commentary. I also would have no one in the corral area past the gates where the cornermen. There are too many people walking back n forth in those areas that influence the judges. They can say things to contaminate the judges POV. They can also peak at scorecards and let their team know it they are winning.
3. The last thing I would do is make a champion of another sanctioning body #1 contenders to champions in opposing sanctioning bodies. When you do that, you can force more unification fights which will indirectly create more RING champions. How do ya like it?!
Bread, I hope you’re doing well. The one fight that truly got away for me personally was Trinidad vs Mosley – in 2000/2001, both in their primes. I would love to get your take on how this match would have played out.Trinidad coming off of a monster year at 154 (Reid, Thiam, and one of my favourite fights of all time – against Vargas), and Mosley who was coming off of the De La Hoya win at 147 and was also in top form.This would have likely meant Shane moving up to 154, and Trinidad not moving up to 160 for the tournament or Joppy match.I remember an HBO telecast at the time having them as 1A and 1B p4p – I cant recall if they were quoting ring magazine. Love to get your take. Thanks Bread
Bread’s Response: This would have been a great action fight. I think their styles would have meshed. Mosley could box but he was more of a boxer/fighter. Trinidad was a pressure stalker. Both could be hit and both viewed themselves as punchers. In a great fight I’ve always felt Tito would win. I don’t think Mosley’s jab or defense would have been enough to discourage Tito’s punch output. And Tito would have been punching DOWN on Mosley in a war. I know Mosely had a great chin but I don’t care who you are, you don’t want Tito hitting you clean. I know Mosley performed better vs Oscar and Winky who were common opponents. But I think that was more of a timing and style thing in my opinion. So let’s say Tito in a war.
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