PHILADELPHIA — Trainer Stephen “Breadman” Edwards, who is known for having one of the sharpest minds in boxing admittedly struggled to score a winner in what has become a highly conversational decision in the unification bout between Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Haney was rewarded a unanimous decision victory following 12 action-packed rounds. Edwards explains his he could see the fight going either way, although his initial reaction was a draw.
The decorated trainer also chimes in on Gervonta Davis’ spectacular body shot knockout of Ryan Garcia, while explaining what makes “Tank” such a special fighter.
Zenger News got “Breadman’s” thoughts on boxing’s trending topics.
Zenger News: What’s the most impressive thing about Gervonta Davis the fighter?
Edwards: His patience, man. He’s very mature inside the ring. I’ve never met Gervonta, but people say he does some things outside the ring that he should not do. I’m not judging because I don’t know his personal stuff, but inside the ring, he’s a very mature fighter. His fight with Ryan Garcia came down to me to a difference in maturity. He’s a couple of years older than Ryan, but he’s a much more mature fighter. Boxing is more than just talent and skill; it’s how you apply it. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t know how to apply it, it’s not going to matter.
I think we’re watching a great fighter at his peak. I saw him a little earlier in his career and when you’re fighting lesser guys, you don’t have to be as patient and mature. You can get them out of there. Over the last couple of years… I hope we get to see him against the other guys of the era, so we can really know what we have. My eyes tell me we could be looking at a special fighter. He just needs the opponents to bring it out of him. We have to see because I think that Shakur [Stevenson] and Devin [Haney] got a chance to be special fighters too, but obviously they have to fight. This era is so much on the business side, I’m not going to give nobody credit for something they haven’t done. I would like to see him fight certain guys. He reminds me of a mix of Zab Judah and Mike Tyson. He’s special.
Zenger News: Derrick James is an amazing trainer, but do you view such a young fighter going through so many trainers as unhealthy?
Edwards: Who knows? I don’t know Ryan Garcia. I wouldn’t use the word unhealthy; I can say counterproductive. I think he fought an immature fight and I see him and Joe Goosen split ways. It’s hard for me to believe that that was Joe Goosen’s game plan to go balls to the wall in the second round against Gervonta Davis. I won’t believe that a Hall of Fame trainer would tell his fighter who has that kind of reach and height advantage and knowing what kind of counter puncher Gervonta Davis is, that that’s what he should do. I don’t believe that. It looked like to me that Ryan Garcia did what he wanted to do instead of what he was instructed to do. I found it peculiar when Goosen made the comment, “Ryan Garcia is not the kind of fighter that you train, he’s the kind of fighter you collaborate with.” I read through that and that told me that Ryan Garcia does not listen. That’s what you say off camera and off the record. But on the camera, you say, he’s the kind of guy you collaborate with. I think Joe was trying to be respectful. If a kid is hard to train and doesn’t listen, usually he doesn’t carry out a game plan.
I think Derrick James is an awesome person and trainer. He has a calming way about him. Maybe Ryan will see that the other guys listen, and it will rub off on him. One thing I know about changing trainers is, the success that a fighter has when a fighter has that kind of mindset of changing trainers on a consistent basis, you have to be successful with them. I think it will depend on the wins and losses whether he stays with Derrick or not. It’s not a knock on Ryan Garcia, that’s how a lot of fighters are. I also think it was interesting that Eddy Reynoso said how hard he was to train. Canelo made comments about how he trains. There’s something there, what’s there, I don’t know, but there is something there. Derrick James is awesome, so let’s see what he can get out of the kid. I’ll leave it at this, if Derrick James is not overly successful with him, I won’t blame Derrick. Some guys you just can’t get through to. Emanuel Steward couldn’t get through to Jermain Taylor and Steward is the GOAT.
A lot of the time it depends on the opponent you fight. From what I’m hearing, Ryan Garcia is going to be fighting Rolly [Romero] next. That’s what the talk is. That’s a different guy than Gervonta Davis. Not saying that Rolly can’t win, because he definitely has a shot, but I think you’re going to be dealing with two fighters with confidence issues going into the fight. I think Derrick has a chance to be successful with him against Rolly.
Zenger News: How controversial was the Devin Haney- Vasiliy Lomachenko decision in your opinion, and what are your thoughts on the actual fight?
Edwards: Great fight! Tremendous chess match with lots of back and forth. There was a lot of one guy raising the ante on the other guy. They both pulled out all of their bag of tricks. You had sharp punching, defense, ring generalship, both guys took turns being the aggressor. It was an awesome display of skills. My honest opinion before I heard anything that anybody had to say, because watching the fight with no sound is not realistic. Nobody does that when you’re watching a fight out of enjoyment. And most times when you’re watching a fight for enjoyment, you’re not scoring it as it goes. People lie and say that they do, but it’s not feasible all the time. I’m not saying, nobody does it, but I’ve seen guys say that they scored the fight and the whole time they were tweeting on social media. You can’t be tweeting that kind of fight because if you miss 30 seconds of a round, and you could lose who won that round. My initial impression was that I was very impressed with both guys.
Loma performed a little bit better than I thought he would. I knew he would be up for the fight; I didn’t think he would look that good at 35 because he’s been in a little bit of a performance slump. I wanted to see how Devin responded to somebody making him concentrate all night, I wanted to see how he responded in a fight where he wasn’t sure if he was winning all the rounds. It’s a little bit different when you’re constantly up, and you’re the dog on top. Devin had to deal with some adversity, so I was very impressed with his character and determination. After the fight was over, the first thing I said to myself was, this fight is going to be a draw. The fight kind of went how I predicted it, where Devin would be up early and Loma would fight to get back, and according to the judges, he lost the last round which probably decided the fight. I have no issue with Devin winning the decision. Most of the people I know think Loma won and that’s fine.
There were about 4 swing rounds in the fight where you couldn’t tell who won. You can’t give them all to Loma and you can’t give them all to Devin. If there’s a swing round, and you don’t know who won the round, logically what you do is you split the swing rounds up, or you score them even rounds. I know they don’t want judges scoring a lot of rounds even, but that’s what you do. Perc, I honestly still don’t know who won that fight. That was a very hard fight to score. What I don’t want to do is keep doing the mental gymnastics, after I hear something, I keep going back and scoring the fight. The judges don’t have that luxury. It’s not practical to keep doing that because you could keep coming up with a different score. After watching the fight the second time, the only thing I can say is, Loma had his clear rounds in the 9th and 10th and maybe one in between and Devin had a couple of clear ones when he was nailing Loma with some good right hands to the body, which is an eye-catching punch, and I thought that he edged the 12th. But just because he won the 12th doesn’t mean that he won the fight. I really couldn’t tell who won after watching it the second time, that’s just the honest truth. I picked up on things I didn’t see the first time, but I came away impressed by both guys.
I think if there is a rematch I would favor Devin, because I think Loma emotionally spent himself and I don’t think he would be able to get up like that again. It takes a lot to mentally get up like that and then not get the decision. Had he won, it’s a little bit different. You notice Triple G after that second Canelo fight, because he put his heart into that. He had a crazy late fight run and to come up short, it’s like, what am I doing this for? He hasn’t looked the same since then. “Chocolatito” [Roman Gonzalez] is one of the rare guys. The first “SSR” [Srisaket Sor Rungvisai] fight he lost, and then he came back and gets knocked out, then he rejuvenates his career after taking the devastating losses late in his career after a great effort. I thought he won the first “SSR” fight and if he had won, he wouldn’t have had to fight the rematch. I thought he won the [Juan Francisco] Estrada fights. Loma is down, I don’t know if he can get up. I would favor Devin is they fought again.
Edited by Alberto Arellano and Joseph Hammond