Teddy Atlas Makes His Presence Felt
By: Sean Crose
Give this to Teddy Atlas, he makes his presence felt. Some people are critical of the man for that fact, but I suspect his persona is no joke. Particular individuals are just that outspoken and cantankerous. Indeed, Atlas just seems like the kind of guy who was never meant to live in quiet obscurity. From Rikers Island, where the man once did time, to the realm of Cus D’Amato – famed trainer of Mike Tyson and Floyd Patterson, to the corner of Michael Moorer on the fighter’s road to victory over Evander Holyfield, to Donny LaLonde, who it’s been said he once wanted to murder, Atlas has never been a man one could shrug off convincingly.
Now Atlas, who is known to a new generation as the face and voice of the sadly deceased Friday Night Fights on ESPN2 has blasted back onto the pay per view scene as the trainer of the Desert Storm himself, Timothy Bradley. Lots of people aren’t too happy that Bradley is going to be facing Manny Pacquiao for yet a third time for a viewing fee of well over fifty bucks this weekend, but it is what it is and the show is going to go on in a few days, no matter how poor the revenue may ultimately be.
Indeed, the presence of Atlas, who has replaced the terrific Joel Diaz as Bradley’s trainer, has added a breath of fresh air to the Pacquiao-Bradley saga. Will it be enough fresh air, however, to make this fight something most feel it simply can’t be, which is interesting? That’s to be seen. What’s true, however, is that this match is nothing if not a hard sell. I certainly didn’t hate the first two, but let’s face it, this third fight should be HBO material. The only way for this rubber match to escape the gaping yawns of the fight world are for Bradley to win or for Pacquiao to knock his man out.
Provided Manny doesn’t make a return to his Ricky Hatton days, then, how can Bradley be expected to win? Sure, he won the first fight between the two on the cards, but that decision was so universally disdained it turned the fight world on its head. What, then, can Bradley do to pull off the upset this time around? Frankly, I’ve no idea, but word is out that Atlas has a plan for his fighter. And, make no mistake about it, Atlas knows boxing inside and out.
For although there are plenty of analysts in the world of boxing, there are few constructive analysts. For instance, a fight commentator might point out a flaw in an individual’s game. Atlas, however, tends to not only analyze the flaw, but to offer suggestions as to what might make the fighter more successful. His mind is perpetually at work, filtering info, critiquing, coming up with unique ideas. He may be too bombastic for some to stomach, but I feel it usually makes for good television (admittedly, however, Atlas can be ridiculous at times).
Being a good analyst isn’t the same as being a goof trainer, however. Even though he led Michael Moorer to the heavyweight title well over twenty years ago, Atlas hasn’t been seen much in fighter’s corners in recent years. Bradley’s most recent bout with Brandon Rios was the exception, of course…and Bradley looked terrific on that occasion. While it was true Rios was a mere shell of his former self that night, there’s no denying the fact that Bradley appeared in top form. If he looks that good against Pacquiao on Saturday, Bradley may end up being the toast of the fight world, perhaps in large part to the outspoken guy in his corner.