By Michael Woods
He flew from NY to Cali on Sunday and camp started Monday and Teddy Atlas said, by and large, Tim Bradley is right where he wants him to be.
That is to say, a little large, but within the bounds of reason, the Staten Island tutor, boxing's Vince Lombardi, told me.
“It's perfect. He's got something to burn. If he showed up in perfect shape then we wouldn't need eight weeks,” Atlas said. “He's got a little extra baggage but we went over that after the last fight. It's expected. And he came in pretty close to what we expected.”
There is a desired arc and trajectory to a camp. There is a beginning a middle and an end. By the end, the trainer wants the fighter to have elevated themself, physically and mentally. If he comes in already on weight, then he's partially at the “end” place and that will throw off the rhythm of the camp.
Bradley has the Bradley gym, about a half hour from his house. So he picks up Atlas at about 11 am, and they drive to the gym and they get to work. No other fighters there and that suits both fine. “I like it,” Atlas said. “I'm not looking for a lot of social interaction, and small talk. I can get social interaction here, on the phone. It's eight weeks of our life for one specific reason. To prepare for the fight April 9.”
The news cycle the last two days had been buzzing with Manny Pacquiao talk. He is running for Senate and is apparently looking to appeal to the certain conservatism streak in the Filipino citizens who are die hard foes of marriage equality. He compared, not favorably, gay humans to animals, and then posted a bible passage which endorsed killing gays. His promoter publicly lambasted him and endorser Nike dumped him. His halo, it seems, is nicked and smudged, if not busted. What does Atlas think of the furor?
“That's his personal thoughts,” the ESPN analyst, who also runs a charity to help the needy who've fallen in between the gaping cracks in our frayed social services safety net, told me. “It's up to him, his beliefs, and it doesn't impact us. We are preparing for a lefty, with speed and power and a certain dynamic ability…I only care about that.”
Noted; it makes sense. Atlas is not privately thinking and hoping all this hubbub distracts Manny and drains his focus and energy. He assumes the 21 years a pro Pacquiao can compartmentalize and on fight night, he will be at the best of his ability.
The rest of us can theorize and opine but Atlas is about dealing with certainties and likely eventualities.
Come April 9, anti gay slurs and the like are out the window, archival material.
Two men will be facing off, exchanging blows, not vows. Fewer fans will be pro Pacman than they were a week ago, that impacts the Atlas-Bradley prep not at all.