The man cares so whole heartedly, so conclusively, that his intensity is a case study in the sport.
Teddy Atlas said in the lead-up to the April 9 Manny Pacquiao third tangle versus his guy Tim Bradley that he'd sooner die than see Bradley lose.
Arguably, that sort of pronouncement indicates a maniacal level of intensity that could make you worry for the well being of the owner…but Atlas' desire to fulfill the standards he sets for himself is well documented, to the point that the masses mostly see him as a pack leader in this realm of yearning to achieve, to reach potential.
After Pacquiao got the W in his maybe farewell fight–he told the press he'd be test driving retirement–Atlas stated that he, not his fighter, had dropped the ball.
Bradley, Atlas said, is the “best human being” he'd ever been around. Clearly, these two had tightly bonded in the less than a year they'd been a duo.
Clearly, Atlas was and is feeling the impact of the L as thing he'd been the one hitting the deck at the MGM Grand twice on Saturday evening.
The trainer, who still works as an analyst for ESPN, shared with NYFIGHTS.com some thoughts on the event as he awaited his plane lifting off back to NY.
“I thought Tim was doing and trying to do many things we had worked on and he was doing them well but I believe the bad call by (referee Tony) Weeks on the knockdown that was not a knockdown (in round seven) affected Tim mentally and changed the fight,” Atlas said. “Not that we would have won but that changed things, a 10-9 round for Tim became a 10-8 for Manny…and then a big round in the eighth could have given us momentum. But hey, Manny was good and we understood with a guy as dynamically talented as him there is no margin for error. I just wish I had found a way to change things when the need was there to do that.”
My take: Atlas' heart had him concentrating on making his guy tighten up defensively. Bradley rarely flurried in reckless fashion, and in throwing 500 fewer punches than in their first clash, limited the number of times he could be countered. Atlas wanted to save this superb human being brain trauma. He acted in a morally responsible manner, to his immense credit. But it would be hard for Bradley, not a one punch bomber, to get the win if he didn't look to impress the judges with work rate.
Also, styles make fights and we now know beyond reasonable doubt Pacman's mobility edge and ability to use exemplary hand speed to hit Bradley from odd angles makes him too tough for Bradley to get a bead on. There was no fireman speech or in-fight strategy or tactic shift that could have changed the outcome on April 9.