The ever candid Atlas on the fifth episode of his “The Fight” podcast/videocast didn't disappoint.
He spoke about the welters..and then a ton on the light heavies.
Atlas spoke big picture, and then drilled down into more sensitive turf.
“When I look at the light heavyweight division, I see Gvozdyk (who holds the WBC strap), Bivol, Beterbiev, Kovalev, and I see contenders like Browne. I see that talent, I say whoa!…..Talk about the welterweight division, but the light heavyweight division might be the most talented division out there right now…It reminds you of the 80s, when boxing was so damn healthy, what was the formula? Well, the formula was, you had some good fighters and names, you need marquee…you also had free television, you had network television putting the fights on in your living room, so you identified with the guys, you knew who they were, you got to see them, without having to do something called pay per view. Or any of that kind of stuff, and you had the best guys available to fight the bets guys, you didn't have to cross the street and say, ‘Oh, I'm not allowed to go over there?!' So you had the best guys fighting each other.” He spoke of the 70s and 80s light heavyweight heyday, and marveled at the recollections.
Atlas handles Gvozdyk, and “The Nail” is managed by Egis Klimas, who also manages Sergey Kovalev, so some think that could be makeable. But that wouldn't be the most compelling matchup, if we're factoring in back-stories…
Atlas delved deeply on episode five of his “The Fight” videocast regarding Marcus Browne‘s comments that he made after getting a W over Badou Jack. Browne looked superb in handling the vet Jack on Jan. 19th.
Some thought that he'd be in over his head in a step up fight, but he impressed all watchers with all the elements on display in a PBC scrap versus Jack.
Here's Teddy's take on their time together…Browne, a Staten Island resident, learned boxing in the Police Athletic League gym in SI, and the PAL shut down funding. Atlas stepped up and helped with funding, and the gyms became “Atlas Cops and Kids.” He has since exited that relationship. Teddy said he started a foundation, in memory of his father, a physician who saw every patient, whether they had money or not, on Staten Island. So, he's still doing the foundation, but the gyms, still overseen by Pat Russo, is staying alive through other means and methods. Browne ascended mightily, and in fact made the 2012 US Olympic team. So, he won a career-best scrap against Jack two months ago and some eyebrows were raised when he went at Atlas.
You can hear for yourself and decide what's what; at 2:23, Ryan Songalia from RING asks Browne about working in the past with Atlas.
“It was a PAL before it was a Teddy Atlas gym, he just came when we were knee deep in. You know, he tried to feed off of a 2012 Olympian, off of my story.” He said Gary Stark Sr. gets all the credit, he's trained him since he was a teen. He lauded Andre Rozier and Sharif Younan, who helped build him from early on. Atlas swooped in and got Gvozdyk when he was already formed, he said. And yes, he'd like to fight Teddy's kid, before a fight with a Dmitriy Bivol.
The issue was re-visited in the recent episode; Atlas said to co-host Ken Rideout that on two occasions Browne asked him to train him. He said no, “because we're not bigger than the program.” Atlas said more than a million dollars to fund the gym, and that money came from the foundation, by and large. He said he didn't want there to be any perceived conflict of interest, if he were to train fighters that came up in the “Atlas Cops and Kids” feeder system.
Atlas continued: He said that Browne would come over and watch film at his house, and he'd point things out at the gym and he'd be a sounding board. “I did go to the gym and work with him but not in a way that I could be his trainer on an everyday basis,” he said.
Atlas admitted feeling sad that he was called out, and he isn't happy to have to make sense of Browne going at him. He shed light on the call-out, pointing out that indeed he did come back to training and it happened to be with a kid who is also at 175 with Browne. And, but of course, maybe Browne will be a future foe of Gvozdyk's. Because guess who is ranked No. 1 by the WBC, right behind Gvozdyk….
“I gotta explain and feel sick about explaining it,” Atlas said. “It hurts. It hurts because it shouldn't be. Why..I don't want to talk about it no more. I appreciate it, I really do, we're all human, it's just disappointing. It's hard for me to be able to understand it, I tried to understand it by explaining it the best I can.”
He admitted feeling bummed out that this is how it went after a guy from the gym had his moment. He called Browne's words “lies” and “mean spirited ugliness.” He got animated while going there…He said the million dollars could have been used for other programs, he told listeners. “It did save hundreds of kids…thousands of kids, they were saved,” he said. He admitted feeling maybe he shouldn't have funded the gyms, because, essentially, he felt betrayed.
My three cents: If this plays out and moves into the ring, well, this back-story would be very, very compelling. I reached out to a member of Team Browne, to ask if he wanted to weigh in on Atlas' recent comments and will insert any response if and when received.
You can hear Teddy Atlas when he appeared on the Everlast “Talkbox” podcast.