Teddy Atlas Interview on the Foundation, Pacquiao, Mayweather, Martinez and much more By David Tyler, Doghouse Boxing (May 26, 2011) Doghouse Boxing - Tweet
No introduction needed for
this Boxing Icon. Please welcome my hero back into the doghouse.
David Tyler - Teddy, how are
things going with the foundation?
Teddy Atlas - Hi Dave, we have
had a lot of request from people who have suffered setbacks in their
lives and as a result I had a meeting tonight with the members of the
foundation to develop corporate sponsorship. The Richmond County
Savings Foundation has donated one hundred thousand dollars to the
Dr. Atlas Foundation. We will be having a press conference where we
thank the people responsible for this donation and challenge other
banks and corporations to match this amount.
DT - I know your foundation helps individuals; can you give our readers some examples?
TA - We have a six month old
baby that the mother came to us a few days ago, the baby needs a
liver transplant to live and the cost will be around $600,000.00.
That's a large amount of money but that's not the problem...even
though the family is deeply in debt with medical bills, the insurance
will cover around 80% of the cost. That still leaves a lot of money
that the family can't pay. Leading up to the operation there are
many diagnostic tests and medications that the insurance won't cover.
We've committed for the next five months to pay the co-payments,
medication cost, and travel cost to the hospital. That's just one of
the many cases that we are currently handling.
DT - Tell me more.
TA - We had another case this
week where a mentally challenged girl needs help when taking a bath.
Her mother almost dropped her because she is now getting much more
difficult to handle because of her disability. She also has cerebral
palsy which causes her to go into panic attacks. There is a medical
device that would help but the cost is around five thousand dollars.
It doesn't matter if the device cost 50 thousand dollars her mother
can't even come close to paying these cost. No insurance would cover
the cost of this device so of course we bought it for her
immediately. The thing that really frustrates me is that before she
came to us, she tried the March of Dimes and they turned her down.
DT - Seriously?
TA - David, we get this kind of
situation all the time. Last month we had a single mom who has four
children, working two jobs, a good person. She had to have a full
mastectomy. This lady sat down and figured out how much everything
would cost....the time she would miss work...the out of pocket
costs...everything down to the mortgage payment and other monthly
bills. Now on top of the full mastectomy she had a blood clot. She
is out of the hospital, her medications alone cost more than
$1,100.00 a month. Many people don't realize that some of these
medications are not covered by insurance. So, to make a long story
short, she has to make a decision whether or not to pay her $1,400.00
mortgage payment or pay for the cancer medications. She paid for the
medications and the bank starts a foreclosure on her house. She
calls up the American Cancer Society and boy are they monsters. She
had heard and participates in fundraisers for the Cancer Society and
thought some of this money went to cancer victims who are not able to
pay their bills. She only asks for $400.00 a month until the doctor
released her back to work. They told her NO! They couldn't do
anything for her because most of their money went to administrative
cost and a small percentage goes to cancer research.
DT - How did she get in
contact with the foundation?
TA – The American Cancer
Society told her that they could provide no help and advised her to
call the Dr. Atlas foundation. It boggles my mind that the American
Cancer Society, March of Dimes, American Heart Association, as
examples, all have us on their phone list and give people our phone
number after they decline to help people because their money goes to
administrative costs and a small portion to research. We take care
of every one of these people but you would think that these
organizations would have some money set aside to help victims of
these terrible diseases.
DT- Are you continuing to
help these people?
TA - David, we help everyone but
it’s getting difficult and that's why we are going to other levels
to try and raise funds. We are really hoping that some of these big
corporations will match the $100,000.00 donations.
DT - Teddy, does HBO,
Showtime, ESPN, Top Rank, Golden Boy, or other boxing multi-billion
dollar organizations contribute to the Dr. Atlas Dr. Atlas Foundation?
TA - No! However I would like
to mention that ESPN has been very good about letting me mention the
foundation sometime during the Friday Night boxing events. I would
also like to say that some kind hearted individuals at these
organizations have contributed on a personal level but the networks
have not made a corporate contribution. I know all the multi-billion
dollar corporations contribute to the popular organizations that I
mentioned, but do they really know where the money goes? Do they
know that people on an individual level are not benefiting from the
donations? Maybe they don’t care? Maybe it’s just a tax write
off. I am all for research into ways to eradicate these terrible
diseases but someone has to help the afflicted individuals and I just
can’t do it alone.
DT – I am very shocked and
disappointed with HBO, Showtime, ESPN, Fox Sports, Top Rank, Golden
Boy, and other corporations that should be making contributions on a
corporate level to the Dr. Atlas foundation. It makes me sick and
mad enough to eat nails that these high profit companies do not
contribute to an organization started by a former boxer and trainer,
that helps the common man. Maybe their administrative costs
(including the salary of the big shots) are
just too much to help out an individual. I read where
close to 2 million people watched the Showtime PPV Scam (Pac vs.
Mosley) to the tune of ~ $60.00 a pop. If just half of these people
would send one frigging dollar to the foundation, think of how many
people would benefit. If Top Rank contributed one dollar on a
corporate level, I would be left speechless.
DT- Teddy, let's talk about
boxing......your thoughts about the recent Mosley/ Pacquiao
debacle...what did we get?
TA - David, to be honest with
you I think we got hustled...we got conned! The people responsible
for this promotion knew they had a 40 year old fighter who looked
like the sun had set on him. He didn't look good at all in his last
two fights....he looked like an over the hill fighter in those fights
and the people responsible knew these facts. The top priority for
these people is not to give the public a great competitive fight for
their money....not at all. Let's all just he honest and understand
that their priority is to protect their "golden goose".
The priorities are to get the golden goose an opponent who is not a
threat to him and at the same time a name fighter which will help
maximize the pay per view audience.....they take the least risk to
keep the cash cow going forward....keep the golden goose laying eggs.
So the top priority really is a financial priority.....they don't
really need to put on a competitive fight when over a million people
continue to pay $55 dollars and up to see the golden goose. They
understand the formula.....get a guy who is flawed....on the down
side of his career...and his only value would be his past
reputation...this will entice more fans to pay the price for the
fight without taking any risk that the cash cow might lose.
DT - So this was the formula that
made dummies like me think that Mosley would put up a fight instead
of not fighting at all?
TA - They play us all. The
Marquee value of Mosley's name...having Mosley look like he was in
top physical shape...play up the fact that Mosley was an underdog in
the Margarito fight...making noise that of the two, Mosley was the
larger fighter. You see how all this was well played to give us all
the perception that this event had a chance to be a good fight. But
really it's "buyer beware" shame on all of us who bought
the fight for not knowing what we are supposed to know, that Mosley’s
good days were way far behind him....Shame on us for letting our
imagination let us believe that we were going to get what we
wanted....a good competitive fight.
DT - I agree with everything you
have said especially when you look how much of a favorite Pac was in
TA - David, look at it this way.
Let's take the Super Bowl in football....in recent years they have
been competitive but there have been years that the Super Bowl was
going to be horrible and the point spread in Vegas reflected this
fact.....when one team is favored by 16 points or more, do you really
think you are going to get a great Super Bowl...of course not. Now
last go to the last two weeks before the Super Bowl....all the media
is there...all the talk and hype by the underdog....lot's of mention
of say Super Bowl III where the Jets were big underdogs and Joe
Namath led them to victory......in that two week period we let this
type media hype convince us that the game will be a good one with a
great possibility of an upset that no one wants to miss. The
promotional machine, the publicity machine, manipulated the
imagination of the public to be enticed into believing this huge
underdog actually had a chance of winning.
DT – Good analogy, how do these
kind of shenanigans affect boxing as a whole?
TA – The problem is the boxer
who is still trying to get to that safe place in his career where he
can make a decent comfortable living. These kind of events will make
the public very skeptical about buying pay per view events because
they will very soon get tired of paying over $50.00 for such a
disappointing event, it will create some shock waves to the industry.
That’s too bad because boxing has got to a place where it is more
an event driven sport which hurts the other fights in the
sport. I wish it was more consistent like it used to be where people
went to the sport in droves in a consistent manner because they knew
they were going to see competitive fights. Not just name guys, but
good competitive fights that were supporting the sport. Now that’s
changed where it is event driven and these events are disappointing.
This trickles down throughout the sport where it has a negative
impact on bouts that are not run by the promotional and publicity
machines geared to make money for the greedy people running these
DT – Top Rank owns the “Golden
Goose” and all the rights to the events….no other
manager/promoter other than Bob Arum. This presents such a huge
conflict of interest which is very hard to ignore if you are a true
boxing fan. To get into the ring with the “cash cow” you must
belong to Arum. Could it be that the privileged few that Arum makes
multi millionaires are so grateful that out of gratitude they are not
fighting back for fear of hurting his “Golden Goose”? Are these
fights that compromised becauseArum controls both fighters?
TA – There is two parts to
that point that you’re trying to make. One, getting back to the
priorities….keep him safe and make as much money as possible. The
priorities are not the fans….the priority is to present to the fans
the perception of what they want. Let’s go back a moment….don’t
be misunderstood, the priority is that Bob Arum must be successful,
not just Pacquiao, Arum and Top Rank is the very first and top
priority. In order to accomplish this priority….Arum comes
first….Pacquiao comes along as a necessary means…..without
Pacquiao winning, Arum and Top Rank can’t continue to be
successful. The first part of their success is Top Rank
succeeding….that is the horse and the other people come along for
the ride. So the first part is to ensure that Arum must control the
opponent, that’s really the key in controlling the promotion which
is all designed to make as much money as possible. Arum must examine
every fighter that’s a potential opponent for Pacquiao to ensure
that this is not a fighter that has a good defense, good boxing
skills, good chin, good power, not a fighter that makes good fights
on a consistent level and will give his best effort. Sure Arum
insists that these fighters sign with him…Mosley left Golden Boy to
sign with Arum which resulted in more millions in his bank account.
The bottom line is that the first thing that has to be in place is
that Pacquiao’s opponent is a guy that ensures Arum has full
control of the promotion. That’s the important part and if you
look at his past opponents and future opponents the common element is
that they can’t be locked in with a rival promoter or anybody that
would not allow Arum to have complete control of the fight. That’s
the first priority in the elements of Top Rank’s success with
DT – Are the boxing fan’s one of
the elements of consideration?
TA – It’s not a matter of
looking at a list of fighters and saying ‘wow this match-up would
be good for the public’ it could be an exciting fight. That would
be the responsible thing to do, but they don’t want to lose. They
know that Pacquiao brings along his legions of Pacquiao fans that
would support him whomever he fights. They are after as many boxing
fans as possible to supplement the Pacquiao fans. The only
consideration given to boxing fans is will this opponent be
marketable enough to convince them to buy into the event.
DT – I understand. Pacquiao is
merely an event fighter. Not some great champion who defended his
title against top competitors. Agree or disagree?
TA – Let’s take a look at
his career. Because his opponents have been handpicked, they are
flawed in more areas than the average opponent. Let’s go back to
the beginning of this journey, the beginning of the gravy train….it
started with someone named De La Hoya. He was a shot fighter,
fighting at a weight that was sure to drain him of any strength or
stamina. Even at his best, De La Hoya never won a big fight, more
importantly; he was a fighter well, well, beyond his prime. Next up
was Ricky Hatton, a fighter who was exposed by Floyd Mayweather and
others as an extremely flawed fighter who always left himself open
for punches down the middle. I believe Miguel Cotto was next up and
of course he was damaged goods. At the time he fought Pacquiao, he
was severely damaged physically, emotionally, and mentally from the
beating he took from Margarito. Clottey was another guy that was
mentally defective, he never fought with any real confidence, never
took any real risk, a guy who's style was to cover up. Clottey
throws very few punches and there is that saying in boxing that you
can't be in the fight if you don't throw punches. His temperament
was to be very safe. Guys like that are more inclined to stay
covered when they have a fast handed guy in front of them. Now we
get to Margarito. He is a slow guy who was never good technically he
got exposed by Mosley who showed that Margarito is a very slow
fighter who is not hard to find in the ring. Pretty much a one
dimensional fighter. Let's add to the mix that he had to make a
weight that was going to hurt his chances in the fight. Sure enough
he drained himself just to make weight and you could visibly see that
he looked drained. You take a look at his face....bones and
cheeks...he looked emaciated and when he got into the ring he behaved
that way....a fighter very game, very slow but most importantly very
weak. The one advantage that he should have is his strength and
power which was taken away from him by having to make the weight.
Now, when we look comprehensively, intelligently, and fairly, every
single one of those guys have major flaws. For all the credit and
adoration Pacquiao got by the promotional machines, the publicity
machines, the Pay Per View networks, the only thing great about his
opponents is their names. Everything else was flawed.
DT - Agree completely. Teddy, after
reading Mike Silver's great book "The Arc of Boxing" I have
watched hundreds of hours of great fighters from the golden age.
Now, when I watch Pacquiao I see many weak spots in his game. He is
easily hit with a jab, he comes in and out in a straight path, he has
no defense, lacks foot speed, doesn’t have a good jab....do you
agree with my assessment?
TA - Yes I do. That's not meant
to take anything away from the people who adore him and want to hold
him up and put him up to where they want to put him. That's their
privilege, that's their right but it's also my privilege and right to
be able to critique his style. There are hundreds of fighters out
there from the Golden Years of boxing who would easily beat him.
That's simply because they fought at least 12 times a year. Most
fighters fought more than that, some even twice a month for the year.
There were not just two or three good fighters around in those days.
There were over 70 tremendous fighters around at any given time
during the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's and maybe even the 70's.
These guys fought every fighter out there, lightweights,
featherweights, and middleweights. The sport was not event driven,
no promoter would try to pull that kind of sham on the boxing fans
because the fans were to smart to fall for that trick. Boxing in
those days was on par with baseball and the fans that followed the
sport were very knowledgeable. The championship really meant
something in those days and the conflict of interest you mentioned
earlier simply would not exist during these time periods. I don't
even have to go back that far...how about Pernell Whitaker? I don't
think Pacquiao would stand a chance against someone with the boxing
skills of Pernell Whitaker. I really hate to get Pacquiao's fans
angry with me but I don't think he comes close to beating Whitaker.
I really think someone like Sugar Ray Leonard could possibly hurt
Pacquiao seriously in the ring. Pacquiao comes in and starts throwing
punches which would delight a fighter like Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy
Hearns, Roberto Duran, or Julio Chavez. I am referring to these more
contemporary fighters to be fair about drawing comparisons. It would
not be fair to compare Pacquiao to fighters from the generations
where the fighters were harden tough by all the competition. I have
said before and I will say it again that if he fights and beats
Sergio Martinez, then I will shut up and call Pacquiao one of the
greats in this sport.
DT - You are a boxing historian and
an expert on contemporary boxing. Many boxing fans are interested in
your comments. Just read any boxing website and you will see the
Pacquiao fans defending their guy. That's just part of any sport
when you become popular like Pacquiao. I like your idea of Pac
fighting Martinez but I doubt that will happen because Martinez would
have to sell out to Bob Arum. Your thoughts?
TA - Not only that but they
would surely make him come down to a weight that would sap him of
strength and stamina....obviously factors detrimental to his chances
of winning. To your point, he may not go along with the certain
promotional constraints that Arum would impose. But then again, I'm
not certain they would give him a chance to say NO. I am curious if
they would even consider giving him that opportunity. They might
want us to think that he would say NO so they don't have to address
the question. Martinez is the kind of guy that might say yes and
this would force their hand into making some concessions on the
promotional end. I really doubt that they would make Martinez an
offer because this is a risk that I don't believe Arum would take.
DT - Teddy, we have both discussed
the skills of Floyd Mayweather and both agree that Pac is the kind of
fighter that Mayweather devours. Is there any chance that Bob Arum
would give him a shot?
TA - Not in his present
condition. Right now nothing is wrong with Mayweather....once again,
Arum is not about taking risk.....we don't know the details of past
negotiations between the two but I'm sure that they favor Arum and
Pacquiao. All of Pacquiao's opponents have been flawed in ways
explained early in this interview. Mayweather's almost daily
personal problems may take a toll on him mentally, also his other
activities in the entertainment industry might distract his focus on
boxing. Putting all that aside, I see Mayweather beating Pacquiao
handily. Mayweather has the skill sets.....speed,both hand and foot
speed, size, defense, from a technical and tactical standpoint he has
a tremendous advantage, he can beat you on the inside and the
outside. The match up favors Mayweather in every area...especially
when Pacquiao comes in to an opponent with that reckless
manner....Mayweather is designed to take advantage of this type of
opponent. He would have great success on the back end and the front
end....the front end when Pacquiao is trying to impose himself
physically...on the back end when Pacquiao moves away, Mayweather has
the foot and hand speed to find him and punish him with jabs and
DT - Has Mayweather retired?
TA - No. I think he will fight
again soon. He has had some problems and he has to deal with these
problems like everyone else. I have no doubt in my mind that he will
fight simply because there is a certain life span for all fighters.
He doesn't want to be remembered as one of the flawed fighters that I
mentioned earlier. He would certainly like to retire undefeated but
he is still in his prime and he has bills to pay like everybody. Now
is the time for him to make maximum dollars in the ring and I believe
that will cause him to fight again very soon.
DT - I haven't seen one weakness in
Mayweather's boxing style. What's your opinion?
TA - He sometimes is just not
busy enough in the ring. I also doubt that he has the ability to
create his own offense...much preferring to counter punch. I have
seen him play with opponents when he knows that he is winning easily.
Sometimes he does just enough to win.
DT - Any comparisons with past
TA - I would compare him to
Sugar Ray Leonard. Both have very similar skill sets and people
forget that Leonard was also the best counter puncher of his time.
DT - I will make this the last
question as I have taken a good deal of your time. It was announced
in the newspapers that Pacquaio is set to fight Marquez in November
of this year. Your thoughts on that fight?
TA - How old is Marquez? I believe
that he will be 38 when and if that fight takes place. Pacquiao is
about six years younger and in his prime. Also, Marquez has bulked
up in weight only once that I remember and that was in the Mayweather
fight where he lost every round. Marquez is the smaller fighter.
Also I have mentioned before on ESPN telecasts that I also judge a
fighter not so much by age but the number of punches he has taken.
Pacquiao has taken very little punishment in the last few years. The
only strong area I see for Marquez is that his confidence level would
be high because of the fact that he has fought him twice
before...this would help his comfort level in that fight. But when
it is all said and done, Pacquiao will be the heavy favorite to win
DT - We thank you for your time and
keep fighting the good fight through your foundation.
TA - David, always a pleasure and I
appreciate everything you do to help out the foundation.
Readers: If I make a contribution of
$1,000.00 to the Dr. Atlas foundation will someone match my donation?
Do you agree or disagree with Teddy? He made his points and backed
them up with reasonable observations. I am eager to read your