|Interview with Theodore A. Atlas Jr.: On Pacquiao-Cotto, Mayweather-Marquez, Boxing Websites, and tons more!
By David Tyler, Doghouse Boxing (Aug 20, 2009) Photo © HowardSchatz.com
Teddy Atlas needs no introduction, who doesn’t know this boxing trainer who you see every Friday Night on ESPN Boxing. This interview was requested by the website readers. I would like to think Ms. Kathy Zito from the Dr. Teddy Atlas foundation for helping make this happen.
David Tyler I’m a writer for doghouse boxing’s website…….
Teddy Atlas That means nothing to me because I do not go into your world. You people go on the internet and do all that stuff and I stay away from that, I’m a cave man or whatever. I become better off even though I am probably missing out on something I’m also keeping my blood pressure down from seeing certain things that would not service me in any good way. I only returned your call because I read your e-mail and you sounded sincere, you were kind and courteous.
DT- Thank you, Ok……
TA Like my old friend Jack Newfield said and he was a great writer and great man. He was a champion for the downtrodden people. He used his columns to always look out for the underdog. He obviously made his living in journalism so he had to be on the internet when it came about. He even said to me, he said “Teddy you’re probably right about the internet even though it is the progressive thing because some people have turned it into nothing more than a graffiti board.” It’s being used as a bulletin board where people can express their thoughts and opinions without being based on facts or anything positive.
DT Well I just wanted to ask………
TA I don’t read any boxing internet articles unless someone sends me something or fax me something which I really don’t care to read in the first place. There is just so many boxing websites that I wonder how they survive. For a sport that doesn’t seem to get enough attention, proper attention in the proper areas when it’s doing something right, it just seems that there is not a proper presence of media attention. And then I get calls from “so called” writers who say I am Joey Pulako and I write for ringside boxing, or I write for Left Hand Boxing or Bloody nose boxing, I’m like how many of these sites exist out there? For a sport that doesn’t get any attention it seems like there must be a trillion boxing websites.
DT Yes, I understand but surely you understand that these websites are practically the only way boxing fans can get their fix?
TA I see some of these so called writers and I say boy oh boy how do they get to be writers. Again I believe that it’s because of the internet where you don’t have the restrictions or standards when you had the hard trend media where you had deadlines and editors and some sort of organization like being responsible have a background in journalism even before you get a chance to put something in print. Now some are given the opportunity to do that with no background, preparation, no responsibility, no regard or respect and the only thing they seem to be good at is having some agenda or vent against someone. Then again I see some of these message boards from the fans and these fans seem to be just as bent and just as maladjusted as some of these writers that are not responsible and shouldn’t have access to vent with the writers who are twisted and bent. I’m like these people should get a life this is insane!
DT I have been focusing on interviews because its people like yourself that are the “historians” of boxing. Teddy, what do you think about the state of boxing today?
TA The way it’s been the last few years not just today, it’s been an ongoing and maybe failing situation for sometime now. I think it’s kind of like communism. You know communism and I’m sure your readers are going to go wow Teddy is equating communism with boxing, my gosh. What I mean is the theory of communism was based on something that had merit in the human realm. There wasn’t going to be the rich and the very poor, everybody was going to be taken care of, things were going to be even for everyone. It didn’t work out. There were the rich and the very poor, no in between. The people that got in with the government were very well taken care of just the same as before communism came aboard. The people that got in with the government became the ultra rich and you still had the very poor. That’s how boxing is, there’s nothing in-between; we have the ultra rich and the very poor. We have the De La Hoya’s, the Pacquiao’s, the Mayweather’s, you know that list of people and obviously life is good for them. Then you have just regular boxers who can hardly get work. They are fighting for a thousand dollars or twelve hundred dollars or if their lucky maybe two thousand dollars. Out there in space in these lost horizons they are not able to get to a steady place even if they have some ability. They just are not able to get to the level of these other guys where they are taken care of in a promotional way and many will never be given that opportunity to live in that place. Of course there are fighters who have moderate talents and lesser than moderate talents and they will never get to that place and their skills are part of the reason for that. There’s always going to be a rating system whether it for doctors, lawyers or baseball players. Look at baseball, even a shortstop hitting below average is making millions of dollars. Boxing is not like that only the very few make the big millions of dollars and the rest feed off the crumbs.
TA - David, Excuse me I’ve got to take this call……..
TA - Sorry about that. It was a call from this foundation that I run that I had to take. (Click here for Teddy's Foundation) I may not know much about the internet but I’m advanced enough to know how to use call waiting. I run this charity foundation and every day there is something going on that requires my attention. It’s a hands on operation and we get many requests mostly for kids without insurance and suffering from cancer. We’ve got two kids right now that are paralyzed from accidents this summer and I’ve got to make some tough decisions on how to help these kids. But getting back to our conversation, like I said most kids in other sports will not be a Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays but you can reach a level of stability, security and that’s missing from boxing. Again, it’s the communist theory again; most of the boxers will be down at the bottom with a very few fortunate up at the top. No middle level that can provide the security that comes in other sports.
TA I’m just saying that the problem is there is boxers who can’t get the work. There is no in between but there could be, it’s just there is no organizational center for boxing, there’s no rhyme or reason, there’s no National Body, there’s no nucleus to it, there is nobody marketing the sport. This sport has been around over two hundred years more than any other sport and yet it is very underdeveloped and simplistic in having an infrastructure for these issues that I’m talking about. But that’s what it is, you could say that it has become a cult driven sport. Sure the fans will come out for the big fights, the big shows, but they don’t support the place I’m talking about. In some ways I’m calling it an event driven sport now. The next big event will be Mayweather and Marquez followed by the Pacquiao and Cotto events, okay when these events happen the sport looks, sounds, smells and feels like it’s doing pretty well. There will be chatter about it, there will be movement about it but when those events have taken place, the sport again drifts away to that quite place and it wouldn’t have to if it had the interest and promotion in those middle areas. Does this make sense?
DT Yes sir. Teddy, what are your thoughts on the Mayweather/ Marquez fight?
TA I see it having elements of interest because there are certain areas, variables, intangibles that make it interesting. You got Mayweather who has been out of the ring over 18 months so the question is how does that year and a half affect him? You got Marquez who is a warrior and a very likeable guy and a really good fighter. You have to admire his work ethic, the guys he has fought, the way he conducts himself. You have to admire his character and the way this man has carried himself at the highest level of the sport. He will be doing everything he can to make this a fight that he can win. That reason alone will make it a good competitive fight. But the variables that come into play will be is Marquez too small, is Marquez too old, he is older and been in some tough fights, is this the night he gets old, does his skin hold up, Mayweather could maybe do a job on him from the outside he cuts him up and it doesn’t become the kind of contest that we want it to become. Also, is Mayweather coming back for the wrong reasons? We’ve all heard about his money problems with the IRS. They have a lien on his house. This causes him to come out of retirement. Okay that’s fine maybe he was going to come out anyway, but when he came out, let’s be honest about it if we’re going to talk about it, some people will not want to hear this but why make your comeback against a top professional guy? Especially this quickly after being away such a length of time? He wanted a certain amount of money from HBO and they said he must take this level of opponent. He could have taken less money from what I understand but he would have taken a lesser opponent. It’s that pressure of having to come back and make a lot of money right NOW! So taking that kind of opponent right out of the box is certainly a variable, it could be an intangible and influence this fight. Having said all of that, I think that Mayweather will have his hands fuller than he thinks he is, I think he took a smaller guy who he thinks is easier to hit and Mayweather looks at himself as an artist, a magician, a guy that prides himself on being top level in the sport and will exploit the problems with his opponent. I think at the end of the day it’s going to be a helluva fight. Maybe Mayweather turns out to be too big. Maybe Mayweather cuts him up. The question of how Mayweather will look after being out for over a year and half will play in there somewhere.
DT Teddy, what are your thoughts on the Cotto/ Pacquiao fight?
TA It’s not the fight it would have been a couple of years ago or even a year ago. I think it could have been an interesting fight and maybe it still will be, I have no final say on it, it’s just my opinion. I just don’t think it will be the interesting fight that we want it to be or potentially on paper what it is supposed to be; a small Pacquiao fighting a bigger stronger Cotto whose primary asset is going to the body against the quicker fleeter footed small guy and wear him down. I don’t know that Cotto will be able to do that and that was one of the interesting things, big speed advantage versus a super quick fighter with a come ahead style and wear him down. That’s the interested part but it will not play out because Cotto is damaged goods. I know that some of these psychopaths are going to say, Teddy is off his rocker. I am not saying that Cotto doesn’t have heart, I’m not saying that he is not a warrior, he’s got all the heart in the world. I think he showed us he is damaged in the Clottey fight. I think that he was torn apart and ready to be taken, ready to spit the bit, and again to those psychopaths out there, save your words, I don’t listen to them and I don’t want to hear them. You have your opinion and I have mine and mine is based on being in this business my whole life. Yes Cotto is a warrior but fighters are humans first and fighters second. They are human, they have their frailties, their weak times, and they suffer from depression just like all humans do at times. Cotto was affected by the Margarito fight, his confidence was shaken, shaken to the CORE! He had doubts and those doubts were showing against Clottey and he wasn’t sure if he could handle it. Yes he won the fight but he was on the cuff, on the brink of being pushed over the cliff. In a weird way Clottey saved him because he did not act like a fighter should, he did not seize the moment, he didn’t push Cotto off the cliff, and he let him survive. That’s why Clottley does not have the right to be called a Champion. He didn’t pull the heart out of the guy when the heart was hanging out there. Cotto won, but I saw the signs, I know what I was watching, does that mean that he won’t pull himself together in the next fight? No it doesn’t mean that, but it means from my experience that’s it’s unlikely. It means that he is not in a situation where he is comfortable and I don’t know if he is ever going to get back there. I’m betting that he is not going to get back spiritually, emotionally, and physically, to that place where he finds comfort. If Pacquiao doesn’t disappoint us and by the way he saw the Clottey fight, he saw the weaknesses, he knows what he was watching, he saw a vulnerable guy, he saw a damaged guy, and I think Pacquiao will go after him. Pacquiao will throw the punches in those first three rounds that Clottey didn’t throw. Pacquiao will make sure that during those little spots where others have allowed Cotto to recuperate, he will come with many, many power shots that will take out Cotto. I think if Pacquiao does that, Cotto does not survive, I think that the ghost of Margarito is still tap dancing in his brain. The Margarito memory combined with the Pacquiao tenacity, I think that Pacquiao gets rid of Cotto inside of five maybe three rounds. This will not become the kind of epic battle that it had the potential to be.
That does it for part one. A long but interesting read from Teddy Atlas. Continue on to part two (Click here for Part Two) which is Teddy’s top ten P4P with today’s fighters and his all time list of boxing’s greatest. Enjoy!
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